Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © March 24, 2010

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

If you think it's been a long time since the last issue, you're right. This issue should have been published last Wednesday, but things got in the way. Finally, here it is.

In this issue:
     Another Valley Cyclist Killed in Traffic
     What to Do About Police Hostility to Cyclists?
     Google Maps for Cycling
     Professional Cycling on Versus
     Professional Cycling on Universalsports.com
     Phoenix Midweek Criterium Series Continues
     GABA's Sonoita-Bisbee Bike Tour -- March 27 & 28
     Tumacacori Road Race -- March 28
     Colossal Cave Stage Race -- April 10 & 11
     Colleen Wheldon-Haught Time Trial -- April 17
     Buckeye Criterium -- April 18
     La Vuelta de Bisbee Stage Race -- April 23, 24 & 25
     Wet'n'Wild Cycling Classic -- April 24 & 25
     Ride for the Children -- April 25
     Silent Sundays at South Mountain Park
     Dark Horse Rider Takes Sprint On Unconventional Bike
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Another Valley Cyclist Killed in Traffic

A cyclist was killed by a hit-and-run driver last Friday evening at about 8:30 p.m. on 7th Avenue just north of I-17. The man was not carrying identification, but Phoenix police later identified him as Lorenzo Nevares, 70 years old. Police also later arrested 22-year-old Victor Popoca and 21-year-old Nicanor Fuentes-Adame and charged them with aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

What to Do About Police Hostility to Cyclists?

In the last issue of this newsletter, we reported the death of Cindie Holub, a cyclist from Massachusetts who was in the Phoenix area training for a triathlon when she was struck from behind by a Waste Management garbage truck while riding on Dynamite Road in North Scottsdale. Cindie's death has since gained national attention. Click here to read an entry posted by Rick Bernadi on the BicycleLaw.com blog, the blog maintained by Bob Mionske, the attorney who writes an occassional legal column for VeloNews and the author of the book Bicycling & the Law.

In the initial news articles about the "accident", if driving into a cyclist from behind can genuinely be classified as an accident, it was reported that Scottsdale Police had not charged the driver of the garbage truck and were still studying the matter. I have no idea if he has since been charged, but if he has been, it's been done very quietly. With the usual disclaimer that I am not a lawyer and therefore probably have no idea what I am writing about, it seems to me that the driver should have been charged with manslaughter, not to mention the much less serious charge of failing to pass a cyclist with the required three feet of clearance, which carries a $1,000 fine when the violation results in a cyclist's death. I am unaware of any cyclist organization that is demanding that the authorities take action. I don't understand why the driver isn't facing a jail term.

In a recent issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I also wrote about three cyclists who were cited by police officers in Tempe and Pima County for legally riding in the traffic lane in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 28-815. All three cyclists lost their cases in traffic court but won on appeal to superior court. All three cases demonstrate that at least some police officers and magistrates in traffic courts have no understanding of traffic laws as they pertain to cyclists.

Cyclists in Flagstaff are battling the police and the city administration for their rights under both ARS 28-815 and ARS 28-735, the latter being the statute that requires motorists to give cyclists three feet of clearance when passing. To read a blog entry about the battle, click here.

Perhaps I am missing something, but it seems to me that ignorance of traffic laws as they pertain to cycling is rampart among most of Arizona's law enforcement agencies and traffic courts. Perhaps someone can come up with a case in which a driver was cited for disobeying the three-foot law. I am unaware of a single case, although I am aware of police officers on traffic enforcement detail who have seen a motorist pass a cyclist far too closely and have not done a thing about it. I have complained to a Scottsdale police officer when I have been buzzed only to be told by the officer that that is just something a cyclist has to learn to accept. A few months later, I was riding with a friend when the same driver buzzed him while he was stopped in the bike lane taking off his windbreaker. Motorists who given a pat on the back after harassing a cyclist will harass again.

I have seen a large group of cyclists, who were riding legally, pulled over by a police officer in Scottsdale because one motorist called up and complained about them. The police officer seemed to believe that one irritated motorist trumps the rights of a group of 50 or so cyclists to use the road.

