Arizona Road Cyclist News October 10, 2012
News for those who bicycle Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn

 

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In this issue:
     Stenholm & Domenic Rides Big Successes
     Cyclocross Season Begins 
     Three Feet Please Jersey
     Peoria Ready-to-Ride Class -- October 13
     Tour de Scottsdale -- October 14
     Tour de Paradise -- October 20
     Tour de New River -- October 20
     Heart of Arizona Century/Brevet -- November 3
     ABC's McDowell Mountain Century -- November 10
     El Tour de Tucson -- November 17
     ABC Granada Park Ride Destinations
     Feedback -- Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Stenholm & Domenic Rides Big Successes

On behalf of the 100 Club, I would like to thank all of you who showed up on Saturday for the 100 Ride for Jim Stenholm. I have not yet received the official figures from the ride's organizers, but at a rough estimate I believe there were at least 300 riders, which at $30 each would mean $9,000 raised to help the families of fallen and injured fire fighters and law enforcement officers. When the final figures are in, I hope that we at least raised $10,000. The turn-out might have been larger if one of the race promoters hadn't changed the date of a criterium and caused it to conflict with this ride. Many of the racers who took part in the Stenholm ride in past years opted for the race this year.

Unlike in previous years, there were at least two crashes this year, each of which seemed to involve about three riders. I have been told that no one was seriously injured.

The Ride in memory of Domenic Malvestuto, the founder of Domenic's Cyclery in Tempe and the Strada racing team, was held on Sunday. This was a smaller ride at a slower pace and without the Stenholm ride's police escort. It was a fitting memorial to the Italian immigrant who made a large contribution to the Arizona racing scene.

Cyclocross Season Begins

The Arizona Cyclocross racing season began last weekend with the Flagstaff Double Cross race held on the same weekend that the road-racing season wrapped up with a time trial and a criterium. "What's cyclocross?" you may be asking. Cyclocross, known to its aficionados simply as "cross," probably has a fan base in North America smaller than that of hurling, in contrast to its popularity in some European countries.

Cyclocross, sometimes written with a hyphen as "cyclo-cross," is a form of off-road racing that predates mountain biking by many decades. Cyclocross races are held on a closed course that is usually between one and a half and two miles around. Cyclists in a given race start together and ride repeated circuits around the course for a set amount of time, which could be a half hour for beginning racers or an hour for more advanced riders.

textThere are some differences between mountain-bike and cyclocross race courses. Mountain bike races often require riders to cycle over obstacles and down steep rock faces, whereas cyclocross courses contain obstacles that cannot be ridden through or across. Such obstacles may include mud holes, climbs too steep to be ridden, and obstacles that are meant to represent fences. Often the cyclocross racer must jump off the bike, pick it up, and carry it through or over an obstacle and then remount as quickly as possible to continue riding.

It may be possible to ride through a mud hole or up a steep climb, but some riders may find it quicker to get off the bike, pick it up, and run with it. Therefore, cyclocross puts a premium on the ability to dismount from and remount the bike without losing momentum. Each rider must decide at each obstacle which is the best strategy according to his or her abilities.

When a course is especially muddy, the derailleurs and chain can get gummed up. A racer is permitted to change bicycles and receive mechanical assistance during a race. Those who can afford to do so will have a spare bike sitting alongside the course, and professional racers have pit crews who hose the mud off one bike while the racer is riding the other.

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There are many stories about how cyclocross got its start, but I believe that I am safe in saying that the sport began in Europe, most likely in France. One version of the sport's beginning is that French cyclists started the sport by racing each other from town to town across fields, over fences, across streams, etc. The sport's center is still in west-central Europe, especially in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In the USA, the sport's popularity base is located in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Cyclocross races almost all take place in the fall and winter, from September through February, and for that reason, the sport is regarded as an excellent way for road racers to keep themselves in shape in the off season. In Arizona the season began this past weekend and will end with the Arizona State Cyclocross championships in Gilbert on December 16. (Unlike in cooler climes, the Arizona road-racing season begins in January.)

textA cyclocross bike looks a lot like a road bike with dropped handlebars. However, on closer inspections some differences stand out. Shift and the rear-brake cables are not routed under the bottom bracket as in a road bike but across the top tube to keep them free of mud. Cyclocross tires are usually a bit wider than road tires and are knobby to better grip in the soft soil. Tubular tires are preferred to clinchers. The brakes are either center-pull or disk as conventional side-pull brakes do not have enough stopping power, especially when the rims are covered in mud.

