Arizona Road Cyclist News October 22, 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 email notifying you when the latest edition has been uploaded to the Website or to modify or cancel your current subscription, click on the "Subscribe to Arizona Road Cyclist News" link in the navigation pane to the left on the Website or on the link at the end of every email. All email addresses are kept on a secure server and are not shared with anyone. Should you later cancel your email subscription, you information will be completely deleted from our server.

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In the newsletter text, words, and phrases in underlined blue text are hyperlinks that you can click for more information on other Websites.

In this issue:
    
     The Coming End of ARCN
     A Fatal Month for Valley Cyclists
     Bike Lanes, an Illusion of Safety?
     Stop Sayin' it Ain't so, Lance!
     ASU Seeks Bike Racers for VO2 Max Study
     Mark Cavendish Jumps Teams
     Recycle Your Bicycle
     Silent Sundays at North & South Mountains
     2013 Preliminary Race Calendar
     Faster Gran Fondo -- October 27
     Heart of Arizona Century/Brevet -- November 3
     GABA's Silverbell Century -- November 4
     ABC's McDowell Mountain Century -- November 10
     El Tour de Tucson -- November 17
     GABA Tucson Toys for Tots Ride -- December 1
     Peoria Ready to Ride Class -- December 1
     PMBC's Casa Grande Century -- January 13
     Feedback -- Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

The Coming End of ARCN

As I reported in a previous issue, I plan to cease publication of Arizona Road Cyclist News before the end of this year. The last planned edition of the newsletter will be uploaded on November 29.

Why am I giving up the newsletter? I have been writing it for four years, and it is time to do something else. I've thought of writing another textbook or market study, either of which would bring in a few bucks. As most readers know, the newsletter has been a labor of love.

The first issue, on October 28, 2008, went out to about a dozen initial subscribers. At first, I sent the newsletter itself out by email. Later, I started posting it to the Web so that I could include more graphics and make occasional updates and some not-so-occasional corrections. At last count, exactly 530 people had subscribed to the email that I send out to notify readers when the latest edition is available.

Well, it's not quite time to say goodbye yet. There are three issues yet to go.

A Fatal Month for Valley Cyclists

The bad luck started just before the beginning of the month on September 28 when a cyclist was seriously injured in a collision with a pickup truck at 86th Street and McDonald at about 9 pm. The cyclist was travelling northbound and reportedly ran a red light when he was struck by the westbound pickup and suffered serious head injuries. The cyclist, was said to have been riding without a helmet.

The incident that garnered the most press attention was the death of cyclist Dr. Marwan Maalouf, who was struck and killed by a blue Chevrolet pickup truck  just after noon on October 14. Dr. Maalouf was reported to be cycling westbound in a bicycle lane on Shea Boulevard near Fountain Hills when he was struck from behind. The pickup's driver, later identified as 33-year-old Nicholas Linsk of Mesa, got out of his truck to examine the damage before fleeing the scene.

Mr. Linsk was arrested after a citizen reported a man acting suspicious and examining damage to his blue pickup truck near the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Linsk initially tried to convince police that his truck had been stolen. He claimed that he found it in a different parking spot than the one where he had left it. Then he changed his story and said that he was driving the truck but that he believed that he had hit a traffic barricade, although there were no barricades in the area where the incident occurred. He was booked on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Dr. Maalouf worked at Saint Joseph's Barrow Neurological Institute, which reported that he was preparing to research biological markers that would aide in the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease.

            

Above: Left cyclist Dr. Marwan Maalouf. Right accused hit-and-run driver Nicolas Linsk

Will Mr. Linsk be convicted? If the gets a good attorney, possibly not. Arizona needs a law that would carry a presumption of guilt and a stiff prison sentence when a motorist strikes a cyclist from behind who is riding in a bike lane. Motorists, with the exception of emergency vehicles, are not permitted to drive in bicycle lanes and those who do wander into the bike lane should be punished, especially if they strike a cyclist.

Bike Lanes, an Illusion of Safety?

There is a feeling among cyclists and those who design cycling facilities that on-street bike lanes improve cyclist safety, but do they? Or do they just provide an illusion of increased safety. An alarming number of car-bike collisions involve cyclists who are struck from behind while riding in a bike lane. Dr. Marwan Maalouf (see story above) is just the latest example. Consider the following incidents.

