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Calpe – Costa Blanca

Calpe to Oliva Loop

By Jon Street

Distance
185 km

Gain
3000 m

Road
Loop

Time
8 hours

Start

Calpe

Finish

Calpe

Distance

185 km

If you really want to test your aerobic endurance, or are just a glutton for punishment, then the 185km loop from Calpe to Oliva and back through the mountains is the ride for you. A whole day in the saddle with over 3000m of climbing – that’s a big task even for some of the fittest riders. The route takes in the coastal resort of Denia (stop for ice cream!) before heading to Oliva (65km in). It’s here where the big climbs start - and don’t let up for 90km! Pace yourself, watch that heart rate, and we are sure you will have an amazing day on the pedals.

A steady start

Leaving Calpe seafront and heading north the road snakes and undulates along the coast before heading inland at Moraira towards Javea. After Javea, 25km into the ride, there is a small climb (200m gain over 4km) but don’t underestimate it. Especially on the descent as you can easily get carried away, it’s a relatively well-used route so cars will be present. You are now in the Parc Natural de Montgo, it provides some great turns and views over the sea on the run down into Denia.

Gelato and go!

The historic town of Denia, 36km into the ride, is home to a couple of worthwhile stops for the cyclist. Firstly, Cafe Ciclista is a great resource for cyclists with hire/massage/coffee services. Secondly, Heladeria Anima, the place for gelato. Although, have you really earned it this early on into the ride?

Leaving Denia is a pan flat coastal ride to Oliva for 25km. Here you turn inland and head through the orange groves to the foot of the climbs. If you get the opportunity to try some oranges at a roadside stall, take it with both hands!

The work starts here

Circling the town of Pego signals the start of the day’s elevation gain and the beginning of Val D’ebo series of climbs. The first takes you to the small town of La Vall D’ebo itself. It’s roughly 12km long, gains 500m, and is beautifully twisty. There are a few bars here so maybe a good time to fill up your bidons.

The second climb takes you 16km and gains roughly 530m, with a few little 13% pinch points as you wind your way up, but it’s mostly undulating and around 5%. This section takes you to the village of Tollos just past the crest of the climb (827m above sea level) at 98km in. You now have a simply stunning 20km descent to the foot of the next climb. Enjoy the twists and turns on the perfect tarmac.

Ups and downs

How are the smiles after that descent? Got your legs back?

Good, as we have two more climbs to go! Leave the CV720 at 118km onto the single track road Cami del Callao and start to climb, the road can be a little rough in places to start but it does pass. You gain roughly 370m in 6km with plenty of switchbacks. Just past the peak of the climb is a great restaurant La Venta Del Callao, stop for a quick recharge! From here is a 10km descent into a further 7km of undulating traverse to the town of Parcent and the base of the final climb.

One. More. Climb.

Going out on a high the last climb of the day is a local favourite, Coll de Rates. From Parcent it’s 7k of up with a gain of just over 340m. At the crest is the Coll de Rates restaurant so maybe take a rest and fill the bidons. If you want more elevation, you can take in the secret ascent round the back of the restaurant for a further 300m in 3km. Yes, 10% average!

From the restaurant, the road undulates to the village of Tarbena, the final peak of your exhaustive day. Tarbena signifies the start of the come down and run back to Calpe. It’s 30km to get home, scrubbing 580+m off to sea level. There’s a few undulations on the way but nothing serious. 

When you arrive at the seafront it’s time to relax and take in the day’s efforts, congratulations are in order as you have just ridden a route shared with us by a world tour pro. Well done!

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