Utah to Phoenix Bicycle Trip
April 16th through April 27th, 2011
It turned out that this was the most challenging of the bicycle trips I have tried so far. Much of the challenge came from the many long, sustained climbs (and many shorter, but steep climbs). This I was aware of, having prepared profiles of all of the steep sections. I also knew there would be multiple sections where it would take us more than one day to get to the next store, so planning supplies of food and water became very important.
What caught me by surprise was the very strong seasonal winds, which I did not know how to research on the Internet. I did take into consideration the climate for the very different regions, ranging from cold temperatures from Flagstaff through Payson, to the hot temperatures of Phoenix to Nogales. In researching the climate, it became apparent that I would have to do the trip in either April, or October.
The long range forecast (from the standpoint of precipitation and temperatures) seemed okay for April, so we went with our primary plan of doing it in April. I was unaware of the very strong winds they often have during April, so we cycled into it, and had to push on through, in spite of the difficulties.
The original intent of the trip was to cycle the length of Arizona, from north to south. Given the unexpected challenges, and the considerable heat in the Phoenix area (along with my choices to take extra days for rest, and for visiting my son), we only made it to the Phoenix area (Mesa, AZ).
Because I wanted to have cycled a contiguous route from Canada to Mexico, we had a short day of cycling, followed by a long, hard day of cycling before we even reached the Arizona border. The total length of the trip we did was 409 miles, as measured on the bicycle odometer.
There were easier routes I could have chosen, but they would have been very boring from the standpoint of scenery. The difficult route chosen was, I think, well worth it for its scenic values, and I was not disappointed by that scenery.
Here is an overview of the trip (on the left), and links to the details and pictures of each day of the trip (on the right):
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