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Cyclists recovering from accident

Dave Collins and Steve Beck remain in critical condition, but friends are optimistic regarding their recovery.

On Saturday Collins, Beck and three of their team members with the Red Mountain Brumbys from Mesa, Ariz., were competing in the 1000 Warriors race, an amateur cycling competition, when an SUV leading riders suddenly slammed on its brakes causing all five to crash. Collins was leading the team and took the brunt of the wreck, crashing through the rear window of the SUV. The bones in Collins face were crushed and broken glass caused severe lacerations, including a major artery in his neck, said Rick Bennett the organizer for the race.

"Gary Holt, an orthodontist competing in the race, used his jacket to put pressure on the jugular," Bennett said. "I really feel he saved Dave's life."

On Sunday, Collins went through nearly 12 hours of facial reconstructive surgery at University Hospital to repair the damage done to his face. He will remain in a medical induced coma until Tuesday, said Sterling Baer, the founder of Bumbys.

When Collins wakes up, his family will be able to open his son's mission call for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Baer said that Collins' son received his call on Friday, but was waiting until his father returned from the race to open it. The calling will remain unopened until Collins is fully alert.

Beck suffered a punctured lung in the wreck. Baer said Beck was doing well and walking around and is expected to be released from the hospital today.

The other two cyclists, Grant Taylor and Wayne Smith, were treated for severe road rash at the scene of the accident, but are considered otherwise OK.

e-mail: cnorlen@desnews.com