Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © April 1 2009

Welcome to the April Fool's Day edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News. Don't worry, there will be no April Fool's jokes in this issue. The writing of this issue has been delayed due to my spending hours working on my 2008 income tax returns. I apologize for the delay.

This newsletter is sent out by E-mail every other Wednesday and attempts to cover news and events of interest to cyclists who ride the streets and roads of Arizona, be they racers, club riders, commuters, recreational riders or tourists. Subscriptions to Arizona Road Cyclist News are free of charge. Please feel free to forward it to your friends. If someone has forwarded this newsletter to you, you may sign up for your own free subscription by visiting www.azroadcyclist.com and clicking on the "Subscribe to Arizona Road Cyclist News" tab at the left of the screen. You may also forward individual articles to your friends as long as you reference the www.azroadcyclist.com Website and mention that the article is copyrighted.

In this issue:
     Our First Sponsor
     Upcoming Arizona Races
     The Midweek Criterium Series Resumes Next Week
     Bicycle Swap Meet & Tempe's Bike-a-Palooza
     Bicycle Racing on Versus
     El Tour de Phoenix and the Tour of the Tucson Mountains
     The Answer to the Challenge
     ABC's Desert Classic Century
     Family Bicycle Events This Weekend
     GABA Tucson Rides
    

Our First Sponsor

We are delighted to have our first sponsor, Bicycle Tires Direct, which also does business under the name of Western Bicycle Works. Not only does the company carry the world's larges selection of bicycle tires, it has great prices on clothing, shoes, and bicycle accessories. You can visit the company's Website by clicking on the banner below. If you buy anything after entering the site through the banner ad in the newsletter or on the www.azroadcyclist.com Website, a few pennies will clatter into the Road Cyclist News coffers to help pay the electric bill for running the computer. Until April 9, Bike Tires Direct is offering an extra 10% off on race tires to readers who enter discount code RACE409.

BikeTiresDirect.com Animated Leader-board GIF 728x90

Upcoming Arizona Races

This weekend brings a pair of races in Southern Arizona promoted by the U of A Cycling Club and the Tucson bike shop Fair Wheel Bikes. The promoters are billing the races as an omnium.

Saturday's race is a criterium to be held in Tucson, and Sunday's race is a road race, which the promoters claim to be "the most difficult one-day race in the state." The road race will be held on a six-mile circuit, which should afford the spectators with ample opportunities to see the riders, as each group will pass any given spot several times during the race. The promoters say that the course has 460 feet of vertical climbing per lap. The race's brochure is available online by clicking here.

April 11 brings the Copper Valley Road Race, which starts in the Globe area and features races for men up to age group 50+ and women up to age group 35+ plus a single juniors' race. To view the race's brochure in PDF format, click here.

The RideClean Arizona Criterium championship races will be held on Sunday April 19 in downtown Phoenix in an area bounded by First and Fifth Avenues on the east and west and Washington and Monroe Streets on the south and north, a site that should draw beaucoup spectators. The course is a figure 8 with a side loop that features a 180-degee turn. There are also eight 90-degree turns per lap, a course that should favor good bike handlers. This is a race that I don't want to miss, and if you enjoy watching exciting bicycle racing, you shouldn't miss it either. Racing begins at 6:30 a.m. with the women's category 1 and 2 race beginning at 1:30 p.m. followed by the men's category 1 and 2 race at 2:45 p.m. To view the race flyer, click here.

The month of April finishes with the three-day Vuelta de Bisbee from Friday April 24 through Sunday April 26. This race often attracts top out-of-state racers and may be worth a weekend trip to Bisbee. There are only two races, one for professional, category 1 and 2 senior men and another for master men 35+ who are at least category 4. The race begins with the traditional short 2.8-mile time trial with 837 feet of climbing up Mule Pass on Friday afternoon, continues with a road race and a time trial on Saturday and ends with a road race on Sunday for a total of 177 miles for the younger riders and 138 miles for the old guys. I raced this event twice in my younger days and can testify to its quality. This is as close as you can get to a European style major road race in Arizona. To view the event's Website, click here.

The Midweek Criterium Series Resumes Next Week

The Phoenix Consumer Cycle Club's Wednesday Evening Criterium Series, held in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium, resumes next week, April 7, and continues through the final Wednesday of the month. Four races are held each evening, with the shorter race for beginning and younger racers beginning at 5 p.m., working up to the race for the most advanced riders beginning at 6:15 p.m. and continuing to approximately 7 p.m. On the last Wednesday of the month, April 29, the advanced race will be followed by a race for fixed-gear bicycles. There is no charge for spectators, and entry fees for racers are moderate, $5 for the beginners or D race and $10 for the other races. A license from USA Cycling is required to race, and USA Cycling racing rules apply. One-day and annual licenses can be purchased at the race.

These races are exciting to watch, and the atmosphere is casual. Bring your lawn chairs, drinks and snacks or even consider holding a tailgate party as you watch the races. The entrance to the event is from the south side of Van Buren Street, just east of Priest Drive, which is called Galvin Parkway north of Van Buren.

Bicycle Swap Meet & Tempe's Bike-a-Palooza

As mentioned in the past several editions of Arizona Road Cyclist News, the big bicycle swap meet, put on by the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, takes place this Sunday, April 5 from 7 a.m. until noon in Kiwanis Park. Bring your old bicycling junk that you would like to unload on someone else and be prepared to pick up some real bargains from the other sellers. The swap meet is part of Tempe's Bike-a-Palooza celebration. Other events at Kiwanis Park on Sunday morning include a bicycle Rodeo. To view the Bike-a-Palooza's flyer in PDF format, click here.

