If the L’Angliru is a little out of your league (as it is for me) there are still many ride options available in the area of the L’Angliru. Indeed, one of my favourite climbs is El Cordal, which starts (or finishes, depending on which way you are going) at the base of the L’Angliru. You also have La Cobertoria which is a bit of a brute plus many smaller climbs in the area.
This route is one I did recently. I was pretty tired at the end as I also climbed the first half of the Ermita de Alba which you could also include if you are feeling up to it, but be warned it has ramps of over 20%.
The route shown goes anti-clockwise as this avoids having to go up La Cobertoria the hard way. And believe me when I say hard. Of course you can choose any point to start the ride but I would recommend giving yourself several kilometers of flattish riding to warm the legs up a little before climbing.
The first part of the route has the easier climbs such as the climb up to Collada (km 5). There are several options in this are to get to Proaza but the route shown is a very pleasant one and a good warm up for the legs. Before connecting to the main road (AS-228) to Proaza you will descend Tenebredo (km 21). With 20% gradients I can assure you it’s better going down it than up.
Once on the AS-228 you ride through Proaza. The senda de los Osos (track of the Bears) runs parallel to the road so if on a mountain bike you could always jump on that for a bit. Once at Caranga de Abajo (km 32) you bear left (right will take you to Teverga and the San Lorenzo and Puerto de Ventana). You will pass the embalse (reservoir) de Vallemurio (km 40) on your right, which is very picturesque.
Before reaching Barzana you will pass the starting point of the climb of the Ermita de Alba (km 44.5) which will feature as a summit finish in Stage 16 of the Vuelta a España 2015. This is a beautiful climb but is seriously steep with ramps of over 20%. I have managed to climb it so it’s a little easier than the L’Angliru but as you will still have the climb of Cobertoria and Cordal ahead of you, I would save this for another day.
Once passed Barzana you start the climb of La Cobertoria (km 48). This is the easy side but you will still be riding double figure gradients for a lot of the way. The climb has great views and it’s well worth stopping at the top to look behind at the stunning scenery. The descent down to Pola de Lena is fast but take care as there are often cows on the road.
From Pola de Lena you head toward Mieres and on the other side of Lena you turn left in the direction of Riosa. This is the start of El Cordal (km 65). This is one of my favourite climbs, it just has something about it I really like and the views from the top really are spectacular. You can also get a good view of the L’Angliru from here.
The last 2km of the El Cordal is pretty tough but once at the top it’s down the other side to Vega, where you will pass the start of the L’Angliru and then it’s pretty flat all the way back to the car.
All in all a great route offering spectacular scenery and some challenging climbs so you’ll deserve a beer in the bar afterwards.
Here are the Stats:
Distance: 78.6 km
Elevation gain: 2300 m approx
Max Grade: 14%
Road Conditions: Very good
Here’s the Route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/8630545
Places to stop: If you plan on stopping for lunch Proaza and Barzana are the best places to stop.