Arizona Road Cyclist News

February 2, 2011

News for those who ride Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn

Arizona Road Cyclist News is normally published every other Wednesday and is available to anyone who wishes to read it free of charge. To sign up for an E-mail notifying you when each edition is available to read online or to modify or cancel your current subscription, click here. All E-mail addresses are kept on a secure server and are not shared with anyone. Should you later cancel that E-mail subscription; your information will be completely deleted.

When I wrote the first issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, it went out by E-mail to about a dozen subscribers. Today, over 380 people subscribe to the E-mail notification that I send out when the newsletter is online. Now, if I could only figure out a way of turning that into income. J

In this issue:
     Cyclist Stop Sign Bill Progresses Through Legislature
     Cyclists Make the TV News
     Bicycle Safety Classes
     Valley of the Sun Stage Race – February 11 to 13
     PCCC’s Weekly Crits – February, March, and April
     Tucson Weekly Crits – February 23 through March 9
     Two Criteriums This Weekend – Phoenix Area
     GABA’s Picacho Century Ride – February 6
     Vulture Mine Time Trial – February 27
     ASU & UofA Crits
     Not Your Mom Tucson Tour – February 18 to 21
     ABC’s Wickenburg Overnight – February 26 & 27
     Tour de Cure – March 12
     GABA’s Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic – March 13
     PMBC’s Mining Country Challenge – March 19
     Bike MS Arizona – March 26 & 27
     Alta Alpina Challenge – June 11
     ABC Granada Chapter February Ride Destinations
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

 Cyclist Stop Sign Bill Progresses Through Legislature

HB2130, the bill that would permit cyclists to treat stop signs as if they were yield signs, has undergone its first two readings in the House and has been assigned to the following House committees for further action: Transportation, Maps, and Rules. You may remember that last year a similar bill did not make it past the committee stage when Republican legislators voted unanimously to kill it. To follow the bill's progress through the Arizona Legislature, click here.


Cyclists Make the TV News

Arizona cyclists were featured at least twice in newscasts in recent weeks. When cyclists returned to the United Blood Services' parking lot on East Oak Street in Phoenix after riding the Tour de Hero, a news team from KPHO Channel 5 was there to interview them in time to make the Saturday early evening newscast. I searched for a link to the coverage on Channel 5's Website without success, but I may have missed it.

In Tucson, Sheila Foraker, a cyclist, an employee of the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, a cycling instructor, and a member of the board of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, was recently interviewed on Tucson's KGUN-TV. You can view the interview during the next few weeks by clicking here.

 Bicycle Safety Classes

Do you or does someone you know feel insecure cycling in traffic? Do you know what do do if you get a flat tire? Can you do the basic maintenance necessary to keep your bike on the road? Perhaps you are a confident cyclist but your significant other refuses to ride with you, because he or she feels insecure riding in traffic. Maybe you have a colleague in the office who would cycle to work except that he or she thinks that it is too dangerous. Well, there is a solution. Classes offered in both the Phoenix and Tucson areas can impart the necessary traffic and bicycle-maintenance skills to turn the most bike-skittish into confident cyclists, and the best part is that the theoretical part of the course can be completed online.

Step 1 is to go to the Traffic Skills 101 Website at, register, and complete the theoretical part of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) course, which can be done in four sessions designed to last approximately one hour each. The second step is to attend a local seminar for on-the-bike training. In the Phoenix area, seminars are conducted by the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists. The next seminar is scheduled for February 12 at Global Bikes, 835 North Gilbert Road #111, in Gilbert, Arizona. The seminar starts at noon, or attendees can arrive at 11 a.m. to join the group for a pre-seminar lunch. The cost of the seminar is $25, but those who complete it receive a $25 gift certificate from REI. Here is a link to the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists Website:

Pima County calls its version of the seminars Trasportation Skills 101, and it also offers some more advanced seminars including one specifically on bicycle commuting. The seminars are sponsored by both Pima County and the City of Tucson and do not cost a cent. In fact, those who successfully complete the seminar receive free bicycle-safety products, which are usually items such as lights and reflective tape. Here is the link to the Website:

 Valley of the Sun Stage Race – February 11 to 13

The nineteenth annual John Earley Memorial Valley of the Sun Stage Race, known to most local bike racers simply as VOS, will be held the weekend of February 11 through February 13 at various locations in the Phoenix area. This is one of the premier events on the Arizona racing calendar, with a prize list of $10,000 in cash. Because it is held at a time when the weather is miserable in much of the United States, this race draws riders from all over the country and even from abroad.

