Look at those temperatures! This is Phoenix people - it's not supposed to be that cold at noon in March!
I was looking over my stats on MotionBased.com and I realized that today's ride was the first ride I put in over 50 miles all year! I'm not exactly sure how I managed making it this far into the year without any substantial mileage, but I guess with the whole being sick thing I just hadn't put in any real amount of time on the bike. This was also the first time I've been on a bike for more than 3 hours all year. I've had a couple of rides pushing the 3 hour mark, but nothing's broken through it until today. Even with the lack of riding up til today, I felt good the whole ride.
I started out with the plan of just doing a simple recovery ride. I woke up with my legs still stiff from Thursday's weight session. That plan worked well, I kept my average heart rate right at 130 all the way down the Beeline, but then I cut through the indian reservation. As I rode through and noticed the lack of fences... anywhere, I kept thinking to myself, ok, so when are the dogs going to start chasing me. I had made it all the way across Indian School with just another mile or two to go and right as I started to think I was home free here they come. Actually, it's amazing how easy sprinting is when you're doing it from a 130 bpm heart rate as opposed to 170 or 180. Just as I got those 4 dogs off of my tail here's two pit bulls looking for something to chase. They didn't last as long as the other and within a couple hundred yards were gone. I decided at that point that I was TT'ing it the rest of the way out of the reservation.
Those two spikes coupled with my vain attempt to catch a rouge motorist were the only times my HR spiked during the first few hours. The plan was to come up Via Linda to 136th St and then hit Shea and back home, but the hills beckoned. I ended up doing the 136th and the Via Linda/Hidden Hills climbs three times each. By the time I got home I had put in nearly 12 miles of climbing, and felt great when I got home.
With some company, today's ride would have made a great lower half of a figure eight. You could start out with the easy part through the valley, come back up and do some hill repeats, swing back through Fountain Hills and restock supplies, then take off on the loop around the mountain and finish off with another set of repeats. That would put the 9 mile climb somewhere in around mile 70 and would put the total mileage somewhere in the region of 110 miles with about 30 miles of climbing! I felt like I could have done that today since I was just out dinking around, but I would have gone stir crazy on that climb out of Rio Verde without someone to talk to or something to occupy my thoughts other than counting utility poles. That climb is mentally tough enough when it happens in the first 30 minutes of a ride, I can't imagine doing it 4 hours in.