We just got back from Tenerife where we enjoyed a sunny beach holiday.
As it turned out, we had the only recently renovated apartment in Parque Santiago iV with airco and the weather forecast was looking great.
So, with nothing left to wish for, we arrived in Los Cristianos on Friday evening and went out to lay in the sun the next morning.
Just kidding: Paula – finally! – had her favorite baking in the sun time, while I…
Um, cycled a bit?
Just like during the holiday we had on Gran Canaria, and then some…
After all, Tenerife is home to the Teide National Park, with the infamous Pico del Teide volcano – or (Mount) Teide – featuring Europe’s highest peak.
At a dazzling 3,700+ meters above sea level – and 7,000 from the bottom – it would have been the highest altitude I have ever reached, but I would have needed to take the cable car to get close to that peak and a special permit to hike up the final 150 meters or so.
For a maximum stay of one hour and a waiting queue that might also be an hour long, paying 40 Euros for that is probably worth it, but we didn’t go for it.
If you ever want to, make sure it’s operational, because I’ve been there four times and it was closed twice.
The menacing wind is a factor to reckon with on the “flat” between the Boca de Tauce and the Base del Teide – and render the cable car service inoperative – much like on Mont Ventoux…
For a cyclist, the “summit” is at a maximum of 2,356 meters, if you get up to the cable car, although many common route descriptions put it at 2,250 meters, close to the fork leading up to it.
I also saw a 2,330m (Izaña) sign when coming from Santa Cruz, the (longest) stage of this trip when Paula accompanied me.
From “our” end, i.e. Las Americas and passing through Vilaflor, you first get to the 2,100m marker at El Retamar before descending to the Boca de Tauce at 1,980 meters.
From there – and also when arriving at the Boca from other directions, like Chio – the elevation to the cable car at just over 2,350 meters, comes with an additional 10 kilometers or so, half of which is “flat”.
You can climb Teide from several starting points at near sea level, from non of which the routes are shorter than 45 kilometers, the longest being 63 kilometers (!) long.
That would be the route starting in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which I did during stage 11.
I figured that while it was longer, it would feature more favorable grades – it didn’t…
You can find a description of five “best of” cycling Teide routes here.
I cycled every day for two weeks, stages ranging from just over 50 to 115 kilometers long:
|Date / (Moving) Time||Distance (km)||Elevation (m)|
|Stage 14||2022-09-23 / 3:36:58||53.26||1,769|
|Stage 13||2022-09-22 / 2:54:20||74.13||1,037|
|Stage 12||2022-09-21 / 3:25:37||52.58||1,677|
|Stage 11||2022-09-20 / 6:07:42||114.66||3,059|
|Stage 10||2022-09-19 / 5:35:38||110.44||2,731|
|Stage 9||2022-09-18 / 3:44:22||75.94||1,767|
|Stage 8||2022-09-17 / 5:35:44||107.77||2,550|
|Stage 7||2022-09-16 / 4:29:41||101.96||2,292|
|Stage 6||2022-09-15 / 2:57:24||61.63||1,467|
|Stage 5||2022-09-14 / 4:11:22||81.03||2,142|
|Stage 4||2022-09-13 / 3:15:29||65.79||1,608|
|Stage 3||2022-09-12 / 5:09:27||105.46||2,520|
|Stage 2||2022-09-11 / 3:24:11||65.26||1,839|
|Stage 1||2022-09-10 / 5:13:07||105.10||2,839|
The only stage where you can apply the “50/50 rule”, is stage 1 – some come close to that, but for instance the stage from Santa Cruz was 63 km up and 52 km down.
And as you can see, the two short stages came with the most elevation, relative to the distance.
That elevation, in stages 12 and 14, was mostly – if not exclusively – achieved tackling short(-ish, but they seemed to go on forever) ridiculously steep climbs.
You can find them on Climbfinder:
- Tijoco Alto from Tijoco Bajo
- Tijoco Alto from La Hoya
- Barrio Taucho from Barrio Los Menores
- La Quinta from Adeje
These climbs, on often (very) degraded roads, are leading to small villages somewhere around the 1,000 meter mark, after which you can continue on little more than goat paths to even more remote locations, sometimes eventually getting you to – for example – Vilaflor.
I found another one during stage 9: Mirador de Chirche form Guia de Isora. It’s a bit shorter, but it features “nose on front wheel” grades…
But, as they all are (just) below 1,000 meters, they will not make to my “Been There, Done That” list, although I bet some of the short-ish climbs that are on that list are a lot easier.
The fancy VeloViewer wheel looks like this:
The numbers differ slightly from the table above, as I have not included a few short trips to and from our apartment to the Bike Experience Tenerife shop in that.
I booked three tours with them, one of which was only me and the guide.
That was stage 5, including Masca – apparently, not a lot of people feel up to that this time of year.
I never do, but I can’t help myself and it all but destroyed me.
Then again, on the steep climbs I did later on, I seemed to be better up to the task.
That may well have to do with the weather, though.
It was – on average – some 26, 27 degrees Celsius, but it ranged from a “mere” 20, 21 to 36, 37 on different days and even during the same trips.
And Masca was particularly hot, the temperature reaching 40 degrees, while inching my way up at up to 17% inclines…
As usual, I have really enjoyed the trips, the landscape vastly differing depending on which side of the island you’re on and the upper part near Teide being a moonlike landscape, only with color.
Cycling – mostly – alone has not been a problem, although I missed Paula’s help and taking care of much of the photographing.
Then again, the latter was a good excuse to take a short break to catch my breath every now and then 😂
One thing is certain: Tenerife is completely different from Gran Canaria and while there are “easy” routes to be had – like stage 13 – there’s nothing quite like cycling up Teide.
Not in Europe, anyway.
I’ve cycled “extremely long” climbs like the Iseran, the Bonette and the Stevio to name a few, but on the mainland only the Pico Veleta comes close or may (even) be tougher, I guess.
There’s a rather extensive “Best Of” image gallery here.
And with that, thank you for reading and feel free to comment or ask for more details!