– Saturday, August 9th, 2014 –
Around 5:00 PM, I drive to Rioaller village. I don’t feel tired from morning route. The goal will be to inspect (by walk) the first 4 kms of Puerto de Vegarada. The toughest ones.
When I reach Foces del Río Aller, a short but very narrow gorge, I park several minutes over the bridge. I’d seen pictures, but no comparison like being here. The project makes sense with moments like this.
Once in the village, there are 2-3 ramps above 20%. The craziest one is in striped cement. This point implies precaution because it’s a ramp in curve and sure you will need to stop if a car comes to you.
Outside the village, concrete continues several hundred meters, but the slopes are lower (don’t get me wrong, lower but always above 12%). There is some gravel, however a clear narrow track appears on the left-hand side. The day I climb it, it’ll be crucial to be focused on finding the better track. After, the dirt road starts. In my opinion, it’s well prepared for a 4×4 car (I see a couple of them) or even to a small car (it depends on the onwer of the car ). Slope increases again.
After around 2 kms of uphill, there is a short break. From here, forest is a little bit thicker, but allowing in all moment to enjoy the mountain views on your left. Hairpins emerge. This section until the Mayeu Carbayalín is astonishing.
Climbing this pass with a road bike will be a real challenge: strength, balance and determination to take the correct side along the dirt road. I’ll take the challenge!
Some photos about this afternoon walk are posted next:
– Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 (Climb day) –
The .kml file for this route is under link: Stage_4.kml. You can check also the map and profile.
Just I leave tunnel El Negrón, showers oblige me to activate the windscreen wiper. Road is wet. What a bad luck!! I hope the dirt trail of Puerto de Vegarada is in acceptable conditions.
I park the car some kms before Moreda. As soon as I cycle 5-10 kms, I notice pavement is pretty wet. I try not to overthink about which will be the conditions of the pass. However, it’s not possible. I only forget this thought when I’m approaching Foces de Río Aller. Same as 2 weeks ago, I stop over the bridge and admire the rocky walls.
Entering in Rioaller village, I put 34×29. My intention is to keep this gear for the next 4 kms. I don’t have more up gears… I pass the first ramp with no big complications. However, the striped cement one is from another planet. I almost loss the balance. Luckily, I keep on the bike.
After this little shock, I manage quite well the transition through the concrete and first dirt trail slopes. Besides, mud has little presence until now. Maybe this minor achievement brings me an excess of confidence. Just before the short break, I have to put a foot on the ground. Gradient was high and some gravel made to slip the rear wheel. Even that, I should have put more determination. After a couple of tries to fasten the pedals, I’m cycling again.
As I continue the climb, more mud is over the trail. Cycling is getting tougher due to not only the slopes, but the mud touching the rear break arch. I stop to clean it. Temporary solution. Another stop, this time due to a car. The climb is not going fluid. However, the experience is great.
When I reach the Mayeu Carbayalín, all my worries have gone. I have cycled the toughest part of Puerto de Vegarada (and with mud). From here, I really enjoy the pass. No problems of balance, maybe a less mud,… and soon, I’m on asphalt again Yeahhhh!!!
The downhill is nice and fast. I feel as if after done Puerto de Vegarada climb, the stage is over. Wronggg!!! I have more than 80 kms to get the car. The section between Valdeteja and Cármenes takes me time. It’s hot and cadence is not the best.
In Cármenes, I eat a sandwich and drink a coke. I’m alive again. Collada de Cármenes appears soon and so Villamanín. I take the national road to head Puerto de Pajares. This road has heavy traffic but shoulder (arcén, que curioso jeje) is wide. On the contrary to the asturian slopes, these ones are easy. I almost always cycle beyond 20 km/h during the uphill. A thick fog shows up. It’s very cold. Thanks I took long sleeve maillot with me.
Fog is also present during first kms of the steep downhill. I extreme precautions. I’m frozen until the downhill ends. Last kms along the valleys are fast.
Enjoy the photos which were taken during this amazing route: