As a deadly heat wave covered the American Southwest on Saturday, authorities report a 52 year-old male cyclist died from extreme heat-related illness while out on a gravel bike ride in western Colorado.
In a statement, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said the tragic event happened around 18:45 when the temperature was 102F and the rider ran out of water early into a 28 mile ride on the Palisades Plunge Trail.
On the route with little shade, three other cyclists came upon the man in severe distress and immediately called emergency services with a cell phone.
Sheriff’s officers, search and rescue, and a LifeFlight emergency evacuation helicopter were dispatched to the scene to initiate life saving measures. Upon arrival the emergency workers could not resuscitate the cyclist, who died at the scene according to the sheriff’s office.
The three riders who stopped to assist were also out of water by the time emergency workers arrived and were treated for dehydration. According to the sheriff’s officers, the cyclists started on the trail with a gallon of water each, but ran out of water with ten miles remaining.
Weather forecasters predict the heatwave will continue to scorch large swaths of Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and California, with record high temperatures being broken daily. On Saturday, California’s Death Valley set a new high record of 123F and broke a 101 year-old record.
The dangerous weather conditions in will also pose a serious risk to riders participating in the Race Across America (RAAM) ultra endurance event that begins in California on Tuesday 14 June and crosses the American Southwest on the way to the East Coast.