If you read my last post you will know that I decided to make the most of the good weather in late October and ride some of the climbs I had yet to ascend on a bike. Well, as per usual, it’s taken me a while to get round to writing about it but after San Isidro I decided to climb the other ski station climb, The Puerto de Pajares.
Pajares is probably the best known of all the Puertos (mountain gateways linking Asturias with Leon) as for many years it was the main route to and from Leon. The new motorway means that traffic levels have decreased considerably but the only problem is that logistics companies do still use it to avoid paying the motorway tolls.
Once again I was really lucky with the weather and set off in full sun from the base of the climb; I would have preferred to have ridden a few kilometres before climbing but with limited time it was straight up from the start. I wasn’t having a great leg day and the wind, although light, wasn’t favourable but there was no way I was turning back. The good thing about Pajares is that it has stretches with quite shallow gradients so you can recover a little. The bad thing is you need them because there are stretches with ramps well into double figures.
You will be able to read a more detailed review of the climb shortly when I add it to the climb section but what I will say here is that I’m glad I took my Boardman bike that had a 12/32 rear cassette. There are several ramps of 14 plus % and the last half k is a painful 17% plus climb.
I didn’t feel great the whole way up but the scenery took my mind off my suffering legs and I actually really enjoyed the ride. The view back down from the top is great and the now deserted Parador (posh hotel) makes for great photos;
All in all a great climb, very tough in parts but with plenty of flatter sections that offer some respite. The large lorries passing, although unnerving at times as they crawl past you, are not too frequent. With two big climbs done the next on the list was The Puerto de Tarna. To be continued……