On Wednesday, Sept. 7, while leaving the 24 Hour Fitness near the promenade after a long exercise, I found my bike had been stolen. The cable securing my bike to the post outside of the gym had been cut and my bike had been taken despite it being in a very busy area during mid-day. I felt like and still feel like a complete fool, and the experience has left me heartbroken because my bike is more than just a bike; it is a very significant part of who I am.

Exactly a week earlier, on Aug. 31, my contract with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management expired and I decided to move to Los Angeles in order to compete in triathlon full-time while I looked for work. Some people would consider this a bold (if not stupid) decision, but considering the accomplishments I have made thus far in this sport, this judgment may erode.

I began competing just this year and, since the end of March, have competed in seven triathlons, been on the podium twice, and was invited to (and subsequently attended) national championships in Omaha, Nebraska. I recognize there is potential in my athletic endeavors and have completely fallen in love with triathlon as well as the lifestyle it promotes. Knowing Southern California to be the hotbed of outdoor sports, I took a leap of faith and moved here to compete in seven more triathlons within the next 2 months. Unfortunately, due to my bike being stolen, realizing this goal has become that much more difficult.

I moved out here without a place to live or a job to report to. The only certainty was my unrelenting passion to compete. Prior to moving, I budgeted enough money to meagerly support myself for the next few months but did not factor in the purchase of a new bike if the one I had at the time was stolen. I am typically very vigilant with my valuables and, call me ignorant, but just didn’t think this would happen in such a beautiful place. With all of this being said, I was hoping that someone may be willing to help me in some way and that perhaps something good could come out of this.

I know it’s a stretch but I really need all the help I can get because without the means to compete I really have nothing. Even as I type this my eyes fill with tears because I am out of work, without a place to call home and now devoid of something to which I had derived a great deal of purpose: my bike, a viper-red Trek Emonda ALR 4 (2015).

If there is anything someone could do to help me in my situation, I would very much appreciate the support. If you happen to know of anything, please help. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope all is well.

Nicholas Ortiz