José Hermida takes on the 2022 Transgrancanaria Bike
Cross-country racing legend José Hermida loves a challenge, so he jumped at the chance to take part in the recent 2022 Fred Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike edition, a three-day stage race that crosses the volcanic island of Gran Canaria.
The Spanish island is just off the coast of North Africa and, as well as its famous beaches, offers a huge variety of rugged riding for those who venture into the mountainous interior. While retired from professional racing , José still enjoys taking his MERIDA NINETY-SIX all around the world in search of new adventures and as an Olympic medallist and ex-World Champion, he’s a very fitting ambassador for this multi-day race.
José’s last visit to the island was all the way back in 1997, when he won the La Vuelta de Gran Canaria, but this time around his focus would be on enjoying the journey and adventure the race had to offer, exploring the diverse scenery and riding the island over the three days of racing.
Of course, while he is retired, he’s still no slouch on the bike and was very much at the sharp end of the field throughout the race stages, though a puncture on the first day put him out of contention for the overall victory against some experienced local competition. He says: "The first day was a late afternoon with 26km of easy ground in fire roads but with a high percentage of climbing for such a small stage, in total there was 1,300 m of ascent. I had an early flat tyre three kilometres in on a descent. This broke my valve and I had to repair it by using an innertube. That meant my racing day was over but then I started a surprisingly beautiful day of riding, caching riders, chatting with them and having one of those great rides for the books."
"On the second day began with everyone at a mountain camp at 1,690 m - it had one the best sunsets and sunrises with a astonishing view of Roque Nublo, a iconic natural monolite protected by law since 1994. The second stage was 45 km long with lots of demanding ground, climbs and even hiking trails with a compulsory portage of of our bikes. It was quite a different stage as we started at altitude and the finish was quite lower compared to the start."
"The third and final stage stage was very difficult at the beginning but was super joyful at end, with a fast and dusty finish to 30 km of riding..."
With a mixture of tough climbs and rugged descents against the clock, the NINETY-SIX was the perfect choice for this race. The modern geometry and dropper post-equipped specification allowed José to put his renowned technical skills to good use, while the efficient P-FLEX suspension and lightweight carbon frame made short work of the climbs. José: "As I knew the stages and the ground, I decided to use the MERIDA NINETY-SIX RC to get the maximum out of it, to get the extra power and performance that as a now former pro rider I don't have", he laughs: "it was the best choice and absolutely the best bike for this kind of adventure."
If you’d like a taste of the race, José made a video documenting his time on Gran Canaria. As José says: "That's what cycling brings to your life - freedom, friends and joy..."
You can check it out by watching the video below.
If you’d like to find out more about the Fred. Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike edition, head to www.transgrancanariabike.com
To learn more about the NINETY-SIX that José chose for this challenge, you can check out the full range here.
To keep up to date with all of José’s adventures, make sure you follow him on Instagram.