Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Climbs: Loretto Backside

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.

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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