A one day ride up to Saklıkent and Kar Çukuru Yaylası

There are a number of one-day big elevation rides possible from Antalya.  A couple years ago in November I rode up to the summit of Sarı Çınar at 1800m.  That’s the summit visible from Antalya with the huge radio antenna at the top.  What I remember most from that day is how cold it was on the descent.  Even with wool socks and wool gloves, my hands and feet felt pretty frozen.  An even higher summit would be to ride to the observatory above Saklıkent.  I think that summit is above 2500m so, wow, that’d be a big one day ride.

I also know of three passes (not summits) above 2000m just above Antalya.  One is between Saklıkent and Söğütcuması.  Another is between Saklıkent and Kar Çukuru Yaylası, the yayla at the base of Tunç Dağı, the highest mountain visible from Antalya (and even higher than the ski resort).  The road between Saklıkent and İmecik climbs even higher than those two, but any loop over that pass seems too long to do as a day trip from Antalya (at least for me).

DSC05055 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05060 by bryandkeith on flickr

A couple weeks ago I got an early start and decided to try the Saklıkent-Kar Çukuru Yaylası pass.  I had been to both those places by car before, but I had never been on the road connecting them.  It took about seven hours to climb from the center of Antalya to Saklıkent, the small village at about 1800m at the base of the small ski area.  Note that from my house in the center of Antalya it took about an hour of riding along the flats to get to the base of climb just past Doyran.

DSC05058 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05056 by bryandkeith on flickr

In Saklıkent there’s one restaurant, and I was able to get an over-priced pide lunch while sitting in the shade resting for a bit.  The best part of the ride is certainly the section between Saklıkent and Feslikan Yaylası via Kar Çukuru Yaylası over the underwhelming pass.  The road sort of rolls up to the high point and then sort of rolls down to the beginning of the descent just past Feslikan Yaylası.  I spent about two hours on this section, stopping a lot, taking some photos, enjoying the view, and again sitting in the shade for another rest before heading down.

DSC05067 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05059 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05077 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05076 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSC05081 by bryandkeith on flickr

And down it was.  21km fast all the way to Akdamlar.  The road is all paved, and a lot of it is in very good shape.  Not a single car passed me the whole way down.  It is, perhaps, the fastest 21km I’ve ever ridden.  I only pedalled two or three times, there aren’t many tight turns, and I was usually going as fast as I wanted.  Pretty stunning.  Those 21km drop 1800m for an average grade of over 8.5%!  You can’t find that in Colorado.

The last 20km of flats back to my house into a hot headwind were pretty painful.  I felt like I deserved a little rest.

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