Best Road Bike Ride in Denver
This post is for those who prefer to roll on skinny wheels! MTB is so hot right now, so hot, but I still love a good ole fashioned road ride where I don't feel like my face is about to be bashed into a rock the whole time. Mkay?
This is the BEST road bike ride in Denver. That's not just my opinion, I asked 2 other people and they agreed (Hi Dad + Whitney, great ride last night!).
If the name doesn't tell you what this ride is all about, let me fill you in. It's straight uphill, the entire ride, until you turn around and free fall all the way down.
It is just such a good ride. Amazing for training, will really teach you active recovery because at no point will you be able to stop pedaling. You have to really focus on your cadence the entire ride so you will be constantly working on your pedal stroke efficiency and thinking about different parts of the stroke (so you don't die). If you start at the turn left for highgrade (see 3rd map below) you climb for about an hour - I always try to get sub hour, last night I went 40 seconds over :( and you end at a park that is set up for bikers! If you do this ride on a weekend there will be tons of bikers out with you and the coolers at the park will be full of cold gatorades, waters, and snacks! It's a really fun part of the road biking community and a great rest spot. The drinks and snacks are donation based for keeping up the bike park. Because this road sees so much bike traffic the cars are usually very respectful since they are used to bikers. There isn't a huge shoulder, you'll be riding on the white line, but it never feels unsafe to me because the cars wait to pass you.
It's also super convenient, even coming from downtown during rush hour (at 5pm) it would only take 30-40 mins. There are also different starting points depending on how bad ass you feel that day. There is also a loop option so you can extend the ride to City View and get some rolling hills in!
If you want to start at the beginning off Highgrade and cut out the Deer Creek warmup from the reservoir, take the Kipling exit off C470. You can start all the way down at Chatfield Reservoir if you're feelin like a real monster and have plenty of time. The map below shows the full course, starting at the res going up Deer Creek Road, turning left to climb up Highgrade, continuing past the bike park to the right hand turn to do the City View loop and back down Deer Creek Road.
Here is a look at the quick-only-Highgrade ride that's perfect for after work:
As you can see, you climb almost 3000 ft realllllll quick. That is the elevation gain if you start at the reservoir, but most of the gain is in the canyon and right after. The left turn to Highgrade where I start for quick rides has a dirt pull-off big enough for several cars and a porta-potty. You can find more maps and breakdowns of different sections on Mapmyride.
Pro Tip: When you come out of the canyon and you think you must be almost done, you're only halfway. Keep grinding.