Arizona Road Cyclist News
ack Quinn, Editor

 © June 2, 2010

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

Although it is officially spring, here in the Arizona desert we're in the summer doldrums when racing and touring tend to slow down due to the heat. I was also not able to find much news to report, which I suppose is good, because much of the cycling news lately has been bad. I've been on or witnessed a number of rides where riders have crashed, usually due to inattention, and as a result I have seen several riders hauled away in an ambulance with a broken collarbone. Let's be safe out there. Those of us who enjoy riding in tight packs need to be pay attention to the rear wheels of the riders in front and to perhaps back off a bit if there are inexperienced or careless riders in the peloton.

In this issue:
     Doping Inquiry Expands -- Valverde Suspended
     Professional Bicycle Racing on Versus
     Arizona Track Series -- June 5, 6, 26, and 27
     Tortilla Flats Tuesdays
     Single-Track Omnium -- June 12 & 13
     Bike the Bluff Road Race -- June 19
     Picacho Peak Time Trial Series -- June 20
     White Mountain Tour -- July 10 & 11
     Feedback -- Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Doping Inquiry Expands -- Valverde Suspended

As we reported two weeks ago, professional cyclist Floyd Landis admitted to having doped and also alleged other members of the United States Postal Team including Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer had also used prohibited drugs. Because the team was sponsored by the United States Post Office, U.S. federal authorities are now looking into Landis's claims, which, if true, could result in fraud charges for using government funds to buy drugs. The charges would involve obtaining government sponsorship funds under false pretenses by claiming that Armstrong and other riders were clean when they in fact were not. Of course, the investigation is still in its very early stages, and no one has yet produced convincing evidence that Lance Armstrong ever used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. It should be noted that Floyd Landis submitted no evidence back up his allegations and that he has been shown to repeatedly have lied to the press and under oath.

In the meantime, Spanish top professional cyclist Alejandro Valverde has received a two-year suspension from the professional peloton for allegedly using the banned blood booster erythropoietin. The ban, which was issued by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, is retroactive until January 1 of this year. The ban stems from a Spanish raid on the offices of Dr. Eufemaiano Fuentes in 2006 in which authorities seized a blood bag containing erythropoietin and linked to Valverde by DNA tests. Dr. Fuentes doping scheme is popularly known as Operation Puerto.

Before the worldwide ban, Valverde had been banned on the same evidence from competing in Italy, which prevented him from participating in last year's Tour de France.

Professional Bicycle Racing on Versus

The following schedule of bicycle racing on Versus is as accurate as I could make it with the information available when this was written. However, please check the schedule with your cable of satellite provider. All times are Mountain Standard.

Tour Dauphine Libere -- June 6 from noon to 1:30 p.m. and June 13 from noon to 2:00 p.m. This is a week-long stage race in the French Alps and is one of my favorite races, because it traditionally finishes in Grenoble, France, where I studied at the University of Grenoble almost a decade ago. I was able to walk to the race finish a few blocks from my room and see the race caravan and the riders come in. This year it is the next-to-last stage that finishes in Grenoble on June 11 with the following stage finishing in the mountains the next day. Versus will carry race highlights.

Tour of Philadelphia -- June 6 10:30 a.m. to noon. This event is often considered the most-prestigious one-day race outside of Europe. Versus will transmit highlights.

Tour de Suisse -- June 13 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and June 20 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is a weeklong stage race in Switzerland with plenty of mountain stages and often wet and slippery roads that make descents very tricky. Lance Armstrong plans to compete as part of his preparation for the Tour de France. Versus will transmit highlights.

Tour de France -- Live broadcasts and replays from July 3 to July 25. To see the tentative Versus broadcast schedule, click here. Please note that the times are Eastern Daylight. Subtract three hours to get Mountain Standard Time.

Arizona Track Series -- June 5, 6, 26, and 27

The Arizona Track Series kicks off this weekend with time trial and matched sprint competition. Because Arizona does not have a Velodrome, the series is held at the Balboa Park Velodrome in San Diego. On Saturday, registration and an open practice session will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Racing starts at 2 p.m. with 500 meter, 1,000 meter, 2,000 meter, 3,000 meter, and 4,000 meter time trials. On Sunday, registration and open track practice will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. with racing to start at 9:30 a.m. On the program for Sunday are a flying 200-meter time trial, matched sprints, and mass start races.

Future events in the Arizona Track Series are time trials and mass-start races on June 26 and 27 and the Arizona Track Championships on August 14 and 15. These events will also be held in San Diego. For more information, click here.

Tortilla Flats Tuesdays

The Tortilla Flat road race series is underway most Tuesday evenings through August 17 (next Tuesday is an exception). The race starts at the Mining Camp Restaurant, and the course is 39 miles out the Apache Trail through Tortilla Flats to the end of the pavement and then back to the start with 11 miles of climbing for a total elevation gain of 3500 feet.

There are two races each evening, an A race for more advanced riders and a B race for others. The entry fee is a modest $10 per race, of which $5 goes to the prize list. To view the race's brochure in PDF format, click here.

Single Track Omnium -- June 12 & 13

With the words "single track"  as part of the event's name, readers may be excused for thinking that this is a mountain bike event, but no, it's a road race, or rather, a series of three road races. The races take place on June 12 and 13 in the Flagstaff area and get their name for the event's main sponsor, the Single Track Bike Shop.

