On September 2nd, 2019, our women’s mountain biking & dive community lost one of our own, a GGR founding member, and one of my closest and most precious friends in the very tragic Conception dive boat accident.
I dedicate this adventure I’m about to share, to you Marybeth Guiney.
Marybeth, you were my very beautiful, smart, fun loving, giving, life thriving and most dearest of friends. I wish we could have spent more time together these last 2 years and shared this past event for one last adventure together. Had I known I’d never have the chance to hug you, ride with you, talk smack with you, be completely immature with you, and tell you how amazing you are, how honored I am for having you in my life and how much I love you, I would have done it a thousand times more & made more effort to spend more time with you. I can’t even bring myself to say the words you are gone……………………
This blog is dedicated to you my most exquisite one. For life won’t ever, ever be the same without you. I will miss you MB, more than you can ever imagine and so will every single person who was blessed to be in your life. You made an impact on both the dive and mountain biking community and you will be forever loved for everything about you.
I ask all of you to tell everyone you care about that you love and appreciate them every single day. Don’t regret that you could have told them how important they are to you and how much you love them, just do it……….. tell them every day.
For you Marybeth……………….
This was GGR’s 5th annual Women’s Weekend in Big Bear. An event that started out 5 years ago as 2 days, and is now a 3 day event and a 5 day week in Big Bear for me personally. This year’s theme was Respect and Compassion.
Every year the pre event rides starts on Thursday at Rim Nordic where we hold our annual Enduro event on Sunday. This year myself, Tamara Napier and Amy Rambacher met to pre ride the enduro stages and to determine routes, check out conditions and meet with Bev who runs Rim Nordic. Myself and many volunteers come out and pre ride their routes prior to any GGR event to ensure each rider has a great experience and today was no different.
It had been about a year since we all had seen Bev, so we chit chatted, caught up, took some silly pictures, then reviewed maps and terrain. We decided on 4 routes, all with pretty short climbs. We pre rode the 1st three stages, then Amy switched out with her hubby Thomas (they take turns with their baby), and we shuttled the last run with Thomas.
It was an absolutely perfect morning with great friends riding our bikes. I couldn’t have been more content chasing my friends down the mountain.
After our pre ride, we all went to our respective houses we were staying at to rest up for the next 3 days of adventure with 100 GGR women.
I still had so much to do. Go to the store, rewrite speeches, review volunteer assignments…wait….O NO!!! Do we even have enough volunteers??? Panic starts to set in and I of course start over thinking everything. Did I answer all the gazillion messages that came in? I’m sure I’ve forgotten important things, didn’t acknowledge people I should have in my speeches, you name it, I was starting to overwhelm myself with worry that I had failed in some way.
Then I was reminded how much I prepared and that I couldn’t be more ready. It’s all good, stay calm.
I think the Friday Skypark day is my personal favorite because it’s such an easy day for me. We only need a handful of volunteers to handle the booth set up, checking ladies in, moving the booth and breaking it down. I had a few volunteers that gave Skypark orientations for those that have never been there, otherwise, it’s a super chill day of enduro riding, hangin at the booth, socializing and a great mini swap meet some of the girlz handle.
I wanted to try and sneak in a few runs, then hang at the booth all day so I could engage with all the participants and other riders stopping by the GGR booth to see what all the fuss was about, yet didn’t want to overdo it either and be exhausted for the next few days of big XC rides.
I did a quickie run on Sleigh Ride, then helped move the booth from the front of the park to behind the pub. Then I saw proamy and did a couple of Arrow runs with her.
At 1pm we had our group photo in front of the booth. The photographer from Skypark, Thomas and Hugh took cameras and just kept shooting pictures. Was pretty cool. Even our favorite legend Leigh Donovan joined us for the day. My girls put her to work right away asking a gazillion questions on their bikes, hope she was able to get some runs in! Thank you Leigh!
Finally, towards the end of the day, it was time to grab some lunch and then break the booth down. I waited for Hugh to get done with his Comet runs and we had a nice, chill lunch. Just what I needed. Now time to break down, head back and get ready for the Ride Volunteer meeting and pot luck at the GGR host house.
