Cycling Puerto San Glorio
Cycling 26.5 kilometers gaining 1,285 meters at 4.8% average grade.
Climb summary and photos by PJAMM ambassador Stephen Rochford, Longwood Co., Meath.
Starting in the beautiful rustic village of Potes, "The Gateway to the Picos", this is one of the longest and highest roads in the Picos De Europa. Unlike many of the climbs in the area which are dead end roads, this is an ancient mountain pass connecting the provinces of Cantabria and Leon.
San Glorio is 26.8km @4.9% giving nearly 1300m gain in altitude. The maximum gradient rarely hits 10% on a few hairpins but it is the length more than the gradient which wears you down. The first 10km are quite easy averaging mostly around 2-3% but once you pass La Vega and Bores the real climbing starts with the next 17km averaging 6.2%.
The road is in excellent condition and creeps steadily up along the shoulder of a valley with fantastic views around every corner. There are numerous small villages snuggled away off the main road that really make you wonder what life must be like in places like this. Dobres and Cucayo particularly are worth a detour, but that's for another day.
There is some traffic but generally it is fairly light. Keep an eye out for eagles perched on road signs, scanning the valleys for prey. You might also come across boar or even a bear but the chances of that are fairly remote.
Near the top there is a viewing area with a statue of a deer where you can relax and get some photos before pushing on for the last 2 km to the top.
At the very top there is a small road to the right which adds another 3km to the climb up to a big stone statue of a bear at the Mirador Del Oso. You've come this far, you might as well go on up....
Mirador del Oso
The opposite side of puerto San Glorio descends to the towns of Portillo De La Reina where you can climb the Pandetreve climb or continue another 20km further along to the town of Riano with its stunning backdrop of a lake nestled among the peaks
Thank you Stephen!!