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GranGuanche Audax Trail – my first ultra race on the Canary Islands


GranGuanche Audax Trail – my first ultra race on the Canary Islands

Mountain Biking Collection by erwinsikkens_com



43:44 h

420 mi

45,525 ft

I flew to the Canary Islands in November 2021 for my first ultra-distance bike race. 🌴⛰🌞

I have lots of experience gravel biking and bikepacking. I've also been an avid dotwatcher, following bike races in real time, for a while now. If you want to know what I mean, check out this site: dotwatcher.cc/page/6CO2ZfSWlyOkcQsG62iGaE. However, I hadn't participated in an ultra race myself. I’d never been to the Canary Islands, but I’d heard many wonderful stories from cyclists. I headed there myself for the first time for the GranGuanche Audax Trail, an ultra race across the five largest of the volcanic islands.

GranGuanche consists of three different routes and is the brainchild of Matteo, who lives in Lanzarote. There is a trail, a gravel and a road version. The trail and gravel versions often overlap. The trail route, however, also leads partly over beaches, single trails and occasional sliding passages – things that make my heart race. By the way, the name GranGuanche comes from ‘Guanche’, the first known inhabitants of the island of Tenerife.

On the Canary Islands, I learned just how different volcanic landscapes can be: from black and barren lands on one island to desert areas and lush green mountains on the others. The GranGuanche Trail starts on Lanzarote. You cross over to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and finally La Palme with the ferry. The Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma erupted in autumn 2021. The route on the island was adjusted because of the dangerous lava flows so that it ends with a view of the volcano, from a safe distance.

Despite my experience as a gravel biker and bikepacker, this Tour was new to me in many ways. I rediscovered myself, as well as the beautiful islands and the wonders of ultra racing. In this komoot Collection, you can find my stage reports with Highlights, low points and the reason why I didn't make it to the finish in the end. 💚

Want to learn more about GranGuanche or gravel biking in the Canary Islands? You can find more stories and inspiration on my Instagram channel and on the official GranGuanche website:

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • GranGuanche: Stage 0, Lanzarote − The floor is lava!

    35.4 mi
    12.0 mph
    2,325 ft
    2,300 ft

    After arriving by plane on Lanzarote, I prepare my bike and get on my two-wheeler for a spontaneous reconnaissance ride on Lanzarote, together with organizer Matteo and Fat Pigeons Nol and Loek.


    I am looking forward to the first meters on the bike. The images I saw online of Lanzarote convinced me to

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 01:35
    25.2 mi
    15.9 mph
    900 ft
    1,775 ft

    The GranGuanche is on the doorstep. After a long day of relaxing and trying to rest as much as possible before the start later in the evening, it is finally time to head towards the start.


    Some participants take a taxi to the start to save their legs. I think exactly the other way around: cycling warm

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    by erwinsikkens_com

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  • 07:40
    74.2 mi
    9.7 mph
    7,925 ft
    7,950 ft

    It's 10pm on Saturday night. The imaginary starting gun sounds. The GranGuanche Audax Trail has begun. The first kilometer in the village I cycle in front, I joke that I am leading the race…


    However, the first unpaved trail just outside the village puts an end to all these jokes. We have started. The

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 09:19
    97.4 mi
    10.4 mph
    8,000 ft
    8,075 ft

    Just over 10 minutes I had my eyes open on the ferry to Fuerteventura. But the crossing is unfortunately short and I could have taken much longer. It's special to be here already. The first daylight of day one and I'm already on the second island with the big boys and girls. Well with more fatigue than

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 09:12
    72.4 mi
    7.9 mph
    11,150 ft
    10,900 ft

    I cycled for a day and a half and after a short night's sleep I am already in the north-eastern harbor of Gran Canaria. I never thought this of myself! With just over 4 hours of sleep I have already left two entire Canary Islands behind me. Over a heavy unpaved route that is. However, the fatigue is

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 00:48
    9.21 mi
    11.5 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,275 ft

    It's 04:00 in the morning. I wake up from a buzz and lie tossing and turning in my sleeping bag on the stone floor. It's Loek and Nol, the boys from Fat Pigeon, who rolled out of their beds to catch the 6:00 ferry. I am already awake and decide to cycle with them.


    The schedule still has 19 km on a winding

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 04:24
    33.0 mi
    7.5 mph
    5,350 ft
    2,225 ft

    It's 7:30 in the morning and I feel some energy when I arrive in the northern port of Tenerife. I'm in a fast group again. These people are faster than me on the previous island of Gran Canaria. They finished many hours ahead of me at the harbor but the ferries are causing delays and I am once again

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 07:30
    70.2 mi
    9.4 mph
    8,525 ft
    11,600 ft

    I wake up after a good night's sleep. I look rotten, but I feel better than ever. The night before I was still thinking about giving up and scratching, but the unwritten rule to never scratch in the evening or at night turns out to be not without reason... I don't even think about scratching anymore

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    by erwinsikkens_com

  • 00:19
    3.05 mi
    9.6 mph
    275 ft
    175 ft

    Where the weather forecast predicted 'only' heavy rain the night before, it turned into a ferocious storm during the short night in Santa Cruz de la Palma. Pouring rain and thunder storms across the island. Combine that with slippery climbs and a high cold peak where I would also be a target for lightning

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    by erwinsikkens_com

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Questions and Comments


Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    420 mi
  • Duration
    43:44 h
  • Elevation
    45,525 ft

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