Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Finds from the Grind - Cautionary Reminders

I came across several reminders of how dangerous mountain roads can be. On the way up to Clear Creek I had passed several riders and had a chance to talk to them when we regrouped at the traffic stop. When a rescue helicopter is called in, you already know it's a serious situation. A motorcyclist had gone over the side of the cliff and they were in the middle of rescue and recovery.

Meanwhile, the guys I had passed told the rest of us cyclists that they were on their way up to Red Box to visit where their buddy had passed away the week before. They said it was near the bottom of the descent and it wasn't a particularly technical part of the road either. They could only guess that he had hit a large sharp rock with his front tire and lost control. As you can see in the video, it was a pretty straight piece of road immediately after a left hand bend.

As we talked about the fellow cyclist and his accident, the ranger came back up to us and let us know we would soon be moving again because "the victim was not a candidate for an airlift." That's euphemistically saying that the rescue and recovery had just turned into a recovery. When we passed the accident site, I didn't see any signs of braking or skid marks. Just two other motorcyclists giving statements to Highway Patrol.

The traffic stoppage had taken only 10 minutes, but I ended up being delayed a total of 30 minutes because of my own small accident on the descent back into town. A small piece of glass punctured my rear tire and I was thankfully able to control the bike to a stop from about 35 mph. If I had hit something bigger, I might have lost control like the guy whose memorial I passed earlier. For me, it was only an inconvenience of 20 minutes, but it was a personal reminder and coda of how dangerous a mountain pass road can be.

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