Monday, March 23, 2020

Sant Hilari Sacalm, 4 different sides to climb

Girona cycling climbs
Amazing climb to Sant Hilari from Osor
When in Girona for Cycling, Sant Hilari Sacalm is one of our favourite rides.
Sant Hilari Sacalm is also called the town of 100 fountains and it is obviously a town linked to water, as there are also several water bottling plants.
It is located at 786 mts height.

Girona cycling climbs
In this map you can see all 4 sides suggested
There are several sides:

- 1) From Girona the most popular starting point is Anglès. Amazing 25 km long climb crossing the small village Osor. A little variation is climbing from Pantà de Susqueda and getting the same road at Osor. The original 25 km climb from Anglès is one of the highlights of cycling in Girona, no doubt, both for the beauty of the road into the forest and also the totally lack of any traffic. Amazing.+
Girona cycling climbs
Big brigdes crssing road C-25
- 2) Also from Girona you could start the climb at Santa Coloma de Farners. This solitaire road is a very usual way to close the gap to Girona when you have climbed from Anglès. The loop is around 100 km long.
Girona cycling climbs
Coll de Revell, interesting solitaire road
- 3) Third side is a little different, as it starts at Arbucies and goes along Coll de Revell. Once at the top of Coll de Revell (821 mts) the road goes on on a mild 5 km climb to Els Cortals, and then you get Sant Hilari Sacalm

- 4) Fourth side from Arbúcies is possibly the least charming, as it is a busier and wider road wich goes close to the main C-25 road. Busier, wider and also a little steeper, it is a good option to take on the way down as it is a faster way to descend.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Port Ainé, stage ending in Volta a Catalunya 2020

Volta a Catalunya 2020
Elevation profile for Port Ainé
It has been unveiled the route of Volta a Catalunya professional cycling race for 2020.

It is a very special edition as it is the 100th edition of the oldest cycling race in Spain.
3/23 Calella-Calella
3/24 TT Banyoles (Girona)
3/25 Canal Olimpic-Vallter 2000
3/26 Ripoll-Port Ainé
3/27 La Pobla de Segur-Manresa
3/28 Tarragona-Mataró
3/29 Barcelona-Barcelona

There will be 2 mountain stage endings. First one will be in Vallter 2000 (a classic finish, included several times in Volta a Catalunya route), and the second one is at Port Ainé.

Port Ainé has been included three times in the route of Volta a Catalunya. But only twice the race arrived to the top of the climb... How can that be? In 2012 the route included the climbs to Port del Cantó and Port Ainé as stage ending. Nevertheless, the weather was extremely cold with snow vat the mountains and the climb to Port Ainé was cancelled (Stage winner Brajkovič described the stage and its conditions as the "hardest day of his life"). See details here.

The second time that the Volta arrived to Port Ainé was in 2016 edition, and the winner was Thomas de Gendt.See whole stage video here:

 

And the third time was in 2013 edition with Dan Martin winning at the top of the climb.

The climb itself is a long climb in the Pyrenees, and the bottom is located very close to a village called Rialp. The elevation profile showed in the article is a little shorter than it is nowadays, as the road gets to 2000 mts.

A true monster climb with almost 20 km of climbing, with over 6% average gradient!
Here we have the Strava segment for the climb:

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Steep climbs in La Cerdanya (Catalonia)

Cycling map Cerdanya
Map including the main climbs in La Cerdanya
La Cerdanya is a catalan region, close to the border with France, which main city is Puigcerdà.
This is a fantastic ski region, but not so known for the cycling, which is also great.
La Cerdanya is a big valley reaching to Andorra on the main road N260. There are a lot of climbs on both north (french) and south (spanish) sides.

The most popular climb around Puigcerdà is probably Collada de Tosas, the natural link with the rest of Catalonia. This is an amazing 25 km long climb (on both sides) . Volta a Catalunya has included several stage endings at La Molina ski Station (very close to Collada de Tosas and in fact on the way to it), another famous climb in La Cerdanya.

Also starting in Puigcerdà is Col de Puymorens (1915 m), on the way to Col d'Envalira and Andorra. Puymorens is a high road in the Pyrenees, a little busy though, specially on the way to Ax les Thermes!

Cycling Cerdanya
Talltendre, a climb for die-hard cyclists
cycling La Cerdanya
Cap de Rec, very interesting (and long) climb

Being in the border with France, it is worth mentioning some nice climbs on the french side, such as Osseja, Puigmal Ski Station or Lac de Builloses.

But let's present a couple of nice (and steep) climbsin La Cerdanya, not-so-known. First one is Talltendre, a true killer-climb with some passes over 18%. No exit road, you have to come back same way you climbed. Total distance of the climb is 7,8 km and the height at the top is 1575 m. See elevation profile attached.

The second interesting climb I want to introduce is Cap de Rec. This is a much longer an higher climb, not so steep though. The road leading to this shelter is the same that the one leading to Aranser Ski station, and then half the climb there is a deviation to Cap de Rec. They are 16,4 km, and the elevation at the top is 1986 meters, very close to 2000.

You noticed that there are plenty of interesting climbs in La Cerdanya valley in Catalonia. Worth a visit!