For the 1st hour we eat, drink and be merry! Everyone brings a dish to share and Leah made these incredible watermelon margaritas! Lauren made my favorite dish, an artichoke dip which was off the charts good!
Christina Turner from Mountain Gems Hand Crafted Jewelry set up a table in the house just for us to preview all of her purple bike jewelry! See all my bling on my wrist in the above picture from #mtngemsjewelry.
Now it was time to get down to business and hold the meeting. This year I did something different, I decided to broadcast live. I wanted participants to see how structured and organized we are behind the scenes to ensure they have a great experience. I thought it would also show potential sponsors how strong our brand is.
Ali took my phone and we went live. We discussed the agenda for the next few days, every ride route, the volunteer teams, policy and procedures and much more. It’s a critical meeting to have every year to ensure our volunteers are uniformed in relaying the same message.
This day is always intense for me due to it being so long and having the big group dinner. Usually, I help out with Greenie 2 or Intro to DH, this year I swept for Ali’s Blue ride which I was really excited about. It’s such a treat just to show up and not have to do anything but chill in the back and watch the back half of the riders. Ali is an outstanding ride volunteer and Big Bear chapter Director, so all I had to do is sweep and enjoy the ride which I did very much!
I drove in around 8amish to Snow Summit and my volunteers already had the booth up. They are a well-oiled machine! I started to get all the odds and ends out for the booth.
This year we had a couple of real treats. Gina, from All Pro Bicycles https://allprobicycles.com/, brought a ton of goodies to hand out.
We also had Bright Food Bars that donated a TON of their amazing bars! Many of us are eating real food now out on the trails, and that’s why these bars are perfect for us! My favorite bar is the carrot and pineapple and also the kale and apple: https://brightfoods.com/
Grizzly Cycles were setting up as well. They donated their day to do basic bike repairs and just worked for tips. This is their 3rd consecutive year donating their time for GGR! Please visit Kevin and the gang at:
Grizzly Cycles in Bakersfield, CA: https://www.grizzlycycles661.com/... Owner Kevin Talley.
This year we had another treat of Christina Turner setting up with her Mountain Bike Gems Hand Crafted Jewelry! I was blinged out for the weekend with lots of purple bike jewelry! Please give her a visit! https://www.facebook.com/mtngems/
Once we were all set up, I started to feel overwhelmed worrying that no one would show up and was panicking a bit like I do every year for every event. (if you ever put events on, you know what I'm talking about). Hugh stopped by to see if he could help at all before he left to go hit the lake with his kayak, so I asked him to just take care of my bike, then I could focus on everything else.
At 8:30am we had a quick volunteer huddle to again review etiquette, duties, and to get the girlz PUMPED for the day! Now it was time for the morning commencement.
Around 9:15amish, everyone gathered for our annual morning commencement. I was especially excited for this year because we were crowning a new IE Chapter Director.
I welcomed everyone to our 5th annual women’s weekend and discussed our theme of Respect and Compassion.
While I was speaking about trail use, etiquette and how we are ambassadors for our mountain biking community...............who do I see???
My buddy Steve Messer, President of CORBA! https://www.corbamtb.com/!
I asked Steve to come down and say a few words, so he jumped over the fence and talked to the crowd! I was thrilled he was willing to address our club and is so easily able to speak at the spur of the moment!
This year our leadership team decided to make it easier to recognize all ride volunteers, so we all had yellow bandana’s to identify us as GGR volunteers.
I then introduced all of the chapter directors.
Tracy Jones: GGR Kern Chapter
Kamala Slight: GGR San Diego Chapter
Ali Hyde: GGR Big Bear Chapter
GGR Mojave Leadership Team: Heather Muehle, Denise Myers and not present but just as important Lisa Land
Amy Rambacher: GGR OC Chapter
Then I announced our NEW IE Chapter Director Anne Yeoh! Amy Rambacher, our OC Chapter Director, welcomed Anne, handed over the baton and gave her a great word of advice! "Surround yourself with great people and you will be successful!"
I asked everyone to show Anne our support and respect.
