Arizona Road Cyclist News

February 15, 2012

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

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I had a good education in TV news this week. There was a shoot-‘em-up between rival partygoers involving two of my neighbors who live across the street from each other. Although I slept through the whole incident, which took place a few hundred feet from my front door, I was told that fisticuffs broke out in the street between the two residences, and as too often happens in our gun-crazed society, gunfire soon broke out. No one was killed outright, but at least one person was taken to the hospital in grave condition.

Channel 15 News came out to cover the shootout’s aftermath, and I was the only one of the neighbors vain (or foolish) enough to appear on camera. When the TV camera showed up, everyone else skedaddled. The reporter must have spent a half hour interviewing me and several hours shooting video of the locale. The total length of my appearance in the news clip on Sunday’s ABC 15 News? I would guess it at about three seconds of a 20-second news clip. And here I thought that I was going to be famous!

In this issue:
     Arizona’s First Solar Cosponsors Pro Development Team
     New Bike Racks Spring up in the Valley of the Sun
     South Mountain Park – Fix Dead Man’s Curve!
     NYM Phoenix
à Tucson Tour – February 17 to 20
     Sun Devil Criterium – February 19 Cancelled
     South Mountain Silent Sunday – February 26
     Avondale Criterium #2 – February 26
     Tucson Bicycle Class Stage Race – March 2 to 4
     South Mountain Bike & Run Classic – March 10
     Mining Country Challenge – March 10
     Focus Grand Prix Criterium – March 11
     Old Pueblo Grand Prix – March 17
     Tumacacori Circuit Race – March 18
     Cyclovia Tucson – March 18
     Hungry Dog Criterium – March 24
     Tour de Cure – March 24
     Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike Tour – March 24 & 25
     Cotton Classic Individual Time Trial – March 25
     San Tan Criterium – March 31
     Feedback – Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News


Arizona’s First Solar Cosponsors Pro Development Team

Arizona-based First Solar, one of the world’s largest enterprises in the solar-energy field, has signed on as a co-sponsor with Chipotle of a Slipstream Sports Professional Development cycling team, which is a feeder team for the Garmin-Barracuda racing squad. The Chipotle-First Solar continental pro team, which will race largely in Europe this year, made its debut this past weekend in the Phoenix Valley of the Sun (VOS) stage race after finishing its pre-season training camp in Wimberely, Texas and expects to end the season at the World Championships in Limburg, Netherlands on September 23.

Chipotle-First Solar will be based in Toulouse, France and expects to compete this year in such races as the Tour de Romandie, the Circuit des Ardennes, and the under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix.

Slipstream Sports set up the development team in 2003. “Partnering with First Solar from a business perspective is very exciting,” said Matt Johnson, President of Slipstream Sports. “They are a huge global company and the team is competing in locations where some of their most important projects are underway, so we will be bringing their message straight to the communities and markets most important to them.”

The Chipotle-First Solar Kit

Josh Berry

Rob Bush

Robin Carpenter

Andz Flaxsis

Evan Hyde

Andrei Krasilnikau

Adam Leibovitz

Michael Midlarsky

Lachlan Morton

Anders Newburry

Alister Ratclif

Tom Scully

Robbie Squire

Danny Summerhill

Steele Van Hoff




New Bike Racks Spring up in Valley of the Sun

New bike racks have been springing up in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The Phoenix Public Market on Pierce Street sports a new “bike corral” that has space for up to 20 velocipedes, and smaller racks with a capacity of six bikes are being installed at various locations around the Valley, partially funded by registration fees of the Diamondbacks’ Great Bike Chase.

In Tempe, the Bicycle Cellar has been operating for some time in the Transportation Center at 200 East Fifth Street and provides indoor secure bike parking with showers, lockers and a full-service bicycle shop. The Cellar also sells used bikes for those who would like to begin bicycle commuting on a budget.

An additional Bicycle Cellar is under consideration for Downtown Phoenix in the Security Building, across from the Van Buren Transit Center. However, the Phoenix project must be approved and funded by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors if it is to become a reality.


South Mountain Park – Fix Dead Man’s Curve!

