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Old 06-14-11, 08:21 AM   #1
DnvrFox
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RTR Fatality 67 yo man falls, wife riding ahead

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18265824

Having done RTR twice - many years ago - I have some concerns about "flatlanders" from low elevations coming to CO and then having just ridden a 12,000 foot pass, generally not expecting what turns out to be a very cold night with frost and likely not-sleeping well in crowded and cold tent facilities or a poorly ventilated and crowded gym, then attempting another 12,000 foot pass the next day.

I don't know the particulars of this situation, and it may not fit the above scenario, but I do know there have been many serious accidents, some critical, and a number of deaths over the years on RTR. I witnessed one myself, when a rider went down in a crowd in front of me, breaking her pelvis.

I don't, however, know the solution (if one is required).
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Old 06-14-11, 08:50 AM   #2
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According to the Denver Post that last death was a woman in 2005. My neighbors knew her. She pulled alongside a RV at a stop sign. She stood to accelerate as the RV took off. A mirror on the RV struck her head.
There are 6-7 deaths at the ski resorts each ski season. Mainly due to people skiing too fast for their skill level and striking trees.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:57 AM   #3
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According to the Denver Post that last death was a woman in 2005. My neighbors knew her. She pulled alongside a RV at a stop sign. She stood to accelerate as the RV took off. A mirror on the RV struck her head.
There are 6-7 deaths at the ski resorts each ski season. Mainly due to people skiing too fast for their skill level and striking trees.
Yes. I know of others in the past, prior to 2005.

I guess, life simply has risks, and one of them is death. I remember on the Peak-to-Peak Highway going into Estes Park, we encountered a thunderstorm. Now, thunderstorms in CO are NEVER warm - they are always freezing, even in June. There were some Florida folks riding near me who were totally unprepared - they just could not fathom ahead of time in their planning hail, ice, snow, etc., in June. However, freezing as they were, they survived.
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Old 06-14-11, 09:10 AM   #4
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Now, thunderstorms in CO are NEVER warm - they are always freezing, even in June.
You don't need to convince me.
I was near the top of Golden Gate Cyn when all hell broke loose.
All I had was a rain jacket.
I was hypothermic in just minutes.
THANK GOODNESS for that campground office in which I took refuge!
Ever since then, I take a helmet cover, rain jacket, and rain pants.
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Old 06-14-11, 10:37 AM   #5
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A few years ago, the coldest day I paddled all year on a river happened on the Blue River out of Silverthone, Co on July 4th. It snowed. I paddled all year back here in NC and never was quite as cold as that day. I paddled Clear Ck near Idaho Springs, Co and got caught in a mother of a hail storm. That was a fun day too. lol
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Old 06-14-11, 11:23 AM   #6
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As to the OP, I was on a ride this spring where a guy fell over and died while riding a tandem with his wife. He was a fit rider in his mid 50s. You never know. But, I would say that riding is better for you than just sitting on the couch.
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Old 06-14-11, 11:24 AM   #7
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Well, it says the previoius woman killed was from Boulder, so I don't know that it indicates a flatlander problem per se.
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Old 06-14-11, 11:58 AM   #8
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I was on I-70 near Avon yesterday and saw some of the RTR riders. It's my understanding that the death occured
between Tenessee Pass and Minturn.

If so, I rode that stretch last week on a motorcycle, and the downhill switchbacks are pretty tricky. I came close to hitting
a bicyclist as he pulled out in front of me as I was going by and I was forced to change lanes. I've bicycled this stretch
several times over the years, but always uphill from Minturn to Leadville.

I've done RTR a couple of times, and never really enjoyed it due to so many people on the roads... many, if not most of them
oblivious to the dangers of mountain riding.

Last week near Redcliff (Leadville / Tennessee Pass to Minturn / Vail)

Last edited by werks; 06-14-11 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 06-14-11, 12:05 PM   #9
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Well, it says the previoius woman killed was from Boulder, so I don't know that it indicates a flatlander problem per se.
Current death is "Missouri man" killed on a descent. I can well imagine people, such as myself for example, who have no experience with extended mountain descents getting into trouble on them. Am doing Cycle Montana myself next week and have been warned by a friend from that area about the danger (and fun) of going down a place called Grasshopper Pass.

