An enormous thank you to all the people who shared the photos and especially to Terri Rippee, from our San Diego chapter for all her incredible shots and videos!
Thursday Arriving in Big Bear
I had to work a bit Thursday morning, so didn’t arrive in BB until noonish. I unloaded the car, then headed to Summit to meet up with Hugh & get a few runs in before all the chaos. Many of the girlz who drove up early, were already riding.
Did a run on Blue Steel with Tam, Kathy and Hugh. Then Hugh and I rode for the rest of the day mostly on Blue Steel and had lunch at the top. This was the 1st time I tried a Beyond Burger, and it was amazing! Hugh also broke out his Fat Bike to see how it jumped on Blue Steel and he seemed to love it.
We came back and packed up his Trooper with all the booth gear for Friday. This Trooper is a relic! A manual transmission with well over 300K miles on it and still runs sweet. I don’t think he will ever part with it. It fits all the GGR booth equipment and everything else we needed to put on this event.
Myself, Hugh, all the girlz staying in the house and a few others, went into town for Margarita’s and dinner at the Sonora Grill which was excellent. It was great to have a quiet dinner with friends before the event and just relax and catch up.
Friday Snow Summit
We took chair 2 up since it’s a super fun trail, and it takes us to the entrance of Going Green. Then took a few group shots with Big Bear Lake as our backdrop, and proceeded to drop into Going Green, a 2.98 mile beautiful descent through the forest with lake views.
I saw so many smiles from riders all throughout the day, as well as a few suffer faces from the XC ladies. We were lucky enough to have coach Jeana Miller step up at the very last minute to guide our fast XC ladies out on Skyline. The reports coming in from the ride volunteers were positive, so I felt day one went well except for a few small hitches and of course Anne getting injured.
I knew Saturday would be a very long day since we needed to be there early to set up the booth and this year, we were having the group dinner at Skypark for the 1st time. So, I made us a nice dinner and we sat on the patio with some vino and relaxed. It was a good day. Lots of riding for everyone and positive experiences.
Plan was to check in women until 10am, then move the booth over behind the bar. This way ladies had a place to hang all day as well as we could engage with all the riders discussing everything GGR. Stephanie, the event director for Skypark was on it. She came to greet us and even got us a golf cart to make it easier moving all our booth gear to the new location.
Every run down Arrow I was eyeing those dang enormous tires on the left that stick out of the ground really high. For years these have terrified me. This year was different……….by the end of the day, the plan was to tackle the feature and conquer it. I made a plan, dragged Lauren with me and executed. Since riding the #mojo4, it has given me a whole new level of confidence.
To see the footage, please go to my TickTok account:
Tamara on Comet:
Hugh on Comet:
Later on, around 4pmish, we broke the booth down. One of the Skypark employees, I think it was Brad, got us the golf cart again. Hugh came down and loaded everything into the Trooper, then went back to riding. I moved what I needed over to the staging area for dinner and focused on what I was going to say for the evening speeches.
This year we decided to change up the lineup. Included in this change was dinner at Skypark. With COVID still lingering, we were concerned about having 100 women sit inside. We also wanted something a bit more casual this year and after 5 years, needed a change. The women started lining up quickly to check in and purchase raffle tickets. GGR is a dues free club, so the only way we survive is by private donations and raffles during events. Please consider making a donation.
Dinner started at 6pm. This year we went with a Taco bar that included choice of chicken, beef and of course tofu. For dessert we had a custom beautiful GGR cake Shelly Cheng donated that was delicious. The taco bar was a huge hit this year along with the chips and salsa. Really the perfect after riding meal!
GGR has been successful because of our branding and how our volunteers and members conduct themselves on the trails. It’s given us a loud voice in the community allowing many accomplishments and bringing needed change to some old industry practices. For examples, please go to our PRESS page to read some of the stories: Girlz Gone Riding Press
REI recognized our organization and the benefits to the community and wanted in. We are grateful for their partnership and awarding us a grant to improve our riders’ skills, safety, and experiences. Thank you REI for supporting the women’s mountain biking community!
Every year for this event, we give out three awards. The ride leaders make the decision on which riders earned the awards. These riders leave with a purple and gold plaque and a HUGE smile! Congrats to these ladies for their perseverance, club spirit and just being bad asses!
Best comeback: Karla Del Gradillo
Best GGR spirit: Kristin Lane
Best Badass Shredder: Jessica Tseng and Hana Savage
After a bunch of thank you’s, we called it a night. I was dreading the ride home. It’s a super twisty, windy road all the way back to Big Bear. If you know me well, you know I get car sick all the time, even when I’m driving sometimes. Lauren told me about this watch she wears for diving a few years back. It gives you electric shocks. So not fun to wear, but better than getting sick. And…it works! Nothing has ever worked for me until I tried this watch.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, the battery was dead. I had to white knuckle it back to the house and felt like crap the rest of the night. Next time I’ll remember to charge it!
Riders have 2 choices on Sundays. They can ride XC in Fawnskin with 2 guided rides or choose DH at Snow Valley. Some did BOTH! Since I experienced Snow Valley, I’m going to talk about my day on the lifts.
First a big thank you to Dawn Cook stepping up at the last minute and volunteering for Fawnskin!
Once we got to Snow Valley, I saw a bunch of riders still getting ready, so I knew everyone else was late as well. The last day of the event, everyone is exhausted, so trying to get riders to start on time is a huge challenge. #proamy was patiently waiting for everyone to get their tickets and gather around. Since the terrain is very similar to Mammoth, she needed to make all the riders aware of this, that had not yet ridden Snow Valley.
