A Patchogue man competing in a mountain biking endurance race over the weekend in Virginia was killed after crashing into a tree along the winding, heavily wooded route, officials said.
Ross Hansen, whose age was not available, hit the tree during the Shenandoah Mountain 100 Backcountry Bike Race, according to a statement from race officials.
On its Facebook page, the National Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Race Series said the crash occurred about 50 miles into the event.
It was the first fatal crash in the group's history, organizers said.
Several people who identified themselves as friends of Hansen posted calls on the race organizer's Facebook page for memorial rides and farewell tributes in his honor.
Greg Schell, of Rocky Point, said Hansen was passionate about mountain biking. Because he was single, Hansen considered Long Island's mountain biking community his family, Schell said.
The pair met through mountain biking, Schell said, adding that Hansen helped manage a network of trails in the Rocky Point area.
"He was a very enthusiastic kind of guy," said Schell, 49. "As soon as he fell in love with something, he dove into it."
Hansen's niece echoed Schell's comments, adding that her uncle was cheerful about nearly everything he tried, from mountain biking to just finding a good beer.
"The fact he died doing what he loved gives our family some peace," Alison Hansen, 39, of Pawcatuck, Connecticut. "We know he trained and prepared for this race and was so excited to do it."
Ross Hansen had done some biking in his youth, but returned to it about four years ago, he wrote in an Aug. 3 blog post replete with exclamation points and cheerful training anecdotes. Hansen described his excitement at completing Wilderness 101, a Pennsylvania endurance ride held July 25 and his first race of 100 miles.
"MISSION ACCOMPLISHED," he wrote. "And so I put this one in the books, my first. And by no means my last. I love this sport."
Calls to the Augusta County Sheriff's Department in Verona, Virginia, which handled the investigation, were not returned Tuesday.