Gran Canaria’s second MTB marathon was held under bright blue skies and temperatures hovering around 20°C, conditions that UK residents can only dream of right now. 226 riders from 11 countries were there to take advantage of it, with a choice of long or short courses. The 101km long course had had to be partially rerouted thanks to heavy winter rainfall, but despite that it was dry, fast and rough. The conditions suited the various road riders at the event, with all three podium places in the men’s event going to road pros (or, as the official press release quaintly puts it, “three road pros arranged the podium among themselves”). The winner was Hector Guerra Garcia from (you’d never guess) Spain, with an impressive winning margin of over 10 minutes. Although not that impressive when compared to the frankly ludicrous 55 minutes and 17 seconds that women’s winner Åsa Erlandsson (Sweden) put into the rest of the field. Yes, just under an hour.
Garcia was the first to cross the finish line at Parque Urbano del Sur in Maspalomas after 4 hours, 11 minutes and 13 seconds. Fellow Spaniard Nicolas Carlos Coloma was second, with Hans Peter Obwaller in third despite a slew of mechanicals. Tobias Heimkreitner and Roland Stauder rounded out the top five.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Åsa Erlandsson was described as having a “lonesome” race. Her time of 5:19.43 put her in 18th place overall. Also fairly impressive was the ride by German 4X World Cup rider Sascha Meyenborg – he won his age group and was third overall in the 38km event, which is roughly 80 times further than he’d usually ride in a race.
One thing’s for sure, Gran Canaria looks like a thoroughly agreeable spot to ride bikes in…