We did it!

When Joanne and I were in Nepal we were bug-bitten, shower deprived and found ourselves looking at each other wondering what in the world were we doing here.  We would hike about 3 miles in the hot sun to get to the Sahara Orphanage almost every day and just when we could huff and puff no more we would see a throng of kids running and waving towards us with the biggest most welcoming smiles you have ever seen.  It’s like those super excited smiles on Christmas morning or getting your first bicycle.

In all honestly there were aspects of the trip we were happy to leave but more reasons we wanted to stay.  Our hearts had grown tenfold and improving their lives meant so much more than our own discomforts.      

Fast forward to 2010.  I love bike riding and mentioned to Joanne that I wanted to ride to San Diego from Orange County (almost 100 miles) and that I would like to do it for charity.  She looked at me like I couldn’t ride 10 miles, let alone the 90+ miles to San Diego.  I told her I would do it over 2 days.  She still looked at me funny. I decided that I was just going to do it.  I didn’t care if anyone rode with me or if I was prepared, I just wanted to spread the word about the orphanage in Nepal and raise some money.  This was something out of my comfort zone to take on but with the help of Joanne, we pulled it off.  

And there we were.  The ride was set for August 20-21.  It was mid-July when we decided this.  Plenty of time to train for a 90 mile bike ride right?  I definitely would take full advantage of the entire month right?  Um, not so much.  I ended up doing two real training rides of 15 miles. Then it was August 19th.  The ride was the next day.  No problem.  Then the phone rings.  A client wants me to go out with them to brainstorm a new idea they have.  Two Jack Daniel’s and a bottle of wine later, I’m officially dreading this ride for the first time.

The next day, I wake up and somehow am taking comfort that the first day’s ride is only 41 miles. (compared to Day 2 w/45 miles).  It was a full 4 miles shorter than day 2.  I could knock this out in no time.  Since I blew the previous night’s opportunity to properly sleep and eat right, I was determined to eat a good breakfast to be ready for the 11am start time.  I ate bacon.  At least it was turkey bacon. 

My plan was to ride from our apartment in Tustin to the beginning of Camp Pendleton.  We had various stops planned along the way where we could hopefully socialize and hand out some stickers to people; take pictures with strangers; etc. 

The send off party included Joanne, my parents, my niece and our friend Sara. And I was off.  It was going to be hot that day.  I immediately regretted starting the ride at 11am, which was just about the hottest part of the day.  Our first stop was about 8 miles in at the Toshiba offices.  An original Little Bit of Sunshine donor named Harold works there but was on vacation.  So we stopped to take pictures with our Harold mask that we made.  Things were going good.  It was hot.  But I was feeling good. I had fun taking the pictures.  Then…….flat tire.  I blame Harold.

Luckily, we were about a quarter mile away from a bike shop, so we loaded the bike in the van and got the fix. Yes, I cheated for a quarter mile.  I didn’t go back to make it up either.  

I’m not sure what happened at the bike shop.  Maybe the break killed my momentum.  Maybe the girl at the shop expressing concerns about chaffing got to me. But the next 10 miles seemed a little more difficult.  I arrived at Starbucks on La Paz in Mission Viejo, where the entire send off party had driven to wait for me.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone. My plan to hand out stickers and take pictures was no longer good.  I wanted water.  It was hot.  I kept looking at my directions to figure out exactly how many more miles were coming up.  Too many!  Drinking alcohol the night before was not a good idea. 

I left the Starbucks and headed to downtown San Juan Capistrano, another 10 miles away.  Contrary to my initial belief, even though San Diego is south of Orange County, it is not all downhill…..weird .  There are some good hills between Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano.  I arrived in San Juan excited for another opportunity to drink some water.  I had abandoned my CamelBack (which was full of water) earlier because it was just too hot.  I pulled up to the meeting point and the support team was no where to be seen.  I started texting and found out that they were still 10 minutes away.  I waited while a few random strangers saw my t-shirt and asked me about the ride.  I hardly remember what I even said to them, though I was able to hand them a sticker. 

After my support team showed up, we took a few pictures and I got some water and I was off again.  At this point, the support team dropped off except for Joanne.  She stopped and waited for me in San Clemente right before a good size hill.  She dangled the temptation to cheat and drive me up the hill.  I declined.  I don’t know why because I was dying.  I continue on and mentally blanked out for the remaining 10 miles on the first day.  I rode up to the finish line right at the start of the road that leads to Camp Pendleton and was happy to see Joanne waiting there. I was beyond exhausted; I was absolutely dreading the next day.  Two riders would be joining to me and I was thinking about how I was going to tell them I was quitting. 

