After a successful inaugural event in 2005 with 70 participants from 11 nations, Gran Canaria will present its second mountain bike marathon on March 18 next year. With 10,000 Euro in prize money thanks to new sponsor Spanish department store group El Corte Ingles, the 2006 edition will be the opener for two race series as well as offering an early-season training camp.
Gran Canaria will open a new Bavarian marathon series, despite being 2,500km from the rest of the races, and the Austrian TREK Mountain bike Challenge. "Let's be honest. The Alps are stunning, but in March mountain bikers are better off if they visit us," said Canaria organiser Petra Wonisch who lived many years in Southern Bavaria herself.
Wonisch is hoping for 300 participants in this years race and there will be two distances on offer. The demanding 80 kilometre long circuit from Maspalomas to Roque Nublo has a total of 2500 metres in elevation gain and is full of breathtaking views and scenic highlights. The route leads through several climate and vegetation zones; it passes reddish Canyons, spectacular rock formations, century old pine and laurel woods, striking plateaus and deep ravines. Alternatively riders can chose the 45 kilometre distance with 1200 metres in elevation gain.
For more information see www.canary-bike.com