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  1. #1
    Senior Member DanRH's Avatar
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    An extremely sad day on Devil Mountain Double Century yesterday

    I rode an extremely tough 200 mile bike ride last week. It was the event's "staff" ride. The event, called the Devil Mountain Double Century" actually occurred yesterday. I was driving my mini-van as a SAG vehicle on the course. All was well in the first part of the day. I fixed numerous flats and chain repairs.

    After lunch, I was headed up the back side of Mt. Hamilton. This section is very steep. There is a five mile climb, where the mile numbers are painted on the road, which makes the climb particularly annoying. At the 2 mile mark (at mile 130 on the route), there was a sign on the road indicating water 2 miles. I decided to stop and hand out water at the sign because I'm usually running on empty at this point so I thought I'd provide some additional support. Many, but not all, cyclists stopped to take me up on my offer. Temps were about 80. I've been out there when it was pushing 100 so it was actually very beautiful out. A cyclist came by and asked if I had an energy bar. I told her was all out I and decided to hop in the van and drive to the water stop to get a bar. On the way back, the same gal said a guy was in need of help at the spot I was at earlier. I rushed down there.

    There was a friend of mine (who I will not name as he is a forum member, but I will say, he's a hero in my eyes!) who was applying CPR to a fallen cyclist and continued until the sheriff arrived , who took over. A medivac helicopter was called in but since it was in a very remote section of the mountain, they had to be trucked in from a couple of miles. Eventually, the fire department showed up and they called it about an hour in. The fallen cyclist, Tom Milton was 56. I did not know him personally, but had a connection. Tom was a very seasoned rider. As a matter of fact, Tom is the owner and creator of the Selle An-Atomica saddle which Kathryn and I use on all of our bikes. He has done this ride many times and has done many ultra-endurance rides in the past, riding 50 double centuries in the last six years.

    He was riding strong. He was actually about three hours ahead of where I was at the same spot last week. The only negative comment he was heard to say was at lunch, 15 miles from where he died. He said he was not looking forward to the upcoming climb because he felt he had nothing in his tank. Tom was riding at about 4-5 miles an hour and apparently died of a massive heart attack. He was riding alone when he fell off the bike.

    It was extremely said as we watched this man die. He girlfriend, whom he lived with, of course was in shock at the end of the ride. She had been contacted by the rider organizers and she came to the start/finish point. She usually rides these rides with him, but yesterday did not for some reason. I would think that she is grateful that he died doing something he truly loved. I agree.

    RIP Tom.
    Dan Hertlein http://danhertlein.com
    2009 daVinci Design Joint Venture 700 Tandem
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    WOW! Very sad indeed! I'm bummed, I was supposed to do a fleche with him just a couple weeks ago and had to bail. That's a great loss for the cycling community and for humanity in general. Tom was truly a great guy and will be badly missed.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have met and chatted with Tom several times at the El Tour de Tucson Expos.
    Had a long talk with him and Craig Calfee after Tom had finished P-B-P (Paris-Brest-Paris) event in the pouring rain.
    He was at that time touting his weather/waterproofed Selle AnAtomica leather saddles. Quite the gu
    We never plan on which way we'll leave this world; RIP Tom.
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem/Tucson

  4. #4
    Senior Member c.miller64's Avatar
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    Unbelievably sad. I never had the pleasure of meeting Tom, but I conversed with him a few times before and after purchasing one of his saddles (the best there is IMHO). He'll surely be missed by many.

  5. #5
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    I've ridden many doubles with Dan, and have had the pleasure of visiting with him numerous times. This is indeed very sad.

  6. #6
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    Tom was a great cyclist and just a fun person. We rode with him on a Fleche team along with Homeyba in 2007 with four tandems. We also enjoyed spending time with him in Paris just before and after PBP. He rode a PCH Randonneurs event or two as well.

    Although Tom is faster than us, we made it to Sizun (near to Brest - about 350 miles into the ride) at the same time that we did on the way out. It had been raining for most of the ride up to that point but when we pulled into Sizun it was a beautiful clear day. We enjoyed a nice lunch in this beautiful town in the French countryside and after eating faster than everyone else, I closed my eyes for a quick nap. When I awoke, the place that had been filled with Randonneurs was nearly empty. Our time cutoff in Brest was fast approaching and Tom and my wife were just chatting away like they had all the time in the world. I was having a panic attack over the time and Tom simply replies with - oh yeah we better get going...

    Cool and calm. Just enjoying the ride. I learned something from him that day. I will miss him.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reversegear View Post
    ...Our time cutoff in Brest was fast approaching and Tom and my wife were just chatting away like they had all the time in the world. I was having a panic attack over the time and Tom simply replies with - oh yeah we better get going...

    Cool and calm. Just enjoying the ride. I learned something from him that day. I will miss him.
    You having a panic attack over time?????? I can't believe it! That is typical Tom though. He was great fun to ride with.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    this is sad indeed. may I say that while he was young, if there is anything good about this, is that he died doing what he loved? but it's sad that he was alone. I've thought about this happening to me since I ride alone, and I was thinking the other night that this would be a good way to go, if it were quick enough. maybe now is not the time for this kind of comment. if so, I apologize. here's wishing you; his other friends and family strength during the next few weeks. really only time and distraction can help right now. thanks for sharing.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
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    I saw in our local news that two runners suffered heart attacks during a recent half marathon. You never know it can happen to anybody.
    The risk can be reduced by getting good health care. I have several risk factors for heart disease, father, brother almost died at 52 (my age now), high cholesterol, large amount of calcification in my arteries.
    I have had several cardiac stress tests, one last month and they all show normal function. I have been on and off statins.
    My cardiologist just ran a genetic test that will tell us if statins would be effective in my case. Its a constantly changing field so the best thing is to get checked out and stay educated.
    Athletic conditioning is not necessarily an indicator of lack of heart disease. I am concerned about it but not to the point it worries me or holds me back.

  10. #10
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    WOW! Very sad indeed! I'm bummed, I was supposed to do a fleche with him just a couple weeks ago and had to bail. That's a great loss for the cycling community and for humanity in general. Tom was truly a great guy and will be badly missed.

    It might be sad for the rest of us who are left behind; however, we should be happy for him. He died doing something he loved!
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
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