In Loving Memory of TEAM G


On December 10th, a group of cyclists were hit by a truck – five of the cyclists were killed. The cyclists are now endearingly being remembered as TEAMG: Tom Trauger, Erin Ray, Aksoy Ahmet, Michael Murry, and Gerrard Nieva.

The athletes were part of a larger group that were doing the 95-Searchlight-Nipton-Las Vegas loop ride. The driver of the truck fell asleep and ran into the group. Horrific. The driver has been charged with multiple counts of DUI since METH was detected in his blood. Terrible. Horrific. Tragic. 

It is hard to come up with the right word to describe this. Words like accident, event, incident do not capture the negligence that led to the deaths of TEAMG. 

In this newsletter, we want to honor the legacy of the five friends/family members/fellow athletes. 

This past week has been very emotional – so many of you reading this have been directly or indirectly impacted by this horrific event. The vigils that have happened this past week have been important to share the hurt – many of you were able to attend in person as well as on line. 

The most important part of the reaction has been to support the family and friends of those killed. I knew the community would respond – and you did. It has been equally important to support the survivors – what they have gone through is terrible and it is important that our community reaches out to support them.

Let the hurt, the anger, the feelings that we have all been experiencing burn into your memory. The loss of these lives is tragic. As intense that this past week has been with emotions, we have to keep their legacy alive.
The Las Vegas Triathlon Club is looking long-term as to how to continue to honor the legacy of TEAMG. Although Erin was the only triclub member, we accept all of them as triathlon club members. Tom was an elite triathlete (same age group as me … he was always faster!) and we had been talking about him getting involved with the club. Mike was doing triathlons before getting involved with cycling. And maybe we could have gotten Aksoy and Gerrard into a triathlon! If any of their family members want to participate in any of our tri club events, they are welcome as life-long family members.

We also are going to look long-term and create scholarships, name our points series winners (male and female), and create a Memorial Triathlon event, for example. We want to remember and honor the legacy of T.E.A.M.G.

Individually, we can continue to honor Tom, Erin, Aksoy, Mike, and Gerrard by training and racing. They were athletes and competitors who were enjoying a fit lifestyle. Let’s honor them by continuing our training and racing – When you toe the start line of your next race … give a shout out (out loud or quietly) to each of the athletes. And when you reach the finish line, celebrate. 

~John Mercer

Erin Michelle Ray

July 31, 1981 - December 10, 2020

Las Vegas, Nevada - On Thursday, December 10, 2020 Erin Michelle Ray, 39, of Las Vegas was killed while riding the 130 mile Nipton Loop with a group of talented and experienced cyclists. A truck struck the back of the group killing Erin, four of her friends and injuring three others.
Erin was born on July 31, 1981 in Wichita, Kansas. She grew up in Kansas, Florida and Holladay, Utah. She graduated from Olympus High School.

After graduation, she moved to Las Vegas working hard to obtain her Realtor license. She loved finding the perfect home for her clients. She developed a passion for physical fitness. She worked hard at swimming, running and cycling but her favorite was cycling competitively. Her fierceness, focus and determination drove her. At the same time, she was a champion for anyone who wanted to ride, bike or swim.
Erin was passionate about life.

Erin is survived by her parents, Ellen and Edward Leis of Colorado, brothers Evan (Amy) Leis of Sandy, Utah and Eric Leis of London, UK, her father, Robin Ray and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, all who loved her dearly. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all who have shown their love and support. We plead for every driver to pay attention to the others on the road. Inattentive driving is inexcusable and the damage often irreversible.

