I woke up on the morning of day 4 with dead legs, but I didn't care. I only had 10 hours of riding to get home at which point I could make a much needed massage appointment. Even better I had time for a good breakfast, and better yet, I had a whopping 9,100 ft. of descending in store with only 5,600 ft. of climbing. It would be a good day. The bike was feeling the excitement too:
But first things first, the Mountain Rose Cafe was right next door to my hotel. A bottle of Cholula was already on the table (you know you're at a quality establishment when you don't have to ask for the Cholula) and both the coffee and food were excellent and plentiful. When asked which I wanted on my burrito, sour cream, guacamole, or pico de gallo, I said "Yes":
I finished around 8 AM, waddled out the door with sore legs and a full belly, and got going. The day started easy with some bike path north through town to the ski resort:
It was a long grind up to Rollins Pass but the views back west were nice:
At the pass I realized I had just finished the last big climb of the whole trip. It wasn't all downhill home, there was still 2,000 ft of climbing scattered along the remaining 55 miles, but it sure felt like I was home free at this point:
Once over the trestles and the Needle Eye tunnel it was a quick descent to Jenny Creek. I stopped to filter water for the last time:
then continued on Jenny Creek trail, around the Eldora Resort, and into Nederland. I've got more than 30,000 ft of total descending at this point, hence the brake dust on the fork. It was clean when I got it back from a rebuild at Push Industries just before my trip:
I pushed through Ned without stopping and headed north roughly along the Peak to Peak Highway, taking advantage of dirt options and staying off the road when possible. Finally I turned east on Gold Hill road, which was a bit of a roller coaster. I was so sick of climbing at this point, but suddenly I skidded to a stop. Is that the plains I see stretched out below me?!
Not only that, but it really is all downhill from this point. I tore through Gold Hill:
down Lickskillet and Left Hand Canyon, then struck east on Nelson road. I took a quick break to eat and realized I had one lone food item I had left my house with 4 days ago, a single chocolate Honey Stinger waffle. How much energy did I expend on these 30 grams, I wondered. Your free ride is over, buddy!
Then it was bike path through Longmont. I rode through here 4 days ago at about 4:30 AM. It was much warmer here now at 4:30 PM:
I had to cross all of Longmont to my house on the east side of town, and near Main Street I realized I'd be passing within a block of the Pumphouse Brewery. Not only that, but it was Tuesday evening, which means Guy's Night and $3 pints. Sensing a great photo op and a good way to close out my trip, I stopped in for a beer:
But my family and refrigerator were waiting for me, so I didn't linger but left on the final 3 miles to my house. Only the dog was brave enough to greet me with any enthusiasm, given how I smelled:
The refrigerator recoiled in disgust as well, but I gave no quarter. My wife and daughter got off the hook though, I agreed to get cleaned up before hugging them.