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Heart of Arizona Century


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Saturday was the Bull Shifter Heart of Arizona Century.  There are 3 routes, a 200k brevet, a century, and a 44-mile out and back.  I rode the century the first time last year, and I told 2 friends I would ride the century with them this year.

I got up 3:30 Saturday morning, and for some reason felt nervous about the ride.  The temp at Congress (AZ, where the ride starts/ends) was 55, so not too bad, but it called for an 80% chance of morning T-storms.  It is 70 miles to Congress, and I left about 5:40.  It was cloudy, but no lightning or rain.

We started at about 7:25.  The temp was mild, and the first 30 miles was flat or a slight downhill.  It rained ahead of us, just before the first sag stop at 28 miles, but all we had to deal with was wet pavement.  About 2 miles after the sag we started the first climb.  At 34 miles we turned off of US-93, which was nice.  We then had some rollers for several miles, and the terrain changed to scrub cedar and high desert plants.  We ran into a drizzle, but not quite enough for us to stop and put on jackets, and it was brief.  It was still partly cloudy, and you felt cool unless the sun came thru.

After the sag stop at 50 miles we had a mile or two of downhill, then the hardest climb of the day, seven miles of (probably) a 5-6 % grade.  I am a bit stronger climber than they are, so I stopped a few times for regroups.  At the sag at 62 miles they had sandwiches and cokes. Since it was 1230 it was a great time for that.  The wind picked up after we got there, and as we were about to leave I put on my wind vest.

I was in the lead (as it would turn out for the rest of the ride) as we went downhill for a couple of miles, then gradually uphill for the next 20 miles until the last sag.  Again the route is beautiful, climbing through some hills and past mountains.  Some of the landscape was rocky, and some was high desert grassland, with ranches and cottonwood trees.  We had a crosswind, which for the last five miles to the last sag stop was a headwind.

At the last sag we were treated to root beer floats, a standard thing for the last sag of the Heart.  The next 12 miles were climbing into the town of Yarnell.  Again you pass by several ranches and high desert grassland.  We regrouped a couple of times, the last being just before we went down Yarnell Hill, where you descend 1000-1200 feet in 7 miles.

We rode back into Congress to the start, with the smell of the grill and the burgers greeting us.

I did hear Amy say she might have sagged in but for the fact Dennis and I kept waiting for her.  That made us feel good, as well as Dennis thanking me for taking the pull the last 50 miles.  My only real disappointment was the GoPro quit working just before we go to the test looking terrain.  Not sure what went wrong.

http://www.strava.com/activities/214454329

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Nice report, AZ.

 

Bummer you had to pull everyone the last 50 miles, but obviously they appreciated it. Nicer to be able to ride together and chat it up.  Ah well.

 

What is with the root beer float thing? They offer that here at the Delta Co Century Ride like it's a great thing to end the ride. Well, not in my book. I need real nutrition when I ride. Ya, fast carbs at the end of a ride; I get that. But it just doesn't work for me.

 

Glad to hear someone is still riding. With the 30-something temps here and the ridiculous winds, I think my riding will be in the basement on the rollers. sigh...

 

Thanks again for the report. We Yoopers need to live vicariously this time of year.  ;)

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Nice report, AZ.

 

Bummer you had to pull everyone the last 50 miles, but obviously they appreciated it. Nicer to be able to ride together and chat it up.  Ah well.

 

What is with the root beer float thing? They offer that here at the Delta Co Century Ride like it's a great thing to end the ride. Well, not in my book. I need real nutrition when I ride. Ya, fast carbs at the end of a ride; I get that. But it just doesn't work for me.

 

Glad to hear someone is still riding. With the 30-something temps here and the ridiculous winds, I think my riding will be in the basement on the rollers. sigh...

 

Thanks again for the report. We Yoopers need to live vicariously this time of year.   ;)

 

It was not a bummer to pull for them Smudge: I was glad to do it. There have been plenty of rides where a stronger rider pulled for me, or stayed with me.

 

The Bulls have great sags for the Heart (not that I am biased or anything...).  We only have the floats at the last sag.  Last year it was much warmer the day of the ride (and we had the headwinds too) so the float tasted really good.  There were plenty of other nutritious snacks too, such as pretzels (I forget.. I gobbled some pretzels then had the float).

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