Littleton man dies during Steamboat Stinger race
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A man from Littleton died Saturday afternoon during the Steamboat Stinger bike race in a remote area on Emerald Mountain, according to authorities.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters responded to a 45-year-old man in need of CPR near the intersection of Beall and Ridge trails.
The man, whose name has not been released, stopped during the bike race and tried to rest on a bench by an aid station, according to Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar.
“He was talking to one of the race coordinators, and he just fell over,” Scherar said.
A Go FundMe campaign has been created to help Andy Balika’s family with funeral expenses.
You can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/karen-and-jett-balika.
Race staff performed CPR until Steamboat Fire Rescue arrived and continued resuscitation efforts. Rescue attempts were not successful, and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Scherar.
In a statement posted to the brand’s social media, Honey Stinger expressed condolences to the man’s family and friends.
“First responders were on the scene immediately to assist in medical care, but unfortunately were unable to revive the rider,” Honey Stinger wrote on Facebook. “Additional details about the incident are not available at this time, as a medical analysis is pending. In the wake of this tragic incident, our entire team at Honey Stinger sends our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the rider, and to all who knew and rode with him.”
Routt County coroner Rob Ryg conducted an initial evaluation but has not determined a cause of death. He said the man did not crash.
“It looks like some kind of medical event,” Ryg said.
The Steamboat Stinger bike race is an intense, 50-mile bike race through steep terrain on Emerald Mountain. Ryg said the man appeared to be in great physical shape.
“It is kind of a mystery,” he said of the man’s sudden death.
Ryg will conduct an autopsy early next week to determine an official cause of death.
Steamboat Fire Rescue medics said the incident temporarily closed a portion of Beall Trail, but all trails have since reopened.
Steamboat Springs Police Department officers and Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers also responded to the incident.
Honey Stinger said late Saturday in the statement that the run portion of the Stinger would continue as scheduled, with a moment of silence for the man at the beginning of Sunday’s race.
This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
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