Rocacorba is a beautiful mountain 20 km north of Girona. It’s a brutal climb that snakes its way through 745m over 9.9km. The ever changing gradient makes it hard to find your chi, and is a lot harder than its average gradient suggests.
Words - Brendan Edwards Image - Dave Edwards
Distance: 9.9 km
Average Gradient: 7.4%
Elevation gained: 745 metres
Check out the Strava segment here
Girona is a picturesque town that attracts many of the world’s best professional cyclists and provides them with training all year round... this climb is the playground for the pros.
In the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains and within 35km of the coast the climate offers great weather all year round combined with great climbs and quiet roads. To put it simply it's the perfect training ground.
The Rocacorba is often used as a pissing contest by the pros. Simon Yates of Orica Bike Exchange currently holds the Strava record with a total time of 28 minutes 3 seconds (21.3kmph average). The unofficial fastest time was set by Ryder Hesjedal on 22 June 2016, blitzing 27 minutes straight. How do you think you would fare against these times?
The climb is steeped in history, and was named after Santuari de Rocacorba, a structure built in the 12th Century and lies on a little hill near the summit.
This fabled climb starts outside the town of Pujarnol. The official start to the climb is 2.9km down the road after you cross a small bridge over the Matamors River.
The first 4km of the climb are a gentle warm-up.... before the fun begins. You’re faced with an undulating climb with pinches that rise up to 15%. There are some short downhill sections along the way. You’re legs may say ‘thank you’ and enjoy a brief respite, though on a climb like this when you hit the next steep slope don’t be surprised if your legs tell you to ‘f#@k off!’.
This is a must do climb. The scenery is incredible, the road surface is in good condition and there is little traffic. For those of us who are not professional climbers, doing a climb like this is great to compare how fast you are compared with the likes of Bradley Wiggins, or David Miller. You never know, they may fly by as you’re climbing…..
How to get there:
- By car, Girona is off the A7 which is the main highway in the area
- The Girona Airport located about 10 km from the city centre
- There is a train service to Girona
- Bus & Taxi are other great alternatives