Authorities say 42-year old Nicola Grossi died Saturday while riding in the 36th annual Climb to Kaiser after his bicycle veered off the paved roadway and hit a large pine tree.
Grossi, a computer programmer from La Mesa, was roughly 60 miles into the grueling 155-mile race — that ascends from nearly sea level to a 9,200-foot Sierra Nevada pass — when he approached a curve during a steep, winding descent and lost control of his bike.
“You never want something like this to happen,” said Climb to Kaiser organizer John Craft. “When you’re going at high speeds on windy roads, sometimes unfortunate things like this can happen though.”
Though Grossi was wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, the impact with the enormous pine caused too severe of injuries as he could not be revived and was pronounced dead at 10:42am, said Jeff Gentry, a deputy coroner for Fresno County.
Jennifer Grossi, Nicola’s wife, told the U-T San Diego her husband had a driven, competitive personality, and had become a bicycling enthusiast in the past two years, losing more than 100 pounds as he biked to work daily and went on hours-long highway rides.
“They’re talking about canceling this race,” she said. “[Nicola] wouldn’t want that.”
Besides his wife, Nicola Grossi also was survived by a daughter and three step-children.
According to Mercury News, Grossi’s death is the second fatality in the 36 years of the ride.
In 2003 a rider from Tiburon was killed when he collided with a truck on the same stretch of road where Grossi was killed.
CBS47 has more on Nicola Grossi’s fatal Climb to Kaiser accident in the video below:
Image: Climb to Kaiser