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Cyclist ready to return, a year after collision

  • Anoush Zebardadian, of San Francisco, has been getting into shape at Velo|SF on a stationary bike after he was critically injured after being hit by a car during the GrandFondo last year. The driver didn't stop and still hasn't been found.

San Francisco cyclist Anoush Zebarjadian remembers some of last year's sweeping GranFondo ride through west Sonoma County, the long push toward the coast and the hills that marked the ride.

But he has no memory of the SUV that knocked him from his bike and continued on, leaving him choking on his blood from serious head and facial injuries.

It took more than four months of recovery in Santa Rosa and San Francisco for Zebarjadian, 58, to get back to work full time, and even longer to regain his driver's license and get his structural engineering business back on track.

Levi Leipheimer's King Ridge GranFondo 2010

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It will be a few weeks more — nearly a full year since the Oct. 9 collision — for him to again mount a road bike and take a street ride. That is expected to come by Oct. 1, when Zebarjadian makes his return to the GranFondo and the rural roads of Sonoma County, leaving behind months of training on a stationary bike and marking his recovery with the 7,500 other riders on the road.

"I'm looking forward to it. I feel OK," said Zebarjadian, from his home in the West Portal area of San Francisco.

The driver involved in the crime has not been caught. But word of Zebarjadian's return has cheered ride organizers and participants, who were concerned, then angered following last year's hit-and-run collision.

"Anoush is coming back. It's a tragic story but fantastic to be able to say," said Greg Fisher, editor of Bike Monkey magazine and an organizer for the annual charity ride, known as Levi Leipheimer's King Ridge GranFondo.

The injured man's return speaks to one of the core values of cycling: "...getting knocked down and getting back up again, with a value on getting up...(especially) after a tragic, malicious act like this," Fisher said.

"We are humbled by Anoush's determination."

The GranFondo is a tri-level ride started in 2009 by Leipheimer, a professional cyclist and Santa Rosa resident. The route runs from Santa Rosa to the coast and back and captures many of west Sonoma County's picturesque views, rolling hills and steep grades.


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