Saturday, August 30, 2014

Epic Climbs out of Barcelona

Arrived to Barcelona a couple days prior to the 2014 Haute Route Pyrenees race. The race hotel I am staying at is similar to a Holiday Inn, 10 km north of the airport, and 9 km west of downtown Barcelona. It is nice being away from the tourist action. The area called Cornella is within blocks and has good fruit and veggie stores, more of a local district.

Locals using the Bicing bike borrow system in Barcelona.
Photo taken at Plaza Espanya
Took a train part way into town to Espanya stop, then rode around from there. Lots of bike lanes, traffic seems to be ok with cyclists, wider streets than in Geneva. Fast way to get around.

Still in construction Sagrada Familia Cathedral
On-route to Guell Park, passed by the Sagrada Familia Cathedral with its amazing detail and crowds.
View from Guell Park 
An internet search listed Catalonia's top 10 cycle climbs. I put two of the top climbs together on one ride… Montserrat via Tibidabo.

Used this google map that I found on on “The Barcelona Road Cycling Group”.

Started from the hotel headed towards Barcelona east, taking the ring road Ronda Del General Mitre eventually turning up into the hills. Lost for abit in residential climbs. Backtracked for the right road BP-1417, a nice 6% grade switchback.
The turnoff for Tibidabo was 6 km up this climb, with another 1 km to the top. Many cyclists out riding both directions.

The views were amazing from the lowlands as I could see the Temple de Sagrat Cor and an amusement park perched high up on the hillside from Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Funny seeing a roller coaster just below this cathedral. One way to attract the kids!

Back on BP-1417, it was a sweet twisty descent through the scenic Serra de Collserola range. Once down in the Sant Cugat des Vall├Ęs, passed thru many towns turning onto BP-1503. Ok for awhile then not so great riding thru the flats thru many suburban villages.

Leaving the wicked roads from Olesa de Montserrat

Taking B-120 from Viladecavalls to Olesa de Montserrat was an exceptional twisty scenic road until back onto the main hwy C-55. The climbs reminded me of Santa Monica Canyons as the terrain was similar.
Look way up to see the Monastery

From Monistrol de Montserrat, the final climb up is 8 km at 7% avg grade. Last km was bumper to bumper vehicles though easy to get around by bike.

At the top - ha, ha, selfie as in self-timer photo

View from top down into the valley I rode up

There is a tram that goes up as well as a train. I saw the train chug slowly up and thought it would be scary to go down. Bike was most fun especially the descent. I had to be careful as my eyes would linger to the fig trees on the sides of the roads.

Another option which seems to bypass the industrial sections:
To take C-243c, BP-121 or BP-122 which looks challenging though likely scenic.

My total ride one direction including backtracking a few times and the side trip to Tibidabo… 90 km, 6070' elevation.

Took the train back from Monistrol de Montserrat only 50 min and 5.10 Euros. I was tired with all the extra tourist activities, not the ride! It was cool to be able to get an epic ride in from town, and have the return train option.

Last night, there was a lot of traffic noise and a constant whistle toot toot outside the hotel room as a policeman guided traffic. Apparently, there was a football game at the arena nearby. Amazing to hear all the chanting and singing coming from afar. It would be cool to go to one of those events!


Ruud van Dijk said...

And on the first day, you finish in the top 20. Jeeez, Marg, after all that preparation, couldn't you try just a little?

Marg Fedyna said...

Day 1 was like a fast local group ride pace. Day 2 was a slaughter-fest in the 2nd last climb wondering where the energy would come from to get me up the last climb at survival pace… hence losing the jersey by 10 min on that last climb alone. I will not whine though I have had a sinus infection which was at its worst on Day 2. All better now!!