Arizona Road Cyclist News September 12, 2012
News for those who bicycle Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn

 

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Despite riding my bike a few hundred miles a week and also sitting in front of the TV watching others ride their bikes first in the Vuelta a España and presently in the Tour of Britain several hours a day, six days a week for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to get this issue out on time. However, I am looking forward to "retirement" in three more months when I'll be able to spend the time I now spend writing this newsletter on some more meaningful activity such as watching TV, arguing with the neighbors, or savoring the taste of beer.

I haven't added any new cycling events to this issue, but I have updated several of the ride descriptions with information that has become available in the last two weeks.

In this issue:
     Mesa Cyclist Dies in Freak Wyoming Accident
     Scottsdale Police Need Training
     Phoenix has New Lane Markers for Cyclists
     Bike Path Crash!
     State Individual TT Championships -- September 16
     Kitt Peak Individual TT -- September 23
     Mt. Graham Hill Climb Championships -- September 30
     The 100 Ride for Jim Stenholm -- October 6
     GABA's Cave Creek Bike Tour -- October 6 & 7
     Best Buddies Criterium -- October 6
     Domenic Memorial Ride -- October 7
     Sonoita-Patagonia ITT -- October 7
     Tour de Scottsdale -- October 14
     Tour de Paradise -- October 20
     Tour de New River -- October 20
     Heart of Arizona Century/Brevet -- November 3
     GABA's Silverbell Century -- November 4
     El Tour de Tucson -- November 17
     Feedback -- Our Readers Reply
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Mesa Cyclist Dies in Freak Wyoming Accident

42-year-old Mesa cyclist Robert Verhaaren perished on Saturday following a freak accident in the LoJoJa bicycle race in Wyoming. According to police reports, Mr. was crossing a bridge over the Snake River about eight miles south of Jackson when he swerved to miss a pothole, lost control of his bike, and was catapulted over the low guardrail into the shallow Snake River, 35 feet below. Initial reports are that he died of a cervical fracture.

Mr. Verhaaren was the managing director of Universal Equity Group Funds of Arizona. He is survived by a wife and three children. His sister-in-law is Olympic BMX cyclist Arielle Martin whose injuries suffered in a practice run prevented her from competing in London this year.

Mr. Verhaaren appears to have only occassionally entered USA Cycling races. The 206-mile-long LoToJa race is reputed to be the longest race sanctioned by USA Cycling.

Scottsdale Police Need Training

I have been told that the Phoenix Police Department will soon begin training its officers on traffic law as it applies to cyclists. If true, that is good news indeed. When it comes to a cyclist's lawful place in the traffic mix, most police officers seem to have no more knowledge than does the general motoring public, which is to say very little.

Large groups of cyclists frequently pass through North Scottsdale, especially on weekends, and some of the police officers working out of the East Via Linda precinct seem to have little understanding of the laws governing cycling on the street. In the officers' defense, I hasten to add that the only cases that I am aware of where a Scottsdale police officer ticketed a cyclist, the tickets were deserved. I am not aware of any of the Scottsdale officers' writing cyclists bogus traffic tickets as has happened in other juristictions.

Instead, the typical Scottsdale officer will either pull alongside the cycling group and lecture the riders through an open car window or pull the group over and deliver a lecture on foot. In at least one case, the officer said that the stop was triggered by a citizen's complaint. The citizen had telephoned the police alleging that he or she was unable to pass the cyclists while driving though a series of traffic-calming devices, where, I believe, passing is prohibited by law. The citizen and the police officer apparently both believed that when a group of 30 or so cyclists is on the road, the cyclists have a duty to pull over and make room for a single person in a motor vehicle rather than delay the motorist by as much as a minute or more. The view that one person in a motor vehicle has more rights to the road than 30 or 40 other users has no basis in law.