In October 2008, two cyclists on the Wheezers and Geezers ride were seriously injured when the struck temporary traffic-control signs that a contractor had left in the bike lane. The view of the signs was obstructed by the cyclist in front of the two injured riders. (The signs were removed after the accident.)

In May 2009, cyclist Drake Okusako was struck and killed while riding in a bike lane in Tucson.

In September 2009, cyclist Jerome Featherman was struck and killed while riding in a bike lane in Green Valley.

On March 14 of this year, Shawn McCarthy was struck from behind and killed while riding in a bike lane on Thompson Peak Parkway. The driver of the motor vehicle, Amy Alexander of Scottsdale, paid a fine of $420 for two civil traffic violations.

On April 7 of this year, three cyclist were struck from behind and seriously injured while riding in a bike lane on McDowell Road near 88th Street. The cyclists were identified as Scott Drozdz, Brent Holderman, and Angelito Peras Silla.

I don't think there is any evidence to show that a cyclist is less likely to be struck from behind and killed if riding in a bike lane instead of riding in the right lane of a street with no bike lane. I feel unsafe riding in the bike lane of certain high-speed streets. For example, I feel much safer in North Scottsdale taking up the right lane on Hayden Road than I do on Scottsdale Road, where the narrow bike lane encourages motor vehicles to pass close at high speeds. I also try to avoid Pima Road north of Shea during periods of high traffic for the same reason.

There seems to be a feeling among drivers that as long as they are in a traffic lane for motor vehicles and the cyclists are in the bike lane, there is no requirement to give a cyclist three feet of clearance. That is not true, of course, but the three-foot law is rarely enforced, and I question how many motorists are even aware that it exists.

Bike lanes do serve one purpose. They do clearly signal to motorists who are ignorant of the traffic laws that bicycles have a right to be on the street and are not required to ride on the sidewalk.

Stop Sayin' it Ain't so, Lance!

Newscasts and newspapers were full  of chatter about the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) doping accusations against Lance Armstrong last week, and on Monday Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France winnings. Despite the strength of the evidence against Lance. there are still some people who believe that he is being railroaded. I've heard over and over the same assertion: "He never failed a drug test." Technically that's true, meaning that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international body that governs professional and amateur bicycle racing, has no official record of his having failed a drug test, but unofficially he failed multiple drug tests, evidence that the UCI had chosen to ignore prior to Monday. Not only did Lance Armstrong dope, I believe that the UCI was complicit in helping him cover it up.

USADA's evidence includes testimony from eleven of Lance's former teammates as well as physical evidence. When Floyd Landis was the only cyclist accusing Armstrong of doping, it was easy to dismiss the charges, but now that almost a dozen of his former teammates have testified against him, the accusations are hard to ignore.

Among Lance's accusers are cyclists, such as George Hincapie, who also "never failed a drug test," but who have nevertheless admitted under oath that they doped. In fact, it appears that all of the top professional cyclists, all of those who were able to hang onto the peloton on climbs, were on drugs. It was nearly impossible for a clean cyclist to be competitive, as is shown by the fact that the French teams ceased to be a factor in professional cycling during the period when France was the only country to come down hard of doping athletes.

How is it possible to ride race after race on dope, be tested hundreds of times (not the 500 to 600 times that Lance claims, but close to 300 times), and never officially fail a test? Professional cyclists used a variety of tactics to avoid drug tests or to foil them.

The drug of choice on the Discovery Channel/US Postal team was erythropoietin (EPO) for which there was no test prior to 2000, and even after 2000, the test could only detect EPO within a few days of its having been administered.

The other favorite doping method was blood doping, in which blood is withdrawn from an athlete's circulatory system during a period between races. The athlete's body then generates new red blood cells to replace those that have been removed. Then, during a race, the blood is put back into the athlete's body.

Both EPO and blood doping raise an athlete's red blood cell count, which in turn increases the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the muscles.

Because the testers had no way to directly detect EPO or blood doping, they relied on testing hematocrit, which is a measure of the percentage of red cells in the blood. Normal levels are about 45 percent for men and 40 percent for women. After hard training, the level can fall into the 30-percent range. The testers marked as suspicious any blood sample with a hematocrit of more that 50 percent. The goal of cyclists therefore was to lower their hematocrit to under 50 percent when a test was likely.

