Author Topic: pico de veleta, Spain  (Read 904 times)

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
pico de veleta, Spain
« on: January 16, 2019, 05:06:21 pm »
Anyone tried it?  Reportedly the highest paved road in Europe at a bit over 3,000m and open to the summit only in the summer.  As I'm not riding PBP this year I could do with a target for trying to get healthy and fit again....
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2019, 05:33:52 pm »
"Tried" was the operative word for me in 2011.  Got as far as Capileira only to be told the road to the summit was blocked with snow.  This was in June when the region was having a heatwave!

Apparently the only sure-fire month to do this is September.  I'm probably going back later this year so would be interested to hear how you get on.  It looks like a fantastic ride.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
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Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2019, 05:43:34 pm »
Done it 3 times but not got to the top due to poor road surface, ice, and cloud.

https://youtu.be/XbDjrl5ox7E

PS road is open in late October but September is usually better weather-wise.

PPS and a blog post  ;)
http://www.nrtoone.com/home/?p=797

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
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Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 07:13:32 pm »


 As I'm not riding PBP this year I could do with a target for trying to get healthy and fit again....

A few of us PBP deniers are looking at the TPR - it's in September, but does the Pyrenees, and is several 100 metres lower than El pico!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2019, 10:58:42 am »
Matt - TPR?  Is that a variation on the Raid Pyreneean?  If so, remind me to tell you about the three poor sods I met at the top of the Tourmalet. They were only half way through and were already looking at their bikes with barely-concealed hatred.

Thanks for the advice below.  Pedal Castro - your video is a gem. I'm impressed that you can climb one handed while filming yourself at the same time!  I also hadn't thought of renting a bike rather than taking mine. Anything that I could rent would certainly be lighter, which may help! 

Toontra - your comment may have put me off, though. I was thinking of going mid-June, which is about the only time this year I can get away on my own for a few days, while my son is on a school trip.  In "Mountain High" it suggests that the road is normally open by June most years so I can only hope that you had an unlucky experience.

It may be that I'll leave this in the bucket list for now and see how the weather is looking around the end of May. Easyjet do cheapish flights and there seems to be no shortage of accomodation so perhaps I can do something last minute if the signs are good.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 11:38:51 am »
Sorry - Trans Pyrenean Race! https://transpyrenees.cc/locations/

Newest thing from Lost Dot, who run the Transcon. Registration open until end of Jan (although no one really knows what the uptake will be.)

We could pop over to Pico de Veleta on the way back to Blighty!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 12:21:29 pm »
Oof!  That's definitely one for people who like climbing on dirt tracks.  Good luck, if you enter.  And make sure you write it up for Arrivee.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

marcusjb

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Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2019, 12:27:14 pm »
I was on foot up Veleta in early October 2018.

I was surprised just how broken up the road is as you get higher (considering it is described as the highest paved road in Europe.

There were people going up on bikes and the weather was not too bad for the time of year.

Many were on mountain bikes, but some on road bikes - there are sections where you'd have to have nifty handling skills (not easy at 3000m!) to get through on a road bike.

Certainly most road cyclists were walking sections of the descent as there was no tarmac for considerable chunks.

Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2019, 01:28:09 pm »
Rode it a long time ago so no idea about current road conditions. It was very hot at the bottom. August. On loaded touring bikes. Rode from Malaga, ascended on the dirt road from Capileira, descended the paved side to Granada. IIRC it was very hot and dusty on the lower part, rocky, steep in places, and misty near the top. Found it a pretty tough grind. Really gasping on the last steep, paved bit to the summit. Never got any views because it was clouded over, but I'm told, if you're lucky, it can be pretty spectacular. We pulled a bit off the road and free camped just after the summit on the paved side then descended early the next morning. Fantastic descent on the bike - seemed to go on forever - but traffic got heavy around Granada. Granada is well worth making some time for.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2019, 10:39:15 pm »
Well, I decided to throw caution to the winds and have booked myself a flight, with Audax bike, and a hotel for a couple of nights.  That means I have a specific day to do the climb, but I figure that I've ridden in all kinds of weather in the UK so should be able to cope with anything the Sierra Nevada can throw at me in the middle of June.

Ride report in late June, all being well  :thumbsup:
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 12:47:55 am »
I've been up 3 times on 2 trips, both September.
First time was from Capilera, up to the top and down the other side towards Granada, with a (hotel) touring load.
The second time was to the top from Pinos Genil, unladen, via Guejar Sierra, and back down the main road, and again the following day, loaded, and over to Capilera and Lanjaron, but without visiting the peak.

Both times were on an audax bike with 28 mm tyres, Conti TT 2000 the first time, Gatorskins the second. I would comment that the ride down to Capilera wasn't a great deal quicker than the ride up (3 hr rather than 4). Such are the problems of unsuitably narrow tyre on a rough track.

On the Granada side the tarmac goes up to the level of the col over to Capilera, but the upper reaches aren't maintained well as it's only Observatory traffic and ski lift maintenance vehicles that normally go past the barrier at Hoya de la Mora (~2500 m). The last 0.5 km or so to the col is unsurfaced, but fairly good, and there's another pole barrier at the col itself.
The road between Guejar Sierra and the main route has been substantially improved since I was there, going by Vuelta coverage. At that time, the road down from the top to Hoya de la Mora, though not good, was mostly OK for 15-20 mph, with occasional slowing for extra rough patches.

Going up the south side from Capilera, it's tarmac for 2-3 km, then a decent gravel surfaced road,  leading to a barrier at ~2100 m, at which cars normally stop and after which there's only a bus service up to around 2700 m. Here there's a track going down leftwards to a refugio, the obvious path up to the top of Mulhacen, and the Veleta track contouring up the left side of Mulhacen. A short way up this, there's another barrier. Between this and the barrier at the col at the Pico Veleta, the track isn't maintained, and hasn't been for some long time, so whatever rocks roll down the hill onto it stay there, and it's consequently pretty rough for a road-ish bike.
I wouldn't recommend the south side in June, as it's unlikely that the road would be free of snow (see the current Google aerials, which show how the flat road can accumulate banks of snow that last well past the snow in surrounding areas).

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 02:00:28 pm »
Sounds like good advice, Andrew.  I will be staying in Cajar, so will certainly be approaching from the north, although  I haven't done any detailed route research yet.

I would usually have 25mm Contis but may switch to 28mm, having read your description of the surfaces. I'd assumed that once it got above about 2,000m metres the snow damage would render even the supposedly paved road challenging - that was certainly my experience cycling in  Wyoming/Colorado last year, when descents were often only a little quicker than the climbs - but it does seem that some of the route is going to be pretty much off-road quality.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: pico de veleta, Spain
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2019, 12:02:05 am »
Done it a few times, from Orgiva and centre of Granada up the ski road. Race bike with carbon wheels and a touring mtb. Spring and December before the snows, good gravel above top car park to about 20- 50mtrs below summit. Orgiva up to Granada and onto the ski road gives just short of a 3000mtr climb, glad I took my passport as knew it would be dark after Durcal on the return so hotel in Granada 😁