- Saturday, October 10th, 2015 –
It’s time to cycle Stage 10 and conclude the project. Autumn starts to take presence, so there is no point to delay more this route.
I’ve been in La Cabrera twice. Both by bike. I know the never ending Fonte da Cova pass and the continuous ups and downs from Corporales to the hermitage Virgen del Valle. Today, I’ll combine these two sections plus Alto del Carbajal and Alto del Peñón passes. A whole tour through La Cabrera!!
As always, you can find the track under this link: New Stage 10 – Leon All Borders.kml
I’d like to put the next comment before start the impressions of the route itself. The original designed Stage 10 planned to cross the border with Zamora twice. One by Alto del Peñón (same as final adopted design) and the other by Puerto del Faeda via La Baña. Then, having a proper circular route. Besides Puerto de Vegarada, which finally was cycled (read post Leon all Borders – Stage 4), Puerto del Faeda was at stake at the beggining of the project due to the gravel road conditions. During summer, I had planned to visit this pass and check first hand the track conditions. Finally, I didn’t do it thanks to the observations of my cousin Alfredo, who wisely advice me not to cycle it (not with the road bike). Next 2 pictures explain why:
Weather is pretty cold in Puente Domingo Flórez some minutes before 9 AM. I’m wearing the winter jacket (keep chest warm) but short cullotte. First kms along the River Sil give me nice views. After 9-10 kms of flat ride I reach Sobradelo, where Fonte da Cova begins. Figures are impressive: 27 kms and +1500 m. Average gradient keeps below 6-7% the first 20 kms. Even there is a full km of negative slope. I can’t say landscape is beautiful. Slate open-field mines are the main factor of this climb. But it’s the living way for lots of people in this area. After this 20-km mark, slopes increase notably. So, once you’ve been climbing further more than 1 hour, facing several kms at 8-10% is hard for me. Good part is slate trucks disappear (as no more mines at this level) and the road has some hairpins that’s always fun. In the last 2-3 kms, strong wind and light rain say hello… It’s cold also. The winter gloves… I forgot them in the car. Good Ivan, they’ll be very useful for the downhill. I stop to take the sign pass photo and starts the descent.
Road is wet and slippery, which added to the low temperature makes a slow downhill. Stop in La Baña to get some hot is a must now. I take a coffee with milk plus a chocolat bar. I’m ready to continue down the River Cabrera valley. I cycle through several villages and soon I’m in Quintanilla de Losada, where Alto del Carbajal starts. What a good surprise this pass!! Around 7 km with steady slopes at 6-7%, several hairpins, recent pavement, scattered tree line,…I enjoyed it.
Road changes drastically when heading to Truchillas. Narrower, worse pavement, some notable holes,…common characteristics of a mountain road. So, I’m in the good direction to Alto del Peñón. However it’s being difficult to figure out where the top of the pass can be. There is no road trajectory clues yet. Low gradient kms go by easily and my curiosity about the road increases. Suddenly, I see a “wall” and the road shape in the background. The top of the pass is clear. Ufff!! During the 3-4 toughest kms I put easy gears and cycle slow. Ascent time doesn’t matter now. There is no sign pass in the top. But the Zamora province mark is present. Before go down, I have time to rest (eat + drink) and take some photos and a video.
It’s around 2:30 PM when I arrive again to Truchas. I look for a bar or place to eat something. There is a cosy bar-food store-restaurant where I eat a sandwich. I recover some energy. Only with bars and gels wouldn’t be enough. After this break, I cycle at good pace until Corporales, where starts to rain, and also the downhill part of Alto de Peña Aguda. Then, the road begins a 25-km section of ups and downs crossing the small villages of Saceda, Castrillo de Cabrera and Odollo. Rain doesn’t stop and I’m soaked. Good thing, if any, is that rain is warm, like in a summer storm. Another short break when reaching hermitage Virgen del Valle.
From here to Puente Domingo Flórez no big complications. Finishing fast and with strenght. Today, 166 km and +8 hours over the bike,… however what’s more important, closing this challenging and beautiful project Leon all Borders. It’s time to keep the best memories and think about new adventures.
Last photo gallery of the project, enjoy it