– Saturday, August 9th, 2014 –
First thing I do after wake up is to check over the window. It’s not raining but road is totally soaked. Cars leave a considerable water wake. Yesterday, while observing the rainstorm, I thought something to do in case Puerto de Vegarada wasn’t in acceptable conditions (mud along the dirt track) to perform Stage 4. So, what can I do…? Umm, I can go to Angliru. It’s not a bad Plan B.
Moreda is pretty close to Angliru and it’s possible to add to the stage El Cordal. It sounds good. During the morning, I’ll climb Cordal and Angliru. It’s a short stage (around 80 km) which it won’t take me lots of hours over the bike. And after that, I’ll eat at a decent hour and go to take a walk to the first part of Puerto de Vegarada.
The .kml file for this Plan B route is under link: Cordal_Angliru. Also, map and profile are on the following picture.
I have 10-12 flat km before El Cordal. It’s warm and clouds (or fog, I really don’t know) are in the highs. I notice clearly where the pass starts. Under a train bridge, first slopes makes me stand up over the bike and move up gears quickly. Figures say 5.5 km at an average of 9%. So, there will be nice ramps
Uphill has also some soft slopes, for example when you reach the first village. Between grass and trees, I’m climbing comfortably. Tough section is the last 1.5 km, with an average close to 12%. Once in the top, I smile when see the Riosa – Mazzo de Valtellina twinning sign. Two villages and two colossal passes: Angliru and Mortirolo.
I take cautions during downhill. Road is wet and bike takes time to break. There is fog but visibility is OK. In Riosa, I drink a te, eat some energetic food and head to Angliru. First 5 km are easy, signalling is perfect (it’s my first pass where each km has its info sign ), beautiful views and not heavy ramps. Km 6 (around Via Pará recreational area) is almost flat. If you need to rest, take your time here, stop if needed and breath calmly. Once you finish this km, no compassion during next 6 kms… (see detailed gradient info here)
In few seconds, horses in the middle of the road, dense fog and Les Cabanes ramp (22%). Uff, a lot of factors suddenly. I move up to 34×26 (keeping the 29 for Cueña les Cabres). I see several shepherds and exchange hello’s. Now, visibility is pretty bad. I only can see the next 50-60 m of road. During the toughest slopes, I focus on the cadence and when stand up, try to not push hard in order the rear wheel has grip (pavement is very slippery).
What a pity this fog…! The uphill is being a succesion of tremendous hairpins and I’m missing the views. There is no relax. I reach Cueña les Cabres (23.5%) and move up to 34×29. By references, it’s a long ramp without any bend. I stand up and makes some zig-zags to ease the slope. In one pedalling, the rear wheel slips. I almost have to release the shoe from the pedal. This ramp finishes but not the pass. Still more than 1 km of high gradients.
Last half km is a gift. In my case, besides to the flat and down road, sun appears. It’s a pleasure to reach the parking and relax. I stay on the top 15-20 minutes: taking photos, eating and drinking, chatting with 2 cyclists,…
With the current pavement and weather conditions, I maximize the cautions during the tricky downhill. Until arrive again to Via Pará, I think speed does not reach 30 km/h. From this point, no fog and road it’s pretty dry. I enjoy the rest of the downhill.
I still have 30 km to Moreda. About this last section, I highlight La Foz rocky landspace and the good speed I get to maintain. Ah, I almost forget the several tunnels before Mieres. Take care to have some light or refrection system.
I attach some pictures for this short but intense stage: