March 22, 2014 | By Sunny Day
It’s 4:30 am on a Saturday and I was up! Why oh why? Why did I sign up for another one of these biking events?? Oh, I know why? It’s because I love to ride. Really? Is it just because of that? Of course not! The truth is…I love to ride even more when I have great companies to ride with. So I couldn’t say “no”, when …Sandy Westphal was calling me out to join her in another challenging mountain bike race at Camp Pendleton. It’s an endurance 28 miles race with 3,200 feet of elevation gain. Sandy…Giving me one and a half hour to decide as the price would be going up the next day. Yikes, ok ok! That can’t be too bad looking at the distance. So there I did it again.
The day before the race, I got an email from Hard Corps Racing giving your finalizing details of the race. I started reading until I got to the bottom part that said “you must complete the first lap by 9:45 am, and you must finish the race by 11:30 am”. Otherwise you’d be hauled out by the Marines in a truck if you don’t make the cut off time. Oh Great! Well, it wasn’t exactly worded that way, but that actually happened for real to some riders. And that changed my entire game plan. The game plan to just make this another one of my easy “training rides”. LOL.
Before the race started, the familiar faces of VOZ riders showed up at around the same time, Rafael, Ritchie, and I. Sandy and Cathy were super wonderful to be there setting up the TA tent and supporting all of us. (Let me just say this quickly that Sandy came down w. the flu so she couldn’t race.) Then I met a couple of new friends from VOZ, Kristen Kelly and Bill Dwyer and more new Trails Angels friends. We greeted, shook hands as I said “Nice to meet you, and see you again at the finish line”. Sure enough they all took off like a rocket. Then the first climb came fast within half a mile of the start. My heart rate shot up through the sky. After the first hill, there were more hills and them hills just got steeper and longer plus the sand pits on some up hills parts. As I hit mile 6, I was so happy I got a straight way so I picked up my speed to make up the time. All of a sudden, I saw this huge pool of sand in front of me, and a man down on the side. I kept pedaling and as I veered left to avoid running his bike over, the deep sand turned my front wheel side way and there I went. Superman 1, plunging face first in the dirt. I couldn’t see nothing but sand. Great! only mile 6! You better get up and keep going Sunny because you got a longggg way to the finish. No time to think about the pain. I got up and kept pedaling. I was happy when I saw that I made it through the first lap, but I was unhappy because no one stopped to take a break. I haven’t eaten anything, but sand!
The pain probably kicked in while I was climbing through the 3 itches for the 2nd time, they were the longest 3 itches that I had ever climbed. After I got on top of the 3rd itch, one guy besides me blurted out “F….K!!” I wanted to say thank you man for letting it out for me. LOL. Then I kept on, until about mile 20, at this famous sharp right turn down hill with a big pool of sand waiting for you at the bottom. My thought…I survived through it on the first lap, I can do it again. I turned the corner with all my confident and there I went sliding side way down w. all my confident. Of course I had to pull a Superman 2. When I got up I saw an ambulance on the left side with a few marines trying to ply the tires out of the deep mud pit. One yelled out, “go girl, you got it”. I yelled back, “thanks, you too!” Keep on digging like me! LOL. At mile 24, we had a pretty smooth long fire road climb. After we passed the Marines at the sag stop, I saw the male rider in front of me slammed his bike on the ground. He was angry at something. I was thinking as I rode pass him… I dare you do that in front of the marines! You idiot! After that, he got back on his bike and rode it on and off so I had no doubt he was one who got thrown on the truck.
I couldn’t be happier when I saw the two faces of great support at the finished line. I made it!!! Thank you Cathy Chambers and Sandy Santibanez Westphal This ride wouldn’t be as great if you weren’t there for us seriously! Sandy, even though you couldn’t be out on the trails today, but I felt like you were there w. me the entire “sandy” way! LOL. Thanks for inviting us to the sandy party! And thanks to all the VOZ and TA’s riders for being out there killing the sand today. Until next time, OooooRahhhh!!