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be careful out there

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Worcester man killed in sand pit plunge

By Associated Press, 5/14/2001 06:34

SPENCER, Mass. (AP) A Worcester man was killed when the dirt bike he was riding went off the edge of a mound of sand and plunged more than 70 feet, police said.

When Jeffrey McElroy, 29, rode his bike up the sand hill shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday, he apparently was unaware that the mound did not slope down on the other side, but instead went straight down from the top, according to Police Sgt. John Agnew.

McElroy was riding with a companion, who called police from a cellphone when he saw McElroy fall.

McElroy was pronounced dead a the scene by a Life Flight helicopter physician, Agnew said.

The accident occurred in the sand pit less than a quarter of a mile off Cranberry Meadow Road.

''It's an area where a number of dirt bikers go out to ride,'' Agnew said, although he said police have asked riders to avoid the area.

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Jeepers, Mountain bikers (and motorcyclists?) have lost their lives as well, out in Moab.

It was very eerie seeing the spot where one jeeper drove off to his death.

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Moabs Poison Spider, the portal trail variation. Several people have gone three hundred feet to the river below. I checked it out on a mtn bike, too scary, don't let anyone talk you into it.

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I'll say, try coming up to that jeeper five minutes after he plunged to his death and looking down on his lifeless body. We were all kind of stunned. Curious yet stunned. It was surreal. You couldn't help but stare. The ride back down from Gemini Bridges was a little more subdued.

Bryan actually posted a picture of the scene in the stories section for the fall Moab trip. You can't see the body luckily but the Jeep is prominent.

The one thing on a dirtbike that gives me a severe case of willies is riding single track on the side of a mountain with a big drop. Ask Jake, I tighten up. One of the scariest times I had was when I rode the single track at the end of Porcupine Rim in Moab. It really wasn't all that bad except for one section where it was a straight drop 1000 feet down. I could have turned coal into a diamond, I was so puckered. You ever wake up in a cold sweat because you flashed back to something you rode that day. It happened to me that night.

[This message has been edited by Dougie (edited 05-14-2001).]

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I've seen it happen in SoCal also. It is always sad. It is easy to forget sometimes. Thanks for the reality check Mike.

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Last year we were riding some trails around a sandpit in my area. We were on a narrow trail heading back to sandpit, three of my friends were in front of me. The trail headed slightly up hill and then began to slope down into the pit. We had ridden this same pit and that trail many times before. Although we knew the sandpit was active we didn't realize that during the week they had been digging up to the area where the trail used to slope down into the pit. Now, right as the trails comes over the top of the hill and began to head down to the pit, it ended in a 30 ft cliff. Unfortunately because it was right after the top of the rise the guy in the lead flew off the cliff. He was able to push away from his bike in the air and he and his bike landed in soft sand, neither were hurt. Luckily the second guy was able to stop right at the edge of cliff and he and his bike avoided landing on the guy below. We had to pull him and his bike right off the edge though.

Now it makes a good story but it could have turned out pretty bad.

-Brett

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Khris,

I wish I could. Would you believe my bike is still broken? I have not had the time to even take the forks off for service. Heck, it's still dirty from the time we meet in JV.

Shame on me. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend. :)

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No worries, it's only your lose! I've been heading out to the track at least on day every weekend recently. Hopefully I can keep my riding streak going for awhile. Let me know if you want to hit up the track once you get it rollin again. You would probably have fun at Elsinore if you haven't been there. They have a good beginners track to warm up on and then you can move to the main track.

------------------

Khris

When in doubt, GAS IT!

What are you, YELLOW?

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In some areas of the SoCal desert there are many old abandoned mine shafts. Some of them are hundreds of feet deep and go straight down. Very deep holes in the middle of nowhere. I have come close to falling in one before - missing it by inches.

Whenever I take someone riding in one of these areas and they have not been there before, the first thing I do is take them to one and let them take a good long look at it. Most of the time they will drop a rock or two into the hole. It's a weird feeling when you cant hear the rock hit the bottom. I will also tell them about mounds of dirt - If you see a mound of dirt it is not a jump. It is the result of someone digging a hole. The bigger the mound, the deeper the hole.

These things a scary!

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Know you riding areas and if it's a pit, take the time to give it a good check. The pits around here are always changing. Got to be careful.

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Ron,

I've seen some really deep ones out there at Johnson Valley. Definately would be a bad day if you fell in one. Are you up for heading out to a track sometime? I'm going to Comp park this Sunday and hopefully Lake Elsinore the following weekend.

------------------

Khris

When in doubt, GAS IT!

What are you, YELLOW?

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