‘Outside’ Rides the Rockies


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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.


On a trip to Big Sky in early February, Molly and I were going over the new March issue of Outside during a turbulent ride [over the Rockies] and something grabbed our attention. It was a line from Aaron Gulley's, “Yes You Can: Ride the Rockies” article in the Bodywork section. It read, “beyond a simple test of endurance, a bike tour is part outdoor vacation, part road trip, and, if it's a group event, part rolling party.” For the next 30 minutes, Molly worked to distract me from a panic attack as we bumped up and down at 38,000 feet with the idea that we should maybe join this rolling party.

After four days of epic skiing, we signed up. We joined a studio, hired a trainer, and started meticulously working toward the ride. Six days a week we used a compu-trainer at Train Chicago to learn pedal efficiency techniques, hammer out aerobic and anaerobic workouts, test and push our threshold. We sought out long rides in Wisconsin to try and find the any significant elevation gains in the Midwest. We worked a ton and finally feel ready. —Jen Wittman


On a strategy call for a non-core industry partner Jen Wittman started rambling about one of our recent magazine articles and said she was going to sign up. I thought, I have a bike and I'm looking for an adventure, so I said I was in. Now, up until this point, I rode a hot pink beach cruiser with a basket. I live steps from the So Cal beach, so putting down the surfboard for a few months and getting on the saddle wasn't something that was going to come naturally. I thought, Who do I know that is crazy enough to take on this epic endeavor with me and—most importantly—be willing to put in the intense training needed? Enter James Bottom, a family friend who has successfully completed triathlons. We didn't have access to any fancy indoor training facilities, but we had bikes and a bike path. Over the last few months we have rode up and down the strand, finding any hill we could to climb from Palos Verdes to Malibu to Mt. Baldy. James had to leave his scuba tank and sailing team behind to find the weekend time for long rides and I long for the day I can have the pre-work surf take the place of the pre-work ride, but we made it and it's go time. —Kristen Ude

Our Chicago team and L.A. team will come together on Saturday, June 9, to prove that Yes We Can Ride the Rockies! Follow our journey here.