Sabt Celoni and Turo de l’home – Spain
Borja & Julia, Barcelona
Spain is well known for the different classic road tours such as La Vuelta a España, Vuelta Andalucia, Vuelta Burgos, Clásica de Sant Sebastian, La Volta a Catalunya, to name a few.We can say we’ve ridden some of the famous climbs from the north or south of the country, but today we want to introduce you to a climb that may not be one of the most popular, but it is quite a giant in itself. It is an haute categorie, an absolutely must visit if you ever go to the region of Catalunya.
Distance and ascent: 60km and 1758 metres of ascent
This is one of the toughest and highest climbs in Catalunya, plus it is 1 hour by bike from where we live, so we thought that was a great opportunity to introduce you to this beautiful summit. The climb we are talking about is placed in the natural park of Montseny, 70km from the city of Barcelona to the top of the mountain.
The Montseny is a protected area, designated as a massif biosphere reserve by Unesco. It has the highest mountains in the area, south of the Pyrenees and dominates the plains south of Girona. The climb we are referring to is Turó de l’Home, it is the highest peak of the Montseny Massif, with an elevation of 1,712 m (5,617 ft) above sea level.
Once you place this area on the map, you will see there are different options to ride through the Montseny Massif; you can plan circular routes, or just ascend and descend to the same road, and of course the ascension would be harder depending on where you start from. On the south face, the ascension starts at the village of Sant Celoni, coming from Barcelona, a total of 26km form the village to the top. There is another option which is the one you can see in the elevation profile, where the route starts at Montseny Village, giving a total ascension of 17km.
However, our favourite route is the one you climb from the north side, which is the one we usually ride. It is obviously colder at any time of the year, so it is more pleasant in summer, but the panoramic views are completely different. You can appreciate all the Pyrenees massif and different peaks from Catalunya when you take on this summit. From the other side, the south face, you have costal views from the Mediterranean Sea.
Regardless of the side you choose to start your route, the road is quite similar, except for the changing views, as mentioned before. I would describe the road as a snaking and progressive ascent (5% average) through the forest and the changing vegetation of the park. It is a great experience to ride through the park on different seasons of the year, as the scenery is completely different.
In relation to the details of the climb, we would highlight the final 5-6km that lead you to the top. This road is at a crossing point, indicated with signs that guide you to Turó de l’Home all the way up. At this point, the fun part begins. The road becomes more like a path, with broken and rough asphalt, snaking upwards with (10-15% average) ramps. Once you start leaving the vegetation behind, you feel exposed to all the climate conditions, and you realize that with just a final push, the summit will be yours. This climb is worth for every single effort, we are sure you will feel like you are touching the sky!
By the way, there is a popular road bike race, for amateur cyclists, called “Rutes del Montseny”. This is a great way to cycle through the Montseny Park, not reaching the top of Turó del Home in that route, but it is still quite a challenge. Go to http://www.rutesdelmontseny.com/ for more information.
Click below for gpx file