Greg Eden’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 07 Sep 2014

Location: Spain

MapDay 12 Oviedo
Breakfasts at 7.30 and on the road in the bus at 8.30. Today is the first big mountain climb up the Covadonga which is where the race finishes today. It is forecast to rain and will probably be quite cold at the top of the mountain . There are 3 ride options today. An 80k over 2 climbs, a 40k between the climbs and a 25k up the first climb. Today we wear orange wrist bands to honor Gwenda Porter, who died overnight. We go in the bus for about 2 hours along the Atlantic coast through beautiful countryside to Covadonga, which is an adventure playground. The ride today is up to Lago (lake) Covadongo, which is high in the mountains. The road up there is chaotic, very reminiscent of the climbs in the Tour de France. Thousands of cyclists riding up and down, walkers, motor homes, buses. The climb is rated amongst the best in the world and it is seriously punishing. It is 12.5 km long and average gradient is 7.5% but the first few km are quite reasonable. From km 7 it is brutal going up to over 15%. Ruth and Kerry both make it to the top. Then there is the ride down and that is not easy as there is traffic everywhere. We make it safely after a few near misses. Back at the bottom of the mountain we see the pros come through and Cameron Meyer is in the breakaway with a 4 minute lead on the rest but he gets caught about 2km from the top. A very good though. Once they have all gone through we watch the race on tv then go back to the bus. One couple makes us wait and the organizers are getting a bit edgy as the traffic is building up and we are parked next to the Saxobank team bus and they want to leave before Alberto Contador gets back to the bus. Thankfully our missing couple arrive back in time. It seems every tour has someone who habitually makes everyone else wait. It's starting to annoy the  others. About 90 mins later we arrive in Oviedo, a large city. Our hotel is very modern and Team Sky are staying there. We go for a quick dinner at a pizza bar nearby where the owner is very friendly and it costs 37 for pizzas, beer and wine for 4 people. Very good value. Everyone is tired as it has been a tough day on the bike