So day two of Cycling Weekly’s Tenerife photoshoot started abruptly with director Hannah hammering on our door at 7.30am and the sight of my bleary-eyed roomie and veteran of CW photoshoots Gaz – Garry Clark – putting his shorts on inside out exposing his chamois for all to see!
Nevertheless, I am lured into my Lycra by the smell of fresh croissants emanating from the kitchen and once washed down with the crucial morning coffee, we are bundled into the ‘Polka Dot’ van for our drive to this morning’s location shoot.
As a relative newbie to the CW photoshoot scene, I’m still learning that the early bird catches the worm or in this case the best light for riding shots. We drove along the coast past numerous banana plantations before starting to climb.
Today’s top guide chat comes from Jen, our host, who informs us banana plants ‘walk’ on metre each year! Fortunately none have yet stumbled onto the gloriously smooth tarmac though so we jumped out and began riding uphill searching for shots.
Banana plantations gave way to open hillside and photographer Andy Jones snapped away taking pictures of the group riding in front of a classic terraced hillside once farmed and now covered in cactuses which look surprisingly green and made for great pictures in the morning light against the mountainous backdrop.
Stripping for summer
At 10.06am with the wind dropping and temperature rising, CW’s Symon officially declared summer and arm and knee warmers were ditched in favour of short sleeves and crema del sol.
Photographer Andy staked out a great position on a sweeping right hand bend poised to capture some summer cover shots of us descending. I went first; the corner rode perfectly and it was no effort to enjoy its flow. Next up veteran Gaz, still reeling from his wardrobe malfunction his luck was out again as his shot was cut short with photographer Andy distracted by a 30 strong peloton of ‘Rapha’ and ‘Wheelbase’ riders as he snapped and exchanged shouts with national hill climb champion Jack Pullar as they rounded the bend.
After the morning’s shoot we rode back to Casa Polka Dot. Unfortunately, this contained a hat-trick of stiff 3km climbs and last nights Rioja made each revolution of the cranks that little bit tougher! Not to be outdone I hung on the back of the group arriving back in time for a refuel on bolognaise and coleslaw – according to CW’s Symon, the essential diet for all Elite riders.
Late afternoon we found ourselves in the back of the van once more; this time Tiede bound. Mt Teide dominates the island rising to 3,718m which beats anywhere on mainland Spain.
The van falls silent as we wind our way up through the clouds, guide Jo reassuringly informs us Mt Tiede hasn’t erupted for 200 years before excitedly mentioning an eruption is 100 years overdue!
This make me slightly nervous as director Hannah beckons us out of the van proclaiming the evening light to be working great with the old lava flows as backdrops.
We get some great group shops and ride up the last part of the climb past the famous Parador in search of the last golden light of the evening.
Lusting for Lucozade
Our chase to the sun in the shadows of majestic Mt Teide is ultimately fruitless despite CW Symon doing his best to reach the last remaining light practicing his track cycling intervals, though after realising Teide is a little higher than Herne Hill and offers decidedly less oxygen he waited for the rest of the group.
Coming up behind, director Hannah is left to lament the loss of light as the photographers are too far ahead to snap us in a dream section of light she describes as like riding through Lucozade.
It seems I still have a lot to learn about life on a CW photoshoot as where I come from you drink Lucozade. However, I have learnt that photoshoot life sure beats the office. As we drive down the mountain at dusk we stop suddenly to gawp at the last of a beautifully smeared orange sunset sitting on a blanket of white cloud- a sight which I have only ever experienced from an aeroplane.
Wiggo watch out
Anyway, I’m back at ‘Casa Polka Dot’, a fantastic homely villa and am off for a shower and to look ahead to tomorrow.
Director Hannah has just announced were comparing our times to Wiggins’s as we ride from sea to summit in the Olympian’s tracks gaining over 2,200m in altitude in the process. Tonight, I’m focusing on the task ahead so am only going for one glass of vino with dinner.
Garry Clark points out Mount Teide
The Rapha group ride by