We decided to come back to Irvine for the night and meet up with some friends that donated some money for the ride and fellow day two bike rider, Linda.  I limited the drinking that night to a couple glasses of wine and got to bed early.  By the end of the night, I felt better and was determined to finish the ride the next day.

Day 2 started with the arrival of fellow rider Nathan at our house.  I actually had a proper breakfast and we headed to pick up Linda and her fancy triathlon bike.  Nathan and I would be riding mountain bikes.  Of the 300 hundred other bike riders we would see that day, we were the only ones on mountain bikes.  Hmmm…maybe we should have thought this through a bit more.  

We drove down to the starting point at Camp Pendleton and rode our bikes onto the base. Then we said goodbye to Linda and her awesome bike and Nathan and I wondered if we would ever see her again.  Our standing joke for the day would be that Nathan and I could have kept up with Linda if we didn’t have deficient mountain bikes.  But the truth is, Linda is in ridiculously good shape.  She would have rode faster than us no matter what.

We were surprised to see her after 10 minutes, but only because she waited for us to take pictures.  Then she was gone again.  She waited for us again at the end of Camp Pendleton and we decided that there would be no goofing off that day. We wouldn’t be stopping for too many pictures.  It was going to be a race for the finish line in Mission Beach. 

I don’t know what it was about Day 2, but it was way easier than Day 1.  I think the main reason was having Nathan and Linda along as motivation.  Day 2 was actually more miles, and had some harder hills, but seemed to go by so much faster. 

We breezed through Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, a huge hill in Torrey Pines, La Jolla, and finally arrived in Mission Beach.  Linda was flying.  Joanne couldn’t even keep up with her in the support van.

After about 4 hours of time on the bikes, we had finished!  Nathan and I rode up to the van to see Linda, who, despite taking a detour at the end, still finished well ahead of us and had changed her clothes already and looked like she had finished the ride hours ago. 

We went to the Wave House for some lunch and well deserved drinks. 

All together over two days, 85 miles was covered in about 8 hours of actual riding time.  There were a lot of breaks that added more time to it, but the first annual Little Bit of Sunshine Bike Ride was complete.  More importantly, we raised over $3,500 that we will be using to support the Sahara orphanage in Nepal. The generosity that we received from everyone that donated was fantastic.  The amount of people that reached out to donate and learn about our organization was truly awesome and much appreciated. 

We are already excited about planning next year’s ride and have a lot of interest from more people that want to participate.  We want to thank everyone that supported us again!  We truly appreciate it and are looking forward to next year!  

Beverly Allaire

Mike Adler

Larry & DiAnne Jordan

Sharon Smith

Alexis Bonnell

Antonia & Robert Ying

Lauryn Doesburg

Darcy Mellinger

Matt & Carla Woodard

Monica Rhee

Hilary Berkey

Salina Sang

Gerry Coe

Erin & Chris Wright

Aly & Casey Rising

Jerry & Linda Snow

Len & Carole Landy

Florentius Chan

Pam Barnhart

Norman Lau

Mica Pham

Tom & Kim Meyer

Soo Jin Na

Noel Chan

Merrill & Ana Shum

Quisteen Shum

Diane Strollo

Aggie Bartlomowicz

Daniella Gasaway

Noel Chan

Nancy Paul

Deb & Cory Kammer

Francine Linh

Grant Oakes

Tam & Gisele Nguyen

Maria Chu

Helen Wong

Raised $3,857.88

Linda Oakes

Ken Butera

Barbara Ng

Min & Todd Lohnas

Beverly Shin

Shelley Lee

Michelle & Ed Reis

Amanda Toney

Leena Shirgaoker

Helen O’Brien

Chris & Ai-vy Miller

Tim & Ann Johnson

Mark & Aimee Westerlund

Azeem & Zeena Dhalla

Lindy Zhou

Jenn Nguyen

Dr. Edmund & Teresa Lo

Melissa & Chris Kaye

Shawna Warren

Claudio Munoz

Jeff & Tammy Strauss

Pearl & Tom Corcoran

Brent Meyer

Ron Fifer

David Hang

Dan & Cassie Diep

Brian Berri

Wahaiawa Physical Therapy

Thomas Tan

Sophia Wong

Ada Yeung

PK Odle

Diane Silverman

Maria Nguyen


Christina Li

Leo & Annie Lee

Our AWESOME 2010 donors:

Here are a few highlights of the weekend!