This state needs an educational program for police officers and traffic-court magistrates on traffic laws as they pertain to cyclists. Perhaps someone will be interested in starting a committee or an organization with the objective of putting such a program in place. I even have some suggestions of where to start: The police in North Scottsdale, the Tempe Police, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, and the Pima County Sheriff's Department are all woefully ignorant of traffic laws as they pertain to cycling, and all have officers on traffic duty who believe that cyclists shouldn't be on the streets at all. These police agencies are sorely in need of training, and it would be helpful to have a group of cyclists who would lobby these agencies until they get that training.

I anticipate two responses that I would like to head off in advance. Somebody is bound to suggest that I am the person to lead such an organization, so let me quash that idea before it gets started. Those who know me can testify that my personality does not lend itself to a task that requires diplomacy. The other objection that I can anticipate is that there are already organizations dedicated to that task: The League of American Bicyclists on the National Level and the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists on the state level.

The League of American Bicyclists is too far removed from the problem, and with my apologies to the members of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists who read this newsletter, the Coalition has been ineffective in educating police departments. In fact, a few years ago, when a group of us were fighting harassment by the Paradise Valley Police Department, the leaders of the Coalition were unable to grasp the nature of the harassment and were more of a hindrance than a help. The Coalition is great for working with traffic planners, etc. to get bicycle-friendly streets designed, but from my observation, it is ineffective in dealing with police departments. I checked the Coalition's Website while writing this article and did not see a single mention of Cindie Holub's death.

If I get E-mails from two or more people who would like to volunteer to work on this project, I will be glad to put you in touch with each other.

Google Maps for Cycling

The search engine Google has come up with a new free service; it will map bicycle routes for you. To try it out, point your Web browser to http://maps.google.com/biking. Once a route is plotted, you can change it by dragging it with your mouse, and you can also see photographs of points along the route in Google Street View by clicking on the camera icons in the list of riding instructions.

I tested the site by typing in some starting and ending points and asking Google Maps to plot a route for me. I each case, the application plotted a rideable route, although in no case did it plot the route that I would have chosen. However, as a note on the Website states, "Bicycling directions are in beta." Perhaps the application will get better with time.

Professional Cycling on Versus

There is good news for DirecTV subscribers! DirecTV and Comcast, the owner of the sports channel Versus, have finally resolved their differences, and DirecTV subscribers can once again view professional bicycle racing. Versus is a premium channel on Cox Cable, Dish Network and (once again) DirecTV.

Please check the broadcast times on your provider's Website, because I often find that the times listed on the Versus Website are innacurate. The following list of broadcasts is based on the best information that I had as this article was written. All times are Arizona time, that is to say, Mountain Standard Time.

Criterium International -- March 28 -- 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and March 29 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

 (The Versus Website says the race will be broadcast on March 27 and 28, but that doesn't agree with the Dish Network on-line schedule, so please check your provider's schedule before the weekend.)

This two-day, three-stage race will be held on the island of Corsica this year and will, in theory, be the first time that arch enemies Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador confront each other since Lance formed his own team. This race will probably not play to the strength of either rider, because there are not enough climbs.

Alberto Contador seems to be in better shape, judging by his recent performance, but his judgment is not always the best, and the Astana team that backs him is weak. Lance is a shrewd rider, and his Radio Shack team may be the strongest in the peloton. However, Lance was a no starter in last Saturday's Milan-San Remo due to gastroenteritis, and a week may not be long enough for him to recover.

Tour of Flanders -- April 4 -- 2 to 5 p.m.

Paris-Roubaix -- April 11 -- 3 to 5 p.m.

Fleche Wallone -- April 25 -- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege -- April 26 -- 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Tour de Romandie -- May 3 -- 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Professional Cycling on Universalsports.com

I don't have the start time for the live Webcasts  on Universalsports.com/cycling, but the Webcasts are archived and can be viewed on demand. I watched Milan-San Remo on Saturday with full-screen resolution, and the picture quality seemed to be to be improved from last year. It's not as good as TV, but on a good computer monitor in full-screen mode, the resolution is perfectly acceptable, and the audio is great. Milan-San Remo is over, but the last time I checked, the video was still archived on the site for viewing. The video covers the final 40 kilometers of the 186-mile race, the longest one-day race on the calendar. I won't tell you who won, but I will say that the race favors sprinters who can also climb.

