Los Machucos is a mountain pass at an elevation of 880m (2,887ft) above the sea level, located in the Autonomous Community of Cantabria, in northern Spain. It’s one of the steepest roads that a Spanish bike race has ever tackled where you directly ride against uphill over a huge rock. The climb is brutal: up to 31%.
The narrow road to the summit is paved but the steepest sections are concrete. Open to traffic throughout the year, may be closed for short periods in winter when the weather is bad. It has been featured in the Spanish Vuelta race.
Nestled in the easternmost sector of the Cantabrian Mountains, at the top of the climb there is a metal sculpture of a cow, known as Monumento a la Vaca Pasiega. The pass is 14.1 km long, running from San Roque de Riomiera to Bustablado. This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers.
Starting from Bustablado, the ascent is 9km long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 698 meters with an average gradient of 7,76%. The highest gradient is 24%. And starting from Los Barrios (Calseca), the ascent is 5.21km long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 560 meters with an average gradient of 10,75%. The highest gradient is 31%.