Friday, March 28, 2008

Kimberlee Caledonia...

Kimberlee Caledonia, one of the pioneers in women's mountain bike racing, passed away March 19. I met her on an exploratory mountain bike trip to Baja in 198...can't remember the exact year now, '87 or '88. I had met the owners of Baja Expeditions/Boojum Expeditions previously. They wanted to add mountain bike tours to their Baja kayak tours and were going to take a bunch of folks on a trip to explore the interior of Baja near Laguna Hansen, up in the Sierra de Juarez mountains. I don't think they ever added this area for mountain bike tours, but I went back a couple of times. The area was incredible. Pine trees, granite boulders, single-track trails made by the many cows that call the area home, clean air....a far cry from the multitudes of Tijuana and Ensenada.

Besides Kimberlee, Jacquie Phelan, Charlie Cunningham, Chuck Hoefer, Ricky ?, and a few others whose names I can't remember now were on the trip. It was a full-fledged, catered trip. The food was great (turkey mole prepared by a tiny lady who moved to the area with her husband from mainland Mexico and ran the rancho where we stayed). Rafael, one of the guides who was from Costa Rica riding in his sandals and another guide who used the expression "don't be shy" a lot, mainly when we were lining up for food. Sounded more like "doan be shy."

I also remember the outdoor shower that was simply a shower head on an outside wall of the cabin and thinking as we all waited in line, "well, guess this is where I lose any inhibitions about being nekkid in front of a bunch of people." Doan be shy.

Kimberlee, she was always smiling. I remember her husband, Dan, telling me at Interbike several years ago that she was diagnosed with brain cancer and that the outlook was not good. She made it to March 19, 2008 - probably still smiling at the people around her.

She wrote Kimberlee's Courses for Bicycling San Diego. It would be fitting to follow these routes and remember Kimberlee.

This is the only photo I could find from that trip to Baja 20 years ago. Kimberlee is the one changing the flat.

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