Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © August 4, 2010

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

Now that the Tour de France is over and I am no longer spending hours a day in front of the TV, it's time to get back to the newsletter. This edition should have gone out Wednesday, but I'm running behind as usual. After last week's rains, I'm out on the bike almost every day, and when I get home, I'm so blasted that it's hard to motivate myself to do anything but sit on the couch, drink a malted beverage, and vegetate.

In this issue:
     Serious Traffic Accidents Kill & Injure Cyclists
     Tempe Considers Improvements After 3 Cycling Deaths
     MAG Puts Cycling Video Online
     Phoenix Appoints Bicycle Coordinator
     Arizona City Cotton Classic #3 Time Trial -- August 8
     Tortilla Flats Tuesdays -- August 10 and 17
     Arizona State Track Championships -- August 14 & 15
     ABC's Grand Canyon Overnight -- August 20 to 22
     Skull Valley Road Race -- August 22
     Arizona Team Time Trial Championships -- August 29
     GABA's Trail of the Mountain Spirits -- September 4 to 6
     GABA's Blue Loop -- September 4 to 6
     ABC Granada Park Breakfast Ride Destinations
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Serious Traffic Accidents Kill & Injure Cyclists

60-year-old Phoenix resident Albert Arnott, who had been left unable to walk due to a serious fall several years ago, was killed near Mocksville, North Carolina on Saturday while riding a recumbent adult tricycle back to Phoenix after having ridden it across country from Los Angeles to New York. Mr. Arnott was struck from behind by a pickup truck. As this was written, police were still investigating and had not decided whether to charge the driver.

James Cracknell, a British Olympic rowing champion, suffered a serious head injury including a fractured skull after being struck by a truck near Winslow, Arizona on July 20 while attempting to set an endurance record by running, rowing, and cycling across the United States in 16 days. The attempt was being filmed for a program that was to have been shown on the Discovery Channel, although filming was not taking place at the time of the accident. His helmet is credited with saving his life. According to a Discovery Channel spokesperson, Mr. Cracknell is recovering in a Phoenix hospital. He is conscious, but his brain injuries are affecting his cognitive abilities. He is a well known British athlete and media personality whose exploits include gold medals for rowing in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, rowing the Atlantic, and a race to the South Pole.

A 29-year-old man is listed in critical condition after a cycling accident near 1100 South Country Club in Mesa Sunday night. The cause of the crash is not known. Police found the man lying in the southbound curb lane at about 8 p.m. It is unknown if he was struck by a vehicle or if he fell for other reasons. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered serious brain injury with internal bleeding and a fractured back. The man's identity has not been released. He is being treated in Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

Tempe Considers Improvements After 3 Cycling Deaths

Historically, Tempe has experienced few cycling fatalities, although it has experienced a large number of less-serious accidents, many of which have involved university students, who are not always schooled in the techniques of riding safely in traffic. There was only one cycling fatality in 2006 and no cycling deaths at all in 2007 and 2008. However, there were two cycling fatalities in 2009, and this year there have been three cycling deaths in Tempe in the past three months.

Mesa resident Bradley Jason Scott was the latest cyclist to die in Tempe traffic after being fatally struck at the intersection of Southern and Rural on July 10. Cyclists consider this intersection to be particularly dangerous due to the lack of bicycle lanes, the high volume of motorized traffic, and a number of motorists who are not willing to respect a cyclist's legal right to take over a full traffic lane if it is not wide enough to share with a motor vehicle. The other two cycling fatalities occurred at the intersection of Ash and University on May 10 and at the intersection of Alameda and McClintock on May 17. These three intersections along with the intersections College and Broadway and  College and Southern have been marked as particularly dangerous for cyclists.

At least some of these intersections are scheduled for improvement. The city is to begin work on College between US 60 and Apache this fall with work scheduled to be completed by spring. Next on the agenda is Broadway between Mill and Rural with work on this stretch of pavement scheduled to be completed by fall of 2011. University between Priest and Mill and Hardy between Rio Salado and Broadway are on the list of streets to be made safer for cyclists, although scheduling for these improvements is still uncertain.