The following is a guest article by reader Gene Holmerud

South Mountain Park is popular with cyclists, especially on Silent Sundays, and for good reasons, such as hills, vistas, and enjoyment of the world's largest municipal park. Unfortunately, the main entrance is a two-lane road, uphill, with no shoulders that goes around the blind curve that is known as "Dead Man's Curve". An unfunded plan exists to convert an existing maintenance "road" into a bike/pedestrian path from the intersection of 7th Street and Mineral Rd. (near Mystery Castle) to the Activities Center parking lot.  The involved City of Phoenix departments are in favor of it, but about $130,000 to actually do it is the issue.  We can help in two ways. Send an email to Mayor Stanton and to Councilman Michael Johnson letting them know you and the City would benefit and urge them to fund the project. Another possibility is to let us know of grant funds that support community development such as this. Details are available on FaceBook at or from Gene Holmerud at


NYM Phoenix à Tucson Tour – February 17 to 20

Not Your Mom (NYM) is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club that organizes cycling tours throughout the year. Most of the tours are self-contained and involve camping out. Riders are expected to be self-reliant, and hence the group’s name: The tour organizers are “not your mom!”

The group does an annual tour from Phoenix to Tucson and return over four days. Originally, this tour was also self-contained, but it has evolved into a SAGed ride with an easy (for cyclists not carrying their gear on their bikes) 60 miles a day. Riders are expected to take turns driving the SAG wagon. Riders are responsible for their own eating and sleeping arrangements, which for most riders will involve making motel reservations in advance.

This year the ride’s first day takes cyclists from Scottsdale to Casa Grande, and the second day’s ride parallels I-10 to Tucson. The third day takes riders along highway 79 from Tucson to Florence, and on the final day riders will pedal along a zig-zag route from Florence back to Scottsdale.

If you think you’re up to this type of riding, connect to the ride’s Website by clicking here.

Sun Devil Criterium – February 19 Cancelled

Why was it cancelled? I don’t know. Maybe the organizers just didn’t get everything done in time. Putting on a race requires a lot of preparation. Rumor has it that this race may be rescheduled for later in the year.

South Mountain Silent Sunday – February 26

On the fourth Sunday of every month, the City of Phoenix closes the main section of South Mountain Park to motorized traffic from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and turns the park over to non-motorized users such as cyclists, skaters, strollers, and runners. The program has been extended to North Mountain Park, where Silent Sunday takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

Silent Sundays have become popular among those cyclists who might not want to compete with motorized traffic while pedaling to the summit of South Mountain. Serious cyclists are advised to ride the mountain early, as some of the cyclists and skateboarders who descend the mountain later in the day don’t stay on their side of the road, even when rounding blind corners.

To connect to the Silent Sunday Website for more information, click here.

Avondale Criterium #2 – February 26

This is the second in a series of criteriums put on in Avondale by the Carlos Obrien’s/Tribe racing team. The first one was held in January. The race’s brochure in PDF format can be viewed by clicking here.

Registration is available on Despite that fact that racing goes on from 7:30 a.m. until about 4:40 p.m., the number of categories to be raced is limited. (It’s difficult to work in a race for everyone at a criterium.)

To register for the race, click here. Registration is $3 for juniors, $30 for most adult categories, $25 for category 5 men, category 3 and 4 women, master women, and master men age 50+.

The course is located in Avondale in the area of the intersection of South Avondale and Coldwater Springs Boulevards. To get there from Phoenix, head west on I-10 and take exit 131 (Avondale Boulevard).

Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race – March 2 to 4

The Tucson Bicycle Classic is a three-event, three-day stage race held in and around Tucson. TriSports, the promoter, bills the race as “Southern Arizona’s premier three-day USA Cycling stage race.” The folks who put on la Vuelta de Bisbee might dispute that, but I will go along with the Tucson people. For one thing, the Tucson race includes a large number of categories for both men and women, from 10-year-old juniors to a 65+ age group for women and a 75+ age group for men. There are few stage races that offer categories other than time trials for us older folks, and I tip my hat to TriSports for including us.

The first stage is the Old Tucson/McCain Loop Time Trial on March 2. The course is a short 3.2 miles but includes rollers and a 5% climb that steepens to 6% climb to the finish.

