Nothing gets the testosterone pumping like the smell of nitrous oxide in the morning. That's why we're heading to the "Battleground AZ" competition on Saturday, November 13, when Phoenicians and Tucsonans square off in their souped-up street racers to see who's really smoking lightnin'. "We want to see which side of the state has the fastest cars," says Ray Martinez, promoter for After 9 Events, the event sponsor. "What you're looking at is the general public of Arizona -- all the up-and-comers in drag racing." Cash payouts range from $200 to $600 in nine categories, including "All Motor Street Domestic" and "Forced Induction Race Import." Want hot bods with your hot rods? There's also a Sexy Lady Contest, worth a $500 prize. Spinners and spitters can get in on the DJ and MC battles ($250 each), and DJs Villin, Esko, and Trademark will be pimpin' hot wax all night. The rubber starts burning at 8 p.m. at Speedworld Raceway Park, 19421 West Jomax in Wittmann. Tickets are $10; children 10 and under get in free. Call 623-388-0039. -- Niki D'Andrea
Club takes poetry outdoors
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The Muse always seems to visit us in the unlikeliest of places, whether lyrical visions of hell, which come sitting at an interminable stoplight along Grand Avenue in mid-August, or that limerick we conjured up on the john. The surroundings are the source of our inspiration, just like the Dusty Metaphors Hiking Club for Poets, which holds its inaugural meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, November 13, at Thunderbird Park, on 67th Avenue, north of Beardsley, in Glendale. On the second Saturday of every month, founder Richard Kenney will lead nature-loving word nerds on a hike at different mountain parks, with several stops for authors to read their poetry, essays and short stories, or improv free verse. "I've gone to readings at Borders, or poetry slams, and they're somewhat confined, or there's distractions," Kenney says. "With this club, it'll be scenic and inspiring for people to read their work." Just watch your step. Call 623-875-9977. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Bike tour benefits multiple sclerosis research
Attention, Valley urbanites, the annual MS 150 Best Dam Bike Tour on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, gives you the chance to experience something you're probably unfamiliar with -- the pristine splendor of the untouched desert. No need to jockey for position during this two-day round trip from Estrella Foothills High School to Gila Bend High School, which benefits multiple sclerosis research. Take a slow and steady cruise soaking up the ambiance of the flora and fauna, and share a quiet moment with the magnificent saguaro before it becomes part of the imminent Phoenix-Tucson-Gila Bend megalopolis. The tour starts at 7:30 a.m. both days. Registration is $50, and participants are required to raise at least $200 in pledges. Call 480-968-2488 or see www.nationalmssociety.org/aza/home. -- Benjamin Leatherman