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I heard theat a cyclist died today on the Sierra Century. I was at the event and saw about 5-6 emergency vehicles cruise past me while on my way to Hale road. Is this true? Did someone really die? BTW Hale road almost killed me with its 18-20% grades..
 

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I also heard this while chatting with someone at the Sutter Creek rest stop. Something about crashing into a tractor was all I hear. I was there when the emergency vehicles went screaming past Fiddletown. Was hoping it was just a brushfire, but then I saw the ambulance and was hoping a cyclist wasn't involved. I agree, Hale Rd was brutal!
 

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Cyclist killed during Sierra Century ride

From sacbee.com

AMADOR COUNTY - A 56-year-old bicyclist from Palo Alto was killed Saturday during the Sierra Century ride in Amador County when he veered into a tractor on the road, officials said.

The cyclist had pulled into the opposite lane to pass the slower-moving tractor on Fiddletown Road, east of Hale Road, witnesses said. As a car approached in the opposite direction, the cyclist swerved back into his lane and hit the side of the tractor, according to Officer Frank Peixoto of the California Highway Patrol.

He was run over by the tractor's rear wheel. The man, whose name was not released Saturday evening pending official identification, died at the scene.
 

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That is truly terrible news. Seeing everyone having such a good time on the ride makes it hard to believe something so bad could have happened. A sad reality of the sport is that it is extremely dangerous.

I really enjoyed the challenge of Hale road; although, it is quite obvious why that stretch was not included in previous Sierra Century rides. The pavement on the descent (somewhere in the middle of Hale if I remember correctly) was in horrid shape. I consider myself a competent and experienced bike handler/descender but, I definitely took my foot off the gas and used some caution on that fairly short section. The constant changes in sunlight and shadows also made seeing the obstacles tough......and the watercrossing???? Anyway, I am not upset it was included but I wonder how many crashes occured there.
 

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Not to hijack this thread, but why were so many riders bothered by the water crossing? Looked about an inch deep... If there were any accidents there, it was likely because of people stopping to carry their bikes. I'd argue that it was the most refreshing part of Hale Road!

There were lots of rumours about the death. The first stories I heard at the rest stop seemed highly consistent with the brief SacBee report. He must have been about 15 minutes behind me...
 

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Bad ending to a great day

Coming down Fiddletown, we heard there was an accident ahead. So, when we got there we weren't surprised to see all the vehicles. So, we nonchalantly got off our bikes and walked past the accident. We had NO clue it was a fatality. Many people broke down into tears on the side of the road. I hope never to see anything like that again in my life. My heart goes out to the family of the cyclist and to the driver of the tractor. He looked completely shocked and sad. It was a horrible moment.

But let this be a rminder to all of us to take NO chances out there. I saw too many people riding 5-6 abreast forcing other riders to go left of center. Some people think dropping $40 absolves them of obeying traffic laws.
 

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I was there...

I was one of the first to the accident scene. It was terrible. It was the most terrible thing I've seen in my life. He died instantly, if that's any consolation.

Ronald Gordon's obituary is in today's San Jose Mercury News.
 

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Ronald Gordon, 56, dentist, outdoorsman

AVID BICYCLIST DIED IN SIERRA ACCIDENT

By Julie Sevrens Lyons

Mercury News

<!-- begin body-content --> Many of his patients knew Palo Alto dentist Ronald Gordon as a warm, compassionate man.
His friends and family also knew him as a great athlete and adventure-seeker, who enjoyed tennis, cycling, helicopter skiing and windsurfing. Dr. Gordon was pursuing one of those passions -- cycling -- in the Sierra foothills Saturday when his bicycle collided with a truck near Fiddletown. He was killed instantly.
``He died doing something he loved,'' said his wife of 22 years, Judy Gordon.
Dr. Gordon, 56, was participating in his second ``century'' ride -- a 100-mile organized trek for avid cyclists -- when the accident occurred. But he loved doing just about anything outdoors, including gardening or playing with his dog, Panache.
Dr. Gordon himself had a panache for life, his friends said, enjoying reading, politics and his family life.
He coached his children in T-ball and soccer, participated in a father-daughter social group and was active in his havurah -- a Jewish friendship group.
``He's one of the nicest guys I have ever met,'' said longtime friend Victoria Durt. ``After he became my friend, I decided that I wanted him to be my dentist, that it would make going to the dentist a more pleasant experience. It was.''
Dr. Gordon attended the University of California-Berkeley, and graduated from the UC-San Francisco School of Dentistry. He practiced in Palo Alto for 30 years.
``He could fix anything. He was wonderful with his hands,'' his wife said. ``He could have been a carpenter. He could have been a plumber. He could have been an electrician. Not many people could be like that.''
Dr. Ronald Albert Gordon
Born: Nov. 19, 1949, in Los Angeles
Died: June 3, 2006, near Fiddletown
Survived by: His wife, Judy of Palo Alto; a daughter, Amanda of Palo Alto; and a son, Joshua of Palo Alto.
Services: Will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.
Memorial: Donations in his memory may be made to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, National Mail Processing Center, P.O. Box 6003, Albert Lea, MN 56007-6603.
 
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