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story.lead_photo.caption Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist

Funeral services for Jim Krause were set for 2 p.m. yesterday at Community Bible Church in Fort Smith.

Krause was part of the annual Big Dam Bridge 100 bicycle ride on Sept. 28 when he died after a fall while descending Wye Mountain on Arkansas 300 in west Pulaski County.

Witnesses said they heard a "pop" near the back tire of Krause's bike before he tumbled down a 30-foot drop off the side of the road, according to Arkansas State Police.

Krause was president of the River Valley Cycling Club. David Whitt is a club member and often rode with him.

"He was a real strong rider," Whitt says. "He went down and did the Hotter 'n' Hell [in Wichita Falls, Texas]. He rode the 100-miler, and he did pretty good."

Krause rode the 68-mile route of this year's Big Dam Bridge ride, which started and ended in downtown North Little Rock.

"He was good with the new folks who were just getting in the club," Whitt says. "He was also good at keeping everybody together and obeying the laws and not acting a fool out there in traffic."

Whitt admits that he was planning to leave the club, but the way Krause was trying to pull the Fort Smith cycling community together made him decide to renew his membership.

One of the last times he saw his friend was at a ride with a group in Greenwood a week before the Big Dam Bridge event.

"We rode side-by-side for quite a few miles, talking," Whitt says. "I told him what a nice job he had been doing."

Krause was 54 and was married with four children. He lived in Fort Smith, was an Army veteran and worked for the Office of Secure Transportation at Fort Chaffee.

A fundraiser took in more than $20,000 in donations to help with the cost of his funeral and other expenses. One donor, Chris Spann, wrote online about meeting Krause for the first time during the Big Dam Bridge ride.

"I was behind him as he coached a younger rider up the hill. At one point, I went around him on a climb only to hear him say: 'Atta boy.' The last thing he did was turn around on Wye Mountain to make sure another rider was making it. ... My experience with Jim lasted the better part of only five minutes, but was the highlight of the BDB during its worst climb."

Whitt is not surprised.

"If you had ever met him, he would have treated you like he'd known you all his life. That's the kind of guy he was."


SundayMonday on 10/06/2019


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