El Fitu (also called El Fito) is one of the better known climbs in Asturias. Indeed, the climb has a significant cycling history as in 1996 it was the last climb Miguel Indurin climbed before retiring from the Vuelta and indeed, soon after, cycling itself.
The climb is often used in The Vuelta a España on the way to the Lagos de Covadonga and although not particularly long is certainly steep enough to get rid of the sprinters.
The climb itself is often classified as approximately 7 kilometers long although in reality the climb proper is only about 4 km long. When I rode it I didn’t even realise I was on it as the first stretch rises and falls and even though there are some steep sections early on, it is not what I would classify as a real climb. This soon changes once you pass the left turn to Carabia. From here the climb really ramps up, offering just one very short respite for the whole of the remaining 4 + kilometers. The maximum gradient that registered on my Garmin was 13% but for much of the way it’s between 10 and 12% with the occasional drop down to 9%. Many of the profiles show averages of 8 or 9% but I can assure you that is not the case, although I guess the false flat at kilometer 5.2 lowers the average somewhat.
As you climb it’s worth taking a quick look behind as the view down to Colunga and Lastres really is worth seeing. Once at the top there is the Mirador (view-point) that looks out over the Picos de Europa and offers a stunning mountain landscape as well as the beautiful coastal views. From the top you can come back the way you came or continue on down to Arriondas. As the road surface is very good the descent is a good one and quite fast but the roads are very twisty, so take care.
Here are the Stats:
Distance: 7 km
Average Gradient: 8%
Max Gradient: 13%
Height at top: 591m
Meters climbed: 562m
Cat Rating 2
Road conditions: excellent
Strava Segment: http://www.strava.com/segments/1798409