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Additional race information can be found at http://www.bullshifters.org/heart-of-arizona/.
The Heart of Arizona is a classic bicycle ride started in 1983 and resurrected twelve years ago by the Bullshifters Bicycling Club. The Heart of Arizona's three routes have been changed to give participants the opportunity to climb Yarnell Grade, made famous by the Race Across America. It's a beautiful seven mile climb on wide, smooth shoulders that stays a steady 5% to 6% while giving spectacular views of Vulture Peak and the enormous valley below.
After leaving the small town of Yarnell, you will find the route mostly downhill with a few rollers as you leave the green pastures of Peeples Valley. After stopping at the first SAG just before Kirkland Junction you'll make your way on the virtually unknown, low traffic Wagoner Road to the turnaround. This road has been described as, "The best hidden gem in the entire area". The century riders will leave the second SAG and climb to the hamlet of Wilhoit. Then you will make your way back to Kirkland Junction and take a right up to the small village of Skull Valley, where the third SAG will be waiting for you. You will then return on silky smooth pavement to the location of the first SAG, which will also be your last SAG. There’s a climb to get back to Yarnell, but your reward is the thrilling 7 mile descent of Yarnell Hill! This is what you’ve worked for all day long. After the e-ticket descent, you’ll have a couple miles of soft peddling and story telling with your riding buds as you cruise on in to the finish.
Bullshifter SAGs compete with one another to be the best SAG on the ride. Each one will have the standard fare riders expect to nourish their bodies, but Bullshifter SAGs often give the riders something extra special. Sometimes it's roasted chicken sandwiches, roasted potatoes, home made pastries, or root beer floats. Many riders have told us the Heart of Arizona is the best supported ride they have ever ridden.
The 44 mile riders will turnaround at the first SAG in Kirkland Junction. Once you’ve rested and refueled, you get to retrace your route back to the finish where helpful volunteers await your arrival. Did I mention the 7 mile descent of Yarnell hill?!? This, alone, is worth the entry fee!
The Metric Century riders will stop at the first SAG in Kirkland Junction before continuing on the wonderful, low-traffic Wagoner Road. You'll be crossing over the headwaters of the Hassayampa River on a bridge built in 1922 (there's a plaque stating the structure is listed in the National Historic Registry) and you'll ride through a ranch with a couple of large ponds, a lawn and large shade trees right beside the road. The vistas of the remote, pristine desert valleys and mountains are absolutely outstanding. A note of warning: If you are riding with friends, be prepared to stop so you can take pictures of each other as you ride across the very photogenic bridge.
At the finish sit back, relax, and have a soft drink on us. You’ve earned it by riding 42 miles with 3100’, 64 miles with 4700', or 102 miles with over 6000’ of climbing! Although ride participants can ride this event at whatever pace they want, remember, it is a ride, not a race!
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