The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a Mancos cyclist who apparently crashed his mountain bike in Dolores on Tuesday afternoon.
Emergency personnel were called to the 19000 block of County Road 31 about 3:40 p.m. after a passerby reported an unconscious man by the side of the road, Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said. Wesley Widener, 68, had suffered a head injury and died after apparently going off the road and hitting a rock. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Nicholas Jones, owner of the Lizard Head Cyclery in Dolores, visited the scene with sheriff’s deputies and the Montezuma County coroner on Wednesday morning to help with the investigation. He said Widener was an experienced mountain biker who would not have gone off the road under normal circumstances.
“I rode with the guy,” he said. “He doesn’t get that close to the edge.”
Nowlin said there were no tire tracks to show that a vehicle had struck Widener. Jones suggested he could have been “spooked” by a car that came too close to his side of the road. It’s a common occurrence for cars to get within a few feet of cyclists while traveling fast down the hill, he said, adding that one car had nearly struck him while he was examining the site with deputies on Wednesday.
Widener was an avid mountain biker who had been a regular customer at Lizard Head ever since it opened, Jones said. He remembered one year when Widener broke his collarbone but still competed in a bike race.
“He was a tough old guy,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the Montezuma County coroner’s office had not released an official cause of death for Widener.