A devoted father-of-three and beloved husband tragically fell to his death during a cycling race.
Robert Verhaaren was participating in the annual LoToJa competition and swerved to avoid a pothole on a bridge over the Snake River in Wyoming, when he crashed and fell 35 feet on Saturday afternoon -- just eight miles from the finish line.
The 42-year-old, who works at a private equity firm in Mesa, Arizona, was being remembered as an 'awesome' family man by friends.
Verhaaren is survived by his wife Bridget, and three young children; Ansel, Helena and Karl, according to the Cache Valley Daily.
He and his wife were avid cyclist, as is his sister-in-law, Olympic BMX cyclist Arielle Martin, who is married to his brother Michael.
Verhaaren had previously competed in the race, that starts in Logan, Utah, and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Race spokesman Dave Bern said the 206-mile race also was marred by serious accidents in Idaho and Wyoming that sent two bicyclists to the hospital and by flat tires experienced by roughly 200 cyclists early on.
He says it's the first fatality in the race's 30-year history, that is billed as the longest one-day bicycle race in the country sanctioned by USA Cycling.
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