As mentioned earlier, most of these cycling groups ride on Saturday or Sunday mornings. If a traffic lane is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle, Arizona statute 28-815 paragraph A4 gives cyclists the right to move out into the traffic lane if it "is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane," and ADOT's "Bicycling Street Smarts" pamphlet instructs cyclists who are traveling on a narrow road with two-way traffic to "take the first opportunity to merge safely to the middle of the right lane." That is Phoenix's attitude. (See next article.)

Of course, well-behaved cycling groups will do all that they can to give motorists a chance to pass when it is safe to do so. Nevertheless, demanding that cyclists allow motorists to pass when it is not safe is not only not required by law, it is downright foolish.

However, at least some Scottsdale police officers seem to not understand that a group of cyclists taking up the right lane on a four-lane street during periods of light traffic when the lane is not wide enough to share with motor vehicles are not only riding legally, they are not obstruction to traffic, as motorists can easily change into the left lane to pass the cyclists. By taking over one lane, the cyclists are improve safety by discouraging motorists from attempting to pass where there is no room to do so safely.

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) has designed a course on cycling in traffic that is especially tailored to law-enforcement officers, and I have been told that there are instructors who are qualified to teach that course in both the Phoenix and Tucson areas. If the Scottsdale Police Department would prefer to develop its own course, such a course could be constructed around the ADOT pamphlet. Whichever method the Scottsdale Police Department choses, I think that training the department's police officers on the rights and duties of cyclists riding in traffic is long overdue.

Phoenix has New Lane Markers for Cyclists

Cycling lane marker on Osborn Road at 44th Street

Phoenix's attitude toward cyclists has greatly changed since I first moved here back in the late 1960s. I remember a time when on East Oak Street, where the traffic lane narrowed and there was insufficient room for bicycles and cars to share a lane, the city installed signs telling cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. One of my scofflaw friends, who will remain anonymous here, not only complained to the city, he threated to ride along Oak Street with a wrench in a pocket of his cycling jersey and unbolt every one of those signs from its vertical support. Luckily, he didn't follow through on that threat.

Phoenix's latest initiative on the half-mile streets is to mark the main traffic lane for use by cyclists as well as by motorists in the sections of street that are too narrow for them to have separate lanes. Check out the westbound land of Osborn at 44th Street in the picture above, for example. The stick figure of a person on a bicycle, that we have all come to know if not to love, is painted large in the middle of the traffic lane along with two chevrons and an arrow pointing in the direction of traffic flow.

According to traffic engineer Richard Moeur, the purpose of the new lane markings is to signal to cyclists that where the lane is too narrow for a cyclist and a motor vehicle to safely share, the cyclist should move to the center of the traffic lane to discourage motorists from attempting to squeeze past. I hope that as an additional benefit, the markings will signal to motorists that at that point, cyclists have a right to the entire lane and that this knowledge will make motorists more willing to wait until it is safe to pass.

Bike Path Crash!

This past Sunday morning, reader Gordon Goodnow and I were riding westbound on the bicycle path along the Arizona Canal when we encountered two cyclists and their mountain bikes lying on the ground in the tunnel that passes under the Piestewa Freeway. They had just crashed into each other head-on. One of the cyclists was holding his wrist, which soon began to swell and may have been broken. He told me he had also hit his head, but his helmet seems to have protected him from a severe head injury.

The second cyclist was receiving attention from a third cyclist who luckily happened to be a healthcare worker. There was no sign of a helmet in this cyclist's vicinity, and he was in much worse shape than the other guy. He was disorientated and had trouble answering simple questions such as "What is your name?" He tried to get up until we managed to persuade him to remain lying on his back until the paramedics arrived.

The tunnel under the freeway is wide, but there is a curve in the path on each side of the tunnel, which prevents a cyclist approaching from one end from seeing anyone approaching from the other end. Because the light level inside the tunnel is much lower than the bright sunlight outside, when a cyclist enters the tunnel, especially a cyclist wearing dark glasses, the cyclist cannot see anything or anyone within the tunnel. According to the cyclist with the wrist injury, both of them were riding in the center of the path and he did not see the other cyclist approaching.

