5 Climbs that aren’t Rocacorba

Girona has become the cycling mecca it deserves to be.

With a vibrant and beautiful old town packed with original and interesting coffee shops and bars, winding medieval streets, an area famous for Gastronomy, a varied and diverse countryside crisscrossed with gravel paths, lanes, back roads, single tracks.. you name it and Girona has it, it’s no small wonder that so many people in the world of cycling flock here.

In the beginning, the start of this rise to greatness as a cycling destination, while the local authority was surfacing roads as fast as the riders could discover them, riders searched for better places to perform interval training, specifically the dreaded hill repeats. Rocacorba, surfaced all the way to the top circa 2006, has a near continuous uphill grade of around 9% for roughly 10kms, provided a great location for this type of specific training.

Since then through word of mouth and internet chatter Rocacorba has become the best known hill in the area, much to the consternation of many local riders who rarely go there, but what are the alternatives for riders who maybe want a challenge but perhaps not a venue for hill repeats.

In many ways Els Àngels is the local hill for Girona. Located very close to the city, easy to reach, it’s an often overlooked option. Location for the Girona Cycling Festival timed hill climb held in June, this climb reads like a who’s who of pro road cycling on Strava. The surface is excellent and it is two lanes all the way up and down.

What’s at the top? Stunning panoramic views of the Les Gavarres nature reserve and the Els Àngels Sanctuary which does have a small bar.

Distance: 10km

Avg Grade: 3.4%

Cat: 2

Les Gavarres (reverse route to climb the Els Àngels climb at the beginning of the route)

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top 10 strava els àngels girona

Located to the West of Girona, this climb into the Guilleries mountains is really the current favourite venue for many of the Pros based in Girona for hill training. The climb starts behind the village of Amer, the start of the road is tucked away behind the Fire station. This  no-through road has very little traffic and generally an excellent surface.

What’s at the top? There are excellent views of the El Far mountain and a small restaurant as well, though you should check the opening times if you want to be sure they will be open.

Stats:

Distance: 8km

Avg Grade:7.3%

Cat: 2

download sant martí sacalm gpx

This is a big one! A ski station in the winter, Vallter is high and steep, a really challenging climb. The mountain has been used many times for the finish of the Volta Catalunya as well as the Tour de France. The surface is generally good and mostly two lanes as well for the descent.
 
What’s at the top? The view is beautiful and a very typical Pyrenean scene, the ski station café is open most of the year but always worth checking opening times. 
 
Distance: 12 km

Avg Grade: 7.4%

Cat: HC

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This is the Highest point of the Les Gavarres mountains and location of an observatory. It was only relatively recently surfaced and is therefore little known. It is though one of the toughest climbs in the nature reserve, the road has a coupe of downhill sections on the way to the top, but you have to climb them onthe way back as well !!. The final section is the segment from Strava and has sections of 25%. The climb really starts from the village of Calonge making it 15km long in total, but the final segment is the steepest section.
 
What’s at the top ? The view is I have to say staggering on a clear day, the viewing platform is a few hundred meters on a gravel path past the observatory. It is also the sight of an ancient Dolmen standing stone.

Distance: 5km

Avg Grade: 6.5%

Cat: 4

Cycling in girona puig d'arques

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download Puig d'arques gpx track
This is a tough climb and a big day from Girona but has to be one of the most epic rides in this area, again not super well known, but a very special place to ride to. This is really the climb of the Coll de Condreu, a 10 km climb, but it is well worth the extra 2.5 km from the Coll to El Far itself, a 15th century monastery.
 
What’s at the top ? One of the best views in the area, the Café and monastery sit on top of a 150 m cliff at 1100 m altitude, which gives it an incredible vantage point.
 
Distance: 10 km
 
Avg Grade: 4.8%
 
Cat: 2

 

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