Sunday we rode the Peak to Peak Highway from Raymond, CO to Ward, CO and back. You can experience this part of the Peak to Peak Highway through my eyes by reading my blog post.
Yesterday (Thursday), we decided to ride a different section of the Peak to Peak Highway…Nederland (or Ned as the locals call it) to Ward and back. This was a slightly longer ride (only by 2 miles each way), but some of the steeper climbs in this section of the highway were MUCH longer.
We started at the Park and Ride in Nederland, which is a perfect place to start if you are driving to the Peak to Peak Highway and not doing the loop the locals do that starts/ends in Boulder (a ~60 mile loop that includes part of the Peak to Peak Highway).
When you leave Ned, you IMMEDIATELY start a rather STEEP climb!! Most of the climbs on this ride were either 4-5% grade or 8-10% grade. There wasn’t much in between. There was 1500+ feet of climbing in the first 12 miles (Ned to Ward), with the last 600 feet of climbing occurring in the return trip. Just for comparison, the section we rode from Raymond to Ward was mostly around 7%, with a few steeper sections and 1800+ feet of climbing in those first 10 miles.
Around mile 4, we had a very LONG climb at a 10% grade. This one mile stretch took us 9:19 to climb (I’ll let you know how quickly we descended this same mile in a little bit)…long, slow slugfest. There were a few sections of the climb that appeared to be descents, but were actually false climbs instead…so misleading.
The views along the way were magnificent!
We stopped in Ward at the Utica Street Market for a quick break, a snack and some mid ride fun…
After our break, we hopped back on the saddle for a much easier return trip to Ned. We of course had to stop along the way and take some pictures of the view…
Oh…that mile climb that took us 9:19 to ascend…it took us 1:43 to descend WITH the breaks on…so much fun, but definitely a challenging ride!!
This section of the Peak to Peak Highway had a few more potholes than the stretch of highway between Raymond and Ward, but it wasn’t anything you couldn’t successfully avoid. If you ride this stretch of road later in the day, be careful…the winds REALLY pick up through the valleys and on top of the mountain, so be sure to keep both hands on the handlebars!!
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this bike ride if you get to this area of Colorado!!