The Cabeza de Manzaneda is the highest summit finish in Galicia. The road to the summit tops out at 1760m, and has a café too. It is a beautiful climb, and hosted a summit finish in the 2010 Vuelta, where David Moncutié took the stage. The climb starts at the Puente Romano , which crosses the Rio Bibei, below the town of Pobra de Trives.
The first 6.5km are on the main road back to Pobra de Trives, and can be busy in high season. A sharp left turn towards Manzaneda onto a narrow steep road leaves the traffic worries behind. The gradient is steady, and the road well protected by trees. The road flattens out for 5km before we hit the small village of Manzaneda. there the fun begins. The trees are left behind, and the gradient bites immediately. This is where we say a small prayer that the wind will not be in our faces. If it is, the next 10km to the ski station will be hell. We are going to gain almost 1000m in 12km , and wind against, that will take its toll. The terrain is open, with no protection from the elements.
At km 24, we enter the ski station at Cabeza de Manzaneda, and pass the hotel of the same name. A small downhill section takes us t the sharp left turn for the summit. The final 5km to the top averages 7%, and can take its toll. The road surface is good enough, and we wind through seven switchbacks before the final km. The view from the top is stunning, as is the coffee stop. A truly memorable climb and the highlight of any cycling trips in Galicia.