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Collado de Ordino

This seems to be the most obvious home pass for Andorra La Vella. Sure, there are others that are higher. But they all seem to lead to France or Spain, or have other, more adventurous non paved aspects to them. This one is straight forward, and the contrast between the city below and the peace and quiet, for a short time above - are somewhere between impressive and overwhelming

1.(00.0km,0680m)START-END SOUTH-1:La Seu d'Urgell
2.(16.3km,0910m)Santa Julia de Loria
3.(23.8km,1030m)roundabout with tunnel entrance in Andorra La Vella
4.(28.8km,1240m)La Massana
5.(31.0km,1290m)Ordino
6.(41.2km,1981m)TOP: Collado de Ordino
7.(50.0km,1550m)road joins approach from Pasa de la Casa in Canillo
8.(60.7km,1030m)START-END SOUTH-2: same as point 3


Approaches

From West.
The profile starts in La Seu d'Urgell, Spain. It follows a busy wide road with many lanes sof traffic a well as a wide shoulder. Shopping traffic needs many lanes. The road in turn follows the valley of the Riu Llusa up into Andorra.

This border inside Europe still exists. You go through several check areas, even if traffic was not stopped on the day of my ride. Big box shops with big names have been planted next to the road to entice more extensive shopping. The first city along the way is Santa Julia de Loria. I hope I am excused for thinking this was "it" - the main shopping mecca in this tin country: Andorra - La Vella. But that comes much traffic and exciting architecturural experiences later.

The actual loop over the pass starts at a two level traffic circle. One of its exits leads directly into a 1.2km (or maybe longer) tunnel with a climbing bike lane, and the profile follows it. The tunnel is well lit, but maybe not so good for the lungs. This is a well recognized bike route, and signs tell drivers to leave a full 2 meters of clearance between them and bicycles. With that Andorra apparently wants to outdo France and Spain, where traffic signs demand 1.5meters clearance. Aren't  some big cities wonderful ?

The road is higher now, the views are even more perblexing. They consist of traffic circles and condo complexes stacked up every which way, that it's hard to make 3 dimensional sense out of the scenery. The ride leads through noisy stretches of city street canyons. Time passes quickly because you have to pay attention to your surroundings, mostly the traffic.

The first real change comes in La Massana, where the big city feeling stops. One more village with condos made from medieval strength walls - and then all of a sudden all of the traffic is gone. Maybe one or two speeding Ferraris between here and the top - and that's it.. For the last 600 meters there are some nice views too. The dense urban lanscape below seems like a the stomach of a snake, that has swallowed a thousand building blocks. The outlines of the snake scratches at the etches of the landscape below, and above the mountains remain untouched.

The top is near, but still below treeline, located in a large meadow. There are better views during the descend on the east side


From East. (described downwards) The other side has intermittent views. On this side they are constant. The treeline seems to be much lower on this east facing slope. And so the road to Pas the la Casa and its triangular peak behind it appear in full glory.

During the final descend the condo landscape below becomes the defining characteristic. I' m sure they are just lovely on the inside with the latest, most exclusive appliances and gadgetry, Those thick, natural stone walls of medieval strength are another big selling point. But they sure do, dare I say clutter, the landscape. Most look emtpy and barricaded during the time of the year that I am here.

Finally the road joins with the descent from Pas de la Casa, and descends deeper and deeper into the commercial river pulling all vehicles into Andorra la Vella, along its channeled tumultuous stream of snow melt, mostly on a well marked bike lane. Even if the route follows the road, heavy traffic leaves the asked for 2 meters of clearance every time. Again - aren't some cities wonderful ? The approach ends at the same traffic circle described on the western approach, but this time somehow you arrive there on the lower level, while before the turnoff into the initial tunnel is from the top level. This may change. This muti level traffic circle is still a construction project, and the flow of traffic can be very mysterious here.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow


Dayride with this point as highest summit:

COMPLETELY PAVED:

( < Col de Mel | Collado de la Trava > )

Collado de Ordino , additional out and back: La Seu d'Urgell > Sant Julia de Loria <> out and back to above Os de Civis with turnaround point at end of pavement >> Andorra la Vella > La Massada > Ordino > Collado de Ordino > Encamp > Andorra la Vella > Sant Julia de Loria > back to starting point in La Seu d'Urgell with grocery shopping detour: 66.1m with 7297ft of climbing in 6:46hrs (garmin etrex30 r5:19.5.16).