There are methods of lowering the hematocrit prior to a test that rely on introducing more liquid into the blood in order to dilute it. When the testers arrived at a hotel where cyclists were staying, those who had time would use an intravenous saline drip to dilute the blood. In a pinch, washing a few salt tablets down with a large quantity of water could do the same trick. Sometimes the testers showed up unannounced so quickly that there was no time to take evasive measures. That supposedly happened twice to Lance. In one of those instances, the positive results appear to have gone away after the UCI was paid off.

In the 1999 Tour de France, Lance tested positive for cortisone, a banned substance, after the prolog. The US Postal team then produced a (reportedly backdated) prescription for a cortisone-containing skin cream to treat saddle sores. Such a use would have been acceptable if Lance had listed it on his pre-race medical form, but he hadn't. Nevertheless, the UCI accepted the story and closed its eyes to the positive test. Lance was making bicycle racing very popular. The UCI was profiting from Lance's success and didn't want to catch him cheating.

By 2001, cyclists were being routinely tested for EPO, and Lance tested positive during the Tour de Suisse according to both Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. It may be a coincidence, but soon after Lance pledged to donate $100,000 to the UCI. For whatever reason, the UCI no longer has a record of the positive test.

In 2005, the Châtney-Malabry testing lab tested urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France. Lance's samples after stages 1, 9, 10, 12, and 14 all tested positive. The UCI ignored the results.

How much difference do EPO and blood doping make in a cyclist's performance? Only a few percent, but in a sport where the top athletes are so closely matched, a few percent improvement on a long, hard climb means the difference between riding at the front of the peloton and getting spit out the back.

Jonathan Vaughters reports in Velonews (November 2012, p. 48f) that since the biological passport was introduced, the fastest time up the Alpe d'Huez and the Plateau de Belle has slowed ten percent, corresponding to a ten-percent drop in cyclists' hemoglobin levels from 1997 to 2010.

Of course,  you could argue that Lance had to dope to be competitive, and you'd be right. In all likelihood, everyone that he was competing against was also shooting banned performance-enhancing substances into their veins. Is Lance any worse than the others? I don't know. Probably not. However, at least many of the others have stopped denying their drug use and have come clean, admittedly after having been caught. Lance has yet to take that step. C'mon, Lance! It's time to come clean!

Is doping still going on? Probably to some extent, but it is now much harder to get away with than it was in the past. Now athletes have what is called a Biological Passport, which is an electronic record of the athlete's blood composition over time. Any dramatic change in the norm of a particular athlete's blood profile raises suspicion, regardless of whether or not a banned substance is detected, and in many cases, such a change has resulted in a two-year suspension. You can read more about the biological passport in English on the Website of the Laboratoire Suisse d'Analyse du Dopage by clicking here.

However, there are some organizations and people who are not willing to give cycling another chance. Last Wednesday Rabobank announced that its sponsorship of a professional cycling team will end in December. Rabobank has been involved in professional cycling for almost 30 years and is by far the largest sponsor of Dutch cycling. Rabobank said its withdrawal is a direct result of USADA's report and its belief that professional cycling cannot be cleaned up. Rabobank will continue its sponsorship of amateur cycling and cyclocross.

In my opinion, the UCI has done much harm to bicycle racing that will be hard to repair, not only by looking the other way during the doping scandal but also by the propagation of silly rules. Germany was once a nation of cycling fans, but today it is hard to find anyone in Germany who takes an interest in bicycle racing due to successive doping scandals. One step that the UCI could take to improve cycling's image would be to can its president, Pat McQuaid. Pro racing's darkest years occurred during his watch, so firing him would send a signal that the UCI is not going to continue with business as usual.

If you are interested in more information on how the pro racers cheated the drug testers, I recommend the book The Secret Race: Inside the World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-Ups, and Winning at all Costs by Lance's former teammate Tyler Hamilton and author Daniel Coyle.

Another good book about doping in an earlier era when pro cyclists rode with hypodermic needles full of amphetamines to inject into their thighs near the end of a race is Irish cycling journalist and former pro racer Paul Kimmage's The Rough Ride.

