Costa Blanca cycling holidays


My cycling holiday with Coll de Rates Cycling My cycling holiday with Coll de Rates Cycling
  • 29th February 2024

My cycling holiday with Coll de Rates Cycling

My Coll de Rates Cycling Holiday
I have just arrived back home in the UK after my cycling holiday in the Costa Blanca. Of course, I am
already missing the sun, stunning views and mountain climbs.
I teamed up with Coll de Rates Cycling Holidays to use one of their Bianchi hire bikes. I had a
wonderful Bianchi Infinito XE Disc carbon bike, which offered the perfect mix of speed and comfort.
With lots of hill climbs planned it was great to have compact gearing for the up-hills and disc brakes
for the descents. I also loved having electric gear shifters, which allowed for smoother and faster
gear shifting. As they were fully charged when I took delivery of the bike, I did not need to charge
them at all during my stay. I can honestly say it was the nicest bike I have ever ridden.
I was eager to get in as much riding as possible but realised that in order to not get too fatigued and
burn myself out I needed to be sensible and therefore eased myself slowly into the training. I started
with a ride along the rolling costal road to Moraira, with views over the turquoise blue sea and then
up the 4km La Fustera climb to Benissa, which with an average gradient of 5% was a good first ride
to wake up the legs!
I enjoy cycling up hills and so the Costa Blanca is perfect as there are a number of beautiful
mountain ranges. Lots of the climbs have featured in many editions of the Vuelta a España and you
can sometimes see the names of pros painted onto the roads by their fans. One of my favourite rides
is the climb through the lemon and orange groves up to the hill fort of Guadalest. The route through
the valley is green and luscious due to the River Guadalest and as you ride the 6km climb there are
spectacular views below to the Guadalest Reservoir and towards the coast. The road continues to
wind upwards beyond Guadalest village to Confrides village and the summit of Port de Confrides at
970 meters. The climb is classed as starting from the bridge over Guadelest River next to the
motorcycle museum. It is 20.4km long with an average gradient of 3.6% and elevation gain of 735
The most popular climb in the area is the Coll de Rates at 626 meters and of course the namesake of
Coll de Rates Cycling Holidays. This year I climbed it from both directions. The road from Parcent is
the busiest and is 6.5km with an average gradient of 5% and total elevation of 356 meters. I actually
prefer the climb from Bolulla, which at 15.3km is longer but has an average gradient of just 3%,
although this is in part due to a descent after the village of Tarbena. Total elevation gained is 436
meters and takes you through a more varied landscape than the Parcent side. Whichever way you
ride to the top, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the coast and villages towards Denia and
One of the fun things about cycling in the Costa Blanca is spotting the pro teams that are training in
the area and it was a real buzz to watch them speed past. My stay was just after the UCI Cyclo-Cross
World Cup race in Benidorm and before the start of the Volta a la Comunitat Valencia, so there
seemed to be more pro teams training in the area than usual. Amongst others, I spotted Ineos
Grenadiers, Groupama-FDJ, Israel-PremierTech, Astana Qazaqstan and Intermarche-Wanty. I also
spotted the rainbow colours of Mathieu van de Poel speed past me in Sella and Pauline Ferrand-
Prevot at the top of the Coll de Rates.

As a quadrathlete (swim, kayak, bike, run) it is important for me to also be able to cross train and the
Costa Blanca has lots of opportunities to run and swim. There are plenty of municipal swimming
pools but the sea is warm enough for wetsuit swimming. I enjoyed three sea swims in different
coastal resorts also some runs along the sea front. The great cross training opportunities means that
the Costa Blanca is popular with triathletes. The Brownlee brothers have a training base in the village
of Polop, just inland from Benidorm and have been spotted on many occasions training at the
Benidorm athletics track.
I was sad to have to return to the cold weather in the UK, but it was nice to re-live some of my rides
by following the ‘Queen Stage’ of the Volta a la Comunitat Valencia /Tour of Valencia online, where I
marvelled at the speed that the pros cycled some of the same climbs I had conquered a few days
before! I had a wonderful holiday and the Bianchi bike felt great and was very reliable. I had no
mechanicals or punctures. The roads were very smooth and well maintained and the car drivers
were very considerate and gave lots of room when passing. I would definitely recommend using Coll
de Rates Cycling Holidays if you are a cyclist or triathlete, who wants to enjoy some training in the