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He Went on a Mountain Bike Ride and Never Came Back

'Outside Online' dives into the still-unsolved killing of Tim Watkins
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2018 12:20 PM CST
Updated Dec 2, 2018 4:40 PM CST
San Isabel National Forest, which is near Tim Watkins' Colorado home, is shown in this stock photo.   (Wikimedia Commons/Zereshk)

(Newser) – "I still can’t wrap my head around how you go for a mountain bike ride and are murdered." It's the brutal line that concludes Devon O'Neil's piece for Outside Online on the September 2017 death of 60-year-old Tim Watkins. As far as mountain bikers go, Watkins was legendary in the Colorado Springs area: "He basically created the mountain-biking scene in Palmer Lake and Monument" about 30 minutes north of Colorado Springs, writes O'Neil, who adds "it's likely that no one built more local trails than Watkins did." On the morning of Sept. 15, Ginger Chase-Watkins, his wife of two years, reported him missing after he didn't show up for work. His bike was gone, and a member of a local search party found his cycling shoe—an old accident caused him to never be without shoes on—along Mount Herman Road.

Hours after the shoe discovery, Watkins' bike was found propped against a tree near where Mount Herman Road and Limbaugh Canyon Trail, a favorite of Watkins', split. Then, later, Watkins' body: shot three times and concealed under branches and logs in a "shallow depression" roughly 120 feet from the trail. His phone, helmet, shoes, socks, and jacket were missing. "Watkins is the first mountain biker known to have been murdered during a ride," writes O'Neil, who goes on to outline the possible killers in the still-unsolved crime, including a 31-year-old transient with a record and a .22-caliber rifle who was in the area and questioned; no evidence linked him to the scene. The other possibility is that it was an accident: O'Neil goes deep into the history of banned sport shooters who frequent the area. Read the full profile for much more. (Read more Longform stories.)

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