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Rider killed during RAAM

Old 06-23-05, 04:28 PM
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mnutini
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Rider killed during RAAM

Sad news from the RAAM website http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/


With profound regret, Race Across America announces that Bob Breedlove, competitor #188, collided head-on with a pickup truck at approximately 12.15 p.m. EDT, on June 23, 28 miles west of Trinidad, Colorado. When paramedics arrived on the scene they pronounced him dead. The accident took place on a section of road that sloped very gently downhill for cyclists in the race. According to the driver of the pickup truck, Bob Breedlove appeared to collapse on his bicycle and swerved into the path of the oncoming vehicle.

Cyclists competing in the Race Across America are offered the option of completing the race, should they so desire.

Race Director Jim Pitre said: "Speaking both personally, and on behalf of the entire management and all those associated with the race, I extend my most sincere sympathy to the family of Bob Breedlove."

At the time of the accident, Bob Breedlove was leading the 50+
category, and was 12th overall in the race.
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Old 06-23-05, 04:41 PM
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That sucks big time, I know this does it make it any better but at least he died doing something he probably loved.
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Old 06-23-05, 05:03 PM
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Crap. Any reason stated why he collapsed?
 
Old 06-23-05, 05:14 PM
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Like driving and falling asleep behind the wheel... I wonder is he had a medical issue or was it fatigue?

Condolences to the family.

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Old 06-23-05, 05:21 PM
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These guys sleep like 2 hours or less a night.
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Old 06-23-05, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Crap. Any reason stated why he collapsed?
When I watched the 2hr documentary on tv, there were guys falling asleep on the bike, there were guys who went so hard their kidneys failed, someone needed this brace installed to keep his head up cause his neck muscles were failing, someone else had their helmet pulled back with bungee cord tied to their saddles, one of the guys just collapsed as he got back on his bike after a short rest stop, people were seeing things and following invisible gnomes...
These guys seem to push themselves to failure way beyond what the people seem to do in the TDF and it's tragic sometimes...
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Old 06-23-05, 05:36 PM
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That's what happens when you're over 50 years of age, you've barely slept in four days, and you're physically exhausted.

What a waste, I hope his family believes it was worth it.
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Old 06-23-05, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
When I watched the 2hr documentary on tv, there were guys falling asleep on the bike, there were guys who went so hard their kidneys failed, someone needed this brace installed to keep his head up cause his neck muscles were failing, someone else had their helmet pulled back with bungee cord tied to their saddles, one of the guys just collapsed as he got back on his bike after a short rest stop, people were seeing things and following invisible gnomes...
These guys seem to push themselves to failure way beyond what the people seem to do in the TDF and it's tragic sometimes...

call me soft, but its just not worth putting your self in that kind of danger. if you are too tired to ride safely, get off the dang bike already.

its sad that someone had to die for this.
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Old 06-23-05, 06:01 PM
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my sympathies.
I've been following the race, it's end is on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, my neighborhood.
I just up there yesterday where the have the giant welcome banner.
how sad....peace Bob.
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Old 06-23-05, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Crap. Any reason stated why he collapsed?
Sorry if this is a lengthy post, but it is a copy of the letter that RAAM sent out to thier mailing list members at about 6:30 pm eastern today.


With profound regret, Race Across America announces:


RAAM Suffers The Tragic Loss of One of its Greats

Trinidad, Colorado - Tragedy hit the Race Across America today
around 12.15 - 12.30 p.m. EDT, when Bob Breedlove, competitor
#188, collided with a westbound pickup truck 28 miles west of
Trinidad, Colorado. When paramedics arrived on the scene they
pronounced him dead.

The accident took place on a section of road that sloped very
gently downhill for cyclists in the race. According to the driver
of the pickup truck, Bob Breedlove appeared to slump on his
bicycle and swerved into the path of the oncoming vehicle.

The driver attempted to avoid Bob Breedlove, but the significant
impact was made at the lower left part of the windshield.

At the time of the accident, Bob Breedlove was leading the 50+
category, and was 12th overall in the race.

Jim Pitre, the race director, decided after consultation with Bob
Breedlove's brother, Bill, to continue the race. Bill Breedlove
considered that his brother would have wished this.
If a rider or team decides to pull out of the race, the management
and officials will provide assistance wherever practicable.

