General News: Island hopping with the GranGuanche
Gravel Union On
2 September 2021
When an image like this drops into our in-box, we’ve practically packed our bags and started dreaming of gravel trails before we’ve even finished reading the press release! GranGuanche is the inspiration of Matteo Minelli who has lived in the Canary Islands since 2014 and is a passionate promoter of the gravel riding there.
So, what the heck is Guanche you may be asking? It’s the extinct language spoken by the aboriginal inhabitants of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Island archipelago. Great, so what’s an Audax? According to the event organisers “In the late nineteenth-century endurance cyclists used to join group-rides to cover long distances in an established time limit to prove themself ‘audax’, brave in Latin. During the GranGuanche Audax, the time limit is set by the ferry leaving for the next islands, who make it to each ferry to the last island proves himself audax.”
Artenara, Gran Canaria
The GranGuanche Audax is described as “a self-supported, single-stage, fixed-route ride that follows the classic rules and principles of ultra-cycling races. But, in the spirit of Audax, participants are allowed to ride in a group and draft each other. This will encourage participants to plan stages and to create a pelotón between ferry connections.” The organisers continue “It’s a collective adventure and a challenge to finish the route. It’s a personal race against the clock, not against other riders.”
La Esperanza, Tenerife
Mount Teide, Tenerife
GranGuanche Audax Gravel is a self-supported, single-stage, fixed-route, ultra-cycling event across the Canary Islands. Participants can register as SOLO or as part of a PAIR resulting in two finishing categories and final rankings. It’s a demanding route for experienced riders as it includes serious climbs, high mountains, and remote areas. Experienced means well trained, technically skilled, and wisely equipped. Exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and night rides add even more risk to a challenging ride. Participants are fully responsible for their safety and logistics.
There are four possible versions of the GranGuanche event to take part in – an 800km Trail version of the Audax, which will take place starting 20th November 2021; a 600km Road version, which will take place starting on the 22nd January 2022; a GroupRide, which will take place starting on 19th February 2022; and finally our favourite, the 700km Gravel Audax, which will take place starting on the 19th March 2022.
We’re going to be sending an intrepid team from GravelUnion to try out the event, so watch this space for more details.