In the USA, because cyclocross is less popular than in Europe and our cyclocross season is short, many racers do not want to go to the expense of purchasing a cyclocross bike in order to participate in a half-dozen or fewer races, so mountain bikes are also permitted. Some mountain-bike riders have a narrower set of wheels with narrower tires that they mount on their mountain bikes especially for cyclocross races.

The cyclocross season in Arizona continues through mid-December with races somewhere in the state almost every weekend, many of them in the Phoenix area. For more information, check the calendar on the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association Website at http://www.azcycling.com/.

Three Feet Please Jersey

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The following article first appeared in the August 10, 2009 edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News, but we've added hundreds of readers since then, and the bicycle clothing manufacturer Voler has begun directly selling the 3 Feet Please jersey since the article was first published. The jersey's cost is $69.95.

Many cyclists and most motorists do not know that in Arizona and fourteen other states, motor vehicles are required by law to give cyclists at least three feet of clearance when passing. This is a law that police officers have been reluctant to enforce, unless the motor vehicle actually strikes the cyclist.

Now there is a high-quality, comfortable, and reasonably priced jersey that gets the message across in letters big enough to be read by drivers of passing vehicles. The jersey is marketed by www.3feetplease.com, an organization that is attempting to get the three-foot law passed in all states. I purchased one of the jerseys for evaluation. The jersey is manufactured by Voler, the same company that makes jerseys for several Arizona bicycle clubs and racing teams. The Voler line of jerseys is one of the most-comfortable available and features three full-width rear pockets. This jersey is bright yellow for good visibility in traffic.

The jersey is available with several options. For states such as Arizona, where we have a three-foot law, the jersey can be purchased with the words "It's the law" on the front, and it can be bought without those words for states that do not yet have a three-foot law. For countries where the metric system is in place and that use the funky British spelling system, the jersey also comes in a "1 metre please" variation.

My only criticism of the jersey, and this opinion is not necessarily shared by others, is that it uses Voler's "hidden zipper," a zipper much loved by designers, because it minimally interferes with the graphics on the front of the jersey. I personally find that this zipper tends to stick a bit after a few passes through the washing machine and becomes more difficult to adjust while riding. I much prefer Voler's sturdier full-length zipper.

To order the jersey from Voler's Website, click here.

Peoria Ready-to-Ride Class -- October 13

The best thing about this class for novice cyclists on the basics of bicycling and riding on the streets in traffic is that it's FREE! The class will take place on October 13 from 9 a.m. until noon in the Lakeview Room of Río Vista Recreation Center at 8866 West Thunderbird Road in Peoria, Arizona. Participants must be at least 16 years of age. The class, which is presented by the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists and the Maricopa Association of Governments, will include classroom instruction on the basics of cycling plus about 45 minutes of practice in the parking lot. Participants must bring their bikes and a helmet.

For more information on this free class, 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  $40 until October 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

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.

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 that 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 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 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.

ABC Granada Park Ride Destinations

Here are the ride destinations for the remainder of the month for the Arizona Bicycle Club's Granada Park Chapter breakfast rides. The ride takes place on Sunday mornings and starts at 7:30 p.m. on its present winter schedule. Each week, cyclists ride to a different restaurant for breakfast and a good bull session. There are five speed groups, so there is a group for almost all abilities, from near-race speed in a tight pack to the relaxed pace of the cruisers. Naturally, the faster groups take a longer route to the restaurant to get in a good workout before chowing down.

For insurance purposes, non-members may ride with the group once before joining the club.

October 14 - Aunt Chilada's - 7330 North Dreamy Draw
October 21 - Randy's - 7904 East. Chaparral in Scottsdale
October 28 - The Eye Opener - 524 W. Hatcher

Feedback -- Our Readers Respond

Hey Jack,

Regarding crosswalks, for the overly-curious nerds, I would recommend looking here: http://azbikelaw.org/blog/sidewalk-cycling-in-arizona/, which in addition to Maxwell also links treasure-trove of other documentation. The Tucson city attorney analysis is particularly enlightening.

By the way, police in certain departments get this wrong on what appears to be a regular basis -- by wrong i mean the are unaware or disregard Maxwell. This seems to be a large factor in skewing bicyclist fault rates; so e.g. in Phoenix it's 68% versus Scottsdale's 48%. Overall throughout Arizona it's 55%.

Phoenix PD routinely faults cyclists at crosswalk collisions when they should not, and crosswalk collisions are a fairly sizable chunk of overall collisions. (this is 2010 ADOT crash data

Ed Beighe,

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