|My bike at Brainard Lake|
The Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado provide a number of challenging ascents in close proximity to a public willing to take advantage of them. Near Boulder, roads like Flagstaff, Sunshine Canyon and Lefthand Canyon provide quick access to the mountains. Further north, Trail Ridge Pass is the highest paved continuou road in the U.S. To the south, Mt. Evans, Loveland Pass, Vail Pass and others provide as much climbing as your legs can hold.
To plan a route, look at the Strava Global Heatmap to find popular routes. The best climbs have already been listed above:
|Daniel Stauffer in Boulder Canyon|
|Four Mile Canyon|
|Lee Hill Drive|
- Flagstaff road: Steep 4.5 mile climb at 8%. Ramps near the top will halve your cadence. Awesome return descent on the switchbacks.
- Sunshine Canyon: Nearly 6 miles at 6%, the average grade disguises a number of steep ramps around 10%. The descent easily allows for speeds up to 50 mph.
- Lefthand Canyon: a much gentler climb at 4%, it climbs up to the P2P Highway for 18 miles. Many dirt sections from flooding in 2013.
- Trail Ridge Road: 10.5 miles at 5%, enjoy amazing views from the top! $10 entry fee for bikes (part of Rocky Mountain National Park). Elevation extends over 12k ft, bring an oxygen tank or two if you aren't worried about Watts/kg.
- Loveland Pass: Another high pass, this time with ski resorts. Beautiful two-lane bike path leads to start at Loveland Ski area. Climb can be started as far down the canyon as you please. Both sides of the pass are amazing rides.
|Top of Lee Hill Drive|
|Route 34 leading to Trail Ridge Road|
|Devil's Gulch Road|
|Trail Ridge Pass|
|Loveland Pass bike trail|
My rides in the area:
Day 1: Lovely loop into the mountains with a nice detour to see Brainard Lake.
Day 2: Trip up Sunshine Canyon.
Day 3: Flagstaff and Four Mile Canyon. Rest of the loop was uninspiring.
Day 4a: Flagstaff and Sunshine again. The nicest climbs (and descents) in Boulder.
Day 4b: Lovely short loop on Olde Stage, Lee Hill and Lefthand Canyon.
Day 5: Eldarado Canyon. Rough road, would be awesome on a CX bike.
Day 6: Long day, lots of climbing up Trail Ridge. Gulch Rd/County Rd 43 is a must do if you don't mind some dirt: almost zero traffic and great riverside scenery. Beware! No water above park entrance. Bring at least 3 bottles if climbing to the top.
Day 7: Gorgeous! Awesome bike path to get up to start. Do both sides and takes lots of pictures.