Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © April 21, 2010

Published every other Wednesday and sent out by E-mail free of charge. To modify or cancel your subscription, click here.

In this issue:
     Crashes Mar Tour de Phoenix
     Update on Flagstaff Situation
     Share the Road Sign Near Thompson Peak
     Upcoming Pro Bike Racing on Versus
     The Giro d'Italia on Universalsports.com
     April is Bike Month in Maricopa Country
     Phoenix Midweek Criterium Series Ends Next Tuesday
     La Vuelta de Bisbee -- April 23 thru 25
     Wet-N-Wild Classic -- April 24 & 25
     600-Kilometer Brevet -- April 24 & 25
     Tour of the Tucson Mountains -- April 25
     Ride for the Children -- April 25
     ABC's Desert Classic -- May 1 (Will it happen?)
     Answer to the Challenge -- April 30 thru May 2
     Arizona Criterium Championships -- May 2
     South Mountain Time Trial -- May 8
     PMBC's Tour de Payson -- May 8
     Arizona Road Race Championships & Mount Lemon
     Correction
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Crashes Mar Tour de Phoenix

Several cyclists were seriously injured in the recent Tour de Phoenix. Most seriously injured was John Langdon, a member of the Bull Shifters Bicycling Club. According to witnesses, while riding on Shea Boulevard a cyclist next to John blew a tire  and lost control of his bike, taking down two other cyclists including John. The other cyclist reportedly suffered a fractured hip and femur. John landed face first on the pavement and shattered both eye sockets and suffered serious brain trauma. The most recent report that I received was that he was in a Valley hospital in serous condition.

It is probably no secret to readers of this newsletter that I take a dim view of these large bicycle rides that are run as mass-start races and which all too often leave some of their participants seriously injured and sometimes permanently disabled. Bicycle racing is inherently dangerous, but when a cyclist races in an event sanctioned by USA Cycling, the cyclist knows that the other riders are licensed, that most of the other cyclists have experience riding in tight packs, and that rules limit the size of the field. Even under those conditions, serious accidents can happen, but in these unlicensed pseudo-races, anyone can enter, which means that many of the people riding near you may be very strong but inexperienced in pack-riding techniques.

Update on the Flagstaff Situation

In the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I wrote an update on the situation in Flagstaff where cyclist Randy Mason was buzzed by a city bus and later arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct when he calmly attempted to inform the bus driver that he had violated Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 28-735, which requires motor vehicles to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. The charge was dismissed when the videos recorded on the bus and at the bus stop showed that Randy had acted in a calm manner and the the bus had indeed violated ARS 28-735 and was also speeding when the offense occurred. I wrote that I had read that as a result of a legal opinion, the bus driver was reportedly ticketed for the two traffic violations, but I was unable to confirm it. I have since learned that the citations were indeed issued against bus driver Evan M. Russell. The case number is M-0341-TR-2010002436, which you may follow by clicking here and them by typing TR into the fist box under "Search by Case Number" and the numerical part of the case number in the following box. The case is being adjucated in Flagstaff Municipal Court.

Mr. Russell apparently also apparently received suspended sentence for an unsafe lane change in Verde Valley Justice Court in July of last year.

Share the Road Sign Near Thompson Peak

Suzanne Cassini of the Bull Shifters Bicycle Club sent the following welcome information:

Our little Bullette ladies' group was riding north on Scottsdale Road heading north to turn right on Thompson Peak. Just before Thompson Peak there is a new electronic sign that had two messages alternating: Share the Road, followed by Watch for bikes and motorcycles!

Upcoming Pro Bike Racing on Versus

The sports channel Versus, available as part of some packages on cable and satellite TV, is scheduled to broadcast highlights of the Fleche-Wallonne race on April 25 from 11:00 a.m. until noon and the Tour of Romandie from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on May 3. Both are Mountain Standard Time.

From there, it gets pretty hazy. The Versus Web site said, when I checked it on Sunday, that the channel would broadcast the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race on May 1, but I was unable to find any bicycle racing on Dish Networks program guide for that date. Versus also promises to broadcast the Tour of California daily from May 16 through May 23 but has not yet announced the broadcast times.

