Bola del Mundo (Collado Villalba) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

13.4 mi
4,472 ft
6.3 %


Page Contributor(s): Jose Jiminez, Spain; Jerry Root, Utah


An epic ride to the top of the world (Bola del Mundo) nearby Madrid, Spain’s capital.
Notes from Jerry Root, Utah:  It is imperative to know that the last 5 or so kilometers of this climb are on a very difficult surface. As the grid shows, this section is challengingly steep, but the real difficulty is that the surface is crumbling cement with quite a few small breaks and a few bigger potholes. It is one of the hardest climbs I've ever done because of that surface.
(Read more in the Roadway & Parking tab below)

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It is also worth noting that the map suggests leaving from Collado Villalba on the M601. That road has a decent but small striped off area for the bike, but cars go fast and there are way too many on weekends (not advised) and even in the week. A much more peaceful option is to ride from Guadarrama up the M614 (lovely and much less traveled). You will intersect the M601 at a roundabout with very clear markings for up (Navacerrada) and down (Collado Villalba). Stopping at the pass (Puerto de Navacerrada) is already a good ride it you don't want to add the climb up to the Bola del Mundo. If you do want to do it, enter the parking lot of the ski area and take a hard right, then a quick left up a very rocky road toward a gate. You have to go through the gate (it is open) to begin the gnarly section to the top.
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Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada - narrow, steep roadway up to top of climb

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:        
  1. 9 km (5.6 mi) against 3.3%
  2. 9.5km (5.9 mi) against 7.5%
  3. 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 (  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!

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - bike parked next to informational signs

Alto Puerta Navacerrada.  The start of the concrete section to Bola del Mundo.

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - views looking down from the concrete section, looking back to Alto Puerto Navacerrada

While climbing the concrete section looking back to Alto Puerto Navacerrada.

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - unique u-shaped hairpin turn near the climb summit

Steep but unique hairpin up to the summit, you can see the Antennas already!

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - narrow, cracked road toward the climb summit

The final ramp up to the summit is nearby.

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - final stretch up to climb summit, antennas visible on top

There it is, the final stretch, come on you can do it!

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - view of road looking down from climb summit

Looking down from above.

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - cyclist stands with bike at climb summit, panoramic views beyond

Jose did it!   

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - giant antennas at climb summit, look like red and white rockets

The Antennas ….. like rockets!

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - 
Adventures of TinTin comic

Cycling Bola del Mundo vía Puerto Navacerrada, Spain - selfie of cyclist Jose standing in front of antennas at climb's summitThank you Jose!

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