None of the serious cycling crashes that I have seen involved motor vehicles. (My two bad crashes both occurred while racing criteriums.) A number of the crashes I have witnessed were one-bicycle accidents that occurred on unsafe turns on bicycle paths.

I don't think that many cyclists realize that riding on bike paths is generally more dangerous that riding on the street, especially since most bike paths are not designed with safety in mind. The Arizona Canal bike path, for example, includes a number of narrow tunnels witrh blind approaches that are much more dangerous than the one under the Piestewa Freeway, especially considering that sometimes there are people sleeping in them. The Dreamy Draw bike path has several turns with limited visibility, not to mention the vertical steel posts at each end of the path, which I suppose are designed to stop motor vehicles from entering, although park rangers in their pickup trucks routinely drive around them. The path along the Greenbelt in Scottsdale has numerous dangerous turns, and the bike path along Pima Road has vertical steel posts in the center of the path at many intersections..

There is probably not much that can be done to make existing bike paths safer other than removing the steel posts at their entrances. I hope that future bike paths will be designed by people who understand cycling and who understand that sharp corners and areas of limited visibility are dangerous to cyclists' health. As to what cyclists can do, this accident illustrates once more the importance of wearing a helmet. Also, when approaching a tunel or blind turn, please slow down.

State Individual TT Championships -- September 16

The Arizona State Individual TT Championship races will be held this Sunday on a course heading south from Arizona City on a lightly-travelled rural road. There are races for both men and women in all age classes in two-year increments for juniors and in five-year increments for us old folks. The race is an out-and back course of either 20 kilometers or 40 kilometers depending on the rider's age. The entry fee is $10 for juniors riding in a junior category and $35 for all others. Registration is online until 8 a.m. on September 14.

The winner of each category will receive an Arizona State Championship jersey (cross your fingers for me), and the first three places will receive medals. Fourth and fifth place will receive ribbons. There will also be trophies for the speediest rider in the following categories: fastest male 40 kilometers, fastest female 40 kilometers, fastest master male 20 kilometers, fastest master female 20 kilometers, fastest junior male 20 kilometers, and fastest female junior 20 kilometers. The fastest male and fastest female overall will receive a trophy and a $100 cash prize.

Snacks and drinks will be available after the race while waiting for the results to be posted.

Time trials are a good introduction into USA Cycling-stile racing for triathletes. A USA cycling license is required to race, but a day license is available for $10 and an annual license for $60. Day license holders are not eligible for rewards, however.

Riders must register online. The registration fee is $10 for juniors racing in a junior category and $35 for others plus a $3 add-on service fee. Registration is online and closes September 14 at about 7 p.m. The start list will be posted on the race's Webpage the same evening.

The race's Webpage can be viewed by clicking here.

Kitt Peak Individual TT -- September 23

The Kitt Peak Individual TT will take place on September 23. Riders will start at the bottom of the mountain at 30-second intervals and will be timed to the top of the mountain. The race distance is reported to be 11.64 miles with an elevation gain of 3,397 feet. The ride up the mountain at casual touring speeds is a delight, but at race speeds it is brutal, even in the lesser heat of late September. However, the temperature at the top of the mountain is cool, and at the finish of the hard climb, the water from the drinking fountain at the observatory tastes better than a cold beer on a hot summer's day. (OK, I admit that is a bit of a stretch.) The ride back down the mountain is a blast, despite the increasing temperature as the riders descend, but be careful, please. The race is up the mountain, not back down.

Registration is $20 for adults and $3 for juniors. Tucson riders can register the night before the race from four to eight p.m. at Lerua's Mexican Restaurant, 2005 East Broadway Boulevard. Registration on-site is from six to seven a.m. the day of the race, and online registration is also available for an additional $2.50 service fee until September 21.

To connect to the race's Web page, click here.