The second stage is the Garrett Lemire Memorial Road Race on March 3. This stage is on a 20-mile loop that the race bible says has about 1,000 feet of climbing plus rollers and one rapid descent. The start and finish lines are near exit 63 of I-19 south of Tucson. Most racers will do two laps. Women’s categories 1 through 3 and pros will do three laps as will most men’s categories under 55 years of age. Men’s pro, category 1, and category 2 riders will do 4 laps, and juniors in the 10- to 12-year-old group will do six tenths of a lap. There are time bonuses for the first 3 finishers in each race.

The race finishes on March 4 with a circuit race on a 5.6-mile loop in Tucson. Different categories will ride different numbers of circuits around the loop from 2 laps for the 10 to 12 year olds to 9 laps for the men’s pro and category 1 race.

Entry fees vary from $30 for the 10-to-12-year-old juniors to $85 for the men’s pro and category 1 race. Riders are required to pre-register. A late fee of $10 for juniors and $15 for others will be added for entries postmarked after February 17.

For more information (and there is a lot of it available), click here.

South Mountain Bike & Run Classic – March 10

I have no information on the run, but there are two short bike races, both held the same day: a circuit race and a mass-start hill climb up South Mountain. The hill climb takes place early in the morning, and the circuit race take place later in the day with different categories on the circuit at different times.

The hill climb ins 6.7 miles, and the circuit races are timed events that last from 20 minutes for juniors to 70 minutes for male pros, category 1 and category 2 senior men.

This is a fund-raising event, and like most fund-raising events, participating ain’t cheap! I started to register until I discovered that each race would cost me $40 and there would be a $5.25 additional charge for the mandatory online registration. Add that up, and two short races would set me back $85.25, a bit rich for an old man living on Social Security to enter a race for which the prize for my age group is a handshake and a pat on the back. However, $10 from each race entry fee will be donated to the Phoenix Parks Foundation.

By the way, there are cash prizes for most of the younger adult racers, although not for juniors nor for the older masters.

South Mountain Park will be closed to motor vehicles during the races. There will be a shuttle from the parking lot for circuit-race spectators, and I assume that bike racers can ride their bikes from the parking lot to the start of their races.

To view the race’s brochure in PDF format, click here. To register online on the Website and pay by credit card, click here.

Mining Country Challenge – March 10

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club’s annual Mining Country Challenge vies with the Bullshifter’s Heart of Arizona for the title of Arizona’s most-challenging century ride. It is modeled on the now-defunct Mining Country bicycle race, except instead of having a bit over four hours to complete the route, as the racers did, Challenge riders have most of the day to complete the event.

There are two options: 66 miles and 96 miles. Both start and end in Superior. (the Mining Country race used to start and end in Miami.) Neither route is for wussies!

The 66-mile route takes riders from Superior over the God-awful hill that cyclists have dubbed “End of the World” and down into the turnaround point in Winkleman. On the return route, cyclists will climb Ray Mine Hill in addition to End of the World.

The 96-mile route is a loop with three tough climbs: Top of the World, El Capitán, and End of the World. It starts in Superior, climbs over top of the world, descends into Miami and Globe, passes over El Capitán to Winkleman, and then climbs Ray Mine Hill and End of the World before descending back to the starting point in Superior.

If you’re macho enough to do the ride, you can get more information by clicking here.

Focus Grand Prix Criterium – March 11

The Focus Grand Prix Criterium will be held in Chandler at 2200 South Stearman Drive, which is just southeast of the intersections of Gilbert and Germann Roads. Racing starts at 8 a.m. and ends just after 5 p.m. with races for all senior categories, master men through 60+, and juniors starting at ten years old. There is a $1,200 prize list.

Registration is $10 for juniors through 18 years of age. Others pay $30 until February 28 and $35 from February 28 through March 8. The day-of-race entry fee is $15 for juniors and $40 for others.

To view the race’s Webpage and for online registration, click here.

Old Pueblo Grand Prix – March 17

As its name implies, the Old Pueblo Grand Prix (OPGP) takes place in Tucson. This is a chance to combine the Saint Patrick’s Day celebration with a major bike race that is the second in the series of major criteriums held across the country as part of the USA Crits Championship Series. The race is part of a weekend of cycling events that includes Cyclovia Tucson the following day (see below).

This criterium has some major sponsorship backing and should have a juicy prize list. The course, which is located near East Broadway Boulevard and South Sixth Avenue in Tucson, has its start/finish line in front of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine.

