Colorado Bike Climbs - Belly Ache

Photo Credit: John Summerson

Thanks to John Summerson for providing much of the content below from his great book The Complete Guide to Climbing by Bike

Colorado is filled with great riding and with its multiple mountains contains plenty of high altitude and solid climbing as well. This month’s ascent certainly qualifies as it is one of the most difficult in the state. Located in the central part of the state a short distance west of Vail, Belly Ache is a bit isolated but I think most will find that the climb and scenery more than make up for the effort to get there.

Belly Ache
Total elevation - 2,066 ft Length - 5.2 miles
Average Grade - 7.5% (10%) Rating - 1.79 (cat 1)

You may get one on this challenging ascent just west of Vail. Solid grade from the start, the road makes a large semi-circle through an open hillside to begin the torture. Soon the grade eases as you pass a golf course and encounter a bit more congestion. The slope then increases again as you enter an area of homes and some evergreens. Quiet streets and a variable grade create pleasant climbing through this neighborhood stretch. Excellent views to the north and east appear near the top along with a stretch of challenging grade. The climb ends where the pavement and residences end. Belly Ache is a somewhat challenging descent as well.

Directions - Along Interstate 70 in Wolcott, Colorado, take exit 157. Turn south and the climb begins almost immediately at the cattle guard by continuing south up the hill.

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