Finally, if anyone would like to peruse USADA's report on Armstrong's doping, all 202 pages of it are available in PDF format on my Website. To read it, click here. To skip the boring preliminaries and cut to the chase read a few pages beginning near the bottom of page 16 where Lance Armstrong's drug use is documented beginning in 1998.

ASU Seeks Bike Racers for VO2 Max Study

The Arizona State University’s Kinesiology Program is conducting a study to determine the effect of knee angle on VO2 testing in road cycling. The research team is searching for volunteers to participate in this study. Participants will receive a VO2 Max Test free of charge. Once tests are completed, participants will receive their test results.

There will be two sets of testing periods. Each testing period is limited to 10 subjects. The below days and times are for the first testing period. If you cannot make the first testing period, possibly the second testing period will meet your schedule. Once the days and times for the second testing period are finalized, a follow-up message will be sent.

Requirements:

Ø  Commitment to participate in three one-hour sessions on the same day of the week and time over three consecutive weeks

Ø  Ages of 18 to 30 (Applicants over 30 years old can apply and will be considered depending on the number of applicants received)

Ø  2 years of racing experience

Ø  Must be physically fit for high intensity exercise

Ø  No serious lower extremity injuries within the last year

Ø  Cannot be on any cardiac medications or illegal drugs

Ø  Must have your own road bicycle (no TT or Triathlon bikes )

Ø  Road bicycle must not have an integrated seatpost (due to adjustment limitations)

Interested individuals, please apply by contacting Ryan Zupko at rzupko@asu.edu by Sunday, October 28th. 

Please include the following in your application e-mail:

Ø  Name

Ø  Age

Ø  Current racing category

Ø  Years of recent racing experience

Ø  Hours per week that you train

Ø  Please select from the list below of days and times that you wish to participate.  You may select 1 to many days and time periods.  If you do so, please prioritize. 

o   For example, my first selection is Tuesdays 7-8pm, my second selection is Saturdays 4-5pm, etc.

Tuesday

Oct 30, Nov 6, 13

Thursday

Nov 1, 8, 15

Saturday

Nov 3, 10, 17

Sunday

Nov 4, 11, 18

7:00-8:00pm

7:00-8:00pm

3:00-4:00pm

3:00-4:00pm

8:00-9:00pm

8:00-9:00pm

4:00-5:00pm

4:00-5:00pm

 

 

5:00-6:00pm

5:00-6:00pm

 

More information (logistics, what to bring, etc.) will be provided to those that apply.

Mark Cavendish Jumps Teams

This is admittedly not an Arizona story, but many readers follow professional bike racing. Mark Cavendish's one-year stint with Team Sky is ending, and he will move to Team Omega Pharma/Quick-Step in 2013.

The world's fastest sprinter from the Ise of Man was not a good fit with Team Sky. At first blush, it seemed a good idea for him to ride for an almost all British team, but his goals did not mesh with those of the team leader Bradly Wiggins. Mark is unequaled when it comes to winning relatively flat races and race stages. Team Sky's ambition is to win the general classification in the big stage races.

The conflict was most apparent during this year's Tour de France where the team gave most of its support to Bradly Wiggins' efforts to garner the overall win and Mark was left without the lead-out train that he was used to following in the run-up to the stage finish.

Team Omeaga Pharma/Quick-Step is a team that is tuned to winning the one-day classics, where Mark might be able to do well. In the major stage races, it concentrates on winning stages, and again Mark should be a good fit.

Recycle Your Bicycle

The Recycle Your Bicycle project is a joint effort of the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents and the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America to give each foster child a new-looking bike by December 15, in time for the holidays. The project points out that many foster children have never had a bike.

To achieve its goal, the project is collecting donated used and new bikes and repairing and polishing them until they look new. If you have a dusty bike sitting in your garage, the project would like to use it to help make some child's holiday season happy. The project also needs volunteers who can donate a few hours of their time on Saturdays to get the bike welcome. While those with mechanical knowledge are welcome, such knowledge is not necessary as there are tasks such as cleaning and polishing that require no prior experience. The drive's organizers say they will need between 100 and 200 volunteers to get the bikes ready. The project also needs tools, either donated or loaned.

Last year the project delivered 275 bikes to foster children. This year, the project's goal was to deliver 500 bikes, but so far 1,000 bikes have been donated, a number that exceeds expectations.