Registration is online through Early registration closes on March 6, after which there will be a $5 late-registration fee added. Day-of-race registration is available with a 50-percent surcharge.

To view the race’s Website, click here.

Tumacacori Circuit Race – March 18

The Tumacacoria Road Race is a circuit race on a six-mile loop and will take place the day after Saint Patrick’s Day in Tumacacori, near Río Rico, which is 68 miles south of Tucson or not too far north of Nogales. Tumacacoria is the site of the famous Tumacacoria mission, which dates from Spanish colonial times and was one of the missions built in what is today Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, a region that was then known as Pimanria Alta. The mission was constructed under the supervision of the Jesuit missionary Eusebius Franz Kühn, whose name has been “spaglicized” to Eusebio Francisco Kino.

Padre Kino, as he is known in Sonora and Arizona, was born in a German-speaking region of the Austrian Empire and educated in Innsbruck. However, the area where he was born is today part of Italy, and many history books give his nationality as Italian. It might be more accurate to call him Austrian.

Padre Kino died in the picturesque town of Magdalena de Kino, about an hour’s drive south of Nogales in Northern Sonora, where his skeleton rests today uneasily on the ground under the gaze of curious tourists who peer at it through Plexiglas windows.

All that is left of poor old Vater Kühn, better known as Padre Kino

But enough of history. This article is supposed to be about a race.

The circuit course is reported to have sharp corners, climbs, descents and rollers with 460 feet of vertical climbing per lap. The distance to be raced varies from 72 miles for professional, category 1, and category 2 men to 12 miles (two circuits) for 15-to-16-year-old juniors.

Juniors race for free. Most other racers pay an entry fee of $30, and the top men’s and women’s categories pay $35. There is a $5 late-registration fee after March 12.

You can view the race’s Web page by clicking here and the race brochure in PDF format by clicking here.

Cyclovia Tucson – March 18

According to the Cyclovia Website, “Cyclovia Tucson is an annual car-free event that opens selected streets to people so that they can walk, skate, run, bicycle, and socialize with their neighbors.” It’s a free event, open to the public, and "fun for people of all ages.” Cyclovia Tucson is the second event in a weekend of cycling fun that commences with March 17's Old Pueblo Grand Prix (see above).

Cyclovia takes place on March 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting in downtown Tucson, and makes a five-mile loop to the south. In honor of the event, the Pima County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed the week of March 21 to March 27 to be Cyclovia Tucson Week.

For more information about this free event, including a route map and the opportunity to purchase a Cyclovia Tucson T-shirt, click here.

Hungry Dog Criterium – March 24

The Hungry Dog Criterium takes place on March 24. Not much information is available on this race yet, but there is a flyer online in PDF format, which you can view by clicking here.

The race will take place on a closed course south of the Loop 202 between Val Vista Drive and Greenfield Road in Mesa. Registration is $30 for the first race and $10 for an additional race. Juniors pay no entry fee but will have to pay the $2 USA Cycling insurance fee. Registration will apparently be onsite.

Tour de Cure – March 24

The Tour de Cure is an annual ride to raise funds to fight diabetes. The ride is held in cities throughout the USA. Riders are expected to raise money through donations and pledges.

This year’s Phoenix-area event offers rides of four different lengths: 80 miles, a 62-mile metric century, a 34-mile scenic route, and an 8-mile family fun ride. All routes are to be fully SAGed, and a party with lunch and entertainment is promised after the ride. It sounds like great fun.

To view the ride’s Website, click here.

Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike Tour – March 24 & 25

The Tucson-based Greater Arizona Bicycling Association’s (GABA) annual Sonoita-Bisbee bicycling tour is one of the most delightful bike trips in Arizona, passing through the rolling high-desert country of Southern Arizona with a stop in the historic town of Tombstone thrown in for good measure. Of course, what is a delightful ride to a conditioned cyclist can be pure torture to someone who is out of shape. Be aware that this tour involves significant climbing.

Cycling starts on the morning of March 24 in the town of Sonoita. Camping is available the night before in the Sonoita Fairgrounds. In a departure from previous years, there will be no arranged camping Saturday night in Bisbee, so make your hotel reservations early. The limited number of hotel rooms book up quickly on the weekend of this tour.

