When Jeff Wu trained to be an ER doc, he didn’t expect his profession to blend so conveniently with his passion. He figured mountain biking, his passion, would be put on the backburner, a past time to be visited when his rigorous work schedule allowed. As luck would have it, down time during late nights in the ER lent well to new hobbies taken up to soften the edge. Jeff learned graphic design in those wee hours, and soon applied the skill to cycling t-shirt and jersey design, which snowballed into the beginnings of the fresh cycling apparel company, Alchemist. It also turned out that demanding hours in the hospital were the ideal physical and mental training for endurance racing. Dealing with bloody hell daily is incentive to go get on two wheels and ride your heart out, he soon discovered. Living in the “start up capital” and “outdoor mecca” of Boulder hasn’t hurt the situation either.
Jeff’s perfect storm of profession and passion comes to a head this February 22nd with a once in a lifetime service/adventure expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro. Jeff accepted the invitation of his fellow mountain bike enthusiast and do-gooder, Doug Pitt (a.k.a. “The Other Pitt”), to provide his medical services on a WorldServe trek organized by Pitt. This will be the first expedition to climb up, and mountain bike down the famous 19’er.
Goodwill Ambassador to Tanzania Doug Pitt has secured the first-ever permit to mountain bike down the tallest peak on the African continent—Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,340 ft. This epic trip is a fundraiser that will bring clean water to over 150,000 Tanzanians, where 2 out of 5 kids do not reach the age of five due to waterborne illnesses. Ambassador Pitt and Trek Travel will also orchestrate one of the largest environmental cleanup efforts of Mount Kilimanjaro in recent history on the climb up. http://www.trektravel.com/worldserve-kilimanjaro-bike-tour.php
A large portion of each participant’s trip fee is donated to a solar pump project which includes a community or school sanitation project and a 10,000 liter storage tank. 2,400 Maasai are ensured a generation of clean water for each trekker’s fee as well. Read more about the trip on the Trek Travel site. Don’t have the extra cash to bike Kili but want to help out with new well installment? Donate to the WorldServe clean water effort that the trip benefits here.
What does all of this mean to Alchemist’s founder, Jeff Wu? He is just psyched to hang with some of the pro ball players signed up to brave the climb, and nosh on his favorite trail food, peanut butter filled Do-Si-Dos. He disassembled and packed his trusty steed, a ‘96 single speed Bontrager that has delivered him across the finish of countless endurance races around Colorado, including Leadville, 24 hour Nationals, and the Breck Epic. When asked what gear one picks to ride up Kilimanjaro (which he will certainly insist on doing, as well as down) he replies, “the easiest thing I got. 34/22.” He also packed a slew of USA made, recycled Alchemist jerseys custom made for the trailblazers. Oh yeah: he’s looking forward to picking up trash and handing out band-aids too.