As the race’s name implies, the race honors the late John Earley, who joined the White Mountain Road Club soon after it was formed and raced as a veteran in Arizona. John passed away from natural causes, and as he was a friend of mine who was often my main competition in races but with whom I drank beer after almost every race was finished, I am glad that there is a race in his honor.

There are three stages to this race. On Friday the 11th, the race kicks off with a 14.2-mile time trial in Buckeye starting at 7 a.m. Saturday’s event is a road race held on a 16.43-mile loop south of Phoenix near exit 185 of Interstate 10. The race finishes on Sunday with a criterium on a closed one-mile course at the State Capitol just west of downtown Phoenix. The criterium is a must-see spectator event.

Entry fees for the three-stage race vary from $50 for juniors to $90 for most masters’ classes and lower category senior riders to $100 for professionals, category 1 and category 2 riders. Riders not yet registered will be charged a $20 late fee. Registration closes this Sunday!

To view the race’s Website, click here.

PCCC's Weekly Crits February, March, and April

The Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club (PCCC), the oldest bicycle racing team in the USA, initiated its Midweek Criterium Series yesterday evening. Despite the chilly and blustery weather, large fields of cyclists showed up to compete. The series continues every week during the months of February, March, and April. The crits are held in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium on the southwest corner of Priest (also known as Galvin Parkway) and Van Buren from five to seven p.m. To enter the parking lot, use the entrance on the south side of Van Buren just east of Priest. Riders must be licensed by USA Cycling to participate, but day licenses will be available at registration for $10 and we also hope to sell the $60 annual licenses. Spectators are admitted for free.

The races are held on Tuesday evening except for a few dates in March, when they had to be moved to a different day of the week due to conflicts with other users of the race site. There are four races: a 15-minute D race for juniors and beginning racers including category 4 women and category 5 men, which begins at 5:00 p.m., a 20-minute C race for category 4 and 5 racers, which begins at 5:20, a 30-minute B race for racers of category 3 and below, which begins at 5:45 p.m., and a 45- to 50-minute A race for category 1 through 4 racers, which begins at 6:15 p.m. In case there are not enough riders to make up competitive fields in the A and B races, these two events will be combined into one race that will start at 6 p.m.

The cost of the race is $5 for the D race and $10 for the other races. For riders participating in more than one race, the cost is $10 for the first race and $5 for the second. Juniors can choose to race in a second event at no additional charge. As previously stated, spectators are admitted free and are advised to bring a lawn chair in order to more comfortably view the race. Some have even brought along their outdoor barbeque equipment and made a picnic out of the event.

Because entry fees are modest, so are the prize lists. There is no prize for the winner of the D race, and prize money for the other races will be based on a percentage of the entry fees. In addition, we will be giving away the much coveted "cookie primes", where racers sprint for a bag of cookies on a lap during the race. We also expect to give away prizes donated by spectators and businesses.

To view and/or download the race brochure in PDF format, click here.

Tucson Weekly Crits – February 23 through March 9

Tucson also holds weekly criterium series in the early part of the year. The races take place on Wednesday evenings starting at 6:00 p.m. and are held on a closed course with 13 turns, which should certainly give riders a lot of practice at bike handling. There are five races each week: a 20-minute race for juniors and women, a 20-minute race for masters 40 years old or older, a 20-minute category 5 race, a 30-minute category 3 and 4 race, and a 30-minute category 1 and 2 race. The entry fee is $15 for all races for riders who register online in advance or $20 the day of the race. Juniors race free and are not required to preregister. As is the case in all Arizona Bicycle Association races, riders must be licensed by USA Cycling. Licenses will be available to purchase at the race. The race location is 11800 South Harrison Road in Tucson, which is near the Rita exit (#273) of Interstate 10.

For visit the Website of the sponsoring race team, Tolero Velo, for more information, click here.