Mt. Graham Hill Climb Championships -- September 30

The State Hill Climb Championships start in Safford, Arizona. Riders climb either 10 or 20 miles up the mountain. The rough average time up the mountain is an hour for the 10-mile ride and two hours for the 20-mile ride. Winners in each category will receive an Arizona State Hill Climb Championship polka dot jersey. The first three finishers in each category will also win state championship medals. This is a mass-start race and not a time trial.

Entry fees were $10 for juniors and $40 for others until September 11, but now  an additional $5 late fee has kicked in.

To view the ride's Website, click here.

The 100 Ride for Jim Stenholm -- October 6

As regular readers know, every year in October the 100 Ride for Jim Stenholm remembers a deceased bike racer, a former Phoenix police officer, a member of the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club, a husband, and the father of two small children. It also provides Phoenix-area cyclists the chance to enjoy a great ride at a reasonable price while supporting the families of deceased and injured fire fighters and police officers. This is the way Jim would have enjoyed spending a Saturday morning.

This ride is also a chance for cyclists to improve relations with the Phoenix Police Department, as many of the motorcycle officers enjoy chatting with the cyclists at the rest stops and over lunch following the ride, and quite a few officers don police cycling jerseys and pedal along with us.

Thanks to the Phoenix Police, which will stop traffic to allow us to keep rolling through intersections without stopping, we get to ride right through red lights while motorists sit immobile in their cars and watch us pedal by. For once we'll get to run red lights legally!

There are two SAG stops en route with cold drinks, fruit, and homemade cookies, and lunch in the park is included at the end of the ride. Each rider will also receive a small gift, which is rumored to be a pair of the coveted Jim Stenholm cycling socks this year.

The 100 is so named for two reasons. For one, it raises money for the 100 Club, and for another, 100 kilometers is 62 miles, which evokes Jim's  police badge number, 6205. OK, the ride is a few miles short of its advertised distance, but who's counting?

The  ride starts and ends at Desert Horizon Park at 16030 North 56th Street (at Paradise Lane, which is between Bell and Greenway roads) at 8 a.m. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. Riders are asked to sign a release and make a $30 donation, which is very modest compared the the registration fees of most charity rides. (If you register for the Tour de Scottsdale 70-mile ride today, the entry fee will set you back $100, and it kicks up to $120 on October 12. I have been told that only a portion of that money goes to charity.)

How can the organizers of the Stenholm ride charge a more modest fee than other rides and still donate almost every penny raised to the 100 Club? Because the large crew working the event consists of volunteers, and and the food and other items needed to put on the ride are donated. Even those of us who ride at the front and the back of the group to control the pace and watch for problems make our $30 donation. The ride's expenses will have already been covered before the first rider registers, so all entry fees will go to a .good cause.

You can view the ride's brochure in PDF format by clicking here, and the route map can be viewed by clicking here. The ride also has a Facebook page.

Above, Stenholm riders chow down at one of the SAG stops. 

 

Above left, a group of riders leads the pack out of one of the SAG stops. I am the second rider to the right of the picture wearing the cycling cap under my helmet peering from behind the rider wearing a baseball cap under his helmet. Right, the late Jim Stenholm with his mountain bike.

GABA's Cave Creek Bike Tour -- October 6 & 7

GABA's Cave Creek Bike Tour (Cave Creek, New Mexico, not the one north of Phoenix in Arizona) is a 42-mile-a-day ride that starts in Roadforks, New Mexico and goes to the eastern side of the Chiricahua Mountains and Cave Creek Canyon. Those who would like to tack on a few more miles can add a loop through Cotton City and Animas.

The ride ends at the Southwestern Research Station in the Coronado National Forest, which is operated by the American Museum of National History and has dormitory-style cabins.

Price of the ride is $110 for members of GABA and the Arizona Bicycle Club. Others pay $125.

To connect to the ride's Web page, click here.

