I have always wanted to ride La Bufa which is a climb in of itself out of San Sebastian del Oeste in Jalisco Mexico. The elevation chart really puts things in perspective. We started just north of Guayabitos. The first 5 km is on nice pavement and is basically a gentle steady climb to Alta Vista. From there, we crossed over 20 km of gnarly cobble including some sharp 12 - 18% gradients to zap the legs.
Now that we were good and warmed up, we crossed the Ameca river and road several km of gravel before entering the cobble streets of Las Palmas. From Las Palmas, it is a steady 28 km climb to La Estancia. It is easy to put too much effort in this part of the ride. We road smart and we rolled steady.
The climb to San Sebastian starts in La Estancia. While this is not a long climb, there are around 3 km of double digit paved grades to deal with before you finish with a leg busting final section completely made up of Mexican Cobble.
Words really do not describe what you are to expect on the climb to La Bufa. Now, if you showed up on a mountain bike with some low gearing, you could eventually spin yourself to the top. We electected to do the entire ride on cross bikes. The best gearing we had was a 39 on the front and a 32 on the back. While this would be ok on 12 - 15% paved grades, try mashing that gear ration on 25% sections of cobble! My goodness... there were times we just could not peddle and had to walk the bikes to a more gentle section of 18%!
I have to admit, the last few km I found myself actually being angry at this climb - It was so demoralizing. That being said, once we reached the summit, there was such an amazing sense of accomplishment. This is definitely one of the toughest non-racing rides I have ever done. I will be back!