The route of the 6 coals is one I rode recently and really enjoyed. It comes as no surprise that there are 6 climbs in it, but it actually only includes 4 hills, as you climb two of them from both directions.
I call it the Coals climb as (sorry, I couldn’t resist the play on words even though they are not exactly Cols) as it’s set in the coal mining area not too far from Oviedo and runs passed Mieres and Langreo – both famous for their mining history. Being in a mining area you would be excused for thinking this is far from the prettiest route in Asturias, but it is in fact surprisingly scenic.
The beauty of Asturias is that even the most industrial areas are set just 5 minutes away from stunning countryside and mouth watering climbs. The climbs on this route are certainly not the hardest in Asturias but there is the odd tough ramp, especially on the Pedrun and they certainly don’t disappoint.
The four main climbs are La Gargantada, San Tirso, San Esteban de las Cruces and El Pedrun. La Gargantada (both ways) is an easy climb and is a much used route by cyclists as a gateway between Langreo and Siero/Gijon. San Esteban is somewhat longer but no steeper and San Tirso (both ways) is a little tougher but easy enough. This leaves El Pedrun which does ramp up significantly in places and is certainly more of a challenge. In total you will climb around 1500m, so a definite work out.
Apart from a couple of brief spells riding through La Felguera and near Mieres most of the route runs along tree lined roads. It’s actually quite an interesting glimpse of Asturias’ industrial history as you pass abandoned mine shafts set against the picturesque back drop of the Asturian hills and all in all it’s a very pleasant ride.
If you ride round in the other direction you will climb the Manzaneda which is quite a tough climb and often in the Vuelta a España.
Here are the stats and route map:
Total Distance: 81km
Total Elevation Gain: 1500 approx
Road Conditions: Good
Difficulty: Level 3 (due to the amount of climbing as opposed to difficulty of climbs. http://bikeasturias.net/routes)
There are plenty of places on route for a cake stop.
Sorry, no photos for now but I will take and publish some soon.