UCI Track World Championships -- March 24 (today!)

Tour of the Basque Country -- April 5

Giro d'Italia -- Daily for 21 days starting on May 8.

Phoenix Midweek Criterium Series Continues

The Tucson Midweek Criterium Series ends this evening, but the Phoenix Midweek Criterium Series, promoted by the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club, continues from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings until the end of April. There are four races nightly: a D race for beginners and juniors, a C race for category 4 and 5 riders, a B race for category 3, 4, and 5 riders, and an A race for category 1, 2, 3, and 4 racers. Riders register for the races on site, and both day and annual racing licenses can also be purchased. Turnout among both racers and spectators has been up this year. The races are popular among spectators, some of whom bring their lawn chairs to watch the races at no charge in comfort. If you have ever wondered what your newsletter editor looks like, this is your chance to find out, because I am also the race announcer.

The races are held in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Enter the lot from the south side of Van Buren, just west of Priest, which is also known as Galvin Parkway. To view the race series brochure in PDF format, click here.

GABA's Sonoita-Bisbee Bike Tour -- March 27 & 28

This weekend brings GABA's annual Sonoita-Bisbee ride. As the ride's name implies, the ride starts in Sonoita, Arizona at the Fairgrounds at the intersection of highways 82 and 83. The ride to Bisbee on the first day goes through Tombstone, where lunch will be served at the city park. Cyclists can chose to camp out or stay at a hotel in Bisbee on Saturday evening.

The return ride on Sunday traditionally goes through Fort Huachuca. However the road through the Fort is presently unavailable on weekends due to construction. On both days, a shuttle is available over part of the route for riders who are not up to the full ride: 63 miles the first day with a long climb up Mule Mountain and 66.5 miles the second day.

The cost of the ride is $90 for members of GABA and ABC and $105 for non-members who register in advance. Day of the ride registration is $105 for members and $120 for others. To access the ride's Website, click here.

Tumacacori Road Race -- March 28

GST Bike Racing and Team in Training present the Tumacacori Road Race on March 28. This is a circuit race held on a six-mile loop with 460 feet of climbing on each lap plus rollers and corners. Registration is online at Sportsbase Online. Registration is $35 for the men's pro/category 1/2 race and for the women's category 1/2/3 race. Other adults pay $30 to race, and juniors ride for free. To access the race's brochure in PDF format, click here.

Colossal Cave Stage Race -- April 10 & 11

Presteza, the Agress Cycling Team, and Tachycardia Racing present the Colossal Cave Stage Race the weekend of April 10 and 11. Stage 1 is the 6.6-mile Rocket-Strav Time Trial on Saturday April 10 starting just north of the entrance to the Tucson Raceway Park. The time trial will be followed in the afternoon by the Musselman Honda Criterium at the P1 Kart Circuit on South Harrison Road in Tucson, which is a replica of the Suzaka Kart Circuit in Suzuka, Japan Sunday brings the Colossal Cave Road Race in the Colossal Cave area.

Registration is online through Bigreg.com. Registration for the race is $80 for men pros, category 1, and category 2 riders, $70 for category 3 men, catefory 4 men women pro, category 1, and category 2 riders, $55 for men 65 and older, $60 for other adult categories, and $15 for juniors. Riders who did not register by March 22 will have to pay a $10 late fee for adults and $5 for juniors.

To access the race's Website, click here.

Colleen Wheldon-Haught Time Trial -- April 17

The second and final race in the Colleen Wheldon-Haught Memorial Time Trials, formerly the Three Bears Time Trials, will be held Saturday April 17 on Park Like Drive between the I-10 Frontage Road and AZ-70. The start-finish line will be about five miles east of I-10, and the race distance is about 30 kilometers. In addition to age-based categories in two-year increments for juniors and five-year increments for adults, there will be a Merckx Open category for riders on standard road bikes with no areo helmets, no disk or deep rim wheels, no skin suits, and standard road bars.