Two Criteriums This Weekend – Phoenix Area

There will be two criteriums in the Phoenix area this weekend: The McDowell Mountain Regional Park Circuit Race on Saturday and the Bike Haus Criterium on Sunday. As its name implies, the McDowell Mountain race will be held in McDowell Mountain Park about four miles north of Fountain Hills on Saturday. Although there is no charge to watch the race, there is a fee to enter the park for both spectators and racers.

Registration for the race is online or by mail and costs $30 for the first race and $10 for each additional race. However, racers who are not yet registered must now add, a $10 late registration. Juniors race free. A portion of the entry fees will be donated to two dog-rescue organizations: Amazing Aussies and Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. Both organizations will have booths at the race.

To see a race brochure in PDF format, click here.

The second criterium to be held this weekend is the Bicycle Haus Criterium at Firebird Lake at 2000 South Maricopa Road south of Phoenix. Racing starts with the Masters 50+ and 60+ races at 7:30 a.m. and continues through the day until the Open Field Circuit Race concludes at 5 p.m. The latter race should prove interesting, because it is open to licensed racers of all categories, so we will get to see if the category 1 and 2 racers really are better than the category 3, 4, and 5 riders.

The entry fee is $40 for most races, $20 for the race for collegiate men and women, and $10 for juniors. For more information, click here.

GABA's Picacho Century Ride – February 6

For those who like a flat course, the Picacho Century ride is for you. There are three options, a 100-mile full century starting at 8 a.m., a 71-mile ride starting at 8:30 a.m., a 35-mile starting at 9 a.m., and a 15-mile ride, which also starts at 9 a.m. The ride starts at Cortaro and Silverbell in Tucson, which is one mile west of I-10 exit 246, and heads north through Avra Valley and Marana. The 100-mile ride goes as far north as Picacho Peak before turning back to Tucson. The ride fee is $25 for members of GABA and ABC members and $40 for other riders registered in advance. A $10 late feel will be added for registrations submitted the day of the ride, so register online now to save a sawbuck. To access the ride's Web page, click here.

 Vulture Mine Time Trial – February 27

This Vulture Mine Time Trial starts at the Wickenburg High School, 1090 South Vulture Mine Road in Wickenburg, Arizona on February 27 with the first rider off at 10:00 a.m. The course is described as rolling with a gradual climb for three miles followed by a fast downhill for nine miles to the turn-around point. Riders can choose to ride either 20 or 40 kilometers. Registration is $23 for all riders except juniors who ride for $5. Registration is online in advance, although riders may also register at the event for an additional charge. The winner of each category with five or more riders will receive $25 except for category five men and juniors. For additional information, click here.

ASU & UofA Crits

Although details are not yet available, the February racing calendar includes two criteriums promoted by the racing teams of the two largest state universities. The Sun Devil Criterium, promoted by ASU’s racing team, will be held on Sunday February 20. The expected location is in Tempe. The Wildcats get into the act on Saturday February 28, with a criterium in the Tucson area promoted by the U of A bicycle racing team. As this was written, details of these two races were not yet available online.

Not Your Mom Tucson Tour – February 18 to 21

The 2011 edition of Not Your Mom’s (NYM) annual tour from Scottsdale to Tucson takes place over four days from February 18 through February 21, which is President’s Day weekend. The tour will be sagged, and each rider is permitted to put one piece of luggage in the SAG wagon, so you can ride your racing bike and leave your touring bike with panniers at home. However, riders are expected to take turns driving the SAG wagon and to chip in for gas.

The first day's ride on Friday is a 66-mile jaunt from Scottsdale to Florence. Day two is a 64-mile ride from Florence to Tucson which includes a 37-mile-long gentle climb of 2300 feet. On Sunday riders will peddle 56 miles of gentle downhill from Tucson to Casa Grande, and on Monday the ride concludes with a 55-mile ride from Casa Grande to Scottsdale.

NYM is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC), and its participants are expected to join ABC to take advantage of the club insurance. For more information on the Scottsdale-Tucson four-day ride, click here.

