Not far from our house is one of the best climbs in the city of Denver. I named it "Loretto Backside" after the old name of the nearby college campus, Loretto Heights.
The Backside begins at Knox and Hampden and climbs for just under a mile. There is an elevation gain of about 200 feet over that distance which works out to an average grade of about 4%.
Don't let that number fool you. The Backside qualifies as a Categorty 5 climb. It starts out easy, but gets progressively steeper reaching a brutal 20% grade in the last third of a mile. It's a great climb, a fantastic workout, and one of the most challenging short climbs I know of.
I make this climb regularly as a part of two commuting routes I take home. The Backside looms over the last few miles of my commute, so when I get to the bottom I'm warmed up and ready for some work.
And the Backside provides it.
I take it slow, staying in the saddle until I pass Dartmouth where I stand up and "dance" the rest of the way to the summit. My ass is pretty much kicked by the time I get there.
And it feels great.
Although I'm not a great or strong climber, I still get a lot of satisfaction from making a tough climb like Loretto Backside.
If you find yourself on Bear Creek Trail and want challenge to liven up the ride, simply turn north when Bear Creek crosses Lowell, cross Hampden, and head on up