Being the last day of the event, for some of us, it was our 4th day in a row riding, so for me, I was grateful to take the lifts on this 4th day and not have to climb. I also took the day off from being Director and let Amy and Tamara handle everything. How sweet it was! I MUST do this more often! I’m so grateful to have incredible volunteers that can step up at any time and take over.
We split up into 2 orientation groups to show riders around the mountain. Tamara took one group, and Amy took the other group. I swept for Amy’s group. Getting the riders safely down the 1st run was challenging with how sandy the terrain was. Everyone was positive and learned from their crashes because the 2nd run, they just slayed it!
After lunch we decided to do a run together. On the lifts it started raining hard. It got super cold, but I knew the rain would cause some major hero dirt, so my stoke was on! Sure enough, it was my fastest run of the day on Bandit. SUPER rad!
We got down to the bottom, and we ended up doing Exploration trail early. I was wiped out and I remembered years ago the trail being extra chunky, so I decided I’d sit this one out and be a shuttle driver. So, Tamara, Amy, Liz and Hugh took the lifts up and Jeanine and I drove to the bottom of the trail and waited to pick them up.
I wasn’t looking forward to leaving my home away from home and getting back to reality, but Monday came around and it was time for me to pack up and make the long drive back home. Virtually every time I leave Big Bear, I break down and cry. My quality of life when I’m in Big Bear is so much better then when I’m home. We ride a lot, go out for dinner, have beautiful evenings out on the patio, it's just such a healthier life style and more fun when I'm there, so of course I’m much more content and don't want to leave.
After a few days, I asked for feedback from the GGR leadership team and WOW did they have some great ideas. Here are just a few examples of what we will implement for next year’s event:
- For the bike plates, instead of numbers, the space will be blank so riders can write their names on them.
- Jersey/Gear swap at Skypark
- Name tags for the Sky Park dinner including what chapter you ride with
- Sky Park dinner meet earlier, maybe at 4:00pm for speed ICE BREAKER game. Everyone is on a timer like speed dating and moves down a spot, so every person gets to meet each other. Eat at 5pm. OR…have a happy hour social
- Fawnskin: Greenie 2 and Greenie 2 Plus for next year
- Skypark more orientation tours. One at 9:30am, one at 10:30am. Turnout was big
- XC awards: Suffer fest award!
It’s not easy putting on a 3-day event while working a very demanding, full time job. Therefore, we limit this event to 100 riders and no exhibitors, so it’s manageable and for the most part and a joy to host.
I can’t do this alone. So many people and organizations to thank to make this possible.
I’d personally like to thank and acknowledge everyone involved in this event and those who participated as well. Thank you!
- Every one of the volunteers! THANK YOU!
- Snow Summit & all their staff: https://www.bigbearmountainresort.com/summer
- SkyPark, special thanks to Stephanie Burrows, Event Director: (even the tables on the buffet were in purple! Thank you!) https://skyparksantasvillage.com/
- Snow Valley & all their staff: https://snow-valley.com/
- REI: for providing GGR with a community grant: https://www.rei.com/
- Kuat Racks: https://www.kuat.com/product/sherpa-2-0/
- Leigh Donovan: https://ichoosebikes.com/
- Jeana Miller: https://trainright.com/coaches/jeana-miller/
- Christina Turner: https://www.facebook.com/groups/795404223907167
- Ibis cycles: for providing me with an amazing bike that I ride XC AND in all the bike parks! #mojo4 https://www.ibiscycles.com/
- Laura “Mega” Watts for everything you do behind the scenes all year round and especially for this event. It’s a HUGE undertaking you gladly volunteer for every year and I thank you & greatly appreciate everything you contribute!
- Lauren McDonald for everything you do behind the scenes, especially for this event, and always knowing when I'm overwhelmed and checking in on me, thank you!
- Shelly Cheng for donating the enormous GGR cake and trying to keep it cold for 2 days!
- Hugh Walton of CCN: Thank you for making the 3-day drive from Boulder, Colorado to meet everyone and get their feedback on the new GGR gear: https://waltoncustom.com/about/
- Leah Dilbeck & Dilbeck Realtors: https://www.dilbeck.com/
- CORBA: For supporting everything we do! Please join! https://corbamtb.com/
- Hugh Warren: Of course, I must acknowledge and thank my incredibly generous and kind boyfriend Hugh. Just a few of the things he did to help with this event:
- Stuffed everything he could in his car for the event and drove everything to BB over many trips
- Fixed our broken PA.
- Took two days off from work making himself available for anything we needed to help make the event a success
- Repaired women’s bikes
- Got up super early Friday and Saturday, loaded and unloaded everything needed for the booth and event
- Opened his garage for 16 women to store their bikes in
- Never complained once……..
I hope you enjoyed reading all about this journey and felt like you were right there with me.
GGR’s mission is to get more women on bikes and ensure they have a great experience every time. We do this through our trained volunteers who guide our club rides and events.
Women create new besties, learn/confirm a sense of independence and earn empowerment for all the things they've conquered over the 3 day event. It's a thrill and a gift to observe the joy in these ladies faces during this event.
Until next time, look for the purple jerseys out on the trails and make sure to say hello!
GGR Girl Wendy E, Director & CO-Founder Girlz Gone Riding