Va de gravel: A Catalan gravel ride elevation calculator

All cyclists know the feeling of arriving home, significantly more exhausted than expected. The gravel ride turned out to be much harder than calculated, and the reason is not a lack of physical strength or sickness. Looking at the activity file, it turns out that the elevation was much more than what the route builder predicted, or the tracks were much harder than originally thought.

Va de Gravel is launched to avoid these miscalculations, sometimes caused by route builder errors, sometimes due to GPS signals malfunctioning, or other inaccurate data. Laura Rojas and Xavier Guijarro, both passionate gravel cyclists, launched their platform, which now features more than 65 routes and climbs in Catalonia, Piedmont, Aragon, and the Alps so the users can be sure of the elevation and difficulty shown is correct.

Accompanied by more than 200 photos, their experience, and the use of cartographic maps (for instance from the Catalan Cartographic and Geological Institute (ICGC)), Va de Gravel can be a great tool to plan gravel rides in a more precise way. With the goal to be as accurate as possible, Va de Gravel also uses basic data and user-based visual inspection of each altimetry.

Rojas and Guijarro: “We include comments in case there are things to highlight in terms of the state of the track, we manually edit GPS data to make them even more accurate, and we correct third-party applications whenever necessary. All with the goal to provide information and knowledge to our fellow cyclists. We, ourselves, appreciate information from others about the best gravel tracks. This way, we hope to reduce uncertainty, help planning and inspire others.”

The times of suffering on climbs that are listed as easy but, due to their irregularity, turn on to be super exhausting are a thing of the past. Va de Gravel is, therefore, particularly interesting for gravel cyclists, as gravel climbs are usually very irregular: an average of only 5% can hide sections exceeding 10%.

“We’ve suffered this quite a few times,” say Rojas and Guijarro “and we are surely not the only ones. Cyclists do not have to be unpleasantly surprised anymore by such climbs with our website.”

This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 9. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop, or buy yours at one of our 200 partner places.


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