Best Buddies Criterium -- October 6

The Best Buddies Arizona Criterium has been rescheduled to October 6. The race's Website is quite confusing. It states, for example, that the race will follow USAC standards but that it is not a USAC event. I don't know what USAC stands for. At the bottom of the page that says that a $10 one-day "USCF" (meaning USA Cycling, I assume) license is required. May those of us who hold annual licenses enter the race? I assume we can, although the Website implies otherwise.  (Note to the organizers: please work with your Web person to straighten out the Website.)

Races are scheduled for most USA Cycling categories and age groups for 10-year old juniors through 45+ men and 35+ women cyclists. There will be no races for us old folks unless we want to jump in with the younger riders.

The race will be held at Firebird International Raceway and has a $3,000 prize list. Funds raised will go to aid Best Buddies, which is an organization to promote friendships "for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities."

I could find no information on the ride's Webpage as to how to register or what the entry fees are. I assume that the Webpage is a work in progress and will be updated. You can check for yourself by clicking here.

Domenic Memorial Ride -- October 7

The Domenic Memorial Ride will be held in memory of Domenic Malvestuto, the founder of Domenic's Cyclery in Tempe and also the person who started the Strada racing team. Domenic passed away from cancer on October 6, 2011.

Ride details are not yet available. In the meantime, to read a short biography of Domenic Malvestuto on the Strada Racing Club Website, click here.

Sonoita-Patagonia ITT -- October 7

The Sonoita-Patagonia individual time trial will likely be the last race of the year sanctioned by the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association. The time trial starts at the Sonoita Fairgrounds, which is located south of the junction of highways AZ-83 and AZ-82. The course is downhill, 20 kilometers long, and reported to be very fast. All riders who average 30 miles per hour or more receive a "Minimun Speed: 30 mph" t-shirt.

Registration is $3 for juniors and $20 for others. Tucson residents can register in person the night before the race at Leura's Mexican Restuarnt, 2005 E Broadway Boulevard in Tucson. Others must register online. There are separate categories for all USA cycling categories and age groups plus fixed-gear and tandem categories.

To check out the race, click here.

Tour de Scottsdale -- October 14

The Tour de Scottsdale is one ride that does not need a long write-up, because everyone has heard of it. "El Tour" takes place on October 14 this year, and registration has been open for some time. There are three categories with a choice of two distances, making for six options in all. Riders can chose to ride either 30 or 70 miles (a little birdie told me the long course is actually two miles shorter than advertised) as individuals, on a tandem with a partner, or as part of a team with a minimum of six cyclists. There is also an expo associated with the ride and a walk, run, and roll family event.

To connect to the Tour de Scottsdale Website, click here. Be prepared to shell out beaucoup bucks as your registration fee. This is not a ride for us cheapskates.

Tour de Paradise -- October 20

The Tour de Paradise is a fund-raising ride for a non-profit organization called Duet, which provides assistance to older adults and their families to cope with the challenges related to aging. There are three distances available: a 62-mile metric century, a 30-mile ride, and an eight-mile family fun ride. The rides start at Moon Valley Park at Seventh Avenue and Coral Gables Drive in Phoenix at  7 a.m. There is also a pre-ride packet pickup party scheduled the evening before from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Duck and Decanter at 1651 East Camelback Road in Phoenix.

The registration fee is a reasonable $25 until September 15, $35 from September 16 to October 1, and $40 from October 2 to 20. However, all riders 17 years of age and older are also required to raise a minimum of $100 in donations. There is also has a 10th Anniversary Jersey for sale at $59.

The ride's Web site can be viewed by clicking here.

Tour de New River -- October 20

The Tour de New River is yet another fund-raising ride. This ride is to raise money to end the cycle of poverty in Africa. There are four rides of different lengths: a 40-mile road ride, a 72-mile road ride, a 14-mile mountain bike ride, and a ride that the organizers are calling a "Schizophrenic Duathilon." The latter ride consists of 4 miles on the mountain bike, 35 miles on the road bike, and finally another 4 miles on the mountain bike.