Aksoy Ahmet

Aksoy Ahmet was born on October 22, 1972 in South London, Great Britain to Hassan and Fatima. Aksoy spent his childhood between Istanbul and London which created a sense of adventure that led him to an international career with Carnival Cruise Lines following his studies at Bosphorus University.
His personality was a perfect fit for his career in hospitality as his fantastic sense of humor and infectious laugh made even strangers feel like great friends. It was truly a privilege for those who had the pleasure of knowing him. His magnetic personality also attracted his soul mate during his time on the ships. On May 25th, 2003, he married Angela Wells and they completed their family by welcoming a daughter, followed by twin boys. Aksoy was a passionate cyclist and could be seen throughout the Las Vegas area as he logged hundreds of miles weekly, usually side by side with Angela. He rode with groups large & small, and was valued for his competitive spirit, gregarious personality and wonderful sense of humor.
Aksoy humbly found a way to include riders of all skill levels in his rides. He epitomized the team spirit by continually shielding others from the wind so they would have it a bit easier on the ride or dropping back to help other riders and keep the group together. His inclusive attitude is further evidenced by Aksoy’s response to his best friend and fellow cyclist beginning to lose his sight. Aksoy convinced him to buy the best tandem bike on the market for the two of them to enjoy together. He was a true friend to all who had the privilege to call him a friend. He was always there for people; there to give a helping hand; there to put a smile on your face; there to motivate you; there to hear and advise you; there to make a difference in your life.

Only one thing made Aksoy prouder than all his accomplishments and that was, without question, his family. Undoubtedly, his greatest joy was the laughter that filled their home and seeing the many accomplishments each Ahmet achieved. Aksoy and Angela combined their greatest assets to create three amazing young adults. His knack for teaching his kids the understanding of value; ensuring they were doing well in school; keeping them active through sports – not missing their practice meets; combined to make the perfect family where love was always abundant. Ultimately, he dedicated all his time to his family and was a father who inspired other dads. Many memories will be cherished by them all including family trips to London and throughout the States.
Aksoy understood that not everyone was so fortunate and both he and Angela regularly contributed to charitable events and were staples in the Breakaway Cycling club’s efforts to promote safe cycling and providing bicycles for children and share the joy riding brought him.

Gerrard Nieva
From the Las Vegas Review Journal (12/12/20)

Las Vegas resident Gerrard Nieva was a humble and quiet man who was committed to the well-being of patients using the dialysis machines he serviced for a living.
That’s how friends described Nieva, 41, one of five bicyclists killed Dec. 10 in a crash along U.S. Highway 95 near Searchlight. “Always a kind and caring person,” said Nieva’s former co-worker, Pamela Inman. Inman worked with Nieva for years at Fresenius Medical Care in Las Vegas. She said Nieva was an expert at making sure dialysis machines were working properly. He took the job seriously, she said, and routinely showed up to work early to take care of the machines, which are used to treat people with kidney problems. “He was very good at what he did,” Inman said. “He cared very much about making sure everything was in proper working order so the patients wouldn’t have any issues, and to make sure nothing put the patients at risk.”
James Bates, regional technical operations manager for Fresenius, and Mike Stanislawczyk, the company’s vice president of field technical services, released the following statement Friday about Nieva’s death:
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic news. Gerrard was a valued member of our family, and he will be missed tremendously by his colleagues and the many patients he cared for. Gerrard devoted many years to improving the lives of every patient every day. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those impacted at this time.”
Nieva’s close friend, Yash Gokul of Las Vegas, rode bicycles on long distances with Nieva as part of the Carefast Cycling team that Gokul founded. He said Nieva was a longtime resident of the Las Vegas Valley.
The victim’s relatives flew to Las Vegas from Colorado and New York on Friday to attend Saturday’s vigil for those killed in the crash. Gokul, like Inman, described his friend as quiet, professional and kind-hearted.
“A really quiet, humble guy,” Gokul said. “Very nice. Nicest guy on our team by far. A very good human.”
Gokul said his friend was an avid racer who was constantly training to improve his skills.
“He was a really good team player,” Gokul said. “He was always there, very dedicated, very strong. Definitely an advanced rider. He did a lot of racing with us. A very active member of our team.”
Gokul said he had been on countless rides with Nieva, traveling throughout California, Utah and Arizona. “We ride long, we ride hard, tons of races,” Gokul said. Gokul said their team members are devastated by the loss. He also said motorists need to have increased awareness when it comes to bicyclists’ safety. “I ride my bike every day, and there won’t be a single day that I won’t get honked at or something happens where motorists think they have the right of way,” he said. “They don’t want to wait. It is alarming how many of these accidents there are, with so many deaths.”

