COLORADO SPRINGS — While reflecting on pandemic milestones of last year, one local couple has a reason to be grateful for some of the year's tough circumstances because the two met by chance in 2020.
In April of last year, Even Rogers drove to Sedona, Arizona, to help his mother who lives there. His stepfather at the time was battling cancer. Rogers has been in the Air Force for over eight years, and resides in Colorado Springs. "When two people meet, or a set of events happen, there's a million different things that have to happen for that event to be true... I didn't have access to an airplane at the time, and so, that's the only reason I took my mountain bike with me," said Rogers.
"The fact that it was COVID created a set of circumstances that made it almost more special."
At the same time, Sydney Linden was living in Sedona and working as a massage therapist. However, the pandemic put her career on pause. Linden said she would later learn that break gave her the time she needed to change her career course. But in April 2020, she spent many days outside running in her free time. "I was running on a hiking trail in Sedona, Arizona, when I fell and broke my leg," said Linden.
That was April 17, 2020, when Rogers was mountain biking on the same trail. By the time he saw Linden, he was exhausted. "I'm ready for the ride to be over. Totally out of water. But I'm 0.6 miles from the trailhead, so it's not that big of a deal, right? Turns out not to be true," said Rogers while laughing.
Linden fractured her tibial plateau in her right leg, and was waiting on a friend to come get her from the trail. However, her friend seemed to have gotten lost, so Linden stopped Rogers to confirm they were on the correct trail. Rogers realized she was injured and abandoned his bicycle, carrying Linden down the trail. "I immediately felt safe... I was in a lot of pain, but I was actually not even thinking about the pain. It felt like it was supposed to happen that way," said Linden.
When the two reached the parking lot, Linden had started crying because of the injury, and Rogers didn't feel it was appropriate to ask for her phone number at the time. "I didn't get his number. He didn't get mine. I just knew his name was Even, that he was in the Air Force, and I assumed he lived in Colorado Springs," said Linden.
Linden had to have surgery on her leg, and spent about four or five months on crutches afterwards. She said her leg still hurts, but she has started running again despite the traumatic injury.
While Linden was recovering, she was also trying to find Rogers. However, social media did not reveal many answers. Linden's mother suggested reaching out to the local newspaper, so she did. Linden recalled the article was titled 'Runner looking for trail hero.'
Rogers' mother saw the article, and sent it to her son, who immediately was connected with Linden. The two stayed in touch, eventually going on their first date when Linden moved to Cortez, Colorado for her recovery.
Rogers and Linden are now in love. "I don't know what life was before him," said Linden.
Linden spends half of her time in Colorado Springs with Rogers, and the other half in Denver working on her master's degree in social work.