Mountain biker dies on Palisade Plunge due to ‘heat-related illness’

A solo cyclist ran out of water and died as temperatures reached a record high of 102 degrees in nearby Grand Junction on Saturday.

by VeloNews

photography by Getty Images


A 52-year-old Colorado mountain biker died over the weekend due to “heat-related illness” while riding on the Palisade Plunge Trail in record-high temperatures, officials said.

Another group of cyclists found a male rider from Colorado Springs alone near the 28-mile marker on the popular trail in Western Colorado on Saturday evening, officials from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

The victim was riding the mountain biking trail alone and ran out of water. A group of three other riders stopped to help him and called 911 at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Mesa County Search and Rescue, Palisade Fire Department, and Careflight’s helicopter immediately responded and began life-saving measures. The person did not survive.

The three other cyclists were also out of water. They started with a gallon of water each and ran out about 10 miles before the end of the trail. They were also rescued and treated for dehydration.

Temperatures reached a record high of 102 degrees in nearby Grand Junction on Saturday.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office is responsible for determining the person’s cause and manner of death as well as releasing their name once their next-of-kin is notified.

Officials warned that strenuous activity during extreme heat is strongly discouraged. Community members are advised to limit outdoor activities to the early morning hours.

Health officials recommend drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes while doing activities in the heat.  The Palisade Plunge is a 32-mile mountain bike trail with very little shade and sections of extreme exposure.

Due to the remote location of the trail, riders must carry all water, food, and emergency supplies. At least 10 liters (2 ½ gallons) of water per person and electrolyte replenishments are recommended for this trail in the summer, officials said.