The Giro d'Italia on Universalsports.com

Universalsports.com/cycling will Webcast the Giro d'Italia stages daily from May 8 through May 30 with the exception of May11 and 24, which are a rest days. The quality isn't as good as TV, but it is acceptable, and the Webcast is the only way that I know that Phoenix residents can watch the second-most-important bike race in the world, after the Tour de France, without paying money. The Webcasts are archived on site and can be viewed at your leisure, even several days after the stage has finished. To see the full race schedule, click here.

April is Bike Month in Maricopa County

April is Bike Month in Maricopa Country, and several communities and organizations have scheduled bicycle events to promote the month. Events include Bike-to-Work (and School) Day on April 22 in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Maricopa County. Gilbert's Bike-to-Work Day is April 26.

The Phoenix Children's Hospital has also scheduled a bike safety day on April 22. On Saturday April 24, Peoria will be the site of the free (the donation of a can of food is requested) Re-Cycle the River ride, a short five-mile ride with an opportunity to go swimming beginning at Rio Vista Community Park at 8866 W. Thunderbird Road.

For those of you on the east side of the Valley, Mesa's 12-mile Bike4Life ride also takes place on April 24 beginning at Mountain View Park at Lindsay and Adobe Roads from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Sunday April 25 brings the Valley Metro Great Bike Chase which includes a bicycle safety rodeo, face painting, drawings for prizes, police-escorted rides and a Valley Bike Month t-shirt. 

To see a schedule of bicycle events through the end of the month with links to those events, click here.

Phoenix Midweek Criterium Series Ends Next Tuesday

The Phoenix Consumer Cycle Club's Midweek Criterium Series has been running on Tuesday evenings since the beginning of February in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium a the corner of Priest (also know as Galvin Parkway) and Van Buren from 5 to 7 p.m. Next Tuesday is the grand finale of the 2010 series. This criterium is especially interesting to spectators, because they are able to view the racers and their tactics the full length of the closed course. Enter the parking lot on the south side of Van Buren, just west of Galvin Parkway. For licensed racers, entry fees are inexpensive at only $5 or $10, depending on the race.

La Vuelta de Bisbee -- April 23 thru 25

It's hard to believe that this is the 32nd edition of the Vuelta de Bisbee stage race. I raced the Vuelta twice in its early days as a member of the Phoenix Consumer Cycle Club's B team when it was one of the most important races on the U.S. calendar, and I then announced the race two years in a row. This race has special memories for me.

The race used to consist of a time trial, a road race, and one of the wildest criteriums seen anywhere. The course climbed Brewery Gulch and Schoolhouse Hill and then came screaming down Tombstone Canyon while cyclists fought to keep their bikes under control while being tossed about on the poorly paved streets. Large numbers of spectators used to make the drive from Phoenix and Tucson to Bisbee to watch Sunday's criterium while standing three deep on the sidewalks at the better vantage points.

The race is calmer these days, but its history has made it an Arizona icon. The race is now divided into two classes, an A group and a B group. The A group consists of senior men who are professionals or category 1 through 3. The B group is for masters men of at least 35 years of age who are category 1 through 4. Both groups race four stages -- two time trials and two road races -- with the A group racing longer distances in the road races. The A group races a total of 176 miles with 10,056 of climbing and the B group races 137 miles with 8,842 miles of climbing. To access the race's Website, click here.

Wet-N-Wild Classic -- April 24 & 25

The Wet'n'Wild Cycling Classic, named for the water park that is the event's main sponsor, takes place on this weekend. Wet'n'Wild consists of two circuit races on the same closed 1.5-mile course on North 43rd Avenue in Adobe Dam Park in Glendale. Riders race the loop in the clockwise direction on Saturday and counterclockwise on Sunday. The races seem designed mainly for beginning racers, as the adult men's categories are 4 and 5, although there is a category 1, 2 and 3 women's race. To access the race's Website, click here.

600-Kilometer Brevet -- April 24 & 25

For you riders who don't get warmed up until you are at least 200 miles into a ride, the 600-kilometer (370-mile) Casa Grande to Tombstone brevet is for you. The ride will start at 5 a.m. on April 24 at the Wal-Mart on Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande, Arizona and finish the next day. As part of the ride will be conducted in the dark, all bikes must be equipped with front and rear lights, and riders are also required to wear a reflective vest or sash and ankle reflectors. Riders will have 40 hours to complete the ride, so there are facilities set up en route to catch 40 winks. Cost of the ride is $55 which includes a food checkpoint in Elgin at mile 263, a dinner, sleep stop, breakfast, and bag drop in Elgin. Riders must pre-register by mail, so if you are motivated to do this ride, you should get your registration in the mail immediately. To go to the ride's homepage, click here.

