Picos day 3

What a difference a day makes! Today was wonderful from start to finish. But first, to finish up from yesterday, here’s a photo of Graham arriving at the top of the Covadonga cling. Frankly it could be anyone, anywhere.

Each day we have the option of “classic” or “challenge” route. Today the challenge route involved an extra climb at the start of the day, not the end, so there was no wimping out this time – not that I regret yesterday’s decision.

The morning was truly stunning, riding through limestone gorges again to the accompaniment of the rushing rivers. Some of the rock formations were great to behold if you like that kind of thing.

There was a good coffee stop just before one of the climbs reached its steepest section. All bought coffee (served in Estrella beer glasses!) and some bought food so the owner didn’t mind that it looked like I was setting shop outside with the grub from the van. Naranjo slice anyone?

After that climb there was a nice descent down to lunch, though there were a number of places where we had to avoid rock fall. The netting that is put up catches some of it, but not all. Good job nothing came down while I was riding past!

Just before the lunch stop was this cascade. Spot also the rope bridge and steep steps up the right hand side!

The view at the lunch stop itself was arguably better. Certainly the fact that I managed to have lunch today made it all better! Asturias bean soup – haricot beans, and very tasty. Another option was soup with pieces of liver. No!

After lunch there was another 20km+ climb to add to those from the day before. Gentle at first, but challenging all the way. Being able to see the scenery made it all the better. We rode towards and then essentially through this one, and on coming out the other side the route took us even higher so that we were overlooking it. Quite a view!

After the climb we were essentially on a plateau where the landscape was a lot more open. We passed a village that was rebuilt some time back because the original was flooded to build a reservoir. We are staying in a nice hotel in Riaño overlooking the reservoir tonight, and will be back in two days’ time.

Loads of wildlife to see today, including the ubiquitous donkeys, cattle, sheep, chickens, goats and birds of prey (not sure which). Thought I’d get a close up of some of the flora too today.

Overall this was 106km (65 mile) ride, but with 2,750 metres of climbing it made for a very long 106km. The distances and climbing increases from here on in. Eek!

Never mind, apparently they do the best gin and tonic in Riaño and it’s time to go and find out!

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