Donated bikes can be dropped off at numerous locations throughout the Valley including Earnhardt Auto Dealers.

If you have a bike or time to donate or tools to lend, you can get information on whom to contact by clicking here.

Silent Sundays at North & South Mountains

The City of Phoenix reserves one Sunday each month in both North Mountain and South Mountain Parks to non-motorized use such as skating, strolling, wheelchair use and (of course) cycling. The parks are closed to motorized traffic on those days from 5 am to 7 pm. The event takes place the second Sunday of each month at North Mountain Park and the fourth Sunday of each month at South Mountain Park.

Many cyclists, especially those who fear riding in traffic, look forward to Silent Sundays as a chance to ride without having to compete with cars, although I find Silent Sunday at South Mountain to be more dangerous than a normal early Sunday morning. On more than one occasion on a Silent Sunday I have encountered a cyclist or a skate boarder coming around a blind curve on the wrong side of the road while descending. I dread a head-on collision.

The next Silent Sunday at North Mountain Park is November 11, and the next one at South Mountain is October 28. For more information on the City of Phoenix Website, click here.

2013 Preliminary Race Calendar

The Arizona Bicycle Racing's preliminary Race Calendar is circulating among racing teams. If the preliminary dates hold, the season will start with the first Avondale Criterium on January 20 followed by the Bicycle Haus Criterium, which is usually held in Scottsdale, on January 25. Other noteworthy early races include the McDowell Mountain Circuit Race on February 10, the Valley of the Sun Stage Race on the weekend of February 15 through February 17, and the Tucson Bicycle Classic on the weekend of March 15 through March 17.

The Arizona Masters' and Juniors' Criterium Championships are on the calendar for April 13, followed by the Arizona Championship Road Race on April 20, and the Arizona men's and women's categorized Criterium Championships on April 27. The Arizona Track Championships, usually held on a track in either San Diego or Los Angeles, are scheduled for the weekend of June 15 and 16; the team and tandem Time Trial Championships for September 7, the Individual Time Trial Championships for September 14, and the Hill Climb Championships for September 28.

If you'd like to peruse the calendar, which has many more races scheduled, you may see it in PDF format by clicking here.

Faster Gran Fondo -- October 27

What the heck is a gran fondo? It's an Italian term for the type of organized rides that many clubs such as ABC, the Bull Shifters, GABA and PMBC organize, in other words a long group ride with SAG stops and a (usually modest) entry fee of around $30.

The Faster Gran Fondo doesn't really fit that description. This gran fondo has an entry fee of $99.99 for the 100-mile event (do they give me my penny change if I pay with a $100 bill?) and a $74.99 charge for the 55-mile version. A restricted and select group of riders will be entitled to the privilege of paying $399 to be part of the VIP group. This group will have its own start time five minutes ahead of the lesser registered riders and will get to start with cycling celebrity Bob Roll. (There is no mention of how many pedal strokes Bobke will take before pulling out after starting with the group.) They will also receive a free ride jersey and have their own special packet pick-up line so that they don't have to queue up with the plebians. In addition, they will receive a free signed copy of Bob Rolls book, Bobke II. The Continuing Misadventures of Bob Roll. And that's not all! They will receive two tickets to a Friday night reception with Bob Roll and one entry ticket to the Finish Line VIP tent with complementary lunch, Micelob Ultra Light (Yuck! For 400 bucks, they could at least have a good German beer.), and wine.

If you don't mind shelling out big bucks for a group ride, you can get more information by clicking here.

Heart of Arizona Century/Brevet -- November 3

http://www.bullshifters.org/images/heartofaz/HeartCenturyMap.jpg

The Heart of Arizona Century is one of my favorite rides. The "Heart" vies with Mining Country for the honor of being the toughest one-day century ride in Arizona, as both rides feature lots and lots of climbing. As you can see from the map above, the route really is shaped like a heart with the start and finish point at the heart's tip.

In addition to the 104-mile century, the ride has a 200-kilometer or 125-mile brevet (correctly pronounced "bray-VAY") sanctioned by Randonneurs USA (RUSA). The century and brevet follow the same course except that the brevet tacks on two out-and-back side trips along the route to make up the extra miles. This year a third distance has been added, a 44-mile "Heart Intro Ride" for those who are not up to 6,000 feet or more of climbing. The new 44-mile route has a wimpy 3,100 feet of climbing. Piece a' cake!

