|Gravel cycling in Montseny|
Montseny mountain is simply a paradise for cycling. So close to Barcelona (hardly 45 km) and you have a big range of mountains to explore and enjoy.
Being road cycling or gravel cycling, the options are endless. Let's focus today on gravel cycling. And specially in a quite popular place for locals, which is Pla de la Calma. This is a relatively flat zone at about 1100 mts height that you can reach from several places, and specially from the top of Coll Formic climb. Coll Formic is probably the best known road in Montseny (together with the climb to Santa Fe del Montseny). Your reach Coll Formic at 1145 mts height either from Palautordera (26 km ascent from C-35 road), either from Seva (shorter climb about 9 km long. The views from Pla de la Calma are amazing, specially to the Pyrenees on the north side, but also to the Mediterranean sea to the south. Of course the views to Montserrat and its rounded shapes, are also possible, not being far away.
But there are some other ways to reach Pla de la Calma. A very interesting way to reach it is from Tagamanent. This is an asphalted road, very demanding at some parts. The road leads to the etnologic park of Tagamanent and afterwards to the old Tagamanent Castle. The asphalted road ends at about 1000 mts (see profile attached) and then the path keeps going to about 1300 mts. This way you get the whole Pla de la Calma, from Tagamanent to Coll Formic, about 10 km long with stunnig views, always above 1100 mts.
A second very interesting way (probably my favourite) is a gravel path starting at Piscines del Montseny (a little before Montseny village). This is a path in quite good condition climbing for 10 km at about 9% gradient, reaching 1300 mts close to the highest point of Pla de la Calma, which is Puig Drau at 1345 mts. It is difficult to name this side of Pla de la Calma, but the best indication is to get to El Molar, an isolated house (Masia in catalan language) on the way up, about half way. In my wet dreams, this climb could be included in a professional road cycling race (such as Volta a Catalunya or Vuelta a España), and then descent on the road via Coll Formic. That would be our "Coll delle Finestre".
On top of the plateau where the church is, you can get a little higher to the firemen observation area with amazing views over the Valles region and even over the Mediterranean sea. Fantastic place, worth a stop.
There is another nice summit you can get nearby which is Turó de la Cova, at 1100 mts height, and you can see one from the other (Sant Elies and Turó de la Cova). The condition of the path is similar to Sant Elies. The characteristic of Turó de la Cova is a bench on top of the climb, which you can sit at, together with a catalan flag. Picture compulsory there. From Turó de la Cova you can descend to Piscines del Montseny, but the path is very rough, and being on the north side it can be frozen and icy in winter.
There are many other options in the Montseny mountains. I'll keep digging, but I am sure this is a good start point. Enjoy!!