A signature climb.
Vallter 2000 is a 23.2km climb with an average gradient of 5.8%. A signature climb that has been the finish for several editions of ‘La Volta a Catalunya’ and ‘La Vuelta a España’ stages. Similar to Alpe d’huez and Luz Ardiden, and notably a good test for any ‘strava’ segment specialist.
All good rides start with a coffee and a bike shot.
Our ride began in the small town, Camprodon. Located in the heart of the Girona Pyrenees, this charming village has ancient roots to the 12th century. In the year 1118 it began as a small market near the Sant Pere Monastery.
Today the village, with its Romanesque architecture, charming community squares and stone laid roads, play as a setting and backdrop to the essence of rural village life.
After meandering and enjoying getting lost in the medieval town, it's not a surprise that all roads lead to Vallter 2000.
A mere 200m climbed in 12km as we passed through Setcases and rode over the official start of the climb.
From here the gradient averages over 7%.
The Climb. It's on!
Climbing amongst the trees with towering chunks of granite above us. It doesn’t take long for the climb to change personality.
Our heart rates are up, and it's up and over, to ride high above the valley with the ski resort insight. A respite for the legs before the final push.
The final few kilometres take you up through to the concave face of the mountain, the roads bend and eventually hits the first paved and empty car-park, marking the beginning of a concentrated and joyous set of switchbacks.
The light dances through the trees, constantly changing and illuminating different sections of the road.
A climb to ourselves with just the sounds of cow bells ringing and echoing in the valley.
The light – majestic. When it's not dancing through the trees, it’s through the clouds.
Making these switchbacks even more delightful, on every bend, an edition of red painted road markings – paying homage to the world’s greatest climbs and toughest races. True inspiration to keep the pedals turning and the effort level up.
Past the ‘Tour de France’ marking and towards the final turn, rising sharply into the sky.
Expending the last bit of energy to get over the finish line before taking in the spectacular views.
Racing the light and cooler temperatures, it's a sweet descent.
Easy to see why this climb has such riding history. A rewarding climb with stunning views - and not a car in sight. Perhaps the trade-off for the empty roads is there is no coffee and cake at the top, everything closed. Can that be a trade off?! Vallter 2000 is a must-do climb. Definitely one for the books!
Col du Galibier
(Col du Télégraphe)
The most stringent (road bike) col on the French mainland – Col du Galibier is iconic. It is deemed to be a 'top 5' of world climbs, and is favoured by teams for pre Tour training.