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Old 06-14-11, 12:42 PM   #10
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I've done RTR a couple of times, and never really enjoyed it due to so many people on the roads... many, if not most of them
oblivious to the dangers of mountain riding.
+1
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Old 06-14-11, 01:47 PM   #11
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When you get riders doing 50+ mph...well...things happen.
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Old 06-14-11, 02:03 PM   #12
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When you get riders doing 50+ mph...well...things happen.
especiallywhen you are at 12,000.feet,and you are not used to it...
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Old 06-14-11, 05:29 PM   #13
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First of all very tragic. I have not heard of the circumstances here at RtR. There were numerous Patrolmen on that stretch and I thought it was very well managed re traffic and awareness.

I don't recall any serious, sharp curves on the descent. I just let it roll and didn't hit the brakes until Minturn. The curves are a thrill to me as they are not nearly technical as many in the NC/SC mountains are.

I don't know of anything else RtR can do without discriminating. We should be aware of our skill levels and participate accordingly.

I did run into an issue today where I was going faster than vehicles on a descent. They easily could have passed riders and gotten on out of the way but chose not to. I was tempted to scoot around them but didn't want to make a bad situation worse. But I paid a lot of money to "go fast" down the descents! But I'm also commited to doing it safely.

Prayers for the riders family.

(I've told my wife if something happens where I'm critically injured while riding to celebrate at my funeral as I was probably riding over the edge of my abilities and loving it)
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Old 06-14-11, 05:53 PM   #14
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RIP to the rider and condolences to his family and friends.

As the article is (purposely?) sketchy, we'll likely never know what caused his demise.

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Old 06-14-11, 06:15 PM   #15
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I have never ridden in the mountains of Colorado at any time in my life, but I do know about the sudden change of climate. I was stationed in Cheyenne, WO back in 65 and 66. Went to a downtown movie on a July evening with a short sleeve shirt on and came out of the theater to freezing temperature and a hail storm. Next morning there was snow on the ground. I took photos and sent them home to my parents because nobody would believe me if I told them it snowed in July.
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Old 06-14-11, 06:54 PM   #16
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RIP to the rider and condolences to his family and friends.

As the article is (purposely?) sketchy, we'll likely never know what caused his demise.

Brad
Evidently, there were no witnesses. Any further info will have to come from accident reconstruction, if that is possible in this situation
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Old 06-14-11, 07:04 PM   #17
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I have never understood how people who live in Colorado survive without oxygen. I get dizzy and want to lie down just thinking about going to 12,000 feet. We took a vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park several years ago, which was truly great, but we lowlanders have different needs than the anaerobic denizens of Colorado.
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Old 06-14-11, 07:07 PM   #18
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i have never understood how people who live in colorado survive without oxygen.
epo
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Old 06-14-11, 07:22 PM   #19
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From a Missouri Bicycling Forum

Some sad news today--Jim DeBlois of Cape Girardeau, an avid cyclist from the Cape Girardeau area, active in the Velo Girardeau bicycle club, and a MoBikeFed member and sup porter, was killed yesterday while descending a mountain pass during the Ride the Rockies bicycle tour in the Colorado mountains.

My most vivid memory of Jim was at Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol a few years ago. Jim and his wife, Renate, spent the day visiting legislators. Jim was wearing a tie with a pattern made of small bicycles (but subtle--from a distance it looks like a regular tie and only when you get within a few inches do you see the pattern is made of bicycles).

Near the end of the day, Jim, Renate, and I were chatting and Jim asked if I own a bicycle tie. When I said no, Jim took his tie off right then and there and insisted on giving it to me .

I've been wearing it ever since when meeting with officials or legislators about bicycle-related issues--it's my "lucky" tie.

Thanks, Jim--because your tie has brought MoBikeFed a lot of good luck in the past coupl e of years, and we needed it!

