32nd Annual El Tour de Tucson – 2014 Race Review

Click here for 2014 Race Results

2014 El Tour de Tucson
2014 El Tour de Tucson

Competing in this year’s race was a far cry from last years wet and rainy day. This year it was cold in the morning, yet it warmed up nicely by the end. Of course, for Phillip Tinstman the weather seemed to be no problem at all. Phillip Tinstman finished as the first place winner overall with an astonishing official time of 4:07:06.98, averaging 25.1 mph!

This year there were approximately 6,700 total riders. About 1,200 short from last year’s rainy event. I really enjoyed this year’s race, and not just because I made Platinum with a finish time of 4:54:57.57 and an average of 21.1 mph, but the whole atmosphere was upbeat and energetic! Cyclists from all over the world stopped by our booth at the expo the two days before the race – cyclists from Canada, Michigan, Mexico, Colorado, California, New York, Utah, Idaho, France, Germany, and more. I even met an older gentleman about 68 years old who completed 40 full length Ironman triathlons. What an inspiration to meet so many dedicated cyclists, new cyclists, and of course the returning cycling junkies who just can’t get enough. Like always, we were giving away a couple of bikes to everyone who signed up for our monthly newsletter. This year we had two fat tire beach cruisers. So many people had questions as to where you would ride them… often I would simply answer: “With tires like that you can ride them anywhere you want.” And that is the truth, those bikes are seriously fun to cruise around on.

El Tour de Tucson is typically one of the largest cycling events in the country and you can feel it in the air as you walk around and participate in this great ride/race. This year our firm sponsored 12 cyclists and we formed a team for the race. Most of the team wanted to make the Platinum cutoff. A few of them had already made the cutoff the prior year. To make Platinum a cyclist has to finish the course in less than 5 hours. This puts you in the top 15-16% of the cyclists competing. Your only chance at making Platinum is to line up early at the start line to get behind the fast cyclists, and at 3:30am it was a very brisk 41 degrees when many of us began to line up. Fortunately this year we had our team pop up shade setup and ready complete with hot chocolate, propane heaters, blankets and the works. So many of us on the Bike Accident Attorneys Team simply put our bikes in position at the start line and then made our way quickly to the team tent to stay warm until the start at 7:00am. The stories and nervous ticks played out well in the early morning hours and we mostly just laughed a ton resting warmly and comfortably until the start.

The race started out with a pretty quick pace continued for the first several miles with surges in speed and sudden bottle neck slowing that required braking so much that you could smell the carbon fiber race wheels all around you hot and burning with friction. Then of course quick sprints to catch up with the lead peloton, followed up with more sudden stops made for higher heart rates for most of us for the first 5 miles of the race. Lots of cyclists yelling out “slowing slowing slowing” in a panic of getting rear ended.

Somewhere in the 7-10 mile range there was the first wash we had to go through. This was comical at best. Some tried to ride through the sandy wash and most unclipped and walked through it. I was towards the front of the pack at this time and attempted to ride through it navigating around the walking cyclists. Then all of sudden one guy in front of me decided to unclip and walk without any notice. I tried to dodge him but to no avail I found myself unclipping one foot and braking too fast and instantly I was over my handle bars and face planted in the soft sand. Yes, the sand was soft as I can testify how soft as my face left a nice imprint in it! Feeling lucky it was sand and not at any other part of the course I checked out my bike briefly and began running it up the hill with the rest of the herd. Clipped in and kept going none the wiser of any other issues.

About 10-15 miles later a team mate riding alongside me notice my rear skewer was loosened and completely open. Every time I hit a bump I felt like my entire back end of my bike was coming out or my tire was so flat that the road conditions would surely require a complete bike tune up after the race. Of course, my skewer being completely open explained what I had been feeling the whole time! The roads are in fact terrible – but not that terrible. I had to tighten my skewer now or risk a dangerous accident later on. I must have kicked it open in my sandy face plant early on in the race. I felt lucky that nothing too terrible had happened thus far and decided that tightening it was a must. Stopping now for the 2nd time (1st the face plant) I quickly tightened the skewer and watched the main peloton surge forward. I jumped back on and sprinted to catch them. 2 miles later and completely winded I resigned to the fact that I was not going to catch them alone.