Bicycle Racing on Versus

The cable and satellite TV channel Versus will broadcast short summaries of several professional bicycle races this month. It's the season of the spring classics in Northern France and Belgium, one-day races that are often held in miserable weather and whose courses usually include stretches of cobblestone roads. The Tour of Flanders broadcast is from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 4, and a 2-hour summary of Paris-Roubaix will be broadcast from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday April 12. Liege-Bastogne is scheduled to be broadcast on April 26 beginning at 1 p.m. to be followed by Fleche-Wallone at 1:30 p.m.

El Tour de Phoenix and the Tour of the Tucson Mountains

El Tour de Phoenix takes place on April 4. The Tour begins at Red Mountain Park in Mesa and includes a kids and family ride as well as rides of 26 and 74 miles for more serious cyclists. The ride is promoted by the Perimeter Bicycling Association (PBA). Registration closes April 3. For more information, click here.

The PBA will also promote the Tour of the Tucson Mountains on April 26. To access the event's Web site and to register, click here.

The Answer to the Challenge

Those of us who have been around Arizona cycling for many decades remember the Arizona challenge, Arizona's first marathon bicycling event. Riders on the challenge rode from Phoenix, up the Beeline Highway to Payson and then up the Rim to Strawberry, back down from the Rim into Verde Valley, over Mingus Mountain to Prescott, down Yarnell Hill to Wickenburg and back to Phoenix, all in one long ride, stopping only to eat and take care of nature's demands. Light during the night was provided by generator lights on the bikes, which were primitive compared to today's bicycle lighting systems. One of the riders told me that the trick on the descents was to keep speed slow enough so that the generator would not produce too high of a voltage and blow out the bulbs. In all, the ride covered 325 miles with 22,000 feet of climbing, and riders were expected to complete it in 24 hours.

For those who didn't fancy hopping on their bikes and riding 325 miles through Arizona's mountains before getting off again, Landis Cyclery initiated a tamer version of the ride, which it dubbed The Answer to the Challenge. This ride followed the same route, but riders were given three days to complete the course and got to spend the nights in bed. The original Arizona challenge is defunct, but The Answer to the Challenge lives on, still promoted by Landis with ample help from the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, and hardy riders can participate in it on April 24, 25, and 26. It is still a very tough ride, suitable only for those who can pedal 100 miles plus for three days in a row while spinning up some of the longest climbs in Arizona.

This ride has great sag support courtesy of Landis, and at less than twice the cost of your typical century ride, the price is a bargain at $60 for members of PMBC, GABA, or ABC or USA Cycling licensed riders who register by April 18. Others add $5. For late registration, add $10. Riders are expected to arrange their own accommodations for the two overnight stays en route. For more information and to access the registration form, click here.

ABC's Desert Classic Century

The Arizona Bicycle Club's Desert Classic Century, takes place on May 2. The ride's Website is surprisingly sparse on details, but there are usually several distance options including a full century run (100 miles), a metric century run (60 miles or 100 kilometers), and a shorter ride of approximately 30 miles. Registration is $35 for members of ABC, GABA, and Bullshifters and $40 for anyone who does not belong to one of these clubs for those who preregister no later than April 15. After that date, the fee increases by $5. The fee includes sag stops, pizza at the end of the ride from sponsor Oggie's Pizza, insurance, and ABC cycling socks for the first 130 registrants. As this was written, the Website did not indicate the starting location, although the ride typically starts in the parking lot in front of Oggie's Pizza. The online sign-up sheet for the ride can be accessed by clicking here.

Family Bicycle Events this Weekend

Several bicycle events are planned in the Phoenix area this weekend as part of the kickoff of the Valley Bike Month. Many of these events are short rides designed for families with young children.

The City of Chandler is holding a family bike ride on Saturday, April 4. The event starts in the Park-and-Ride lot at the southwest corner of Germann and Hamilton with registration opening at 9 a.m. and the ride itself beginning at 10 a.m. The price is right: registration is free, and the first 100 people to register receive a free T-shirt. The ride is a kid-friendly seven miles long. For more information about the ride and to access the registration form and liability waver, click here.

The City of Peoria is holding a short, 6-mile kid-friendly bike ride on Saturday in conjunction with its Peoria Pioneer Day celebration. The ride is free with registration at 8:30 a.m. and the ride start at 9 a.m. For a complete list of events scheduled as part of the celebration, click here.

GABA Tucson Rides

GABA Tucson presents the Triangle L. Ranch Overnight ride on April 25 and 26. The ride offers 58, 42, and 15 mile options on the ride to Triangle L. Ranch in the Catalina Mountains. Overnight accommodations are in shared guest cottages or you can camp out. The price is a bit steep at $105 for GABA members and $115 for non-members including overnight lodging or $65 for members and $75 for non-members for those camping out. There is no mention of a discount for members of other cycling clubs. To reach the ride's Web page and online registration, click here.

GABA's annual Salt River Canyon Tour takes place on May 2 and May 3, starting in Globe. This ride offers some spectacular scenery and is an Arizona classic event and features 85-mile and 65-mile variations. The ride cost is $105. GABA members with a user name and password for GABA's Web site receive an undisclosed discount. Again, there is no mention of a discount for members of other clubs to reciprocate for the discount that other clubs offer GABA members. (Should other clubs follow suit by charging GABA Tucson members full fee for their rides?) For more information, click here.

Arizona Road Cyclist News,  http://www.azroadcyclist.com

Jack Quinn, Editor