Fallen cyclist remembered as avid racer
Rogers competed in Nevada City Classic more than 20 times
By Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
A well-known Grass Valley cyclist died while biking on a Placer County highway Sunday.
James “Jim” Rogers, 53, was cycling southbound near Colfax on the right-hand edge of Highway 174 just south of Oakhurst Lane when he was rear-ended by a driver traveling in the same direction at about 12:10 p.m., according to Officer Chris Wurster with the California Highway Patrol Office in Gold Run.
Patricia Hernandez, 55, of Chicago Park, was driving at about 30 mph on the 45 mph road when she reportedly drifted over to the side of the road and hit Rogers, Wurster said.
Wurster said Hernandez claimed she didn’t see the bicyclist.
“We haven’t quite determined fault yet,” Wurster said Monday, saying the investigation was ongoing.
Colfax firefighters and American Medical Response ambulance crews performed CPR on Rogers “for quite an extended period of time,” before a CHP helicopter airlifted him to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Wurster said.
Rogers later died.
John Arrabit, Gold Run Area CHP commander, said that although Rogers was wearing a helmet, he suffered major head injuries.
There is no evidence that either party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Arrabit said.
Arrabit added that it’s important for motorists and cyclists to pay extra attention on narrow roadways and to slow down and share the road.
“This is a sad day for our community as one life is lost and several others are changed forever,” Arrabit said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this tragic incident.”
On Monday, Rogers’ friends were coping with the loss of “the nicest guy.”
“Everybody is just saying, ‘he’s the nicest guy,’ all day long,” said Connie Strawser.
Strawser and her husband, Duane, have owned the Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop – a business Rogers helped found – for the past 13 years.
“He was really an ambassador for cycling in Nevada City,” Strawser said Monday.
Rogers was also a Soair/Sierra Express Racing team member and was known for the more than 20 times he raced in the Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race.
“He raced in the Nevada City Classic when he was a teenager,” said Craig Lindberg, friend and president of the Sierra Express Racing team. “Absolutely nobody has raced the Classic more than Jim.”
Lindberg said Rogers was a good person in every sense of the word. He added that the race team will likely donate its budget to a college scholarship fund for Rogers’ son, Nate.
“When he saw you he was genuinely happy to see you every time he met you,” Lindberg said. “It just rubbed off on other people. I don’t know anybody else like that – it’s like Santa Claus dying.”
The CHP is encouraging any witnesses in the area at the time of the accident to call the Gold Run office at (530) 389-2205.
Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends of fallen racing cyclist James “Jim” Rogers have set up a college fund for Rogers’ son, Nate. A visual memorial to Jim Rogers is available at
Memorial contributions may be made via the "Nate Rogers fund in memory of Jim Rogers" hosted by Wells Fargo Bank, 757 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.