Cycling La Cubilla
Ride 27.7 kilometers gaining 1,369 meters at 4.9% average grade.
Climb summary and photos by PJAMM ambassador Stephen Rochford, Stephen Rochford, Longwood, Meath, Ireland.
Sometimes called the Spanish Galibier, La Cubilla is one of the most "Alpine" climbs in Asturias. This is a 27.5km long climb with an average gradient of 4.7%. The first 10km from the town of Campomanes are little more than a false flat. After a short downhill section, the road then averages 6% over the last 18km to the summit. As of 2020, La Cubilla had been only been featured in 2019 in the Vuelta a España - Stage 16 September 9, 2019 with Jakob Fuglsang winning the stage.
This is one of the favourite climbs among Spanish cycling enthusiasts and it's not difficult to see why. After an initial couple of km which help warm the legs but don't offer much in the way of scenery, the valley opens up. We pass the toughest km of the climb shortly before the tiny village of Riospaso, rounding some hairpins with slopes of 10% but generally the gradients stay at a very steady 5-7%.
At about the 18km mark we pass another hairpin followed by a tight left hand turn and emerge completely above the more forested area. Now we have sweeping views all across the Las Ubinas-La Mesa National Park we have come through.
The road continues snaking upwards, clinging to the side of the mountain. There are sheep, goats, cattle and horses grazing on the slopes and they often wander across the road or indeed just sit there as you approach. It is almost impossible to figure out where the top of the climb is situated as you take multiple twists and turns until the last 2km. However, with each corner comes more breathtaking views.
When you get to the top there is another road which leads down the opposite side to the village of San Emiliano. This is an unsealed road with a few small streams to cross and at present it isn't really suitable for a road bike.
There is a quarry early on in the climb so be aware of some trucks in the area. Once you pass this there is almost no traffic . Road conditions are quite good but there are a few bumpy sections to watch out for on the descent. There is plenty of parking around the town of Pola De Lena, approximately 5km from the start of the climb. Like many climbs in the region La Cubilla can be prone to fog and mist . In the winter months the road can be closed due to snow. However, as the extended Cantabrian mountain range is not as high as the Alps or Pyrenees this is usually only for a short period.
Thank you Stephen!!