The Alto de San Isidro is no stranger to the Vuelta a España first appearing in 1986 and more recently, from the Leon side, in 2016 (due to the Puerto de Tarna not being repaired in time).
In Asturias and Leon it’s best known as a ski station. San Isidro itself is actually in Leon but there is another ski station ‘Fuentes de Invierno’ that is on the Asturian side. The climb rises to an altitude of 1520m and finishes at the end of the highest village in Asturias – La Raya. When you search for profiles of the climb you will find them of various lengths ranging from 27km to 11km but locally the village of Felechosa is the starting piont which puts the climb at about 14km in length.
From Felechosa the climb starts off pretty easy, only rising a little above 3% but soon after the village of Cuevas the road starts to rise. From here the climb holds a pretty steady 6 to 8%. It stays like this for about 6km’s. You will then ride through some tunnels or rather half tunnels as they are ledges meant to stop falling rocks hitting the road surface. A little way past these tunnels the road suddenly kicks up to 11%. The gradients stays constant at this percentage for a 1km but I assure you it seems longer. The gradient then drops to 8 for a little while and then down to a comfortable 6%. It never reaches much above that from there on in making a nice relaxed end to the climb.
The road surface is good and is well maintained due to the ski stations. The road is wide and certainly not busy out of season (winter). The scenery, whilst not the most breathtaking in Asturias is certainly stunning and makes for a very enjoyable ride. The descent is pretty fast and whilst there are quite a few bends there are also some long sweeping sections that really get the speed up. Stats and Profile:
Max Altitude: 1520m
Altitude gain: 840m
Average Gradient: 6.2% but 7% for the last 11km
Difficulty: HC catagory climb so tough but mainly because of distance, not gradient
Road conditions: Generally very good but coming down the surface isn’t that smooth in places which means that if you are taking a video it will be shaky.
Profile: last 11km (7% average)