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Climbbybike Blog

I climbed Onion valley road on September 24, 2016 and was not dissapointed. This is a fabulous ride with breathtaking scenery! The views around you distract from the pain that you are going through.

I am from Palm Desert ca about a 4.5 hr drive. This climb was on my bucket list. At first I didnt know what to really expect, as the pictures do not do this climb justice. I lucked out as the weather was ideal, 64 degrees with a slight breeze, clear skies and beauty all around you. There was only one other rider that I saw on the climb and he was from Germany, cheering me on to finish. No cars along the road the entire time, so that was good. The distance didnt seem that bad, and because I was riding a 32 in the back my suffering was under control, as I am a strong climber. I only used the 32 towards the end. There were times I looked back at the road below, and couldn''t believe all that climbing that I did in a short period of time. I would highly recommend this ride to any climbing enthusiast, as this is one that you have to do! It is epic for a reason, just watch the temperatures, as September seems like the ideal month!
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After two days of Alpe d''Huez, Telegraphe, Glandon and Croix de la Fer this was our finale.

After a hard winters training and 10 years on the bike, this was the hardest day I''ve ever had. Climbing from La Chambre is slightly shorter (20k) but steeper , averaging at about 8%. Maybe it was the heat, very likely the altitude, but the last 8 k was absolutely dreadful. The views are stunning, climbing past the ski resorts incredible, but why couldn''t I breathe?. I did pass someone in the last km, but I''m never climbing this again. My body just won''t take it. Sorry to sound a pussy but it was awful and took 3 hours to recover.
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Starting on a quiet road behind the patisserie, this is a brutally steep climb. The average gradient for the first 2.5 kms is at least 16%. There is some respite about 1.5 kms from the pass, but be prepared to use your lowest gear for this one
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Starting on a quiet road behind the patisserie, this is a brutally steep climb. The average gradient for the first 2.5 kms is at least 16%. There is some respite about 1.5 kms from the pass, but be prepared to use your lowest gear for this one
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Seen this feature a couple of times in the Tour. The views from the Lacets above Culoz inspired me to ride up on a beautiful September afternoon. Only one car came past in 90 minutes of climbing.

As has been stated up thread, the climb hits you almost immediately on leaving Culoz. My Garmin showed plenty of 14% ramps up to the Lacets at about 7 kms in, which afford spectacular views down the Rhone valley towards Aix les Bains.

After the hairpins, the road cuts through the forest with extended straight sections of up to 17%. The only reason this climb averages about 7% is that there are a couple of kms which afford some recovery.

The last 3 kms take you above the tree line, and if the cloud cover is absent, there are wonderful views towards Mont Blanc.

This is a superb climb. The shade afforded by the forest would be precious protection in hot weather.
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Check the weather before you start. The day I went has a rain forecast during the lunchtime. So I started the climb by 8 am. I reached the top and the road was fully covered by fog. Beware of the traffic in that situation.

On the top there is a small shop selling postcards and foods, as well as a restaurant. I got some free drinking water from the restaurant.
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Senhora da Graça, portuguese for Our Lady of Grace, is a magnificient climb. It may not seem outrageously steep or long, but for most of the part of the way you can see the top of the mountain, a perfect Flour Peak, Monte Farinha in portuguese, another name for the montain, and it demoralizes and scares you. The peak, punctuated with a sanctuary, seems almost in the vertical of you, wherever you are on the road up. Some parts are steep, very steep, and you get dizzy with the view, the landscape encompasses river valleys less than 100m high and massive mountains 1400m high. Lots of fun on the way down, with lots of horseheel corners. If you want a short warming up before the climb leave from the town of Amarante, 30km away, along the cycleway. If you want a more "hilly" and long way leave from Amarante but this time east, and climb Marão (1034m, 28km, 3%). 125km round trip. Have fun!
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I rode this climb yesterday having had it on my list for years. My lowest gear was 39 x 27 and I was in that just after the first cattle grid, but made it up without stopping with a mix of seated and out of the saddle efforts. It may not be long, but when you are doing 7 mph and lower it takes some time until you hit the top cattle grid and relax. I only had a few cars come past, but it''s April and the weather was hardly enticing for visitors to the area. I bet it''s rammed in the summer! I might come back in October and see if I can better the time. It was breezy yesterday, and the pass acts like a funnel creating a rather annoying head wind. Loved it though!
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I''ve only made it to the Alto de la Cobertoria at about 1120 m but since this is the same route, and as there are no other reviews, let me comment this shortened version. We were climbing from Pola on an immaculate sunny, windless day in August and started late, only at noon. There''s almost no tree cover so the sun was not our ally! Daily maximum in Oviedo was 24 C, so no extreme heat but with no shade still quite warm - fortunatelly we had enough water. It''s steep with gradient almost constantly over 9 % and very often above 11 %. I think it''s even a bit steeper than shown at CBB''s graph above. But at least traffic is low (though not nonexistent) and the climb is constant, I mean with no "ramps" which are otherwise abundant in Spain. Once atop, there are lots of horses tranquilly grazing the mountain grass, great mountains everywhere and even a small megalithic site 500 m above the pass - watch for a sign at the pole. Descent into Barzana valley is beautiful with a fine mirador about one km down the pass. And fabada of the valley is among the best in Asturias. Definitelly recommended!
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The max climb is above 15% claimed in this.... but it is a stunning ride though Taroko Gorge and up through forests and then above the tree line with superb views above the clouds.
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