Cycling Sinan Road, Saudi Arabia
Ride 8.3 miles gaining 5,287’ at 12.2% average grade.
Climb summary by PJAMM founder John Johnson.
This is the third most difficult climb in Saudi Arabia and #3 in the world. It was an absolute bear and ranks as one of the hardest climbs I have ever done, yet only the fourth hardest in Saudi by my subjective estimation - ranking ahead in terms of difficulty are Al Jaadah (world #2), Baniamr Aquabah (world #4), and Rdom (world #18 but only because a 1.1 mile at 13% descent unfairly knocks it down on the Fiets Index).
This climb begins in a fairly remote area in the middle of the Asir Mountains. On our ride up in November 2021, the temperature was in the low 90s at the bottom, decreasing to 80s by midpoint, and low 80s at the top - in other words, not a problem.
Well, that’s what makes the Asir Mountains the greatest cycling climbing area in the world - extreme grades! A quarter-mile at 20.9%, a half-mile at 19.7%, and a full one mile at 17.4%
STEEP . . .
and . . . STEEPER!!
I struggled on this climb. It was my ninth top 100 world climb in nine days, beginning on the day I landed in Saudi. I used a 34 chainring with a 42t rear cassette. Others on the trip had rear cassettes ranging from 40 to 50t. I would not attempt this or any of the Asir Mountain climbs without at least a 34t chainring and 42t rear cassette.
30 hairpins over the last 3.9 miles at average grade of 15.5%.
There is no question this and most (if not all) Asir Mountain climbs we document on this website fit the definition of “epic” - unique, challenging, and scenic. Add to this the mystique of these climbs being wholly undocumented and unrecorded in any cycling app, website, or book, and you have a profoundly exceptional epic experience in the works.
There is surprisingly abundant water in the Asir Mountains. They get a fair amount of rain (including hail, which we experienced one evening) and what they don’t get naturally is pumped in from desalination plants.
I am sad and somewhat embarrassed to admit that much of my ride up this mountain was with my head down, as I struggled mightily against gravity and cruelly steep gradients.
It is always hard to capture “steep” in photos, but my bike is leaning against a rock on a 20% grade.
This climb was type 1 (during) and type 2 (at the finish) fun. 😊
I AM BLESSED TO HAVE HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY
I soooo enjoyed my Asir Mountain trip - the greatest adventure of my life. The people of the mountains were so kind and gracious, even law enforcement stopped to pose for photos with us.
I encountered the Asir Mountain baboons on my first ride in the mountains as well as on the majority of my 11 climbs (in 11 days 😓).
Yep - they were there to great us . . . 😉
MUSEUM AT THE TOP
It’s a bit demoralizing starting out knowing you have (a) some of the steepest grades in the world ahead, and (b) you can see the fortress standing between you and the top most of the way.
If you squint, you’ll see the private museum (which we visited) at the very top of the climb as you inch your way up the road.