Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain
Ride 21.6 km (13.4 mi) against 6% average with a very steep end!
An epic ride to the top of the world (Bola del Mundo) near the Spanish capital city, Madrid (60km away). This can be done in an one-day trip.
The epic components are:
- Vuelta cycling history: Puerto Navacerrada is the most climbed mountain in the Vuelta’s history, 44th year-to-date with legends being first like Bahamontes, Ocana, Rominger, Bola del Mundo has finished twice (2), last in 2012 with winner Menchov
- A climb with a profile that keeps getting steeper with three segments:
- 9 km (5.6 mi) against 3.3%
- 9.5km (5.9 mi) against 7.5%
- 3 km (1.9 mi) against 12% with ten 100m sections of 18% to 20%
- The last section is on a concrete surface (small path), quiet (cars forbidden), and brutal.
See the video from cycling Lorenza
- Spain's 5th highest climb (2258 m; 7408 feet)
Bola del Mundo is a climb via Puerto Navacerrada to the Antennas on the top. The Antennas remind us of the well-known TinTin comic strip book series. Bola del Mundo is a dead-end road at an elevation of 2258 m (7431ft) above the sea level, located in the Sierra de Guadarrama on the edge of the Spanish provinces of Madrid and Segovia.
Jose Jimenez, an allrounder from Madrid, who has ridden the ultracycling challenge Paris-Brest-Paris twice (2015 and 2019 = 1200+km within 90 hours time limit), has done this climb many times.
Thank you Jose Antonio Jimenez (http://www.vivirenbici.es) for your contribution:
“I chose this as my first trip after turning 50. Leaving Madrid by the north cycleway, you start at about 700 meters of altitude and get higher along the first 45 kilometers until Cerceda, 920 meters of altitude. This is the real starting point of the climb to the summit. From this point we have just over 18 km to Navacerrada summit, located at 1850 m. This is a progressive climb, with slopes ranging between 5% and 10% and usually heavy traffic. It is a good idea to start early in the morning, to avoid traffic jams, but you are in risk of getting a bit cold in shady areas, since the road is very protected by vegetation.
Upon arriving at Puerto de Navacerrada I took a little breath next to the large parking lot of the ski station, before taking the deviation to the right that approaches to the the service road. Passing a barrier that prevents motor vehicles of getting to the top, we come across a terrible straight climb, on a cement base that is badly damaged by the weather conditions it suffers in winter. The slope is so hard that, when dismounting to pass the barrier on foot, it was difficult for me to start again to face such terrible ramps of 18-19% slope. There was no choice but to look down, breathe and start climbing, step by step, without thinking how much was left. Before finishing the first kilometer, the slope softened and gave me a break, in a section of curves with spectacular views of the valley. I passed the area of protection fences of the ski station on the western slope of the mountain and reached 2000 meters of altitude with relative ease.
When I was getting into the rhythm, happy to have overcome almost half the climb, I found an area of impossible horseshoe curves, on a terrain full of potholes and jumps, which made me gain height very quickly, at the cost of great suffering, afraid of skidding or falling to the ground at any moment. It is almost a kilometer full of very tight and steep turns, with a slope close to 20%, in which I met hikers who kindly encouraged me. This area of curves allows you to overcome the peak of Dos Castillas and enter a somewhat softer terrain, by the edge of the mountain, in which the views of the surrounding valleys already become absolutely wonderful.
The last kilometer of ascent still accumulates 100 meters of unevenness and has some sections with ramps of 18-19%, but they are shorter and offer small slides that allow you to catch your breath to finally reach the antennas, at an altitude of 2,258 meters, with the feeling of having achieved a real challenge.”
Up to Puerto Navacerrada it is a busy road with cars so be aware, the last section to Bola del Mundo is where no cars are allowed. This means you can focus on staying on your bike for the brutal final! If you are in Madrid, this is a must do climb, a Legendary Mountain!
Alto Puerta Navacerrada. The start of the concrete section to Bola del Mundo.
While climbing the concrete section looking back to Alto Puerto Navacerrada.
Steep but unique hairpin up to the summit, you can see the Antennas already!
The final ramp up to the summit is nearby.
There it is, the final stretch, come on you can do it!
Looking down from above.
Jose did it!
The Antennas ….. like rockets!
Thank you Jose!