Will Olson, R.I.P.: Cyclist's Freak Accident Leads to BME Race Canceling, Tribute Ride

As the 2013 death of Boulder's Amy Dombroski during a training exercise illustrates, competitive cycling can be dangerous.

So, too, does what happened on Saturday to Edwards' Will Olson, a competitive cyclist who was well-known and well-liked by competitors and organizers of Big Mountain Enduro, or BME, events.

Such folks were understandably shattered by Olson's death during a race on Saturday in Crested Butte — so much so that a Sunday competition was canceled.

Instead, cyclists took part in a tribute ride to Olson's memory.

The Crested Butte Big Mountain Enduro World Series event is one to which riders look forward each year. Here's a video giving an overview of the course and the terrain.

The forty-year-old Olson, seen in this screen capture from his Facebook page....

...was an accomplished racer who wound up on the podium at a June 2014 BME event.

Here's another Facebook pic capturing that moment:

On Saturday, August 1, however, tragedy struck.

According to the Mt. Crested Butte Police Department, the fatal accident took place around 11:50 a.m. in the Gunnison National Forest on Trail 400 — Star Pass near the Block and Tackle Trail — during stage 3 of this year's BME.

During a Sunday morning press conference covered by The Crested Butte News, organizers said no one witnessed the accident. But Olson sustained massive damage to his chest in what one person called a "freak accident."

The MCBPD notes that two interval riders following Olson immediately began CPR and continued performing it for approximately thirty minutes until a paramedic arrived on the scene and declared Olson dead.

Afterward, the Enduro World Series Facebook page posted this image....

...and a message that reads:
There are no words that do justice to the sadness we are feeling today. In honour of Will and his family and to stay strong together as a close community of incredible people we will ride out together from the event village at noon today. We hope to see everyone in Crested Butte come out and support each other through this emotional time.
The ride was bittersweet, as indicated by another Facebook post, this time from the UR Team:

Our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Will Olson.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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