“Corkscrew” in the south on Gran Canaria

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On Strava I call this road bike ride in the south of Gran Canaria “The cork has been pulled”. Here’s what’s involved. It takes in the notorious “Corkscrew” – one of the ten steepest climbs in Europe. Over a distance of nine kilometres, you gain some 1,100 metres in altitude. The pass zigzags up the mountain roughly in the shape of a corkscrew, hence the name.

Even before the real climbing begins in La Aldea de San Nicolás, there is a fair amount of ascent to cope with first. The ride starts with is a largely flat section from Maspalomas along the coast road towards Mogan. A somewhat longer ascent then follows. Afterwards the route descends again, down into the “Valley of Tears”. You’re right to ask where it gets its name from. Regardless of how you plan to ride home, there’s no avoiding that pass. If you’re already feeling worn out here, then it’s all over… I would advise everybody to take another coffee break here, at the latest. Have an ice cream. Because this is where the fun starts in earnest.

The corkscrew continues upwards at a constant gradient to Ayacata, a small mountain village with a nice café, where you’ll meet more or less every cyclist on the island. Refuel with a fresh bocadillo, one of the typical filled Spanish baguettes, and an espresso. While enjoying them, you should feel mightily proud of what you’ve achieved. From up here, follow the GC 60 trail via San Bartolomé de Tirajana, all the way down to Maspalomas, where you arrive back at sea level.

Distance: 135 kilometres
Elevation: 3,030 metres
Duration: 6 hours
Level of fitness required: high
Technical difficulty: medium

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