Thomas Chamberlin Trauger
August 13, 1963 - December 10, 2020
Resident of Las Vegas, NV
On Thursday, December 10, 2020 Thomas Chamberlin Trauger, 57, of Las Vegas was killed while riding the 130-mile Nipton Loop with a group of talented and experienced cyclists. A truck struck the back of the group killing Tom, four of his friends and injuring three others.

Tom was born in Würzburg, Germany on August 13, 1963. His family lived in Germany while his father attended medical school. Tom grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and Alta Dena, California. In Madison, he attended Thomas Jefferson Middle School where he participated in a 50-mile run for life and received a patch which he proudly wore to display this achievement. He was also in the West Allis Speed Skating Club. He was passionate about speed skating and approached it like everything else in life, with determination and in this case, aspirations to become an Olympic athlete. Tom's family moved to Alta Dena, CA where Tom graduated from John Muir High School. Tom then channeled his athletic energy into soccer and ran track and cross country with equal enthusiasm and intensity.

Tom graduated with a BS in Accounting from Cal Poly Pomona. He was a member of the Fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and that was a significant and meaningful part of his college experience.

Professionally, Tom had achieved great success and he was so admired because he was able to combine his love of sport with his love of finance. He was the CFO for Sports Basement in the Bay Area for 14 years. He loved SB, loved the people and loved working there. Every morning he was always up before sunrise with his computer and monitor, running daily dashboard reports for the SB leadership team to review. He was religious about his responsibilities because it was a dream job combining two passions.

One of Tom's passions was triathlon. He was one of the original members of the Every Man Jack Triathlon team in the Bay Area. He loved being pushed and challenged by his teammates and was so strong mentally he would fight for every pedal stroke and every stride of a training day or race. He won his age group in almost every Ironman race and was on the podium at Ironman World championships multiple times at both 70.3 and full Ironman distances. While Tom was always laser focused on getting to the podium, he always made time to help others achieve their personal best.

His laugh was infectious, and he was an easy target for a joke because he laughed at everything. Tom was a leader and mentor. He inspired and touched the lives of so many. He had such a positive outlook on life and lived every day to the fullest.

Tom is survived by his wife Donna (Las Vegas), together for 23 years; his children Thomas Chamberlin Trauger Jr. and Sarah Woolsey; his parents Susan and John Terry Trauger; his father Walter Matern; his siblings Jim Trauger, John Trauger, Adam Trauger, Barron Matern, David Matern and Amanda Matern. He is predeceased by his brother Matt Matern. He is also survived by his grandson Eli Woolsey and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, all who loved him dearly. His passing leaves us shocked, lost and devastated.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all who have shown their love and support. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy to consider making a donation to the Challenged Athletes Fund in Thomas Chamberlin Trauger's name.

A celebration of life will be planned for a later date.

Michael T. Murray

From: Rob Hutchinson as posted on Save Red Rock facebook page

Born SLC Utah (although he was a resident of Las Vegas) on Aug 31,1963. He was a native of Las Vegas. Mike was one of six children to Harold and Valeen Murray, and was the baby in the family. He attended and graduated from Bonanza High School. He was very active in the AA program and was a motivational speaker, sober for more than 17 yrs. himself. Cycling was a major help in seeking sobriety as he always had to be channeling his energy. He loved cycling and loved adventure. Last year he was able to cycle around France. He was a very charismatic, charming, good looking, friendly, guy who never forgot anyone! He had a great love for dogs especially his little guy Bentley who crossed over the rainbow bridge this August. I'm sure there is a happy reunion for both of them.

Once he met you he found your interest and somehow magically knew all about it! So kind to others and compassionate to his fellowman and always considerate of not making someone feel bad. Mike will be missed by many because of his lasting friendships and love for people! RIP brother, till we meet again.

Photos courtesy of the Las Vegas Review Journal 
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