Mountain climbs have become one of the great obsessions of road cycling lovers. They are small achievements, trophies that we like to remember, with the special interest generated by the toughest ones. They also tend to be an unparalleled source of scenery and viewpoints, which makes the conquest by pedaling even more attractive. Valencia is no exception, and the province is full of ascents to discover... and also to suffer. Here are 10 of the most attractive.
Alto de Alcublas is one of those climbs for all ages: not too long, undemanding ramps and tarmac in good condition. You're not going to leave life climbing, but that doesn't make it any less catching.
It can be conquered by two similarly demanding slopes. An average around 5% and approx 5 kilometers of pleasant climbing on a road that is generally not very busy. The ascent also goes from more to less, with the first two kilometers a little harder, after which climbing becomes much more pleasant.
We could summarize it as one of those climbs that is good to whet your appetite, but not as a challenge. By the way, it was an ascent in one of the stages of the Vuelta a España 2019.
If the first climb mentioned can be considered a walk for many, the same cannot be said of the Alt del Pi combined with the Garbí: just over 7 kilometers with an average 8% slope and maximum ramps of 16%. Yes, here we are talking big words, with almost 600 m of positive slope. As an advantage, you'll probably find few cars on the ascent. As a disadvantage, it should be said that the condition of the asphalt does not make it exactly a favorable climb. At least until reaching the top of Garbi, because from there the ascent to Alt del Pi is newly asphalted.
The landing at the Garbi summit will taste like glory, especially having overcome a few double-digit ramps that leave you exhausted.
After this break, reaching the summit Alt del Pi will apparently seem easier because of the resurfacing, but it will be a mere illusion when we see double-digit ramps in front of us again, with another 16% when we are about to finish the job.
We have mentioned Garbí in combination with Alt del Pi, but it is clear that this peak alone is already a major challenge. It can be climbed from Estivella or from Segart, and its proximity to the towns of Sagunto and Valencia means that it is quite busy with cyclists.
Being immersed in the Parque Natural de Sierra Calderona, we can enjoy a peaceful and very welcoming landscape at all times... which you may not fully enjoy when the ramps get demanding.
By the way, in this ascent we have experienced some exciting moments in the Vuelta a España, with a memorable attack launched by Alberto Contador on Chris Froome in the 2017 edition that put the Briton in serious trouble.
Ascent without truce and for cyclists prepared for strong emotions.
If we have to keep on talking about hellish climbs, we'll talk. And Montdúver is another of those heart-stopping Valencian ascents. Although the climb can be located in Plá de Corrals, it could be considered that the ascent itself doesn't get serious until reaching La Drova, an apparently quiet residential area ... unless you decide to climb Montdúver, good luck, because in that case you'll face an initial 23% ramp. And while still surrounded by housing, imagine how lazy it must be to go and visit your neighbor at the top of the urbanization.
The fact is that once you get over this very tough ramp, not without some surprise, you will reach the road that leads to the summit, with more relaxed averages of 10-12%. In the middle of the ascent, the asphalt becomes concrete, fortunately in good condition, and there are even some areas that give us a break.
But this pause is a poisoned dart, because what follows is once again hell: several prominent and quite demanding horseshoe bends, with 20% ramps and faces of regret having decided to climb there. Legend is that on the fifth hairpin bend, if the ascent smells your fear, your chain breaks.
Of course, unbeatable views, with an observable sea in its immensity and where you put the magnitude of the challenge overcome into perspective. Counting from the start of the ascent to La Drova, just over 4 kilometers with an average over 11%. Let's see what climb beats this...
If you are still scared of the previous climb, this one is a little less easy. El Remedio by Chelva includes an ascent of about 8 km and an average of 6.6%. The 3km leading up to the Ermita del Remedio are the hardest, all in double digits and with the hardest km at 10%.
The tarmac is one of those that is pleasant to cycle on, where you can feel the wheel glide pleasantly and your main concern is to keep your pulse on the slope. If only all ascents had this asphalt.
If you love climbs full of hairpin bends, this is an option that won't disappoint you.
El Portixol ascent is located in the south of the province of Valencia, in the town of Ontinyent. From there, 7.8 km with a not very demanding average 4.9% and a gradient of 386 m. The hardest section is in the last 2 km, with an average around 7%.
Ascending we will wrap ourselves between pine forests and mountains on a road that will be quite pleasant at all times. Although it doesn't have one of those peaks that leads you to get lost in the immensity of the landscape, along the way we will always feel well sheltered.
L'Oronet is another of those ascents made to be climbed by any cyclist with a minimum of experience on the road. With a little less than 6 km and an average 4.5% slope, there will be rare occasions when we find a double-digit ramp. In fact, the maximum slope is 10%, and it is very occasional.
Otherwise, the climb is fairly gradual, except for the second km, where there is a short break. The hardest km stands at a manageable 6%.
It is one of the most frequented climbs by Valencians, with the road in very good condition and with little traffic on most of the climb.
A misleading ascent if we look at it from a purely quantitative point of view: just over 7 km with an average 6.4%, initially worthy of admiration, but it would not be on the list of very tough ascents. However, the figures are deceiving: its first 3 km are so hard that they could be considered a climb on their own.
With constant double-digit ramps, the first km of ascent is a nightmare. Constant ramps above 15% with some peaks reaching 23%, putting us to the test right from the start. After the first km we have a short rest section before proceeding on a tremendously hard 1.5 km, with slopes from 15 to 20%.
If we are able to overcome this section, the rest will be a mere formality, except for a new sector with terrible ramps located at Casa de Tarsan.
If you want to conquer it, you will find it on the forest track between Villalonga and l'Orxa, ascending through the Circo de La Safor. The start is at the Font de la Reprimala, where it is a good idea to make sure you have well-loaded drums.
A climb that could clearly be divided into two sections, the one from Villalonga to the Urbanización de La Llacuna housing estate, and the one from the latter to the top of the ascent, at 700 m. The first section is clearly the most demanding, with 5 km in which there are constant double-digit ramps and an average slope that far exceeds 8%. Especially hard is the second km, the toughest of all, with an average gradient of 9.5%. We will hardly have a break, with a very constant climb until we reach La Llacuna.
At the exit of the urbanization, we change to another road with a wider asphalt road in very good condition. With the occasional ramp above 15%, the rest of the road is a pleasant ride before reaching the top, which does not boast particularly outstanding views. The interest of this ascent lies more in the difficulty of climbing rather than in scenic beauty.
We finish this top 10 with a climb that, although unknown, is particularly interesting. It's actually a pack: three chained ascents over 23 km, with a variety of landscapes, routes and asphalts that makes it extremely enjoyable.
In addition, of the selected ascents, it’s the one that will take us to the highest altitude, almost 1,300 m. As a general rule we won't find very hard ramps, being the first of the climbs the one that involves the most effort, but from which we can recover by facing a downhill section before facing a new stretch of slopes.
The ascent starts when you cross the bridge over the Turia River at the exit of Ademuz. The road is generally in good condition, although the last stretch becomes a bit rougher and there is some deterioration. Along the way there is very little traffic, which is ideal for conquering this ascent, which is very different from the rest.