In September 2017, we took ourselves off to the Picos de Europa on our bikes. It’s one of the most beautiful ranges in the world, and on our doorstep in Northern Spain. It was a classic and timeless trip that never ages. I’d love to share this beautiful mountain ride with you. Here’s my account off the trip – enjoy! Laura…
Which bicycle to choose for this tour?
For a trip like this it’s critical to have the right bike. We’ve boarded it with an enduro bike and it can be done. But we recommend a double XC (Cross Country) bicycle for comfort, but obviously with a hardtail you also gain in speed.
Backpack or saddlebags?
When carrying out this route with an enduro bike, the easiest is to carry a hydration backpack with all the necessary inside. If it is done with an XC bike, then perhaps some support can be mounted on the saddle of the saddle to carry bags / saddlebag.
What to carry in the backpack or saddlebag?
For a trip of this nature there is a lot to carry. On my own website I have a full and detailed list, so click here to read the list. In the meantime, take a look below!
At what time of year do you return to Picos de Europa?
This trip is a long daily journey; over 3 days and a half, and there are areas that with rain and bad weather can be very complicated. We recommend choosing the month of August as it is the one with the lowest rainfall in Picos de Europa. Remember, this is a mountain range.
The GPS track
You can download the track from the link on this page. Remember that this is the original track and we advise you not to approach kilometer 30, approximately, from day 3 where the route is indicated – best to surround by track, as we arrived on day 4 in Potes by Aliva not by Bejer due to the bad weather. The same google map gives you the route by altering settings for bicycle -):
Return to PICOS DE EUROPA in BTT / MTB from Potes-Ojedo (Cantabria) to Posada Valdeón (León)
Today the stage has had a PRECIOUS view. The Picos are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and we got to enjoy their splendour!
Riding today was practically all climbs, with more than 40kms of climbing to tackle; but we didn’t care, as this means that tomorrow we will be enjoying soooo many kms downhill. Yes, it was tough, but trips like this are. That’s what makes them worthwhile isn’t it!
It has been a stage marked by forest tracks and small pieces of trail, all leading us deeper into these limestone peaks that flow endlessly and rise above the treeline. The whole route up to km 26 was very fast thankfully; from km 26 to 41 we had some hard sections, but we finished sooner than expected and we now cannot wait for what lies ahead. It’s exciting getting this day out of the way and looking ahead to tomorrow. We also ENJOYED a lot of the wonderful Picos views and we are super happy that the storm respected us and stayed at bay…phew.
• 51,2 Kms – From Ojedo (Cantabria) to Posada Valdeón, Castilla y León. The track gave 60 kms so there should be miscalculations.
• 2,000m + stunning views.
• With the ENDURO Mondraker Dune XR bike.
Return to PICOS DE EUROPA in BTT / MTB from Posada Valdeón (León) to Covadonga (Asturias)
VERY LONG-HARD route for an ENDURO BIKE.
The first climb to the Col de Panderrueda is a beautiful forest of fern and beech (with Oak in the upper part) of about 12kms cycling; although with considerable unevenness during the first kms, this eventually eases slightly and allows you to enjoy the views more than the climbing.
The descent from here is a SPECTACULAR singletrack through a similar forested area, twisting and turning through the trees with speed. It’s one of those descents that are worth the climb for.
The second ascent of the day is followed by a high mountain track, with sections of considerable unevenness until km 23 (where it crosses the border between Leon and Asturias). However, the last 2 km are not comfortable cycling, with stretches of portholes, pushing, piles of stones, and beautiful meadows where the road is marked by cows. Thankfully the views make up for things and there’s a descent to come.
The descent to kilometer 32 is VERY HARD: it’s a paved area with a lot of very technical mud, and with 2-3 kilometers of the route very uneven once more, where it costs a lot in energy and handling skills to maintain inertia given the type of terrain. Fortunately, the route after km 32 is more fluid and flowing, and you begin to get the benefit.
To remember: Wonderful descent from the town of Vis until the section of road; a forest of very old chestnuts with steep slopes and curves.
• 2.000m +.
• 100% Cycle-Mountaineer route. Without external support and with everything necessary in the backpacks to the back.
• With ENDURO bike: Mondraker Dune XR.
Return to PICOS DE EUROPA in BTT / MTB from Covadonga (Asturias) to Sotres (Asturias)
Today the track has been very HARD; it was a cross country track with bits of road and non-cycling bits and we did it on ENDURO bikes. The extra weight and size was tough, making every metre well earned. Yes, the views were beautiful, but we truly felt as if they had been fought for. It was a great day to be on a bike.
We started with some fast km’s on the track (all up-down) to km 25. From km 25 to 28 we encountered ramps of up to 200% – woosh, lots of hard work! By 28 km we got onto a road which was absolutely covered by vegetation. Here in the Picos, the vegetation grows fast and we had ferns, brambles and other shrubs up to the height of the head to deal with! Also, the soil was 100% muddy, adding to the difficulties.
WE RECOMMEND YOU FOLLOW THE TRACK AND ROLL THIS TROZO!!!
It took us an hour to make 1.2kms and get out of the way. EVERYTHING IS LEARNED AND STORED, so now you will be able to avoid this yourself, and we can avoid it ourselves next time!
After this, some fast kms (more up and down), followed by 2 kilometers of bike hike on foot, towards Carreña de Cabrales. Then we’re finally at the last section of the day, and the finish, an ascent to Sotres, which was 11km of trail with 1,000m + of ascent.
These have been 3 days in which we’ve accumulated 180km and 6.200m+ of ascent, with ENDURO bikes to handle and carry at times.
• 60 Kms – From Covadonga (Asturias) to Sotres, Asturias
• 2.200m + stunning views
• With the ENDURO Mondraker Dune XR bike
Return to PICOS DE EUROPA in BTT / MTB from Sotres (Asturias) to
One more day, and today was a half stage (only 35kms), which we had to modify due to storms, wind and cold. We decided to get to Potes by Aliva, since we would go much of the way through the valley and we managed to save about 5 km, leaving the same degree of climbing on our chosen route. The original route plan was going up Bejes, but the sensible option took over due to the mountain storms.
The trails were good though, and we rode and flowed, climbed and descended through spectacular limestone mountain scenery, lined with the greenery that the Picos are famous for. And then…
WE HAVE ACHIEVED IT! We roll into the finish, exhausted, with aching legs and bodies, but I’m so happy. It’s been a wonderful challenge for us both. It’s one of the best experiences I have ever had; yes, it has been very hard, but it’s also been truly AWESOME at the same time. Now you need to ride the Picos too.
The trip consisted of:
• 3 days and a half
• 210 Kms
• 7.100m + stunning views
• With the ENDURO Dune XR from Mondraker
MILLIONS OF THANKS to all of you who helped us and supported us, with your comments of encouragement on the way and on social media! Without a doubt, it was the best load of motivation you can have. And a very special thanks to the best team of friends with whom you can carry out this experience: Armand and Raul.