Wow, so yesterday I went on my first ride on GC, 105km, 2900m climb. The spin started with a flat 6km before the ascent started for about 54km. 54km of climbing in one go!!
When I started it was nice and warm at the bottom (a comfortable 19 degrees), but it got colder with the height and it was actually really cold on top of the mountains and in addition it rained!! Just like Ireland. And here's of course where I made my first beginner's mistake.
Even though our landlord told us it can get quite cold at the top, especially in the clouds and rain, I went off just with one flimsy jersey and arm warmers and a rain jacket in my pocket - hey, I'm on Gran Canaria, it's supposed to be warm! Well, it was fine until I got drenched wet (about 2 hours into the climb) and I was totally freezing cold with numb hands on the top. At least I was climbing until the 60km mark, so that kept me at least reasonably non-hypothermic. However, each long climb here is followed by a long descent. I was already drenched wet and wearing all of my clothes, and I was cold, but now I was to go downhill for 45km without generating any heat.
About 10min into the descent I started shivering. And it got worse and worse, so bad I couldn't stop my teeth from clattering and I almost started loosing control over the bike because my arms were shivering so badly! Now I understand why the guys in the Tour de France stuff newspapers into their jersey for the descents! I think I've actually felt colder than this before, but I've never shivered as bad as this before. I stopped a few times trying to warm up. And this descent seemed to just go on forever! I was relieved to finally see the sea and then it wasn't long till home. At least my clothes were almost dry when I arrived home again....
I never thought I would despise road descents as much as this. I used to love them when I wasn't a cyclist. Hmm ;(