MAG Puts Cycling Video Online

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) has produced a half-hour video to promote cycling in Maricopa County and to show potential tourists what a great area the County is to cycle. The producer recorded scenes from a number of local rides and cycling group in preparing the video. Perhaps you or some of your friends are in it.

The video can be viewed online. Here's the link:

http://www.mag.maricopa.gov/Videos/bicycle/vid_bikes.html

Phoenix Appoints Bicycle Coordinator

The City of Phoenix Street Transportation director recently announced the appointment of Joseph (Joe) Pérez as its bicycle coordinator, noting that "about half of his time will be devoted to bicycle facility design and planning, coordination of safety campaigns and events, and other bicycle-related activities citywide.

Mr. Pérez is an engineering graduate of ASU and previously served as bicycle coordinator in 2007 to 2009. A cyclist himself, Mr. Pérez has coordinated bike-to-work events, serves on the board of directors of the Tempe Bicycle Action Group, and is a member of both the Institute of Transportation Engineers and Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists.

Arizona City Cotton Classic #3 Time Trial -- August 8

The Arizona City Cotton Classic Time Trial Series was formerly known as Leura's Picacho Peak Time Trial Series.  This year it gets not only a new name but also a new course. The final race in this year's series takes place this Sunday, August 8 and includes a team time trial with teams composed of three or four riders. Registration will be held at the Mesquite Grove Assisted Living building, 16286 South Sunland Gin Road in Arizona City from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. with the first rider off at 7:00 a.m. Registration is $20 for adult riders and $3 for juniors. For those without a USA Cycling license, one-day licenses will be available at registration for $10, or those who buy an annual license for $60 race for free. Tucson riders can pre-register the night before at Lerua's Mexican Restaurant, 2005 E. Broadway.

Results will be posted separately for all USA Cycling categories, seniors by category, juniors by age, and masters in five-year increments. For more information, click here.

Tortilla Flats Tuesday -- August 10 and 17

This ride was originally a weekly road race, but unfortunately the Arizona Department of Transportation revoked permission for the race on the advice of the Forest Service. Now the event is billed as a training ride, which means that riders are not insured by USA Cycling. The ride begins at the Mining Camp Restaurant and proceeds out the Apache Trail through Tortilla Flat to the end of the pavement and then returns over the same course. This is a beautiful although challenging 39-mile ride that includes 11 miles of difficult climbing, an estimated 3500 feet of elevation gain, and some hair-raising descents that include a few nasty curves, all to be ridden in the heat and humidity of the August monsoon. For more information and for the rider release form, click here.

Arizona State Track Championships -- August 14 & 15

Despite committees having been set up and funds having been raised decades ago to build a velodrome or bicycle racing track in the Phoenix area, our state still does not have a place to hold track races. As a result, the Arizona State Track Championships are held each year at the San Diego Velodrome. This year's dates are August 14 and 15. Registration is $10 per event. All participants must hold a valid annual USA Cycling license (no day licenses will be allowed). For a list of the events and a registration form, click here.

ABC's Grand Canyon Overnight -- August 20 to 22

With the demise of the Arizona Bicycle Club's newsletter, The Chain Letter, ABC's cycling events have not been getting the attention that they deserve. The Club's annual Grand Canyon Campout is a classic event that has been delighting cyclists for decades. This year the event takes place from August 20 to August 22. The event fee is a real bargain at $30 for members of ABC, GABA and PMBC (why not the Bullshifters?) and $40 for others. The Website specifies a $5 late fee, but it doesn't specify when that late fee kicks in.

The event includes insurance, sag support, a Saturday night chili diner (Do the organizers know how much hungry cyclists can eat?), rest stop food, the right to pitch your tent at Mather Campground, a 49-mile roundtrip ride to desert view on Saturday, and a 19 mile roundtrip ride to Hermit's Rest on Sunday morning before breaking camp and heading back home. The more ambitious may want to add on a day hike or two into the Canyon.

For more information on the event, click here.

Skull Valley Road Race -- August 22

The Skull Valley Road Race starts at the Skull Valley Post Office and follows an out-and-back course with lots of rollers and some climbing. The race distance is 55 miles for adult riders and 25 miles for juniors. Adults pay $30 to race, and juniors pay $15. Online registration is available at bikereg.com until 9 p.m. on August 18. One-day licenses are available for category 5 men and category 4 women. All other riders must possess an annual USA Cycling license. To view the race brochure, click here.