As a reward for all the climbing, riders are treated near the end of all three rides to the thrilling descent down Yarnell Hill where they can coast for seven miles with no more exertion than occasionally tapping the brakes when going into the frequent hairpin turns.

The ride starts and ends in the little hamlet of Congress, which is about 17 miles past Wickenburg.

This is a tough ride, but believe me, it is one of the best rides in Arizona for those who are in physical condition to do it, and it is a ride that I highly recommend.

The cost of the ride is $40 for members of the Bull Shifters, the Arizona Bicycle Club, the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, and RUSA until October 27. Non-members should add an additional $5. After October 27, add a $10 late-registration fee.

All riders who pre-register will receive a pair of Defeet merino wool arm warmers, which retail for about $40. When you add in the free lunch at Kirkland Junction, the munchies at the SAG stops, and the hamburger and hot dog fry after the ride, it almost seems that the Bull Shifters are paying cyclists to do the ride.

To view the ride's Web site with links to the entry and release forms as well as route maps and descriptions, click here.

GABA's Silverbell Century -- November 4

GABA bills its Silverbell Century as a warm-up for el Tour de Tucson. Perhaps it could also be touted as a cool-down ride for the Heart of Arizona Century.

In addition to the 100-mile century, there are also 82.5-, 67-, and 30-mile options. The century incudes three SAG stops with fruit, water, and snacks and sandwich fixin's. There will also be a roving motor vehicle looking for cyclists in need of mechanical assistance.

The ride entry fee is a dirt-cheap $15 for GABA and ABC members and $25 for non-members. ABC members must use the mail-in registration form to received the discount. Online and mail-in registration closes October 31. After that, add a $10 late fee for day-of-ride registration.

The ride starts in the Walgreen's parking lot on the northeast corner of River and Craycroft roads. Registration and ride start are between 7 and 9 am.

To connect to the ride's Webpage for more information, click here.

ABC's McDowell Mountain Century -- November 10

The Arizona Bicycle Club's McDowell Mountain Century is an annual event and is one of two century rides that the club promotes each year. This year the ride will be held on November 10 and will start at Sereno Park at 56th Street and Sweetwater.

There are three ride lengths to chose from. The century ride isn't quite a full century at 96 miles, but who's quibbling? On the other hand, the metric century more than lives up to its name at 70 miles in length (112 kilometers). For those looking for a more leisurely ride, perhaps with the family, there is also a 36-mile ride. The century includes 3,233 feet of climbing; the metric century has 2,549 feet of climbing, and the 36-mile ride has 1,076 feet of climbing.

Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. Registration is $35 for members of ABC, GABA, and the Bull Shifters if paid in advance. Non-members pay $40. Day-of-ride registration is available for a $10 surcharge. For this riders get roaming support, up to 3 SAG stops (depending on the length of the ride selected), a club water bottle, and lunch after the ride.

For more information, connect to the ride Web page by clicking here.

El Tour de Tucson -- November 17

Almost all Arizona cyclists and indeed many cyclists worldwide are familiar with el Tour de Tucson, which takes place every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and attracts thousands of riders. 9,000 are expected this year. Registration will be limited to 10,000 cyclists.

The Tour de Tucson features rides for cyclists of almost all abilities. Riders may chose among 111-, 85-, 60-, and 42-mile routes or to ride with the kids on one of the shorter fun rides with distances of 5, 3, and 1/4 miles.

Be prepared to get off the bike. The 111-mile route includes two dry (hopefully) river crossings, and the 85-mile ride includes one of those crossings. If there's a big rainstorm the night before the ride, be prepared to swim with your bike in tow.

All rides include aid stations with water and snacks spaced between seven and ten miles of each other, and the rides have police support. All finishers will receive a medal (we live in an age where everyone who tries is a winner), and there will be a fiesta after the ride.

Riders may also purchase a ride jersey for $79 or chose from a variety of event clothing such as cycling gloves, baseball caps, event shirts, and arm warmers to mention a few.

