Arizona father of three Robert Verharren, 42, passed away on Saturday when he plunged to his death from a bridge during a 206-mile bike race.
Verhaaren was attempting to miss a pothole when he veered to the side and catapulted himself over a guardrail the protected drivers from the Snake River in Wyoming.
According to Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen:
“Verhaaren swerved to miss the hazard, over-corrected, lost control of the bicycle and crashed into the guardrail.”
The cyclist plunged 35 feet before landing in shallow water. According to the Cache Valley Daily Verhaaren was just eight miles from the LoToJa race finish line.
A member of the race support team told the Jackson Hole News & Guide:
“it’s the worst thing that can happen. It’s always our greatest fear.”
Race spokesman Dave Bern added to the Deseret News
“It was devastating for us to lose a member of our LoToJa family. Unfortunately, these things go along with bicycle racing. Cycling is not for the risk averse.”
Bern admits that accidents can happen but that motorists and cyclists up until this point have been very careful.
Marked as the longest single-day race in the United States the event starts in Logan, Utah, and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Accidents in Idaho and Wyoming on the same day placed two other cyclists in the hospital. Both of the injured racers are expected to have full recoveries.
The Desert News notes that some people have complained about bad road conditions on the part of the track that claimed Robert Verharren’s life.