Our thoughts are with the DeBlois family and friends at this difficult time.
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Old 06-14-11, 07:55 PM   #20
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It is always a tragic event when a life is cut short, especially an activist who was working to make cycling better for all. But at least, he died doing what he loved, following his passion. I don't want to think of the effect that seeing the accident had on his wife, though.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:19 PM   #21
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I just got a call from a co-worker who wanted assurance that I wasn't the bike rider who was killed. I wish I was in shape to do RtR, but I'm glad that I'm still alive. When Jim woke up this morning he had no idea that today would be his last. I guess it's good to remind ourselves that we should strive to make every day a good one.
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Old 06-14-11, 10:48 PM   #22
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I only wish that when it is my time to "bite the big one" that I am doing something I love in such a beautiful location. Much better than a lot of situations that we all can imagine.

I think congratulations are in order for a life well lived.
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Old 06-15-11, 12:40 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18265824

Having done RTR twice - many years ago - I have some concerns about "flatlanders" from low elevations coming to CO and then having just ridden a 12,000 foot pass, generally not expecting what turns out to be a very cold night with frost and likely not-sleeping well in crowded and cold tent facilities or a poorly ventilated and crowded gym, then attempting another 12,000 foot pass the next day.

I don't know the particulars of this situation, and it may not fit the above scenario, but I do know there have been many serious accidents, some critical, and a number of deaths over the years on RTR. I witnessed one myself, when a rider went down in a crowd in front of me, breaking her pelvis.

I don't, however, know the solution (if one is required).
If a flatlander is going to ride over 12,000 foot passes, CO is definitely the place to do it, and not just because it is about the only place with such elevations. If I recall, most of the passes in CO have very gentle grades (6%) to keep the motor vehicles from having problems with the slightly thinner air. The few times I have ridden in CO, this has seemed to be the case; most of the climbs are longer and less steep than one would expect. That also makes for much funner descents since they are rarely as technical as many shorter, steeper (lower) climbs in other states.

I do agree that folks need to be prepared for much cooler weather than they get at home. One summer in the Canadian Rockies I was wearing everything I had brought while the locals were in T-shirts and singing the praises of the lovely summer weather. Since I had just ridden up from the Sacramento Valley with its typical 105F afternoons, the 45F rainy afternoons along the Icefields Parkway seemed more like winter to me.
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Old 06-15-11, 07:37 AM   #24
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If I recall, most of the passes in CO have very gentle grades (6%)
On average, that is correct, though grades can be much steeper in sections.
I rode Loveland Pass last week, and will be doing it again today.

Below is a description of both Loveland and Independence Pass ... another of my favorites.

http://mybicycleroutes.com/xlovelandpassinfopage.html - Loveland Pass

http://mybicycleroutes.com/xindepend...sinfopage.html - Independence Pass

Loveland Pass at about 11,500ft last week just before the last swithchback and final climb to the top. The grade gets
pretty steep in this section of the 8.5 mile climb from Keystone. It sure feels a lot steeper than it did 25 years ago


These Bighorn sheep have no problems adapting to the altitude. ( Near A-Basin ski area last week)


There are easier ways to ride a bike to the summit ...

Last edited by werks; 06-15-11 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 06-15-11, 09:13 AM   #25
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A few years ago, the coldest day I paddled all year on a river happened on the Blue River out of Silverthone, Co on July 4th. It snowed. I paddled all year back here in NC and never was quite as cold as that day. I paddled Clear Ck near Idaho Springs, Co and got caught in a mother of a hail storm. That was a fun day too. lol
I live on the Blue River in Silverthorne. Would have waved, but I think the Fourth of July snow was in 2005, a year before I bought the place. I skied that morning and sailed that afternoon.

You can call me Anerobic. The grass pollen brings asthma. Not the best thing for living at 9000 feet.

I have done some stupid things descending mountain passes. Have become more cautious, but that took a few surgeries.

I used to ride with Velo Girardeau when I lived south of Cape Girardeau. Wondering whether I knew that guy.
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