I then discussed the agenda for the day, we split up for a group photo and then into our own respective groups of DH and XC.
After getting reports and giving direction for breaking down everything, I needed to get back to the house, review my speech and try and relax for a bit.
Of course I couldn’t decide what to wear. Normally, I, like many others wear our GGR tee and jeans. But I just felt different tonight, like I wanted to wear something a little more special. But you know I had to first find out what everyone else was wearing, so I started a FB thread with the GGR host house to see what the plan was. I think I changed 4 times. I finally decided on a cute black tank, jeans and stilettos. Now I was ready.
I went downstairs after asking poor Hugh a gazillion times about my outfit changes and started studying my speech. Then he asked if his shoes went with HIS outfit…what?? I finally turned and looked at him to see what on earth he was talking about, and he was wearing roller skates.....I kid you not! Pretty much just what I needed to make me lighten up for the evening and laugh my ass off. Sometimes I guess I just take myself too seriously. Thanx boo for always making me laugh, it’s exactly what I needed.
So we arrived at Nottingham’s 1st. Our annual group dinner is open to all GGR partners both male and female. After inspecting the room and making a few changes, it was time for a martini and to wait for the others to start arriving.
I was very excited to mingle and hear all about everyone’s 1st two days of the event. We didn’t have to wait long, everyone got there pretty early and the party started.
This year, I had a head table that consisted of 18 people including our guest speakers, all of the GGR host house and of course a few of my close friends.
Barb from Kingman Fruit Creations donated our party favors again this year for each guest which was a scrumptious chocolate dipped pretzel.
Thank you Barb! They were incredible!
After about an hour of eating dinner, it was time to start the evening festivities. Of course the PA system decided not to work, so Leah Dilbeck came up and got the crowd going while I patiently waited for the repair. Thank you Leah!
I thanked all of our volunteers and asked them to stand up to be recognized and acknowledged.
Huge shout out and thank you to Sarah Crawford for handling the GGR booth for the entire event and doing such a wonderful job! Thank you Sarah!
This being our 5th year was extra special. So much time goes in behind the scenes that no one ever sees for this event and the club in general.
So this year, I wanted to thank, recognize and acknowledge one of my key GGR leadership members who has guided this club from behind the scenes and handled much of the Big Bear events for a very long time.
Laura “Mega” Watts. Thank you Laura! What would I do without you???!!!
Next up was Derek from Bear Valley Bikes to discuss one of my favorite upcoming events the Grizzly 100! Hope to see you at the start line!! http://bbvrace.com/
Every year for this event, we give out 3 awards. Best Bad Ass Shredder, Best Come Back and Best GGR Spirit. The ride volunteers nominate and vote for the award recipients at the beginning of the night and present the awards themselves. This year’s winners:
Best Bad Ass Shredder: Jacque Scott
Best Come Back: Jessica Santora
Best GGR Spirit: Liz Kurtz
All of you ladies are amazing! Congrats!
Now we moved on to our three guest speakers of the evening:
Holly Cass from Summit Real Estate and President of Inland valley mountain bike association: http://www.everytrailleadstohome.com/
Nona Varnado from Bicycle Culture Institute:
Gina Kelly: All Pro Bicycles:
In closing, I asked anyone to come up that had something to plug or wanted to make a comment. Heather Muehle came up to talk about the Rattler Race in Kingman, AZ, a favorite race of mine: https://www.bikereg.com/44085
A few others came up for lost and found items.
I then closed the evening out by thanking everyone, for without them, this event wouldn’t be possible.
Of course, there were two more people to acknowledge and thank who have just plain made life better for me, support my vision, are kind, and are just damn fun to ride and have adventures with. Thomas Rambacher and Hugh Warren.
I asked everyone again to show respect and compassion to all so we can make the world a better place.
Today, riders had their choice of guided XC rides at Fawnskin or Enduro at Rim Nordic and Snow Valley.
I had Amy Rambacher and Tamara Napier take charge of the Enduro day for me. Bev from Rim Nordic provided lunch and handling registering with Snow Valley for GGR as well. Thank you Bev for always being the hostess with the mostess!
For the Fawnskin XC, Ali Hyde takes charge of this day every year for me.