Talking about Bob Breedlove, Jim Pitre said: "This is a terrible
tragedy, just terrible. We all stand in awe of the memory of Bob
Breedlove, who was a supreme cycle racer, an outstanding surgeon,
and just a great human being. Speaking both personally, and on
behalf of the entire management and all those associated with the
race, I extend my most sincere sympathy to the family of Bob
Breedlove."

The support vehicle was providing leapfrog support to Bob
Breedlove at the time of the accident. Bob Breedlove was last seen
by his crew members about a mile before the accident took place.
They reported that he seemed fit to continue the race. "He seemed
fine, we passed him a PowerBar and a Spizz (energy drink), and he
went on his way," said one of the crew members.

Skidmarks leading off the road to the right suggest that the
driver of the vehicle did what he could to avoid a collision. "It
seemed like he must have passed out, he slumped on his bars. He
just swerved right into our lane." Said the distraught driver of
the vehicle, who hurried to the next town immediately after the
accident and made the 911 call himself.

From the evidence and accounts, the accident is thought to have
happened very quickly. While it is unknown whether or not it would
have made a difference if a support vehicle had been present for
Bob Breedlove, as an additional precautionary measure, a directive
was issued from race headquarters that safety continues to be a
primary concern and that all crew members are required to pay
special attention, and to continue to conduct the race in a safe
manner.

Crew members and riders have been instructed that if they feel the
need to do so, to pull off the course to process their thoughts
and gather themselves to continue. A 15-minute time allowance is
provided for this. Riders and crew members who require more time
will be granted this on request.
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Old 06-23-05, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kubla khan
What a waste, I hope his family believes it was worth it.
I hope his family believes it wasn't worth it. It's only a friggin bike race!
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Old 06-23-05, 08:15 PM
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This marks the second rider in recent years who has died during the RAAM. A couple of years ago, a RAAM rider was hit by a semi tractor-trailer in New Mexico.
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Old 06-24-05, 11:30 AM
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The fact that he died doing what he loved is relevant and should stay in the family's thoughts, though it will be of little consolation I'm sure. He was a great mega-endurance racer for many years. RAAM racers are incredible in what they do, though I'd never have the slightest desire to even attempt to ride for 20 of 24 hours in a day.

Condolences to his family and friends.
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Old 06-24-05, 01:14 PM
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I was about 2 time stations east of where this happened. This is indeed a tragedy, my condolences to Dr. Breedlove's family & friends. It had a profound effect on riders that passed through our station.
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Old 06-24-05, 01:25 PM
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Very sorry to hear about this. Myself, I question the sort of race that is so long yet requires you to finish in a (my opinion here) very short amount of time. For that same reason, I believe each of the riders understands what he or she is getting into. And apparently Bob had done this before, no?

I feel a lot of different things about this: sadness, awe, and disbelief.
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Old 06-24-05, 01:50 PM
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What stinks about the race overall is that there doesn't seem to be any downtime for cyclists who are doing solo efforts cross country. Perhaps if they just said you have 15 days to get there, and total time in the saddle was used to determine who wins instead of the first person to cross the finish line, there wouldn't be so much pressure to ride yourself to death.

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Old 06-24-05, 01:51 PM
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P.S. Not to say that it isn't a legit race, though... there just should be some guidelines so that riders don't harm themselves just to hit a finish line.

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Old 06-24-05, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gcasillo
Very sorry to hear about this. Myself, I question the sort of race that is so long yet requires you to finish in a (my opinion here) very short amount of time. For that same reason, I believe each of the riders understands what he or she is getting into. And apparently Bob had done this before, no?

