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Rescued cyclist blames herself for ordeal

By Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
Published On: Oct 01 2013 08:25:27 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2013 11:20:52 AM CDT

A Colorado Springs cyclist who was rescued after getting lost for over 24 hours near Penrose-Rosemont Reservoir says she blames herself for the ordeal. She shared her story with KRDO NewsChannel 13's Rana Novini.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A Colorado Springs cyclist who was rescued after spending more than 24 hours lost near Penrose-Rosemont Reservoir said she blames herself for the ordeal.

Alicia Jakomait set out for a short bike ride on Sunday around 1 p.m.  She had a rough idea of where she wanted to ride, but planned to explore some new areas.  After trying to navigate flood-damaged trails, she realized that she was lost. 

The trails she rode were open to the public, she said, but they were still tricky.  "Many trees were down," Jakomait told KRDO NewsChannel 13.  "The trails had water and rivers in them and were re-routed."

Jakomait said that she felt embarrassed that she, an experienced mountain biker who used to ride professionally, made a rookie mistake.

"I did not have a GPS. I didn't have a good sense of direction as to where I was and it was a very confusing area," she said.

Then, things became hazy.  Jakomait somehow fell while walking her bike, hit her head and was knocked unconscious.  

"I just woke up and I was laying face down on the ground," Jakomait recounted. 

It was already dark outside and now suffering from a concussion, she was even more disoriented.

Jakomait said she tried to call 911 multiple times but she did not have cell service.  She logged on to an app called Strava, used to track bicycle rides or hikes.  She could see where she was vaguely, but the map was not very detailed.  She updated her account in hopes that someone would see it and send help.  At that point, she said, she wasn't sure if anyone was looking for her.  Her husband, Jesse, had a business trip and was planning to be out of the country the next day.

Meanwhile, Jesse Jakomait said that he knew something was wrong when Alicia wasn't home by dark.  He immediately set out with lights to search some of the exit trails in the area she said she was going to explore.  By 10 p.m., with no sight of Alicia, he called police.

"I spent the entire night searching wherever I could," Jesse said.  "I had a jacket, warm gloves and I was freezing my butt off out there.  I knew, at best, she had a light jacket."

Alicia did have a light jacket -- and that's about it.  She drank water from the creek and wrapped herself in her waterproof map to stay warm.

On Monday morning, search and rescue teams joined Jesse in searching for Alicia.  Jesse is also an avid bicyclist and finally recognized tire tracks that he says he knew were Alicia's.  He could also tell which direction she was heading.

"Her tire tracks are fortunately somewhat unique," Jesse said.  "I finally found her tire tracks and started following them through Emerald Valley."

Jesse was able to point search and crews in the right direction.  Finally, after yelling her name for hours, around 6:30 p.m., rescue crews heard a response.  They found Alicia and brought her to safety.  She was evaluated at a hospital and released Tuesday morning.  She suffered some cuts and bruises, a concussion and mild hypothermia.  But she is happy to be alive and home with her husband and dog. 

Alicia maintains that her predicament wasn't because of the flood-damaged trails.  She hopes that other cyclists and hikers will hear her story and remember to always have a GPS with them and to carry extra provisions just in case.  

"I think it could have happened to anybody," Alicia said.  "I think my mistake was doing it too late in the evening and just not really respecting the mountains enough."

As to whether or not she'll be back on the mountains anytime soon?

"In a few days," she laughed.

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