Bola del Mundo (Madrid)
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Bola del Mundo saves the best until last. It starts off with gentle gradients, before steadily increasing until you reach the final 4km with numerous ramps between 17% and 19%!
Roads & TrafficThe road is in very good condition until the Navacerrada. At the pass you turn off the main road and follow a concrete track to the radar station on the top; this is bumpy and can be difficult to get traction while standing on the steepest sections.
The road until the Navacerrada is very busy throughout the year. The section in between Collado Villalba and the town of Navacerrada follows a main road with fast moving traffic and is very unpleasant for cycling. After turning off the Navacerrada, the road is quiet for the last 4km to the top of Bola del Mundo.
Bola del Mundo shot to fame when it was first used in the Vuelta a España in 2010 - a stage which was won by Ezequiel Mosquera. The steep slopes, high altitude and awkward road surface of Bola del Mundo produced entertaining racing and somewhat set the theme of steep finishes for subsequent editions.
The climb itself follows the Navacerrada for the majority of its route - in fact the first 18.6km are the same. At the top of the Navacerrada you simply turn right and continue on a concrete track to the very top of the mountain.
These last 4km are by far the highlight of the climb; they offer fantastic views and it is a rare pleasure to be able to climb to the top of the highest peak in the area. Unfortunately the first 18.6km to the Navacerrada are not enjoyable. The road is very busy throughout the year with fast moving traffic. It is cheating really, but for safety reasons we would recommend driving to the top of Navacerrada and just doing the last part of Bola del Mundo (For the last 4km alone this would have a rating of **** in terms of the scenery, the challenge and the low volume of traffic). Alternatively; wait until the Vuelta next decides to come here and enjoy the unique chance to do the whole climb on closed roads!
The climb until Navacerrada is open throughout the year - although it is even busier in winter as most of Madrid seems to go there for skiing lessons. The stretch to Bola del Mundo is usually cleared of snow to allow access to the weather station there; but it is bitterly cold there and winter is certainly not the time to be climbing in the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Other sidesThe first part of the climb until La Navacerrada can also be climbed from the north, starting near the town of La Granja.
Nearby ClimbsAlto del León