Saturday's events start with the Snowbowl Hill Climb at 7 a.m. followed the same day by the Foxboro Ranch Circuit Race at noon. The third event is the Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monument Road Race on Sunday morning.

Registration is online only through BikeReg and must be completed by noon on June 10. Juniors 18 years old and younger race for free. Others pay $35 per race or for all three races, the cost is $80 for pros, category 1, and category 2 riders of both genders. Others pay $65 for the three-race series.

To view the race's brochure in PDF format, click here.

Bike the Bluff Road Race -- June 19

The Bike the Bluff Road Race, listed on the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association's as the "2 Wheel Jones RR," takes place in cool Show Low on June 19. The race organizers plan to give away more than $2,500 in cash and prizes. In addition to races for licensed riders, there will be a kids' race in two age groups and "citizens'" races for unlicensed adult men and women. The kids pay $15 to race, and unlicensed adults pay $37. For the licensed racers, registration is quite expensive for a single-stage race at $20 for juniors and $50 for adults, and $45 for tandems. All pre-registered riders receive a T-shirt, a bag of goodies, and a ticket for a free pancake breakfast after the races (spectators can eat for the bargain price of $2).

To view the race's brochure in PDF format, click here.

Picacho Peak Time Trial Series -- June 20

The Picacho Peak Time Trial Series consists of three races held on June 20, July 11, and August 8 beginning and ending in Arizona City. In addition to individual time trials on all three dates, there will be a 40-kilometer team time trial for three or four riders on each team with the time taken from the third rider. Individual time trials will be run by category for senior riders and by age groups for juniors and masters. There will be races for all categories that are included in the state championships. The entry fee is a quite reasonable $20 per rider. To view the event's Web page, click here.

White Mountain Tour -- July 10 &11

Time to beat the July heat? The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club is holding its annual White Mountain Tour on the weekend of July 10 and 11. This is a supported ride, which includes sag stops with bathroom facilities, luggage delivery, and a Saturday night feed.

The ride starts on Saturday from Hon-Dah and proceeds through Pinetop, Lakeside, and Show Low to the final destination at Springerville for a total of 63 miles. The more ambitious can add a detour through Saint John's for a total of 100 miles. Riders are responsible for their own accommodations in Springerville, although there is a long list of suggested motels on the ride's Website, or optionally, riders can camp out for a modest $5 fee.

Day two is much shorter, leaving Springerville and passing over the hill near Sunrise Ski Resort and then mostly downhill to the starting point for a total of 38 miles.

Cost of the ride is $60 for members of PMBC, GABA, and ABC and $70 for others. Add a $20 late fee after July 1. To visit the ride's Website, click here.

Feedback - Our Readers Respond

The following E-mail from Ed Beighe, who among other services to the cycling community, maintains a database of cycling fatalities in the State of Arizona. Ed's message comes in response to feedback in the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News from reader Mike Sturgill. Mike argued, successfully I believe, that the number of fatal accidents among cyclists is far lower than many people believe. However, Mike's E-mail also contained a statement that Ed questions.

Dear Jack,

I know you didn't write this, but this is exactly why i am trying to monitor all cycling fatalities.

I've read more detailed reports specifically about cycling fatalities (I don't have the reference at hand, but the author was Richard Moeur) and the overwhelming majority of the deaths have occurred when the cyclist was doing something illegal, such as riding against traffic, riding while intoxicated, riding on a sidewalk, riding on a limited access highway, etc.

i don't have 2009 wrapped up yet, but even a cursory glance shows that this is not true. If anything, the opposite is true; that is to say in terms of *fatal* collisions, the motorist is most often at fault.

It is possible the misinformed cyclist is confusing at-fault stats for all types of cyclist-motorist collisions versus just fatal collisions. The vast majority (of course, and thankfully!) of collisions do not result in a fatality. (that number is something like one-tenth of one percent, which probably overstates because many minor collisions aren't reported, whereas virtually all fatal accidents are reported)

This probably has to do with risk perception and behavior, i.e. the cyclists exposed to high risks are aware of and take appropriate counter-measures. E.g. I haven't' seen the details on Holub* but assuming she was riding well into the lane (as she should have been, because the lane is narrow) this was exactly where she should be; and her death, while rare, places the motorist firmly at-fault.

On the other hand, casual cyclists will often only ride on sidewalks and subsequently get into many many relatively minor collisions (which police often assign fault to the cyclist, usually erroneously) and relatively few fatal ones.

Ed Beighe

* Ed is referring to the unfortunate death of Cindie Holub, which was reported in earlier versions of the newsletter. The driver of the garbage truck that ran her down on Dynamite Road in Scottsdale was cited for failing to obey the 3-foot law when passing. According to witness statements reported in the press, Cindie was riding to the right of the lane. As most readers of this newsletter know, when a lane is too narrow to share with motor vehicles, a cyclist is safer riding farther out in the lane to discourage motorists from trying to squeeze by, which is perfectly legal under Arizona law. -- Jack Quinn

About Arizona Road Cyclist News

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Arizona Road Cyclist News,
Jack Quinn, Editor