I found myself riding solo for a couple of miles until the next fastest peloton swallowed me up and offered the sweet relief of drafting. Sooner or later we ran into the first of several hills and I slowly fell off the back and met up with another quick group that I stayed with up until I had to use the restroom. Ever since we lined up at the start of the race I had to use the facilities BADLY. But with no time before the start I just decided to hold it. That decision came back to haunt me at about mile 60ish I couldn’t hold it any longer. A teammate riding with me also couldn’t hold it any longer. We decided that it was worth the stop and that we would try to make up the time later. We stopped at an aid station, grabbed a banana and hit the porta-john. It didn’t take long after that to realize that the stop was totally worth it. We both felt like new!

It was a grind the rest of the way to the finish line, especially the last 15-20 miles of head wind along the frontage road back into town. We did our fair share of pulling and kept our eye on the clock to make sure we came in under 5 hours. Then amidst the cramping and fatigue, we rolled in across the finish line with about 5 minutes to spare. What a relief. What a cool day. I love competing, and pushing alongside others who are giving their all for a goal. Its always a great experience and builds incredible camaraderie.

2014 El Tour de Tucson Bike Accident Attorneys Platinum Team
2014 El Tour de Tucson Bike Accident Attorneys Platinum Team

Of the 12 cyclists who competed, all but one made Platinum status. It was awesome to see so many on our team do so well. It’s even better to learn that most of the cyclists competing that day were able to avoid bike accidents and serious injury. In race that size there is always bound to be some injuries and some bicycle accidents. Racing can be tricky business with some many cyclists competing for a fast time. Fortunately this year there were only a few accidents and injuries. One of my own friends went over his handlebars and broke his collarbone. Even one accident is one too many. I love this sport, and love that my job is representing my fellow cyclists. Hope you all enjoyed the race as much as we did and look forward to seeing you out there again next year!




Bike Race Wreck
Bike Race Wreck

Many cyclists are growing concerned about race day accidents and the ever so important question of: “Who picks up the tab if you crash in a bike race?” Unfortunately, race day accidents are quite common. With the sheer volume of cyclists and the competitive nature of a race there are many opportunities for bicycle crashes and accidents on race day. There are also many types of bicycle race accidents. There can be bike vs bike, bike vs street defect, bike vs car, bike vs spectator, and more.

Each scenario is a different set of legalities and liabilities. Each accident is unique and should be discussed with a qualified and experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Lets explore some of the common scenarios together so you know how to better prepare prior to your next bicycle race.

Bicycle vs. Bicycle – Cyclist vs. Cyclist

Clearly the most common accident we face as competitive cyclists on race day is the bike wreck we encounter when another cyclist crashes into us. This can happen for so many reasons when drafting, or group riding, or sprinting in a peloton. Sometimes a neighboring cyclist is simply overly competitive and engages in handlebar knocking, or worse flat out hand to hand combat! Sometimes a neighboring cyclist simply isn’t paying attention and swerves too quickly to avoid other cyclists, a car, dangerous debris, etc.

Whatever the case, you always have the right to file a lawsuit against your fellow cyclist. This is usually the worst thing you can do. Typically your fellow cyclists don’t have any liability insurance which covers them if they cause a bicycle accident while riding their own bicycle. Lets not forget the huge issue of how rude it can potentially be to actually file a lawsuit against your fellow cyclist. What you were riding in a group with your friends? Are you really going to file a suit against them? I guess if your friend reached out and punched you in the face causing you to wreck your bicycle in your race I would consider filing suit as well! The better question to ask is whether or not there is “Event Insurance” purchased by the host of the race you are participating in. If a cyclist crashes into you because he/she was avoiding some danger under the control of the bicycle race (i.e. interfering race official, professional photographer, improperly managed aid stations, improperly marked turns on the course, improperly managed intersections or traffic control, and much more) then the event may be negligent and will most likely have an insurance policy which you may need to file a claim against.

Filing a claim against the Event Host’s insurance is tricky and you will want to ensure that a report is filed the day of your accident by the police, and the event staff. Make sure you assemble your witnesses prior to leaving the scene if at all possible. These claims may come with some strings attached, and will be difficult to bring, but they are often the only hope for race day bicycle accident victims.