We split up into Blue groups and Greenie 2 groups and made our way up the long fire road to head towards Hanna Flats camp ground. From there we split again until we got to the Grey’s Peak sign, then a group of us climbed to the peak and the remaining went down Grouts Bay. The Peak was incredible as always, just a brutal climb but completely worth it once you arrived at the top. Another epic day on the trails with friends.
I checked in with Tamara after our ride to ensure everything was OK and I wasn't needed back there. She reported all were having such a good time they weren't done riding. So I was thrilled to hear this!
Myself and Hugh decided to have lunch in town and meet Ali and Mike. What a wonderful morning and lovely lunch in Fawnskin. So much reflecting on the last 4 days. I was exhausted, thankful the event went as well as it did, yet quite sad it was over.
This year, I was lucky enough to stay a 5th day instead of rushing back home after 4 intense days, so after lunch, Hugh and I headed back to Big Bear to relax and chill. I was so very grateful not to make the 3 hour drive home and get to sleep in Monday.
My final day in Big Bear, we slept in, had breakfast and got the house in order. Then we headed to the lake, had a beautiful lunch and just enjoyed our time together. It was truly an epic week that I didn't want to end.
I needed this week in so many ways and I’m thankful and grateful for so many that always make this possible. I’d like to acknowledge them, tell them how much I appreciate them and are so very grateful for them volunteering their time and being part of this event.
I thank every single one of the ride volunteers, too many too name!
Thank you and huge appreciation to all of the following:
All Pro Bicycles
Amy & Thomas
Bear Valley Bikes
Bev from Rim Nordic
Kevin from Grizzly Cycles
Leigh Donovan/Ichoose Bikes
Liz & Jeanine
Samuel Kelly Brehm
Skypark & Staff
Snow Summit staff
I hope all of you enjoyed this adventure and feel like you were right there with me.
Until the next round of epicness, please show each other and the universe respect and compassion every day. Tell the people in your life how important they are to you, make the effort to say so and pay them a visit, for we may never have that chance to see them again or tell them we love them.
I'd like to welcome Tamara Napier back. One of my closest friends who has been with GGR since its inception, a founding member as well as a leadership member and a gifted athlete and one bad ass shredder.
Someone who pretty much saved me from life.
Around the same time we lost Marybeth, we almost lost Tam as well. I'm so very thrilled and grateful she is back home and on her way to recovery. Please call her and say hello! She has a very long road ahead of her and needs our support and love so she can get on her beautiful NEW BIKE!
We love you Tam and I can't wait to ride with you again!! MWAH!
All my love, compassion and respect to you all! MWAH!
GGR Girl Wendy E
Did the dolphins pause their raucous play,
On the sad day you passed away?
Or did the waves slow their pounding pace?
Your precious sharks cease to race?
The oceans shed a mournful tear,
Knowing well, you’re no longer here?
The kelp beds end their gentle sway,
On that dreadful Labor Day?
Thus it would seem, from the way we now feel.
You’ve left a wound that’s so hard to heal.
You’ll find us all starkly bereft,
A hole in our hearts, have you painfully left.
No more green beads on a St Patrick’s Day ride,
Or dive flippers, red high-tops worn inside.
Your joyous laugh will no longer ring out,
Life lived to the fullest, we have no doubt.
Your quirky lifestyle at times seemed out of line,
But we knew really, it was all very sublime.
Your liveliness is rather hard to forget;
It rubs off on the many, in life you have met.
Your freedom of spirit we all do admire,
As something to which we can try to aspire.
Your friendship we hold as something vastly dear;
Know that you’ll always seem constantly near.
We feel you would tell us not to despair,
But go on living our lives, without any care,
To fill our days with lots of unfettered mirth,
To celebrate the lifetime you had on this green Earth.
So we’ll strap on our dive tanks and leap into the sea,
And ride our bikes up hills, as fast as can be.
We’ll mount up our skis, carve down the steepest chute,
While nonchalantly presenting as amazingly cute.
We’ll look at our lives with such freshness anew,
Oh, and we’ll be rooting for the Patriots in February too!