On Thursday, 53-year-old Polish cancer survivor and double amputee Krzyszof Jarzebski found out his $13,000 custom bike had been stolen from a San Francisco apartment entryway a day before he planned to hand pedal across the United States. The thief drilled a hole in the locked gate of an apartment owned by a priest and nabbed the bike, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Four riders. Two different paths. One epic journey.
It's widely known that the Outside sales/marketing team and most of our friends are often labeled as socially active long before we're called physically active. That's not to say we aren't active—but let's say that we maintain a strong balance and leave the real core stuff to our editors. We often hit last call on a powder eve; choose to rally our clients for a beer-based "meeting" versus a morning run; and work to make après a pretty solid portion of the ski day. So the fact that we decided to grab two friends and sign up to ride our bikes 446 miles across Colorado this week is both exhilarating and totally terrifying. Here is how Director of Marketing Jen Wittman and Associate Publisher Kristen Ude came to Riding the Rockies.
Leipheimer en route to winning the 2012 Tour de San Luis. Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele
On April 1, while training in Spain the day before the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, American Levi Leipheimer was struck down by a car and suffered a broken fibula. Not only did the accident knock him out of the Pais Vasco, for which he was considered a favorite after a strong early season that included winning the overall at the Tour de San Luis, but it also dealt a serious blow to his hopes of winning his fourth Tour of California.
Just six weeks after the injury, Leipheimer, who admitted that he wasn't yet at his best, still rode to an impressive sixth place overall at California. Since then, he's been working hard to rehab the leg in preparation for his big goal of the season, the Tour de France. Speaking to us from an altitude training camp in Utah, the easy-going American told us about the accident, his subsequent recovery, and his plans and hopes for the rest of the season.
Congrats on Tour of Cali. Sixth overall with a leg issue has to be considered something of a success? It’s a good race to start with after an injury. It’s relatively safe, the roads are big, the peloton is small. So it was a good one to come back to. I was happy with the ride, but it could have been better without the injury. The Tour of California has always been a big goal of my season, so it was disappointing in some ways, too.
In the flow, finally: Conejos River, Colorado. Photo: Katie Arnold
Whenever you take young children on outdoor adventures, there will invariably come a moment when you’ll ask yourself, head in hands, between clenched teeth, possibly on the verge of tears or mental breakdown: How could this possibly be worth it? At the time, invariably, the answer is: It’s not. At least not yet. No matter how gorgeous or remote the wilderness, how soothing the river rushing by, how blissfully tuned out you are from the racket of the rest of the world, you will arrive at this moment. And it will suck.
In northern New Mexico, the Rio Chama cuts a winding path through tawny sandstone walls and banks thick with sagebrush and ponderosa pines. Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted in Abiquiu, near the mouth of this wilderness canyon, for decades. Federally protected as a Wild and Scenic River, the Chama is so serene that an order of Benedictine monks live nearby in a solar-powered, sustainable monastery, Christ in the Desert, they built on the banks. Visitors come from around the world to live in silence for a few days, and on some still mornings you can hear the sound of the monks' chanting rising up above the steady downstream thrum of the river. My husband and I have camped, kayaked, canoed, and rafted here every summer for the past 12 years. Less than two hours from Santa Fe, up a rutted dirt road a dozen miles from pavement that becomes impassable when it rains, beneath buttes shaped like wedding cakes and natural amphitheaters carving themselves into the creamy cliffs, this is our happy place.
Sunset on the Rio Chama, New Mexico. Photo: Katie Arnold