CSP analysis: From Les Useres to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa (part 2)

From Les Useres to Benafigos the TWC and the CSP share the same course. Here, you can read the detailed analysis.

Once we are in Benafigos, the CSP course changes its direction to Culla. It goes through single tracks and dirt roads until an old campground, where the downhill to Montlleó river starts. In between we will pass through el Mas de Escrig, an old but beautiful farmhouse facing the peak of Penyacalva

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We cross the river Montlleó in order to start the uphill to Penyacalva. The hardest part is the first kilometers until our path opens up to a faster and not as steep dirt road. This uphill has 5,5 kms and 576m+. We can find it in Strava.

Once we are at Culla we follow down a dirt road until we reach the GR7 (red and white marks) that will bring us to Montlleó. Once here, a hard uphill covered with vegetation starts to el Mas de Campos


Nacho Gimeno paisatge 

In el Mas de Campos the uphill becomes wavier and as consequence faster  until the Sant Bertomeu hermitage. This section is 5km long and has 462 meters of positive slope. We can find it in Strava.


Foto Nacho Gimeno primavera

We leave Sant Bertomeu following the same wavy terrain, going through el Mas de Salvador until Vistabella, where we will share the last 200m before the village with the TWC course.

CSP leaves Vistabella with a downhill to the Gully del Molins, to climb up after to el Mas del l’Albagés. The uphill becomes smooth once we reach el Mas de Marimon and it keeps being this way until the village of Xodos.


. In Xodos the CSP course crosses the MIM track but we leave in a different direction with an easy uphill to the zone under the Mas de Gargant. Here the course gets back together with the TWC and share the same path until the finish line in Sant Joan de Penyagolosa. Here, to read the last shared section.

Analysis of the tracks: TWC, from Les Useres to finish line (part 2)

 MiM, CSP and TWC routes are the same, excepte the first 5K of the CSP, until Les Useres. From this point all of them go trought concrete track and in a few metres it arrives to a single track. Here we come back to a dirt road  and continue climbing  during a hundred metres. Here, the dirt road stars to hover and, in 300m, the MiM diverts to Torrosselles, while TWC and CSP continue through dirt road, until arriving to downhill cliff single track by PR. Here the old Atzeneta road to Les Useres has been cleaned,  the one that went through Sabatera’s cliff. Runners will continue climbing until a cotage.

At Mas de Artesa de Abajo we continue a dirt road and on our left, by single track, we will arrive to el Piló (704 msnm), the term límit between Atzeneta and Les Useres. This uphill is timed in Strava with the name Pujada a la Serra de la Creu and has 4,4 km. and 317 m+.

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Then, we will go downhill by single track until las Foyes, where we will go back to a dirt path to cross the Castillo’s cliff. From here, we will take the route to Atzeneta, were we will cross the village in Corral Blanc and Barranc del Pouet direction. At Venta del Pont, we will continue a single path called la Carmona paralel to the road to Benafigos. During some metres, we leave the cliff thanks to an ancient recovered path and, beneath Mas de la Garrofera, we come back. We definitely leave the cliff and go uphill by dirt road during a kilòmetre and at la Carmona level we go uphill by single path until Benafigos.

All this uphill of 7km and 500m + is in Strava with Pujada Benafigos name.

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At Benafigos, CSP continues to Culla. TWC turn on left to Barranco de Carmona by the Solana’s path. After, runners continues to uphill some km to up the Loma de Benafigos, under Tossal Pelat  (1055 msnm).

 This track is in Strava with the name Pujada al Tossal Pelat and it has 2,75kms y 221m +.

A steep downhill into El Barranco del Forcall, followed by an steep but easy-steeping uphill to el Mas de les Roques. Here, a technical section starts with a cliff on the left hand side of the track and an overhanging rock ceiling that will follow the route until the caves at the bottom of el Barranco de la Ferreria. There will be a last uphill on a clearly visible path until the village of Vistabella. This section of 4,86 km and 457m+ is in Strava with the name Pujada BNC de Forcall en Vistabella.

