2012 has been the year to complete my first Quebrantahuesos. If you don’t know what this means in the amateur cycling world, Quebrantahuesos is the most important Spanish gran fondo, and perhaps one of the bigs within the amateur world calendar.
The following profile shows how hard was it . And Yes! I’ve successfully completed the 205 km (127,38 miles), one after each other. I crossed the finish line in 8h33m, which means an average of 23,95km/h (14.88 mph)… but let me tell you that I’m not going to bore you with a simple review of climbing times, speed averages, or training plans.
These are the 4 climbs: Somport, Marie Blanch, Col du Pourtalet, Hoz de Jaca.
- Official Quebrantahuesos Profile
- Un-Official Quebrantahuesos Profile
Mind Tip : We are not all looking for beating a specific time, but simply to complete the ride, enjoying those impressive views within the Pyrenees, and making friends on the roads. For me, cycling is bigger than crossing the finish line before someone else. Bike rides in general and QH in particular is about real cycling for real cyclists. Lets begin…
The Starting Line at Sabiñanigo
This is where it all starts. Sabiñánigo is the town which lives for and for this ride. The whole town is ready for this ride, and my impression was that they all (at least most of them) love it. The first thing you see when get in Sabiñanigo is a huge hardwood race profile:
Another great detail you can find all around are the bikes roundabouts. If you walk through every single corner, and roundabouts in particular, you’ll notice that everything is decorated with old painted bikes, really cool stuff. And these are set the whole year, not just by the ride, this is the truth about Sabiñanigo’s people, passion for bikes
Somport (1st cat)
A 1st category pro-tour climbing. It officially begins in Jaca. But the truth is that it’s not getting hard until Canfranc. If you were lucky to catch a peloton from Sabiñánigo to Jaca, then your speed average in Canfranc shouldn’t be lower than 40Km/h. However in my case I wasn’t use to ride in such a huge pelotons.
Remember than I do triathlons where pelotons use to be of 20 people as much. Thus my fear of falling or having related issues relegated me to get an average of 30km/h at Canfranc, not so bad either
And the first climb did start. What should I say about Somport? Well, it was my first climb in Pyreness, and I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could, without wasting energy, so as summary…. awesome 360º landscape views. Lots of people at front and rear. It was easier than I thought getting the top of the first hill. It took me 2 hours to complete those 57 km, and I was on the border with France!
Somport’s downhilling was beautiful. Apart from that big cloud that everyone could see down. I thought it was going to start raining, but weather was perfect for the ride, as long ago.
Ascending Time: 1h 27m
Marie Blanche (1st cat)
The Col du Marie Blanque is famous for those criminal 4 kilometres at 11% average gradient to summit. The maximum gradient is 18% at 1.5 Km from summit. Believe me when I say that there were people walking beside the road path and I don’t know who was suffering the most.
This climb numbers are unbelievable:
- 734m of altitude gain
- Average gradient of 7,9%
- Distance 9.3km
- Maximum gradient of 18%
- 4 last kilometres at 11% average gradient
The good thing was that the second climb of the day was completed. The bad news were that this was exactly the halfway, Pourtalet was waiting for me.
Ascending Time: 49m
Col du Pourtalet
This was for most QH finishers the worst climb of the day. It’s not by its average or maximum gradient, but its ascending time due to the distance:
- Distance 28,7 km
- Altitude gain 1279m
- Average gradient 4,46%
- Maximum gradient of 7%…..only 7%
Ascending Time: 2h02m
Hoz de Jaca
I thought the hard part of the QH 2012 ended at the Col du Pourtalet, however there were 48km until the finish line. It was supposed to be easy, but there was nothing but easy.
Descending Portalet was awesome. A 10 short km, with a nice and wide road that welcomed any rider to feel like a real pro in the Tour de France.
I was very happy. My feelings were much better than I thougth there were to be. I didn’t want to look at my Polar 725x heart rate monitor, but I had to do it. I didn’t believe what I was seeing, my heart rate was low, and my legs were good enough to try beating my own estimation. And I decided to go for it.
But, Hoz de Jaca came up suddently….as well as leg cramps. This climb wasn’t as good as I thought. It has only 2 km of hard roads (really hard indeed), The first at an average gradient of 6% and the second at 9% OMG!
This last kilometer killed me and my legs fully of cramps.
Ascending Time: 14m
Road to The Finish Line
Only 30 km of descending roads after those giants? I had to do it….and YES I did it. An angel appeared as peloton behind me…I only had to catch it and stay within until Sabiñánigo. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.
I can’t explain my feelings after crossed the finish line. I ended up maybe the most important Gran Fondo of the World. At least this is what it was for me.
Perhaps other cyclists think that 8h33m isn’t a good time, but for me it’s the winning time.
If you have been at the Quebrantahuesos 2012, or any other before, and wanted to write your comments below, just do it