This is kind of a shameless plug (folks can of course chime in with their hidden gems), but I thought I’d share my experience with a hidden gem location. So over the summer we had a trip to Portugal, where my parents are from (they live near me in the States but still have my grandparents’ house there). They’re from a tiny village on the border of Spain, and it sits at the base of the 2nd highest mountain peak in continental Portugal, it’s about 3000ft above sea level, and the summit is about 5100ft, and within an hour I could go from the front door to the summit (the actual climb is classified cat 2 at 7miles and 1820ft and 5% average, took me 43min https://www.strava.com/segments/7815062?filter=overall).
I just think it’s a great place to ride, it’s pretty remote and not all that sexy like some other locations, but I consider it a hidden gem. I seriously wonder how much stronger I could get just doing mountain repeats at high altitude. Coming from just outside Boston I would love access to climbing like this (the nearest mountain climb here is Wachusett, which has taken me less than 20 something mins but I’d have to either drive there or be prepared to ride 100miles to do it from home).
The rest of the country is also pretty awesome, I did a granfondo in the central region, and it had two HC climbs (and a series of Cat 2 and 3 climbs), with the finale being going up the country’s highest mountain. I DNF’d after 78miles and 11.5k ft, while I was plenty in shape, my leg muscles weren’t prepared for the grinding brutality of +10% gradients, especially at 90+ degrees F, just didn’t train at the low cadences needed for this. But would love to go back and do this again, despite the difficulty it was an awesome event.
Anyhow that’s my plug, maybe I should organize a training camp there and for a small fee folks can stay with me! lol
Oh, here’s a video of that climb, kinda boring watching it, but it has power metrics and there’s a sudden spike in HR as I must pass a certain elevation (just past the 30min mark).