Friday, March 20, 2009 | midnight
As many as 200 cyclists are expected to pedal the Valley of Fire scenic route Saturday to honor and raise funds for a Las Vegas man who recently awoke from a coma following a severe bike injury.
Ryan Pretner, 37, suffered a fractured skull and was in a coma for more than 60 days after he was struck on the back of the head by a truck's side mirror Jan. 12, while he was cycling on St. Rose Parkway. His family reports that he has been awake for about two weeks and is responsive and learning some sign language.
Paul Johnson, an organizer of the Pedaling for Pret Dog event, said Pretner has touched many lives in the cycling and public works communities. Pretner is a right-of-way agent for the Nevada Department of Transportation.
"When I heard he was improving I thought maybe, miraculously, he could make a total full recovery and ride it with us, but that's not going to happen yet," Johnson said.
Instead, all his friends will be riding for him.
Cyclists are asked to donate to a fund for Pretner's two children and for his long-term medical needs. There will also be a raffle and a free lunch following the ride.
Dana Andrew, Pretner's sister, said she is inspired to see how many people care for her brother. The two were raised in Las Vegas. She said so far her brother has exceeded the doctors' expectations.
"His recovery is possible, but to what extent we'll have to see," Andrew said.
It won't be a quick, she said. Doctors expect to see progress over the next two years. He is being cared for at Kindred Hospital, a Las Vegas long-term acute care facility.
Ride registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Valley of Fire exit off Interstate 15, about 22 miles north of the Las Vegas Speedway exit.
The ride will start at 8:30 a.m. Cyclists can choose routes that are 25 miles, 36 miles or 48 miles. Support drivers will be available along the route. Aid stations will also be set up.
For information on the ride, or Pretner's condition, visit joemayophoto.com and click on the photo of Ryan Pretner.