Bicyclist dies after Steamboat-area crash

Vermont man was competing in Tour Divide race

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— A 37-year-old Vermont man was pronounced dead at 11 a.m. Thursday after apparently running his bicycle into a pickup in North Routt County.

David Blumenthal was riding with the Tour Divide bicycle race and crashed Wednesday morning on Routt County Road 68, near Steamboat Lake. Medical crews took Blumen­thal to Yampa Valley Medical Center and then flew him to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Blumenthal was pronounced brain-dead at 11 a.m. but that he was being kept on machines for organ donation. Ryg said that is usually complete within 12 hours of a patient being declared brain-dead.

North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bob Reilley said Wednesday that Blumenthal apparently was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Ryg said Thursday that there was now some uncertainty about his helmet and that Blumenthal suffered massive brain injury in the crash.

Blumenthal was a resident of Montpelier, Vt., according to a story in the Montpelier Times Argus newspaper. The newspaper quoted Colorado State Patrol Trooper Matthew Velasquez, who responded to the crash, as saying, “What happened was they were on a narrow mountain dirt road, and he was riding in the opposite lane and collided with the side of a pickup that was coming in the opposite direction on a curve.”

Velasquez said he determined Blumenthal was riding in the opposite lane based on where the bicycle, Blumenthal and the truck came to rest, the Times Argus reported.

Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue emergency responders also were called to the crash. Nobody else was injured, and no other vehicles were involved.

The Tour Divide is a 2,745-mile race that follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route through two Canadian provinces, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado before ending in New Mexico. There are no support teams, and riders must take care of themselves.

Blumenthal wrote about the race on his personal blog. In a post dated June 10, he wrote that he was looking forward to the race but was worried about the time away from his daughter and wife.

“Before my departure I did a lot of training. 3400 miles on the bike since Jan. 1, plus a Canadian Ski Marathon, and plenty of other things too,” Blumenthal wrote. “I also tried my best to be there for Linnaea, soon to be 4. She will miss me in ways an adult cannot truly appreciate, and I hope that our love will not be weakened by my absence. I hope that local friends will come to play, visit, and support Lexi and Linnaea while I’m gone, so that their time without me is happy and fulfilling.”

Steamboat rider Erik Lo­­beck also is competing in the race and was in second place as of Thursday evening. He had passed through the area 1 1/2 days before Blumenthal crashed.

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