Arizona Team Time Trial Championships -- August 29

The Arizona 2010 team time trial and tandem time trial championships take place on August 29 with the same starting place as the Arizona City Cotton Classic (see above). Registration is online in advance with packet pickup on August 27 in Tucson or near the start line the day of the race. The fee for four-rider teams (three-rider teams are not allowed) is $80 for adults and $40 for juniors. Tandem pay $40 per adult team and $20 per junior team. There are many possibilities for combinations of riders of different ages, mixed age groups, men, women, and combinations of men and women. For more details, click here..

GABA's Trail of the Mountain Spirits -- September 4 to 6

The Greater Arizona Bicycle Association's Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway is one of two GABA events that will take place over the three-day Labor Day weekend: from Saturday September 4 through Monday September 6. This ride covers 105 miles in our neighboring state of New Mexico in three easy days. It starts in Silver City on Saturday with a 31.5 mile ride through the mining town of Bayard and a lunch stop in Hurley. The day ends in the City of Rock State Park where there are camping and shower facilities as well as opportunities to hike through some fantastic geological formations.

The second day is a ride through Membres Valley and features a crossing of the Continental Divide plus some great scenery. Cyclists will spend the night at Camp Thunderbird in dormitories with hot showers and a meal provided.

The final day is a 40-mile ride that includes a 3.5-mile climb and a final 8 mile descent back into Silver City. Along the way, cyclists will pass through the historic town of Pinos Altos.

The ride fee is $110 for members of GABA and ABC and $125 for others. For more information, click here.

GABA's Blue Loop -- September 4 to 6

For those riders who want a more difficult challenge than the Trail of the Mountain Spirits, the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association's Blue Loop Tour may be just the ticket. Both rides take place over the long Labor Day weekend, from September 4 through September 6, and both take place near the Arizona-New Mexico border, but this ride is for cyclists who like long days in the saddle with lots of climbing, very few cars on the road, and screaming descents.

The ride starts on Saturday in the mining town of Clifton, Arizona and proceeds 62 miles to with a 4800-foot climb out of the Gila River Canyon and a hop across the state line to Glenwood, New Mexico. Those who have energy left may want to then hike the catwalk, while those with aching legs may prefer to soak in the Hot Springs.

Day two is a 58-mile ride with a 5346-foot elevation gain back over the state line to Alpine, Arizona, which sits an an elevation of 8,000 feet. Riders may think that the climbing is over by now, but that is by no means the case, because the final day of the ride heads southbound on the Coronado Trail, named after the Spanish explorer who passed through this rugged country looking for the lost cities of gold, to Hannagan Meadow at an elevation of 9,320 feet. Because of the rollers, riders will climb much more than the 1,320 elevation difference between the two points, however.

From Hannagan Meadow, the ride is mostly downhill off the Mogollon Rim with its spectacular scenery. As the day's ride is almost over, don't forget to pull off the road in Morenci for the spectacular view of the open pit mine and of Clifton "in the canyon below" (lyrics from the old George Jones song, "Open Pit Mine).

Four friends and I did this route as a self-contained ride with panniers and tents on our touring bikes several decades ago, and it still sticks in my mind as the most beautiful ride that I have ever done. The only possible downside that I can think of is that the ride takes place near the end of the monsoon season, so rain, even heavy rain, is possible.

For more information on the Blue Loop Ride, click here.

ABC Granada Park Breakfast Ride Destinations

For those who ride with the Granada Park Chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club, I've been asked to list the destinations of the Sunday breakfast rides. Riders leave Granada Park, 20th Street and Maryland, at 5:30 Sunday morning in five groups broken down according to speed: from near race pace to slow cruising. All groups meet at the same restaurant for breakfast. For insurance purposes, non-members are permitted to ride with the group only once before joining the club.

     August 8 - The Wildflower Bread Company, 4290 East Indian School Road
     August 15 - Mimi's, 10214 Metro Parkway West
     August 22 - US Egg, 328 North Scottsdale Road
     August 29 - Village Inn, 310 East Bell Road

About Arizona Road Cyclist News

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