On day one, riders will pedal through the town of Tombstone, which is always worth a stop. After Tombstone comes the long climb up Mule Pass before welcome descent into Bisbee.

The second day starts with a descent past the Lavender Pit Copper Mine to the lower section of Bisbee and a right turn at the traffic circle to head towards Palominas and Miracle Valley (also known as Hereford).

From Miracle Valley the ride continues through Sierra Vista, and Mustang Corners back to Sonoita. In previous years, the ride has passed through Fort Huachuca, but there is no mention of a ride through the military reservation on the Website for this year’s ride.

The cost of the ride for those who register in advance is $70 for GABA and Arizona Bike Club members and $80 for others. Add another $10 if you register on the day of the ride. You are responsible for your own lodgings in Bisbee.

To view the ride’s Web page, click here.

Cotton Classic Individual Time Trial – March 25

The Cotton Classic is a 20-kilometer out-and-back individual time trial that starts and ends in Arizona City. Registration will be at the Mesquite Grove Assisted Living Building, 16286 South Sunland Gin Road in Arizona City. This course is frequently used for the Arizona State Time Trial Championship races, so it is a good way to both learn the course and judge the competition.

There will be categories for all racers including juniors by age and masters in five-year increments. There will also be a fixed-gear category, a mountain bike category, and a recumbent category. Registration, which can be performed onsite or the evening before that race in Tucson, is $20 for adults and $3 for juniors.

Information on the 2012 race was not yet available as this was written, but as soon as it is, there should be a link on Team Saguaro Velo’s Website, which you can view by clicking here.

San Tan Criterium – March 31

The annual San Tan Criterium will take place this year on March 31 in Mesa just south of Falcon Field south of East McKellips Street and west of North Highley Road. There will be races for men from juniors through age 60+ and for women from juniors through age 50+. Registration is $30 online until March 28 and onsite the day of the race with a $5.00 late-registration adder.

To view the race’s Webpage, click here.

Feedback – Our Readers Respond

Regarding the Idado Stop, I submit that if a cyclist has trouble unclipping and clipping back in at stop signs, they need more practice with their pedals, rather than a law to help them compensate for their equipment challenges. I don't have any problem with my clipless pedals at stop signs.

-John Romeo Alpha

First, I think we may a disagreement about vocabulary, John. The modern pedal-and-cleat system is usually referred to as “clipless,” because it did away with toe clips. I suspect you mean platform pedals, which do not work with cleats and can be ridden using ordinary shoes.

However, getting to the point of your E-mail, I’m not aware that many cyclists have a problem with unclipping from or clipping into their pedals. Once they get the hang of clipless pedals, the two operations become automatic for most cyclists. However, if there are people who are having that problem, perhaps they will follow your advice and not use cleats.

Concerning any connection with to Idaho law, I don’t think that there is one. The Idaho law went into effect 40 years ago in 1982, two years before Look introduced the modern clipless pedal-and-cleat system and even longer before clipless pedals came into general use. I think the argument for the Idaho law was then what the argument for a similar law in Arizona is today: Cyclists who maintain some motion when approaching an intersection can clear that intersection more quickly and more safely than cyclists who come to a dead stop.

I repeat the challenge to critics of this bill: If you believe the law would not work in Arizona, you need to explain why a law that has a 40-year history of success in Idaho would not function in our state. Is there something different about Arizona?

The "prima facie" wrinkle (in the Arizona bill) is a bit of a booby trap. This type of collision is probably pretty unusual; however, it is disturbing in that the cyclist would automatically lose rights.

Ed Beighe

You always see things that other people overlook, Ed.

The “prima facie wrinkle “Provides that if riding past a stop sign without stopping the rider is involved in a collision in the intersection, the collision is prima facie evidence of the bicycle rider’s failure to yield the right-of-way.”

That seems to suggest that if a cyclist approached a four-way stop sign, waited until it was his or her turn to go through the intersection, and then entered the intersection and was struck by a motor vehicle that approached the intersection and blew through the stop sign at high speed without having the right of way, the presumption would be that the cyclist was at fault. Would this give me a blank check to run down cyclists in intersections with my SUV and then sue the injured cyclist or the cyclist’s estate if the collision resulted in a dinged fender or mental distress?

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