The ride is not cheap, and some mathematical skill is required to calculate the total registration fee. Part of the total cost of the ride is a processing fee, which rises in steps to $55 by November 10. In addition there is an $80 ride fee and a minimum $15 contribution for the longer rides. The ride fee for the fun ride is $15 per individual rider or $10 for riders who register as part of a group of four or more.

If you think the ride is worth the cost, start the registration process on the ride's Website by clicking here.

GABA Tucson Toys for Tots Ride -- December 1

GABA will sponsor three rides to support Toys for Tots in Tucson on December 1. The ride is open to non-members. The longer, faster ride will start at Udall Park at 9 a.m. Riders are requested to sign a ride waiver between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. The ride pace is expected to be 12 to 16 miles per hour, and the ride typically breaks into a faster and a slower group. The distance is 30 to 35 miles round trip.

The family and social ride starts from McCormick Park at 10 am, although riders are requested to arrive by 9:30. The ride pace is 8 to 10 miles per hour, and the ride distance is 10 miles round trip.

Finally, there is a new ride that includes a tour of historical downtown. This ride starts from the Albertson's parking lot at 1350 North Silverbell. Riders are requested to arrive by 9:15 to sign a waiver and be ready to ride by 9:30. The pace is 12 to 14 miles per hour and the ride distance will be about 20 miles round trip.

To view the ride's Webpage for more information, click here.

Peoria Ready to Ride Class -- December 1

The Ready to Ride Class that was scheduled for October 13 has been rescheduled to December 1 from 9 am to 12 noon in the Lakeview Rood of the Rio Vista Recreation Center at 8866 West Thunderbird Road in Peoria. Due to a grant from the Maricopa Association of Governments, the class is free and open to new riders ages 16 and over. The class will cover the basics of cycling and riding on the streets with 45 minutes of on-bike training in the parking lot. Bring your bike and helmet.

To register for the free class, click here.

PMBC's Casa Grande Century -- January 13

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club's annual Casa Grande Century ride takes place this winter on January 13. This is the chance to go out and get in that first 100-mile ride of the year in relatively pleasant weather while cyclists in most of the country are huddling indoors and shivering. If a 100-mile ride is too far to kick off your New Year's resolution to ride more miles in 2013, there is also a metric century and a 33-mile version. As a bonus, the three routes are pretty flat with the exception of a slight hill on the out-and-back metric century.

The ride takes place on January 13, 2013 and starts at the Safeway Parking lot at 4970 South Alma School Road in Chandler with rider check-in from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Century riders must be on the road by 8:30 a.m., but riders on the two shorter routes can delay a bit and wait for the sun to warm things up.

There will be SAG stops with food and drink as well as roaming SAG support, of course, and the century and metric century riders also get lunch midway through the ride in Casa Grande. Until December 30, the registration fee for the century and metric century is a quite reasonable $25 for members of PMBC, AGC, and GABA. Non-members pay $35. For the 33-mile ride, the registration fee is $20 for members of the three clubs and $25 for others. After December 30, add a $10 late fee to those figures.

To access the ride Website, click here.

There is one fly in the ointment, however. Before signing up for the ride, I would give PMBC's ride waiver an analytical read. When I pointed out before last year's Casa Grande Century that PMBC's standard waiver is problematic, I received a protesting email from PMBC president Rom Waller. If you're interested in reading his email and the reasons I would not sign this waiver, you can access the information in the December 19. 2011 edition of the newsletter by clicking here. Scroll down to the last message in the "Feedback" section and to my response following it.

Feedback -- Our Readers Respond

Jack,

Just a formatting note. Is there a way you can add a little blank margin to the right edge of the newsletter page? It wraps okay and nothing is missing, but having the words run right up to the last pixel gives my eyes the willies.

Blair Houghton

Thanks to Blair's feedback, I have increased the right and left margin of the newsletter. I hope that helps. -- JQ

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Hi Jack,

Glad to see the newsletter. Did I see a notice that you were going to discontinue AZ Road Cyclist news?

Laura Caimi

Thanks for writing, Laura. Yes, I expect the final edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News to be published on Novenber 29. -- JQ

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Thanks Jack for creating your website and all the great information you provide. I am a daily commuter and one of the team captains for Team Schwab cycling and you help me to keep the team updated by passing along the link to your webpage.

I rode in the 100k last week great fun hope they make the 10K. Personally I donated an extra $30.

Richard "Nick" Nicolini

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