Riders may register in advance online until April 16, or on-site registration will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. with the first rider off at 8:00 a.m. Registration is $5 for juniors, $20 for adults, and $30 per tandem. There will be no cash prizes as all proceeds will be donated to the Livestrong Foundation to benefit cancer research. To access the race's Website, click here.

Buckeye Criterium -- April 18

The Buckeye Criterium, held annually in the town of the same name, is on the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association's calendar for April 18. However, as this was written, I was unable to find any information about this race online.

La Vuelta de Bisbee Stage Race -- April 23, 24 & 25

La Vuelta de Bisbee was once one of the premier bicycle races in the United States and attracted racers from as far away as Western Europe. In those days, the race ended with Sunday's time trial in hilly downtown Bisbee, which featured a climb through pothole-laced Brewery Gulch and up over Schoolhouse Hill and then a screaming downhill in Tombstone pass culminating in a sharp left turn for the next climb up Brewery Gulch. This spectacular criterium used to attract large numbers of spectators from as far away as Phoenix. However, the criterium has since been dropped from the race program as too dangerous, and the Bisbee Stage Race is a much calmer event today.

Although it is not the race it used to be, it is still a major event by Arizona standards. There are two races, an A race for senior men of category 1 through 4 and a master men's race for men 35 years of age an older. The organizers promise a 5-man masters team from Holland will compete in the B race this year.

Friday evening brings the traditional time trial up Mule Pass, only 2,8 miles long but with 837 feet of elevation gain. There are two events on Saturday: the Sulphur Springs Road starting at 8 a.m. and the Warren Time Trial starting at 3 p.m. Sunday wraps things up with the Tombstone Road Race beginning at 8 a.m. to be followed by the awards ceremony in the afternoon.

Registration for the A race is $90 per rider, and the B race will cost each rider $80. I am told that the race is in danger of being cancelled this year, due to a lack of advance registrations. The B-race registration is reportedly especially slim so far. If you are a licensed road racer and have been thinking about taking part in this race, it might be a good idea to go online and register now. To access the race's Website, click here.

Wet'n'Wild Cycling 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 April 24 and 25, the same weekend as the Vuelta de Bisbee. 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.

Ride for the Children -- April 25

The 13th Annual Ride for the Children starts at Horizon High School, 5601 East Greenway Road in Scottsdale, at 8 a.m. with check-in beginning at 7 a.m. with the proceeds to benefit the Real Gift Foundation. There are three routes available: a metric century of 65 miles, a 25-mile version and a short 10-mile ride for families and beginning riders. Police and food and water stations will be placed along the routes, and all riders will receive a T-shirt and a post-ride breakfast. Cost of registration for the ride is $50 through March 31, $60 fro April 1 through April 22, and $70 after April 22. Children under 12 years of age ride for $25. To access the ride's Website, click here. To view a map of the routes in PDF format, click here.

Silent Sundays at South Mountain Park

On the fourth Sunday of every month, South Mountain Park in Phoenix is closed to motorized traffic, and cyclists, skaters, etc. take over the park's roads. Upcoming Silent Sunday dates are this weekend March 28, April 25, and May 23. To visit South Mountain's Website, click here.

Dark Horse Rider Takes Sprint on Unconventional Bike

As seen in the photograph below, in a recent European bike race, a formally unknown rider led out the sprint and managed to hold it to the line. Only two riders managed to hold his wheel as he powered by and then dropped the Columbia HTC, Team Sky, and Team Quickstep lead-out trains. Even the two riders who managed to catch the mystery sprinter's wheel were unable to come around him for the victory. As you can see from the photograph, the rider's kick was so strong that the pack with sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, and Juan José Haedo were left out of sight and scrambling to catch up.

In a post race interview, before he ducked into the crowd and disappeared, the unidentified rider denied that his bike was unusual. "It was them other guys that was riding the weird bikes!" he exclaimed. "No wonder they couldn't get no speed up on them funny plastic bikes."

(OK, maybe this article and the accompanying photograph are a week early.)

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Jack Quinn, Editor