The Central Mountains or the “Olympus of Cycling”

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The Central Mountains constitute a land of colossal nature, with legendary summits that have made history in cycling.

The Central Mountains or the 'Olympus of Cycling'
GPS: 43.31631134569359, -5.894332861088995

Bueño - La Foz - Riosa - El Angliru - Mieres - Valle de Cuna y Cenera - Villallana - Pola de Lena - La Cobertoria - Campomanes - Bustiello - Caborana - Bo - Cabañaquinta

Day 1: Bueño - Riosa - El Angliru 40,7

Day 1: Bueño is a small village belonging to Ribera de Arriba, located just 15 minutes from the centre of Oviedo (south on the A-66 and N-630), where it seems that time has stood still. Its streets still retain a collection of 50 raised granaries-cum-storehouses called hórreos, some dating from the 16th century, which are joined up by a signposted path including texts and drawings. From Bueño, the N-630 takes you to Morcín, which boasts a unique cuisine including typical dishes such as turnip stew and Afuega'l Pitu sour-milk cheese. The village of Foz is located at the foot of Monsacro, a mountain with several hiking paths to its summit, which safeguards two chapels of great architectural value, only accessible on foot. The AS-231 road then leads you to Riosa and El Angliru. The mountain rises up to an elevation of 1,570 metres and has stretches like Cueña les Cabres with a 23% gradient. This legendary summit first became an end of stage in the Cycling Tour of Spain in 1999.

Day 2: Mieres - Alto de la Colladiella 24,9

Day 2: In Mieres, the second stop on the tour heading south, industrial heritage and modern buildings waylay the visitor at every turn. For instance, you can find the market building, which dates from 1907. the Aniceto Sela School Buildings, a blend of styles somewhere between Modernist and Art Deco. Duro House, dating from the 17th century. and the modern University of Oviedo building, raised on the former Barredo Pit premises. Plaza de Requejo is one of its many charming spots, ideal for sampling some cider. The mighty River Caudal flows along one side of the town. The riverside path lets you appreciate that it is possible to reclaim a once highly degraded environment. The surrounding countryside boasts other attractions. The Cuna y Cenera Valley is a must, with the Chapel of San Cosmen and San Damian, Martyrs of Valdecuna, and truly beautiful scenery, which is accessed from the AS-242 and the MI-2 secondary road. Another option for cycling enthusiasts is to take your bike, or even the car, and go up some of the summits most preferred by lovers of this sport, such as the Alto de La Colladiella.

Day 3: Lena - Puerto de Pajares 40,7

Day 3: The journey continues southward on the AS 242 towards Lena. Villallana is home to the 12th-century Romanesque Church of San Martino built on Pre-Romanesque remains, which is well worth the first stop. Once you get to Pola de Lena, you can visit the birthplace of the physician, dramatist and poet Vital Aza, the town hall or the neighbourhood of La Caleya, the oldest of those preserved in the town. The AS-242 then takes you to La Cobertoria, where the former railway station houses the Pre-Romanesque Educational Exhibition, the perfect appetizer for discovering, a few kilometres further on, the impressive Church of Santa Cristina de Lena, one of the best examples of this architectural style. After architecture comes nature. From Campomanes, two options open up to the traveller. The first and best known is the drive up to Pajares Mountain Pass to reach Valgrande-Pajares ski resort. The other option is La Cubilla, a summit known by cyclists as the "Asturian Galibier", offering spectacular scenery.

Day 4: Pajares - Cabañaquinta 64,1

Day 4: There are two possible options for today's tour. The first is a visit to the Via Carisa, a former road link with the plateau dating from Roman times, which crosses the Cantabrian Mountains, entering the region along Carracedo Ridge, peaks that divide the boroughs of Lena and Aller, at an elevation of over 1,500 metres. La Carisa is a paradise for hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts, as well as for devotees of history, who can get a view of the archaeological digs being carried out there. There are several access points from Lena, although it is advisable to use an all-terrain vehicle and have a guide to help you understand the digs. You can then head back down through the borough of Lena or, on the opposite side of the ridge, towards Aller. In the former case, the idea is to return to Lena and make the most of the journey by visiting the restored Mining Village of Bustiello. To do so, you need to take the A-66 back towards Mieres and then the AS-112. A few kilometres from Bustiello, in Caborana, you will find the Aller Visitor Interpretation Centre, the gateway to the borough. The other is especially dedicated to sport fans, who can switch the "Roman route" for a cycling route that has made history in Spain's Cycling Tour, "La Vuelta", and which specialists have compared to the legendary climbs of the Tour de France. This is the climb up to Coto Bello, a mining area in the borough of Aller, which begins in Piñeres, between Moreda and Cabañaquinta. There is a breath-taking view at the top. You can see all of the surrounding mountains, including the summit of La Collaona, and, further away, Torres Peak, overlooking San Isidro Pass.

Day 5: Cabañaquinta - La Raya 33,9

Day 5: Cabañaquinta, and its surroundings, together with the Romanesque Church of San Vicente de Serrapio, the Chapels of Vierres and of Our Lady of Miravalles, and Soto Tower comprise some of the borough's attractions. You can go hiking on one of the dozens of routes that crisscross the mountains, such as the River Pino Gorges Trail, or head up to Fuentes de Invierno ski resort. You can likewise try some of the local dishes, hearty fare such as panchón, a bread made with spelt flour and water, and white beans with wild boar.