Here are five hill climbs, including Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, guaranteed to get you in shape for cycling, races, our just getting better at riding Colorado passes:

1. Lookout Mountain's Lariat Loop (40 miles)

From the intersection of U.S. 40 and Heritage Road head left on Heritage, and hop on the trail that parallels westbound U.S. 6. Turn left at 19th Street, and climb the switchbacks (5.4 percent grade) up Lookout Mountain toward Buffalo Bill's Grave. When the road reconnects with U.S. 40, go right, riding the shoulder of westbound I-70 for two miles, exiting on Evergreen Parkway. Descend to downtown Evergreen, and take Bear Creek Road down to Morrison, connecting with County Road 93 to return to your start.

2. Squaw and Juniper Pass (30 miles)

Start in Bergen Park on Colorado 103. The first mile is gentle, then kicks into a 4 percent grade and doesn't let go except to push it to 5 percent for some stretches, and 10 percent just below Squaw Pass. Much of the ride is between 8,000 and 11,000 feet of elevation. Turn around at Echo Lake after the descent from Juniper Pass.

3. Golden Gate Canyon (26 miles)

At Golden Gate Canyon Road and Colorado 93, start climbing and keep going till you reach the Peak to Peak Highway. This is one of the most punishing paved-road climbs in Colorado, with an average grade of 6.5 percent and a 1-mile stretch near the top that's over 8 percent. And you'll be working on the return trip as well, climbing all the short descents that you enjoyed on the way up.


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4. Flagstaff Mountain (12 miles to the Mountain Park boundary)

Start at Gregory Canyon and Baseline Road in Boulder and head up a half-mile grade, averaging 10 percent. From there, the first 5 miles have a grade average of 6.4 percent. Past the amphitheater turnoff, the grade increases to between 7.4 percent and 14 percent. Go early, before 7 a.m., to avoid traffic.

5. Copper Triangle (78 miles)

Average grade: 7 to 8 percent, with some 11 percent stretches. Start at Copper Mountain Ski Resort and ride south up Colorado 91, over Fremont Pass and down to the intersection just east of Leadville. Turn north on U.S, 24 and ascend Tennessee Pass. Descend through Minturn and turn east on the bicycle path and frontage road paralleling Interstate 70. Ride through Avon to Vail and up the bike path to Vail Pass, descending back to Copper Mountain.