The rides start and end at the Desert View Bible Church at 105 West Carefree Highway in Phoenix. Check-in starts at 6:30 am. The long bike ride starts at 7:00 and the duathilon will start at about 7:10. The other two rides start at 8:30.

Registration is $80 per rider for all of the rides, which means that a tandem team pays a total of $160. Riders are also expected to raise donations. Those who raise $300 or more in donations receive a free ride jersey. All riders will receive a raffle ticket for prizes, and those who raise large donations will receive an extra raffle ticket for every $250 above the $300 level.

View the Ride's Website by clicking here.

Heart of Arizona Century/Brevet -- November 3

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.

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. As Jim Pettett affirms in our "Feedback" section below, all riders who pre-register will recceive 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

The real macho rider will pedal through the Heart of Arizona Century on November 3 and then head down to Tucson on Sunday to do the Silverbell Century as a cool-down ride (I'm considering it). Well, you don't have to ride the full 100 miles. There will also be 82.5-, 67-, and 30-mile options. The ride should be well supported, as GABA plans three aid stations fully stocked with fruit, water, snacks, and sandwich makings.

The ride starts in the Walgreen's parking lot on the northeast corner of River and Craycroft Roads in Tucson. The listed start time is 7 a.m., but there will be no mass start. Riders may depart after signing in.

Registration is $15 for GABA members and $25 for others until October 31. Riders may also register on-site the day of the event by paying an additional $10.

To connect to the ride Website, click here.

El Tour de Tucson -- November 17

Almost all Arizona cyclists and indeed many cyclists worldwide are familiar with the 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 (everyone 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 is currently $30 and 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, and thousands do, if you are not too mathematically challenged to calculate the total entry fee, and if you don't mind risking a bad crash with possible permanent injury in a pack of inexperienced riders, start the registration process on the ride's Website by clicking here.

Feedback -- Our Readers Reply

Hi Jack,

Still! The Biltmore!

I love how the newsletter articles have gone form "Police Hassling Cyclists in Biltmore" to "Police Stop  Hassling" to the Biltmore Hotel's Welcoming Message to the contemptuous Ms. Manaster's response(s). The situation seems to be a microcosm of the world we live in as cyclists.

Thanks for your role in the 'battle' and please keep us posted.

Beth Allen

 _____

Jack,

I am truly sorry you are no longer going to be writing the Arizona Road Cyclist News. I have treasured them as they were the only way I could know what was going on outside of my cycling group. I have also enjoyed the quality and content of the ARCN, but at times I almost felt a little pity for those who would attempt to intimidate you. You are my hero for standing up for cyclists the way you do.

I would like to offer you another opportunity to ride the Heart of AZ as an honored, non-paying guest of the Bullshifters. Last year we had the storm come through the day before so it was understandable why a number of registered riders did not show. However, those that did ride had a dry, cold and beautifully clear day. I hope you can make it this year as we will give away Defeet merino wool arm warmers as ride swag. They have a retail price of about $40 (cost of the ride) and look especially good this year as they are black with scarlet red lettering.

I was worried we would not be able to put the ride on this year as ADOT initially denied us a permit to hold the ride. However, the sponsors of the Skull Valley Ride and I met with ADOT this afternoon and they made a permit exception for the Skull Valley Ride and the Heart of Arizona, but with rules. We will not need an ADOT permit but we won't be able to use the right-of-way for anything other than riding. I have met with several ranchers and owners and they have agreed to let us move our SAGs and start/finish onto private property.

Jack, I hope you know there is a large, silent group out there who value your contribution to cycling. Thanks again for all you do.

Jim Pettett
The Bull Shifters

I feel quite honored by your invitation, Jim, and I hope to be able to drag my 70-year-old body through the 100-mile version of the Heart. As soon as the time-trial championships are over, I plan to up my mileage and ride up a few hills to get in shape. -- JQ

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