Tour of the Tucson Mountains -- April 25

Despite its name, the Tour of the Tucson Mountains is a mostly flat ride with 73- and 27-mile courses plus fun rides of 4 and 1/4 miles. The ride starts at Marana Town Hall and goes around the Tucson Mountains, not over them. Online registration closes on April 22, although in-person registrations will be accepted through April 24 at the Perimeter Bicycling Association's office in Tucson. To access the ride's homepage with links to registration and further information, click here.

Ride for the Children -- April 25

The 13th Annual Ride for the Children takes place on Sunday April 25, starting at Horizon High School at 5601 East Greenway Road in Scottsdale. This is a fund-raising ride for homeless children who attend school in Maricopa County. For those not yet registered, registration is $70 for adults and $25 for children, and riders are encouraged to raise additional donations. Riders will have a choice of riding 65, 25, or 10 miles. To access the ride's Website, click here. The cost of the ride takes a bit of calculating. Riders who raise at least $100 in contributions ride free. Others pay a $45 basic registration fee plus at least $10 in contributions plus a "processing fee" of $25 for those who did not register prior to April 1. (The processing fee began at $10 from January 1 to February 28.)

ABC's Desert Classic -- May 1 (Will it happen?)

ABC's Desert Classic will be held on May 1. As usual, the ride starts at Oggi's Pizza at 6681 W. Beardsley Road in Glendale with registration opening at 6 a.m. The 100-mile century ride gets under way at 7 a.m. and the metric and half century rides start at 7:30. These rides are mostly flat but often windy. For those not registered by April 22, the cost is $40 for members of ABC, GABA and the Bull Shifters and $45 for others (subtract $5 from the registration if you register right away).

ABC has been doing its best to keep this ride a secret this year. In the April edition of the club's newsletter, I found three events put on by other clubs listed for May 1 in the calendar section, but not ABC's own ride. If word about this ride doesn't get out soon, I think the turnout will be small if the ride even takes place. I had to do quite a bit of searching to find ABC's new Website, which is hosted by clubexpress.com. As of yesterday, the site listed a total of seven riders registered for the Desert Classic. Let's hope that the word gets out about this ride and more riders register so that the ride takes place.

You can view the ABC's new Website by clicking here and then click on the links to information about the ride and online registration and a printable, mail-in registration form. ABC members received their login information for this site by E-mail yesterday, and if they want to avoid the late fee, they should register by tomorrow. If I understand clubexpress.com's Website's policy correctly, riders who are not members of ABC will be charged a $2 processing fee if they register online but others will.

Answer to the Challenge -- April 30 thru May 2

About three decades ago, a group of Phoenix-area riders decided to do a marathon ride starting in Scottsdale, proceeding up to Payson and then up onto the Mogollon Rim, down through the Verde Valley, over Mingus Mountain, through Prescott, down Yarnell Hill, through Wickenburg, and then back to Scottsdale. The ride started on a Saturday morning, proceeded through the night, and ended on Sunday. Riders stopped only to eat, take short rests, and answer the call of nature. The bikes were equipped with generator lights, which were the only lights that could be counted on to burn all night in those days but which added quite a bit of drag to the bicycle's progress. The riders dubbed this 325-mile ride the Arizona Challenge.

For riders who were not up to doing the whole ride in one go, Dick Landis of Landis Cyclery came up with the Answer to the Challenge. Riders participating in the Answer would ride the same route but split it over three days, still a very challenging ride, since riders would be required to average more than 100 miles a day with roughly 22,000 feet of climbing. Fast forward to 2010 and the Arizona Challenge is just a memory. However, the Answer to the Challenge lives on, thanks to Dick Landis and the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club.

The ride starts at Landis Cyclery on the Southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard at 5:30 a.m. (check-in opens at 5) on Friday April 20 and proceeds up the Beeline Highway through Payson and up the Rim to Strawberry the first day and includes 10,000 feet of climbing. The second day descends the Rim through the Verde Valley, ends in Prescott, and includes 6,000 feet of climbing. The third day is a relatively easy 125 miles, assuming bucking monster headwinds and riding through the desert with temperatures that can exceed 100 degrees can be called easy.