ABC's Wickenburg Overnight – February 26 & 27

The Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC) is holding its annual roundtrip ride to Wickenburg on the weekend of February 25 and 27. The ride starts in the Albertson's parking lot on the Carefree Highway just east of I-17 at 10 a.m. Motor vehicles will carry luggage, so riders will be able to pedal the easy 45 miles to Wickenburg unencumbered by pannier bags. The cost of the ride is $25 for members of ABC and other area bicycle clubs and $30 for others. Riders are also expected to book and pay for their own motel accommodations.

The ride is limited to 30 riders, so it may pay to register early. To view the ride's Webpage, click here.

Tour de Cure – March 12

The Tour de Cure is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. The starting point for the ride is the Reach 11 Sports Complex at 2425 East Deer Valley Road in Phoenix and features three ride choices, a 62-mile metric century, a 35-mile ride, and an 8-mile fun ride. In order to participate, each rider must raise at least $150 in donations.

The ride will be well supported. SAG wagons will rove the course looking for problems, and mechanics will be available to take care of any breakdowns. Communications will be handled by amateur radio operators in each SAG wagon and at rest stops. The ride organizers also have medical volunteers lined up to man all rest stops and will have a first aid tent at the start/finish area.

If you are interested in this ride, you can get more information from the Tour de Cure Website by clicking here.

GABA's Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic – March 13

GABA presents the Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic on March 13 with three ride options: a century, a metric century, and a half-metric century. As the ride's name implies, the ride starts and finishes in Sierra Vista, specifically in the parking lot of Buena Vista High School. The full century goes south all the way to the traffic circle in Bisbee and includes the climb up to Mule Pass plus a ride through the historic town of Tombstone for a total of 103 miles. The metric route cuts off the loop through Bisbee. This is a beautiful route, so Phoenix-area cyclists should consider making the drive south to participate. The half-metric century appears to be an out-and-back route.

The registration fee is $25 for GABA and ABC members and $40 for others with a $10 adder for those who register the day of the event. You can view the ride's Web page by clicking here.

PMBC's Mining Country Challenge – March 19

This ride, promoted by the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, follows the route of the now-defunct Mining Country race, which the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club used to promote every spring, except that the starting point has been moved from Miami to Superior. The long version of this ride competes with the Bullshifters' Heart of Arizona Century for the infamy of being the most difficult one-day century ride in Arizona, and even the short version involves two ascents of the infamous "End of the World" climb, which can require some cyclists to get off their bikes and push and causes even those cyclists who stay on their bikes to cry out in pain. This is a ride for real masochists, which makes it the the perfect ride for many of my readers.

As stated, both the metric and full centuries start in Superior. The century climbs up the mountain through Queen Creek Tunnel and tops out at the little settlement called Top of the World before descending into Miami. The section from Superior to Miami is the only touchy part of the ride, because sections of the highway are narrow with no shoulder.

From Miami it's generally uphill to the nearby city of Globe. After Globe, the route continues uphill at about eight percent for mile after mile to the top of El Capitan. From El Capitan, it's a thrilling and welcome downhill into Winkleman, where the rest stop serves lunch.

After Winkelman, the route climbs Ray Mine Hill. The climb seems awful, but it's just a warm-up for what's to come. If there's a SAG stop at the top of this hill, stop, drink, and fill your water bottles, even if you feel strong enough to proceed, because you're about to face the ride's ultimate challenge. Soon you will see the road ahead seem to shoot up into the sky at an impossible angle. The usual reaction when a cyclist first sees what lies ahead is to exclaim: "Oh, my God!" The climb is just under two miles, but it averages 11 percent with sections that are even steeper. If you have a triple chainring, this is where you'll use the granny gear. Racers many years ago appropriately nicknamed this climb "End of the World."

When you reach the top of End of the World, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the ride, which is generally downhill back to Superior, where you will be forgiven if you collapse at the side of the road.

The metric century is an out-and-back from Superior to Winkelman. By cutting about 40 miles off the full century, riders avoid Top of the World and El Capitan, but riders still must climb Ray Mine Hill, and they get to do End of the World twice, once in each direction. This may be the shorter version of the ride, but it still ain't for sissies.

The ride costs $35 for PMBC, ABC, and GABA members and $40 for non-members until March 16. For day-of-the-event registration, add $10 to that fee. To access the ride’s Website, click here.

