Rower Attacked on Lake Michigan Resumes Quest

Jenn Gibbons rode donated bike 80 miles on Wednesday through wind, rain

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    The sign Jenn Gibbons held in a photograph snapped Wednesday morning read "Getting back to this. I got this."

    Smiling for the first time in days, the rower who says she was attacked at a remote harbor in Michigan over the weekend resumed her 1,500 mile quest around the perimeter of Lake Michigan.

    But instead of her boat, for the next few days she'll be using a bike -- provided by an anonymous donor -- to make up some lost time.

    "I'm just so thankful to be moving and going and accomplishing this goal and I'm overwhelmed by the support," the 27-year-old Chicagoan said during a telephone conversation on Wednesday evening.

    She said she plans to bike 500 to 700 miles over the next week. On day one, she pedaled 80 miles. Eighty percent of it, she estimated, was through stiff winds and soaking rains.

    "You are amazing," wrote one person in a Facebook post to Jenn.

    "Such an inspiration!" wrote another.

    Gibbons' journey started as a mission to raise awareness for cancer survivors, as the founder of a charity called Recovery on Water. It’ll end in Chicago in late August, with Gibbons embracing a twin-cause as an advocate for victims of sexual assault.

    "I was along the lake and I kept looking to the lake and renewed my relationship with her and what she's helping me do," she said.

    Gibbons refuses to reveal her exact location, fearing for her safety. She’s also now traveling with a “pit crew,” which functions as part road assistance and part security detail.

    Gibbons spoke out about this incident to NBC Chicago and on her Facebook page in an effort to raise awareness about this incident. For that reason, NBC Chicago has decided to name her, despite the fact that she is a victim of sexual assault.

    Typically, NBC News does not name the victims of sexual attacks.

    "I'm glad that my voice is heard because so many women who are sexually assaulted are never heard, and this is one way my voice can help," Gibbons said Wednesday.

    Police on Tuesday released a composite sketch of the man they say attacked Gibbons.

    "The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s, approximately 5’8” to 6’ tall, with a fair amount of facial stubble hair, but not a full beard nor mustache. The man has light eyes, an average to athletic build and shorter well-kept hair.  He was wearing a grayish green t-shirt, jean shorts and tennis shoes," read a statement from the Michigan State Police.

    Authorities said they're also looking for a bright yellow Jeep Wrangler with a smiley face on the spare tire cover.