Another often missed opportunity is for cyclists to purchase and carry their own Cycling Insurance policy. These policies will cover any accidental liability you cause, will also cover medical bills you encounter from an accident not of your own fault, and will often come with bicycle replacement plans and even rental bikes until your new bike can be purchased. These insurance policies are getting more and more popular amongst competitive cyclists and provide for a sense of security while competing in a cycling race. A quick Google search will lead you to several companies underwriting such policies. Some will even write you a policy for just the race event itself, others will write a policy for the entire year of cycling. I highly recommend taking advantage of one of these policies.

Bicycle vs. Street Defect

On race day we may encounter a street defect that can cause a major pile up when cruising at high speeds in a peloton. As is the case with event insurance claims you can explore whether or not the race host can be held liable for not knowing about the street defect; or worse – for knowing about it and not doing anything about it. There could be other potential theories of liability against the race host as well which are worth exploring with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.

Another real scenario we can’t overlook is the possibility that the city, state, or county entity responsible for maintaining the roads used for the bicycle race are at fault for improper maintenance of the roadways. Sometimes seams in the roadway go unfixed for years until a cyclist gets injured and then the city, state, or county rushes in to fix it. Other street defects can include potholes, embedded objects in the surface of the roadway, and improperly designed roadways.

Your recourse here will be a lawsuit against the city, state, or county entity responsible for the defect. This suit may also include naming the event host as a defendant as well. Of course these lawsuits may be challenging to bring and will likely require the experience of a bicycle accident attorney. Finally, your own Cyclist Insurance can be very helpful here as well.

Bicycle vs. Spectator

One of the unanticipated bicycle accidents we see on race day is the third party spectator out cheering the cyclists on, or standing there sanctioned by the event host to snap race day photos of you speeding by on your bike. Whatever the case may be on the pedestrian vs. race day bicycle accident, looking for the race host and their liability is yet again a good place to start. Potentially the host is liable for not securing the proper barriers preventing the spectators from interfering with the cyclists during the race. Alternatively, the event host may be liable for sanctioning a photographer who is dangerously too close to the cyclist.

The spectator themselves could be held liable for negligently causing the race event bicycle accident and you would have the right to file a law suit against them as well. Doing so may only be a good idea if there are assets held by the spectator sufficient to pay out on your medical bills. This is rarely the case as the average American is in heavy debt and does not have much in liquid assets. Taking a look at this avenue of recovery is still a good idea to rule it out or confirm it as a viable recovery option.

Bicycle vs. Car

The obvious accident that occurs often is the cyclist on race day getting hit by a motorist. This happens all of the time. A distracted driver crossing the marked race day lane lines or cones and hitting a cyclist, or the motorist cruising through an intersection and hitting a race participant. Of course, there is the possibility of a cyclist colliding with a car for numerous other reasons as well.

The driver will be at fault for failing to see and yield to you as the cyclist. Their own insurance (if they have it – or have enough of it) should cover your damages when properly represented by an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Because you were hit by a car in this scenario, your own automobile insurance policy can potentially cover your accident so long as you have Uninsured Motorist and Under Insured Motorist coverage on your auto policy. Again, these claims may be difficult to bring and consulting with us is a good idea.

Then, lets not forget the ole event host may be liable yet again in this scenario. If the lanes were improperly marked by the event host or the traffic control was negligently handled by the event host, then they may also be liable as well.

Race Day & Event Bicycle Accident Attorney Ben Dodge

If you, or someone you know were injured during a hosted race or event and suffered a bicycle accident, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record with bicycle litigation. Ben Dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles.

Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire United States. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.

A Consultation With Experienced Arizona Bicycle Accident Attorney Ben Dodge is Free

Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:

  • Your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
  • The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
  • Your cyclist’s rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
  • The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
  • The value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.

You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922 (855.ONE.EZ.CALL). Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Mr. Dodge will personally return your call within 24 hours. There is never an obligation for a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.

Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC

Call Ben Dodge today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 480.656.8334.

Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at ben@bikeaccidentattorneys.com

His Main Offices are located at:

Mesa Arizona (Home Base Office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206

Phoenix Arizona Office
2415 E. Camelback Rd., Suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Salt Lake City Utah Office
299 South Main
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111

St. George Utah Office
321 N. Mall Drive, Suite 103
St. George, Utah 84790

Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire State of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and can assist in representation in all 50 states. He has helped cyclists in New York, Texas, California, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.