Arizona Road Cyclist News

February 29, 2012

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

Arizona Road Cyclist News is normally published every other Wednesday and is available free of charge to anyone who wishes to read it. To sign up for an E-mail notifying you when the latest edition has been uploaded to the Website 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.

In the following text, words and phrases that are both in boldface and underlined are hyperlinks that you can click for more information on external Websites.

Being pressed for time, I have not added any new events to this issue except for the Great Arizona Bicycle Festival near the bottom of the page. There are also a few news items at the beginning of the issue.

In this issue:
     Cyclist Steven Langager Succumbs to Injuries
     Hidden Hills Easement is Closed
     McDowell Mountain Road Bike Lane Closure – March 11
     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
     The Great Arizona Bicycle Festival
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News


Cyclist Steven Langager Succumbs to Injuries

Since the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, I have learned that 64-year-old cyclist Steven Douglas Langager passed away on January 26 at Hospice of the Valley in Scottsdale. As reported in the February 1 issue of this newsletter, he was struck by a Chevrolet SUV near Via de Ventura and Pima Road in Scottsdale on January 13. At the time I wrote the article, I did not know his name or that he had passed away. The motorist who struck him was reportedly under the influence of alcohol.

Hidden Hills Easement is Closed

Tthe Hidden Hills easement has been closed to cyclists who do not live in the community. As shown in the photo below, the sign at the entrance that used to picture the bike route through the community's gates has been replaced by one stating that bicycle use beyond that point could result in a fine of up to $250 under Scottsdale City ordinance 17-86. That ordinace reads: "No person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates or any other nonself-propelled [sic] vehicle or device, except wheelchairs, in or upon any area having posted signs expressly prohibiting said self-propelled vehicles or devices."

The plan is to reopen the easement to cyclists when a bicycle route through Hidden Hills to Fountain Hills is completed. When that will happen is uncertain. The City of Scottsdale already owns an easement in Fountain Hills to complete the route, but that easement will probably have to be modified to better fit the development plans of MCO, the company that develops the residential neighborhoods in Fountain Hills. Optimists believe that the route could be completed this year, whereas pessimists see the route’s completion several years in the future.

McDowell Mountain Road Bike Lane Closure – March 11

The eastbound bike lane on McDowell Mountain Road from Fountain Hills to McDowell Mountain Park will be closed on Sunday March 11 from 8 to 11 a.m. due to a running race. The eastbound lane is the one leaving Fountain Hills and heading toward Rio Verde.

Although it is legal for cyclists to ride out in the lane with automobile traffic when a bike lane is closed, traffic on this road can be heavy and fast on weekends, and not all of the motorists who use the road are friendly to cyclists. Cyclists are advised to avoid McDowell Mountain Road altogether on Sunday, March 11, especially since the race Web site advertises 120 cases of beer.

Questions about the bike lane closure  on McDowell Mountain Road can be directed to For additional information on the race, click here.


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 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.

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.

For more information, 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 is 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 is therefore a bit more costly to enter than the normal bike race. Each race costs $40 plus a $5.25 additional charge for the mandatory online registration. Add that up, and two short races will set you back $85.25. However, $10 from each race entry fee will be donated to the Phoenix Parks Foundation.

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. The circuit races should be exciting spectator events.

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 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.

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. There was a flyer online on the Website, but when I tried to view it again on February 28, I was unable to connect.

According to the flyer, the race will take place (assuming it does 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.

The Great Arizona Bicycle Festival – April 14

Mark your calendar now for a day of bicycle-centric fun. The Great Arizona Bicycle Festival takes place in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, April 14 and includes a plethora of bicycle-related events including the 70-mile El Tour de Mesa, which starts and finishes at Center and First Streets. For those who are not up to a 70-mile ride, there is a shorter, 28-mile version an a four-mile fun ride that might be suitable for riding with the younger children.

Other events include a Ciclovia, in which the main streets in downtown Mesa will be closed to those pesky motorized vehicles and open to bikes. A cyclist’s swap meet featuring vintage bike parts and accessories will be held from 6 a.m. (cyclists tend to be early risers) to 3 p.m. The Kids’ Fun Zone will include bounce houses, face painting, games, and free make-and-take crafts. Kids will also have the opportunity to participate in a Bicycle Safety Rodeo in which they will practice bike handling and bike safety while riding through an obstacle course. MACFest is billed as an arts-themed festival with artists’ creations, music, and other fun events.

Some of Arizona’s top bike shops will be on hand to sell cycle-related merchandise, do giveaways, and repair bikes. What event would be complete without a touchy-feely Holistic Healing and Natural Fitness Festival? Finally, there will be a self-guided bike tour through the neighborhood north of Main Street with ten stops.

To view the event’s Website, click here.

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