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Note, that just before Vistabella the TWC route gets back together with CSP route for 200 meters. Nevertheless, in the aid station the two diferent routes will split up again. Vistabella is left behind by dirt road that slowly becomes a technical descent until el Barranco dels Molins. An uphill of 1.9 km and 365+  is waiting for the runners. Even though, it may not seem difficult on paper, at this point of the race the atletes will have to grit their teeth and work their way up. The uphill is in Strava named Subida bnc del Molí a el Molinet. 


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The uphill to La Masia Manzanares or also called Bajo el Piló is in Strava and has 2,85km and 259m+.


In el Pla de la Creu, the TWC route crosses the MIM track (that climbs on the left) and keeps going down to el Avellanar. The circuit on an easy single track passes through el Mas de Vela and la Masía dels Colegials where it gets back togheteher with the CSP circuit until the finish line.


Those last kilometers are basically made of single tracks. A wavy section until el Cingle de Gargant to start an uphill until el Mas del Collao. From the bottom part of this section to the top we can find the segment in Strava with 6km and 388m+ named Subida BCN Frailes en Masia Cambreta. 

pic by instagram.com/jsaragossa


From here, we go to the goal in Sant Joan de Penyagolosa. 


Perfil MiM 2018

We continue with our analysis of the routes. A few days ago, we published the track Castelló-Les Useres and know we are going to continue with the MiM until the finish line. From Les Useres we go straight ti the GR33-Camí dels Pelegrins continuing the general tour, on a slight slope and through paths, until passing Serra de la Creu hill. It is important to remember that the Natural Monument of Camí dels Pelegrins is a route that immerses us in the Penyagolosa and that goes through the municipal districts of Les Useres, Llucena del Cid, Xodos y Vistabella del Maestrat. Its paths and ways have constituted the main communication ways between villages and farms through the history and in between goes one the most ancestrals rituals of the Valencian Community. The path goes through hills and steep beatifull ravines with a great environmental importance.

After Serra de la Creu, we will go down through path until el Barranc de la Vall and we will go uphill to la Mas de la Vall, overcoming a hill, to go down again trough paths to Barranc de Sant Miquel and continue going hard uphill to Sant Miquel de Torrocelles hermitage by path.

This section is STRAVA timed with the name Sant Miquel de Torrosselles and it has 2,67kms y 141m+. 

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We we cross the fortification, we go up to lloma Bernat by path, in an ascension of 4,81kms and 490m+, timed in STRAVA as Lloma Bernat. 

We will continue in a runneable downhill, combining path and track, until arriving to the base of the ascension to Xodos that is almost always hard at this point of the MiM. They are 3,22kms and 129m+ almost all of them at the end. In SRAVA you will find them as Xodos.

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From Xodos you will go out by track, remqaining on Marianet base, to to go uphill to Pla de la Creu path. This section are 3,51kms and 376m+ timed in  STRAVA with the name of Marinet.

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We cross the tracks and continue a kilometer until finding a change from the last edition track. At the level of the junction, toward Mas de Vela, we will follow an old path to arrive clove to the Tossal de les Mallades and arrive to la Banyadera. This uphill are Esta subida son 2,18kms and 150m+ in STRAVA we find it as Banyadera.

In Banyadera we enter in the Natural Park of Penyagolosa, an incredible natural space, that represents a geographical milestone  and a Deep-rooted cultural referent in the valencian tradition. The Park has 1.094.45 hectares and its highest peak, Penyagolosa, is the second highest mountain in Comunitat Valenciana. This space extends over the townships of Xodos, Vistabella del Maestrat y Villahermosa del Río.

From Banyadera, practically all by path and wavy downhill through Lloma del Conill until arrivint to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa, by the PR79. There you will find the big reward for the effort: the finish line.

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With this post, we start a range of publications aimed to explain technically the three Penyagolosa Trails HG races of this yea: MiM, CSP and Trail World Championships. Tours whereby lost paths have been recovered, after listening to our elders and study our mountains. In this first post, we are going to talk about Castelló- Les Useres section, it is the same for the three races, except for the CSP that will start from the centre of Castelló to reach 2km later with the MiM and CSP, at the UJI.

