More bad news.
Other reports, including one from Michael Wagner of CLR Effect, identify him as Christopher Contreras of Velo Pasadena; he says the death occurred at the CBR Memorial Day Criterium in Dominguez Hills.
No word yet on why the discrepancy in identifying the victim; condolence messages are appearing under both names.
According Wagner, Contreras was injured when he hit a light standard at full speed in the pro race, and died after being transported to a hospital.
Sadly, H&S Bicycles reports Cono/Contreras leaves behind a wife and small child.
There is always an assumed risk in racing; we hope the worst will never happen, while knowing it can at any time. It is the chance we all take when we push the limits, and the loved ones we leave behind who pay the price.
So far, there has been no report of the death in the media.
Once confirmed, this will be the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, over half of which have occurred in L.A. County.
My prayers and sympathy for Christopher (Cono) Contretras and all his family and loved ones.
Update: The confusion over the victim’s name has been cleared up; Christopher Contreras went by the name Cono. The H&S Facebook page reports he raced for Gruppo Velo, where he served as Race Director; plans are in the works for a ride to benefit his family.
In addition, Michael Wagner has added more to his post, writing movingly about a fallen racer he did not know, but who was a member of the local racing family; he also identifies him as the founder of the popular Fortune 700 stage race.
Unless someone captured him during the race, this photo of Contreras and his son, along with L.A. Olympic legend Nelson Vails, may have been among the last ever taken of him.
Update 2: Kryxtanicole offers a touching tribute to a rider who touched her life, if only briefly, and inspired her to ride without fear.
I remember the night we met; when my first impression of him was that he was intense, in a good way. When you live with conviction it’s infectious, and that’s how he was. Cycling was not just a big part of his own life, it was something he was passionate about sharing with others.
It’s definitely worth clicking on the link and reading the full piece; thanks to H&S Bicycles for the link.
While I didn’t know Chris, his death hit me hard, as it clearly has many others. And the more I learn about him, the harder it hits.
By all accounts, we lost a very good man yesterday.
Update 3: Writing on the Wolfpack Hustle blog, L.A. cycling icon Roadblock describes watching the ambulance slowly round the final turn, not knowing his friend was inside. And the lesson learned to make time for the people and things that really matter in life.
Make time to ride with your friends and with future friends. You never know when someone will no longer be here especially with a sport as dangerous as competitive cycling. I feel like a pillar of LA cycling has collapsed. It’s just not real… it’s like looking at the familiar downtown skyline and seeing one of the skyscrapers now gone.
And Christy Nicholson writes on SoCalCycling that there will be a Memorial Service for Contreras next week, and that a previously scheduled criterium will be turned into a benefit for his family.
There will be a Memorial Service for Chris at Cabot & Sons Mortuary in Pasadena on June 7th at 6pm.
Cabot & Sons Mortuary
300 Fair Oaks Ave
3rd Annual Kool ‘N Fit Criterium Benefit Race
On June 9th, the 3rd Annual Kool ‘N Fit Criterium will donate all proceeds to benefit the Chris Contreras family. This is a great opportunity for the SoCal Cycling Community to come together and lend their support and help Chris’ family during this sad time. Race Flyer >
Update 4: A fund has been established to raise money for Contreras’ family.