Earlier this month, we told you about a freak accident that killed cyclist Will Olson, a competitor in the Big Mountain Enduro race at Crested Butte.
The last day of the BME was canceled after Olson's death, with other participants joining together in a memorial ride.
Now, just weeks later (and amid the hoopla over the launch of the USA Pro Challenge), comes word of another cycling-related tragedy. Scott Ellis, 55, died on Saturday, August 15, while taking part in the Leadville 100, an event in which he'd ridden many times before.
The Lake County coroner's office reportedly found Ellis to have died of natural causes but hasn't added specifics in deference to his family. The presumption is that he perished after a heart attack.
As noted by 7News, the Leadville 100 is known as "The Race Across the Sky" and has drawn name riders such as Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer.
Here's a video from 2014 that offers a sense of the challenging terrain....
...followed by a clip that captures the start of the 2015 ride:
Ellis was nearing the end of this year's event when he was stricken, according to this post from the Peloton-Specialized Cycling Team Facebook page from August 16:
It is with great sadness that we post this. Yesterday at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, Scott Ellis had a suspected heart attack at Power Line climb as he headed to the finish and did not survive. This was his favorite race, and I believe his 19th race, which shows his love of the "race across the sky."
As a team, our hearts and prayers go to his family and friends. We are heartbroken.
I will let you all know more information as we get it. Aaron Goble had severe dehydration and is feeling better now I've heard. All other riders are accounted for and safe. Many did very well in one of the most difficult and beautiful races of our sport. The support crews did amazing jobs. But I wish we had all had better news to report.
The outpouring of sadness continued on the Leadville 100 MTB Participants Facebook group page. VeloNews quotes one person's post: “I was the first one to stop, the second guy, was an ER doc, and he knew what to do. A bunch of us helped with chest compressions, and I rode back up the trail to the white Jeep at the top of Power Line, they were able to get though to 911, by the time I got back to the scene, the medics in the ATV were there and they waved me on down the trail, I met the 4×4 ambulance on the way down and continued my race. My deepest sympathy to Scott’s family...."
Also shared was this Instagram shot of Ellis courtesy of Matt Burt, with a heartfelt caption added by Dave Wiens.
This is a photo of Scott Ellis enjoying a muddy Half Growler near Gunnison, Colorado this past May. Scott died of an apparent heart attack while riding in his 20th Leadville 100 on Saturday. Scott started and finished four Half Growlers beginning in 2012. The smile on his face in this photo says it all. My condolences to his family, his friends and his team, the Peloton-Specialized Cycling Team out of Fort Collins, Colorado. This photo is courtesy of Matt Burt.
Another Facebook exchange finds several riders trying to come to grips with what they witnessed:
My hero and soon to be husband...was one of the rescuers who helped to revive Scott in the field. I arrived as were trying to load him into the truck and down to Life flight. We only learned of his death from Aby as we crossed the finish line. We both broke down heart broken. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And we are so proud of the Leadville family and thankful for your big hearts.
That was a horrible experience. It continues to haunt me. We knelt beside him and prayed for him and his family. I will continue to hold up his family in my thoughts and prayers.
I am also humbled and honored to have rode with the men that responded and provided assistance. May his family have some comfort in knowing he was never alone and loved to his last moment.
That was a rough experience. I prayed God help Scott, Come on Scott is all I have in my mind as I saw the paramedics and the doctor athlete continue to do chest compressions when in the white ambulance truck as it made its way down to the helicopter. Thoughts and prayers go to his family, very heart breaking and at the same time this was his time, and he did what he loved. I would want to go the same way.
We add our condolences as well.