I feel a lot of different things about this: sadness, awe, and disbelief.
I believe this was Dr. Bob's 5th Raam, he's no stranger to mega ultra-endurance races and the risks they present. It's tragic what happened, but to the above posters calling it a waste and not worth it, this is what this guy lived for. He was over 50 years old and his kids are grown-up, although his family will miss him terribly, he raised his kids and now was doing his thing, I might feel much differently about a parent of young children (like myself) going out and taking these risks to fulfill selfish goals. I too have mixed feelings about this, as I've been excited over the last weeks waiting for this race and then to see this happen. I do believe that the race should go on and that these atheletes are aware of the risks they're taking. Hopefully this incident will step up everyone's awareness (especially the crews) so that rest is taken when it's needed. Saying that I'm assuming that Bob fell asleep on the bike and swerved into the truck, it's also possible that he collasped from reasons unrelated to fatigue (although highly unlikely). My thoughts go out to his family and friends, and to a safe trip for the remaining racers.
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Old 06-24-05, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
...I do believe that the race should go on and that these atheletes are aware of the risks they're taking. Hopefully this incident will step up everyone's awareness (especially the crews) so that rest is taken when it's needed. Saying that I'm assuming that Bob fell asleep on the bike and swerved into the truck, it's also possible that he collasped from reasons unrelated to fatigue (although highly unlikely). My thoughts go out to his family and friends, and to a safe trip for the remaining racers.
Extremely tragic. My heart goes out to all that new and loved him.

In his rider profile he notes concern over illness, injury or death as intimidating about RAAM. He also notes his time away from family as a sacrifice to compete (and I'd assume train for) RAAM.

HIs profile may be found here.

It may very well be too soon to make judgements regarding what actually happened. From the information presented it does in fact appear that Bob swerved into oncoming traffic. However, other scenarios may be possible, a driver overtaking another vehicle for example, or a driver swerving, causing Bob to swerve. Mechanical failure (blowout, brake block lock, hub seizure) may be equally responsible as well as rider fatigue.

There are risks in everything we do, unless we do nothing. This is a sobering reminder for our loved ones, to accept-or at least understand the perhaps extra risks associated with ANY recreational sport, particularly at the proffesional/elite level Bob was.

If my memory serves, RAAM instituted more stringent safety controls following the previous riders fatal crash.

When my friends/family express concern regarding my cycling (and hiking) being too dangerous, I gently remind them of my feelings regarding the more extreme risk (in my opinion) associated with simply driving on a daily basis, as well as a reminder of my skills. Working at a trauma center I see first hand the results of this barely percieved risk on a near daily basis-sadly, repeatedley throughout my shift on occasion.

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Old 06-24-05, 02:56 PM
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Just found this tribute video to Dr. Breedlove.

www.teamvirtual.us/lod/lod.wmv
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Old 06-24-05, 03:13 PM
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Really awful... maybe he had a heart attack or collapsed from heat.
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Old 06-24-05, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
I hope his family believes it wasn't worth it. It's only a friggin bike race!
That was my point, you are quick to pick up on the irony.
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Old 06-24-05, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kubla khan
That was my point, you are quick to pick up on the irony.
404 - Irony Not Found
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Old 06-24-05, 07:42 PM
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John Howard was America's leading road bike racer in the 1970's and a pioneer in the "Ironman" races of the 1980's. He still has the record for most miles in a 24 hour race and the highest speed ever attained on an "upright" bicycle. He competed in the early RAAM period but decided: it was too dangerous.

Howard said that a "fit" cyclist can stay alert and ride safely in a 12 hour race, or even a 24 hour race. But, while racing for several days, especially on roads open to motorists, cyclists were going to get killed.

RAAM, if it wanted to, COULD require each rider to rest or sleep for eight hours out of each twenty-four hours. Instead, RAAM organizers have turned RAAM into a contest about who can sleep the least. The rider who sleeps the least can win the race, if he does not die.

I hope that every corporation that has sponsored or supported RAAM in anyway will send a message to the organizers: "Our support is terminated until the health and safety of the riders becomes your FIRST and ONLY priority".
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Old 06-24-05, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
What stinks about the race overall is that there doesn't seem to be any downtime for cyclists who are doing solo efforts cross country. Perhaps if they just said you have 15 days to get there, and total time in the saddle was used to determine who wins instead of the first person to cross the finish line, there wouldn't be so much pressure to ride yourself to death.

Koffee
Yes. Your two suggestions are exactly right. There needs to be mandatory "downtime" of eight hours out of every twenty-four hours. And, the "winner" should be based on "saddle time", not calendar time. There is no need for cyclists to die in this race.

John Howard set his 24 hour record (something like 600 miles in 24 hours) on a course that was closed to motorists. It is possible for cyclists to compete in "extreme" events without dying. Many "first rate" cyclists, such as Lance Armstrong, might be willing to participate in RAAM if the organizers ever acquired a bit of sanity...perhaps now they will.
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