Volunteering at the Arch Ride
No Dabs, 4/8/22
After a 2 year hiatus (F off Covid!), San Diego Mountain Bike Association’s annual Arch Ride was back on the calendar, uniting hundreds of riders and friends and family. Some 45 miles, or more or less, if you wanted, of wandering around the county on a bike on a Saturday, was the simple version of it. Along the way, though, there was lots of laughter and a little bit of suffering here and there, with some bumps, bruises and scrapes, as well.
I had the great fortune of volunteering at the trail’s end. Watching riders work their way up Lopez Canyon and cheering them on as they made that “mean-spirited!” last push up to the kiosk, was a hoot. (Mean-spirited — can you believe the route planners did that?!).
My view before the riders started arriving:
I watched a hawk hunt in the misty morning air. Coffee peppered my blood. Hikers came and I gave them a heads up: hundreds of mountain bikers will be making there way up here over the next few hours.
And then the first rider arrived. 20 minutes later, the next one climbed up. Then it was a few more here and there before the line got steady. People had big smiles on their faces. High fives with friends happened. Faces of suffering and pain were there too. One guy seized up with leg cramps, unable to take a step after dismounting. Another rider offered electrolytes. Brothers, newly found.
The best moment: A boy about 12 years old turned the cranks on that last push and it seemed like he might not be able to muster the energy to do it. I got down to his eye level and cheered him on. With maybe 10 feet to go, his front wheel wobbled. Oh no!—he might not make it. I quickly jumped behind him and gave him a push. His response, in a tired and exhausted voice: Thank you soooooooo much. Other riders hanging out up top high fived and congratulated him. How wonderful!
For 3 hours, I was reminded of the importance of community. During those 180 minutes, I didn’t think of snapping any photos. Back at Gravity Heights Brewery and Restaurant, I did snap 2:
Let the festivities begin!
Food, beer, swag and tons of camaraderie. If you’re looking for a regional event that isn’t a race, but rather a big rolling party of joy and friendship, put San Diego’s Arch Ride on your calendar for next year. It’ll be Saturday, April 1, 2023. You can bet there’ll be some foolin’ going on!
Huge thanks and congrats to SDMBA on another hugely successful Arch Ride.
Happy weekend, MTBeer people! Get out there and ride!