The ride is supported, but cyclists are responsible for finding their own accommodations in Strawberry and Prescott. Riders should be warned that hotel bookings in Strawberry fill up early for this event. Considering the cost of supporting this three-day ride, registration is a relatively modest $60 for members of PMBC, GABA, and ABC and for USA Cycling-licensed riders until April 24. Others pay an extra $5. After April 24, add another $10.

If this extreme ride sounds like your cup of tea, you can access the ride's Webpage with links to registration forms on the PMBC Website by clicking here.

Arizona Criterium Championships -- May 2

The Arizona Criterium Championship races take place this year in downtown Scottsdale on May 2 with races for all USA Cycling categories, for masters in 5-year age increments, and for juniors in 2-year age increments. The action starts at 7 a.m. and doesn't end until 5 p.m.  You can view the race's preliminary flyer in PDF format by clicking here.

GABA's Salt River Canyon Tour -- May 1 & 2

The annual Salt River Canyon Tour, if my memory serves me correctly, dates back to the days when GABA was know as CABA, the Central (instead of Greater) Arizona Bicycle Association and had its headquarters in Tempe instead of Tucson. This year's tour takes place on May 1 and May 2 and is 85 miles each way from Globe to Show Low and back with 8,500 feet of climbing on Saturday and 5,000 feet of climbing on Sunday. As it often does, GABA will provide a shuttle service that cuts 20 miles and some of the climbing off the ride each day for those who are not up to pedaling the entire distance. Those who take advantage of the shuttle must have pre-registered by April 15.

Riders will meet between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. in front of the Gila County Courthouse on Saturday morning to load their duffel bags into the luggage van and then hit the road. There will be three SAG stops en route at the 20-, 40- and 60-mile points. Lunch is also provided, although riders are responsible for their own lodging. Cost of the ride is $90 for ABC and GABA members who register in advance and $105 and $120 for members and non-members respectively who register the day of the ride. Registration can be mailed in or performed online. For more information, click here.

South Mountain Time Trial -- May 8

The annual South Mountain Time Trial will be held on May 8 in South Mountain Park in Phoenix. Riders not yet registered will have to pay $30 to participate. (Late fees were imposed unusually early for this event: The fee was $20 until March 15 and $25 from March 16 through April 15.) The race starts at the San Juan turnoff and ends at the towers with riders starting at 30-second intervals with the first rider off at 7:00 a.m. I usually race this event, but I think the early imposition of late fees will cause me to sit on the sidelines this year.

To view the race's Webpage, click here.

PMBC's Tour de Payson -- May 8

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club is organizing the Tour de Payson for the first time since 2005. The best part is, instead of costing an arm and a leg, as most organized rides and races do these days, registration for the ride is only $15 for members of PMBC, GABA, and ABC and only $20 for others. Riders are requested to register by May 1, and the first 50 riders to register will receive PMBC-logoed Polar Water Bottles. Add a $5 late fee for registrations postmarked after May 1.

The ride starts and ends in front of Macky's Grill on the southwest corner of the Beeline Highway and Main Street in Pays at 8:30 a.m. with check-in and last-minute registration from 8:00 to 8:30. PMBC promises an exciting ride with hills, two shallow water crossings, and a 1/4-mile dirt and cobbled section of road that must be ridden twice. The Route options vary from 5 to 50 plus miles. The scenery is supposed to be outstanding.

Two access the ride's Webpage with a link to the registration form, click here.

Arizona Road Race Championships & Mount Lemon

The Arizona Road Race Championship races are on the calendar for May 16, and the Mount Lemon Time Trial is scheduled for May 23. So far, no information is yet available online about these races.

Correction

In the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, in the article entitled "Pima Country Sheriff Acknowledges Right to Ride 2 Abreast," I wrote that in an internal Sherriff's Deptartment memo about cyclists' rights to ride out in the lane on certain conditions: "Missing from the memo is the fact that a cyclist is only required to ride as far to the right as possible when the cyclist is riding 'at less that the normal speed of traffic...'" The word "possible" is incorrect, as most readers probably know. The word used in the statute is "practicable." I must have heard the statute misquoted so often that I subconsciously typed the wrong word.

About Arizona Road Cyclist News

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