Bike MS Arizona – March 26 & 27

The 25th annual Bike MS Arizona Round-Up Ride will start in Florence, Arizona on March 26 and 27. This is a fund-raising event to fight Multiple Sclerosis. The ride starts at Heritage Park at 600 North Main Street in Florence. Promoters expect that 1,500 cyclists will take part. Riders get to choose from 35-, 75-, and 100-mile rides on the 26th and 30-, 50-. and 75-mile routes on the 27th with SAG stops every 10 to 15 miles. In addition to food and drink, the SAG stops will collect excess clothing that riders strip off as the day warms up, bag the clothing, and transport it to the finish line where riders can collect the bags after the ride.

The routes are figure-8 and are so designed so that cyclists can cut the ride short if they overestimate their abilities. All routes are on flat terrain in the farming area near Florence, Coolidge, and Casa Grande.

In addition to being supported during the ride, cyclists are also taken care of when they are off the bike. A large tent will be provided for those who wish to sleep out Friday and Saturday nights. Riders must provide their own sleeping bags. Showers are also available all day Saturday and Sunday, and for those who raise at least $1,500 in contributions, there will be a special VIP tent, and there will be individual team tents for teams that raise $10,000 or more. All participants must raise at least $250 in contributions to participate in the ride.

To access the ride’s Website, click here. Those who do not wish to ride but who would like to contribute money can do so by clicking on the “Donate/Pledge” tab at the left side of the Webpage.

Alta Alpina Challenge – June 11

This ride is still months away, but it is the type of ride that you want to plan for well in advance, both because it is out of state and because it is very challenging.

The Alta Alpina Challenge: Riding the Wild Sierra is promoted by the Alta Alpina Cycling Club, a road and mountain-bike club based in the Carson City, Garnerville, and Lake Tahoe areas of California. It takes place on June 11, 2011. This is a ride for macho cyclists who love to climb hills and who want to enjoy a challenging cycling event in the cool High Sierras at the time of year when temperatures in the Arizona Desert can be over 110 degrees. 

There are four versions of the ride, or cyclists can design their own challenge depending on just how willing they are to suffer. The Wild Sierra Metric is 64 miles long and features 5,000 feet of climbing. For those who want to double the pain, the Wild Serra Century is 110 miles long with 11,000 feet of climbing. Sill not enough? Try the 134-mile long 5-Pass Challenge with 16,000 feet of climbing. The real masochists will chose the 8-Pass Challenge with 20,300 feet of climbing, which is claimed to be the “World’s Toughest Double Century.” 100 miles of the route is at elevations above 7,000 feet.

The registration fee is $100 for the 8-Pass Challenge, $90 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $60 for the other two rides until May 1. After that date, add a late-registration fee of $20 for the 8-Pass Challenge, $15 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $10 for the other two rides. An optional ride jersey is available for $69, and those who finish the 8-Pass Double Century may purchase the 8-Pass Finisher jersey for the same price.

To access the ride’s Website, click here.

ABC Granada Chapter February Ride Destinations

Here are the breakfast ride destinations for the Granada Park Chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club for the month of February:

February 6 – Paradise Bakery, 8777 North Scottsdale Road (at Doubletree)
February 13 – IHOP, 225 Apache Boulevard in Tempe
February 20 – First Watch #2, Mountain View and I-17
February 27 – Moon Valley Café, 502 East Thunderbird, Suite B.

About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Arizona Road Cyclist News is published every two weeks. The newsletter is free of charge. Arizona Road Cyclist News is copyrighted. You may forward the entire copy by E-mail to anyone you wish. You may also copy and send individual articles as long as you cite Arizona Road Cyclist News as the source. However, the best way to share the newsletter with your friends is to E-mail them the following link:

You can subscribe to an E-mail notification that the current issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News is online. We ask for your Zip code in order to get an idea of our subscriber distribution and not for any other purpose. If you subscribe to E-mail notification, you can unsubscribe at any time, and your name and E-mail address will be erased from our servers. We do not share E-mail addresses with anyone, so signing up for E-mail notification will not get you spammed.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to out E-mail notification of when a new issue is available, click here.