A few days ago we reported that our very own John Nixon was riding this year’s Wounded Warrior Foundation (WEODWF) Undefeated 2-Day Bike Ride in Southern California. This bike ride is now over and John returned to us exhausted but in one piece. Kevin Childre, a fellow bike riding team member, recounts the biking adventures across 200 some mile adventure that began with 37 riders riding out of Camarillo …
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Narrarator: Kevin Childre, LCDR EODTEU ONE, Executive
The first annual WEODWF Undefeated 2-Day Bike Ride is in the books, and what a terrific beginning it turned out to be. We loaded the vans and bus from San Diego and headed North to Camarillo, California with 37 riders, five drivers and an eager photographer. After offloading the vans and gear, we headed across the parking lot to Bistro-13 for the rider dinner and launch meeting, where everyone had the opportunity to get to know one another before the first big day’s ride.
Our field of riders spanned a wide range of demographics: Active Duty EOD service members made up the largest segment, with 16 riders. We had four Wounded Warriors, all USMC. The remaining riders were either associated with EOD units in some way, or friends and cycling team members.
Sat awoke to some unusually cold weather for SoCal, with the mercury topping out at 50 degrees in the sun. The excitement overcame the cold as Carter passed out the route cards and briefed the days ride. By 7:30 am, we were rolling out for the first pedal strokes of the day’s 111-mile day. The route took us from Camarillo to Irvine primarily along the beautiful SoCal coastline. Along the way, we passed through three counties, eight cites, 16-miles of bike path that cut through the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice , and some of the most spectacular November weather that you could ask for.
With the length of the days ride, the group quickly split up into smaller packs – each rider finding their place. The first group rolled into the host hotel parking lot by 2:30pm. In typical Marine fashion of no man left behind – former Marine and current ClearedJobs.Net COO John Nixon volunteered to be our sweep rider – ensuring all participants made it in each day safely. First or last, there was no lack of smiles from the crowd.
Sunday came way too early for everyone – made all the more obvious by the gentle sitting, tentative walking, and nervous banter as the reality of another tough day dawned.
Joining us at the morning brief were more than a dozen of the Canari-Navy Cycling club riders from the Orange County group. As we filled the street for the morning team photo – nearly everyone bedecked in the WEODWF event jerseys – we were an impressive site.
Rolling down Jamboree Blvd , the early Sunday traffic nearly non-existent, the 50-strong train of riders dominated the area. Led and trailed by vans, with our photo vehicle sliding up and down the line, it was truly an impressive sight.
With the Sunday route nearly 20-miles shorter; it was a fast ride for everyone. Along with the Orange County additions, dozens more joined the fun as we rolled through the USMC’s Camp Pendleton and into San Diego County.
Arriving at 1230, the first group of riders received cheers as they rolled into the EOD Round-up and Family Picnic in Liberty Station, Point Loma , CA . An estimated crowd of 300 took part in the fun, with live music provided by The Blokes, BBQ lunch, activities for the kids, the opportunity for hands on demonstrations of EOD robots and bomb suits, and a silent auction with benefits going to the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation.
Midday, a ceremony was presented to honor EOD’s fallen warriors. The flag lowered to half-mast and taps playing low, a roll call of the fallen was delivered to the assembled crowd. After a moment of silence and a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem, Ms Sherri Beck, President of the WEODWF spoke of the importance of the foundation – providing some stirring examples of the help they have provided over the last few years to our Wounded Warriors and their families.
The first annual WEODWF Undefeated 2-Day Bike Ride and EOD Round-up proved to be the highest grossing fundraiser since the inception of the foundation, with the riders alone bringing in an astounding $56,000 dollars in 5-weeks of fund raising. Organization of the event was done in just over ten-weeks, and could not have been possible without the significant contributions of several organizations:
- A-T Solutions
- Canari-Navy Cycling
- Easton-Bell Sports
- Trek Superstores of San Diego
While the totals are still coming in, the event is clearly a resounding success, and poised for growth in the coming years.
The event concluded with the announcement of the silent auction winners and the plans for next year’s event.