From the UJI, the race goes direction to Magdalena Hospital and in a few metres start the firts climb (hike) of the day, the Tossal Gros de Castellón.

Careful with this new route, we have just started running and we have one of the first important hikes, with 234m+, 2,66kms of distance and a 9% of average increase. The last ramps are going to put our pulse rate very high if we don’t know, ¡it’s just the beginning!

Strava Section https://www.strava.com/segments/17051370


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Once this first hill is out of the way we continue direction to Borriol. First, on a technical path, followed by a runnable one, to continue through a track until the last section of technical path before arriving to Borriol.


Here we can recover a Little of our effort because we have in front of us an explosive and challenging climb (hike). With less distance that Tossal Gros, the climb to the Pedra de Borriol has 2,5kms, 356m+ and a 14% of average increase. We will have to use our quadriceps! The uphill soil, as well as in the Tossal Gros, has technical parts with live rocks and more runnable sections, with earthen floor


Strava Section https://www.strava.com/segments/17027302

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Until here, MiM and CSP have suffered important differences in the distance and elevation gain respect the last edition and also the kilometres of path has increased at the expense of asphalt. In the MiM, we have 12km, 14 last years, the elevation gain was 678m+ the last edition and 811 this year. These data indicate an increase first section hardness.

The main differences on the CSP are on the new start line from Castellón, that increase 3,8km on the beginning and the hike to Tossal Gros in this year edition. Last year we hike to Collet through tracks and asphalt leaving Tossal on our right.

We continue moving forward until la Pedra de Borriol, to continue the race through the original GR33, passing el Pou del Mollet, el Mas de Panero, la Font de la Canal… all, combining tracks and asphalt sections very runnable with an easy path that we will leave at the CV-160. Here we will cross under the road and we will connect with the new GR33 by tracks.

We will keep forward through the riverbed of the Barranc de les Parres to find out another novelty on the route.  At the junction of the riverbed with the GR33, we will start the hike to Mas de Polinario, an old recovered path for this editions that will make us gain elevation rapidly to run through the ridge until the named masía and link again with the GR33. With this we gain more path, reduce distance, from 2,5 to 1,4km, and lose 34m+ of elevation, that you can not appreciate on the track. We have called this section Pujada a la Talaiota https://www.strava.com/segments/17027310


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Once overcome this hurdle, we fly to La Bassa aid station through a track. One more surprise is waiting for us after the aid station. In 2017 edition, the routes leave el Mas de Valdesca on its right going on asphalt and track. Now, we can tour the same section through tracks and paths, leaving the mas on our left, a 190m cut off, not much, but it is always more pleasant to run on track and paths rather than on asphalt.

If we remain on the GR33 on the famous way to rambla de la Viuda, on a slight slope by path until the Tossal del Segall to go downhill trough an ancient track converted to path.

In previous editions,  the route left the watercourse in 1km; now, we will follow 700m more, approximately, to find another recovered path, the Pujada al Vilamboc (https://www.strava.com/segments/17027324).  A path section with an elevation of 170m+ and a distance of 1,74kms, with a 9%  of average. We will leave the watercourse behind to continue going downhill and… ¡surprise! Another new path that leave us at the Barranc de les Olles. Be careful with the downhill section, it has a firm floor, but technical.

We will follow the route to overcome the last serious hurdle before arriving to Les Useres, la Pujada del Barranc de les Olles (https://www.strava.com/segments/17027335).  A challenging uphill kilometre with 114m+, to leave us overlooking the village and the next aid station. A shortly runnable and technical terrain will leave us at the foot of the village, to arrive to les Hortes uphill.

To sum up, this section of the Rambla de la Viuda to Les Useres has less tan 100m of distance respect to 2017, but 178m+ more. And what it is more important, almost all the route to Les Useres will go through trails, winning more beauty and toughness, leaving the old GR33.




Until here the first analysis of the route. In a few days we will explain you the peculiarities of each race, as from Les Useres they take different routes.