David Cachon returns to the hauntingly beautiful Asturias in northern Spain to push the limits of exploration and adventure with the help of his Kross eBike. Yes, they’re controversial, but there can be no argument as to the opportunity they present for longer adventures, going further than ever before by bike. David takes us through the highs, lows, and reasoning behind this amazing trip…
An Electrifying Adventure
When I raised this adventure I was very clear that it must be something very special, it was the first time I was going to spend several days with an E-Bike on the mountains and I wanted to live the experience intensely, touching, smelling and savoring every second of it. The location was clear, Asturias left me hallucinating last year and I wanted to repeat it, but this time I wanted to go further, go deeper, climb, sleep, survive, get lost, find that which has no name but when you find it you know that it’s there, even if you do not see it.
Peña Mea – Aller
Some time ago I saw some photos of an impressive rock in the shape of an ox eye. It did not take long to locate the exact location, it was the climb to Peña Mea. A mountain located in the council of Aller, in the Principality of Asturias. His vision was striking, monumental. The truth is that my imagination was shot and I was already dreaming of walking over that spectacular porthole with my bike and then descend the whole mountain.
“It was the first time I was going to be several days with an E-Bike on the mountain.”
I still did not know, but the adventure would be much more intense than I thought at first. I was in the town of Aller, ascending to 19 km / h with my E-Bike, heading to the top of Peña Mea and with the aim of rolling over my Nemesis (the bull’s eye).
The climb up a forest track was long and hard, luckily I had decided to make this adventure with my E-Bike, I feel happy just thinking about the suffering I would be experiencing with a conventional bike right now. After hard ramps of land of poor adherence, the last rains had punished this road enough, I get to the path that goes up to Peña Mea. The thing is complicated in a very high percentage, it is a very technical path, uphill, and when I look ahead I see that the slope is brutal, even for an E-Bike. I start the ascent piloting the bike as if it were a trial motorcycle, there are many rocks, this path really looks like a cow trail. Rest for a few minutes and already looks out. I see the porthole. A small chill of uncertainty invades me, I have that feeling of “you have gone from ready” or “but I would swear it was smaller in the photos”.
Continuous ascending, the road now has become a totally impracticable zigzag, can not roll anymore. It touches to test the way walk (it is the system that the electric bikes have for when it is your turn to push them). After a good time we get to the top. The views are brutal, really wonderful. 100% recommended this experience. But now the most complicated part of this story begins. I want to climb to the top of the porthole, I want to cross the arch with my bike and from there, continue my descent to our base camp. Luckily we have good company and good climbing equipment.
I am not an expert in climbing issues, but the truth is that I like and feel a great affinity for this sport. Many of my friends are good climbers and the truth is that I live very close to the Pyrenees, so something has to hit me right? Not without effort and suffering I get to the top. We took the bike later. And now is when I say to myself, David, you’ve gone too smart. The area for which I want to pass is very high, there is no road, only a thin edge of rock that on both sides leaves an impressive landscape and a lot of height. Finally after exploring it on foot I see it clearly, I’m sure and I decide to cross the porthole. An adrenaline rush invades me and makes me literally forget about my companions (guide and photographer). I promise you that I appreciate you very much but I wanted to enjoy the most of the descent and I was not willing to let anything and nobody delay me in my desire to go down.
The path was not fast as the slope was very high and the rocks prevented the bike from rolling smoothly. Little by little the path becomes more docile, faster and therefore much more fun. The speed is increasing and when I get to the track I am surprised by going down to almost 70 km / h. God, I’m enjoying it very much.
“I am not an expert in climbing issues, but the truth is that I like, and feel, a great affinity for this sport.”
I’m tired but very happy. I have arrived at our base camp, tonight we will sleep in the mountain, the sky seems to be crashed and it will be a spectacle to spend the night here.
The experience has been incredible, we have had good weather and sleeping under the mantle of stars has been very rewarding, although I believe that today we will seek shelter somewhere with roof, walls, plug and wifi. We have recommended a place to spend the night, it is the Hotel Fundil mountain, run by Manolo, who in addition to feed us and give us room is kindly offered to guide us that same day. It shows us a nearby route called the Gumial. It passes through an absolutely incredible and epic forest, when arriving at its low part the river accompanies us during a good time and finally a dream singletrack makes that it obtains a total climax when arriving down. The experience in Aller has been incredible, very good.
Picos de Europa – Sotres
We decided to take the car and set course for another area of Asturias. Picos de Europa, specifically Sotres, where last year we met a good friend, Juanjo, who runs Hotel Casa Cipriano. Unfortunately last year I had to finish my visit to Picos de Europa sooner than expected, due to a strong fall while I was going down at great speed. I hit the ribs very hard and slightly damaged my diaphragm. I needed some revenge, affectionately you know, without acrimony.
Sotres is an essential place for landscape lovers and for not a few hikers and mountaineers who find in this village the ideal place to start routes and climbs. Not in vain we are at 1050 meters of altitude, one of the human peaks of Asturias. From there you can see the universe with other eyes, and the mountains assail us, when the fog vanishes, like imposing realities, full of legends and attractions.
The Urriellu Peak looks at us while the sun caresses our faces, Juanjo shows us the best routes in the area, the Duje Valley or the ports of Áliva leaving the battery of my bicycle at 0% and I also have little battery left in the body, mountain biking (enduro) with an electric bicycle does not mean you do not squeeze as much as possible, I assure you, the limit is set by yourself.
I think it’s a good time to taste some typical dishes of the area: Asturian fabada and escalopines al cabrales. Really delicious, here you eat very well, if you’ve ever visited Asturias you know what I’m talking about. We spent the night drinking some beers and talking about banal things, here it seems that everything takes another dimension, I like this place, you live differently, I like the mountain and the people here. The time has come to leave, hoping to return soon and with the feeling of having taken advantage of the full time. I think it will not be the last adventure with an E-Bike, in fact I think it has been the first of many. I leave Asturias with a desire to return and that is a feeling that says a lot about the place you’ve visited, do not you think?
I leave the contacts of friends we have made along the way:
If you want to discover all that Asturias has to offer, do not hesitate to visit its Tourism page: http://www.turismoasturias.es
Text: David Cachón
Photos: Fernando Marmolejo