Race #28 "Good Deeds" at Lexus Laceup in Ventura
First, there was the weird roundabout route to the Ventura Fairgrounds parking. Then there was the quarter-mile long slow, winding drive to the parking entrance. All the slower as participants discovered, car by car, that attendants were collecting a $5 parking fee. That the there was a parking fee surprised lots of us. There weren’t even signs ahead of the attendants to allow those with cash on hand to prepare for the request.
Finally, my turn to learn. I was cashless. All I want after a race are the free salty snacks and sips of the free beer and a slow back to the car that will take me to any decent coffee chain. The parking attendant directed me to an ATM a couple hundred feet away. Did she really expect me to drive in the opposite direction of the shuttles, withdraw $20 at a cost of $26 thanks to bank fees on both ends, while the shuttles to the drop-off point were beginning to drive away? Fortunately, she did not. She reluctantly waved me through.
There was a short wait for the next set of shuttles. I’m first on board the rented yellow school bus and sit directly behind the driver. A couple hundred feet into the drive he announces, he doesn’t know the route and can’t use a navigation tool. He asks someone to help by looking up the address and directing him from our phone. The bus is abuzz with friends and partners and groups chatting up their race day breakfast, race day preparations, bib mishaps and so on. It seemed no one heard, or wanted to hear.
Had I sat even one seat further back, I doubt the sense of obligation would have fallen over me like a cloud. It did. I offered to help.
The elderly driver handed me a paper and said, “Here’s the address.” And so began my rediscovery that no good deed goes unpunished.
I type it in, touch “maps” and the haughty female voice begins telling us where to go. All was well for the first couple miles. Then the all-wise navigation system tells us to turn right onto a two-lane windy road. That’s when the first irritating voice wondered aloud if we were going the right way. “Is someone giving directions.”
I reply yes. What I wanted to say was “Yes, since no one else seemed to care.” Two gentlemen one seat back and across the aisle stepped in. They gave a reassuring “She’s got it” referring to me. I could hear the “We got your back” in the background and was grateful. Not that I looked back to say so.
A few more miles down the windy road and now an ominous quiet descends upon the riders several rows behind me. “We’re not going the right way” says one female who is now standing and leaned over her seat. I turn to the two gentlemen now, show them the google maps app is on and working and then flash a partly-pleading and, more so, irritating look their way. They stay quiet as a form of support, giving no credence to the increasing cluster of concern arising from the ancy folks in the back.
For my part, I was indeed irritated. I didn’t want to navigate in the first place. Now, these back-seaters are questioning my ability to type in an address and follow step-by-step directions. My basic intelligence was on the line. You can imagine how this went down.
I was right. We were headed to the destination I typed in. They were right. We were headed to the wrong drop-off spot. The driver handed me a paper with address for the full marathon in view. It was dark when we headed off at 6am. Neither the driver nor I saw the words “full marathon” at the top of the page. We went a couple miles further than needed.
Here’s the kicker. As I fumbled to turn off the navigation voice emanating from my phone, the driver now found the haughty female voice so distracting, he griped "Turn that thing off!” An old man scolding the good-deed-girl after he invited me into the mess in the first place. Not to mention he’s the one who gave me the bad address.
About a mile into the race, the two gentlemen who supported me through it all by not joining the mob, jogged by me. I don’t recall exactly what they said. I just remember saying “No good deed…” as they pulled away.
Race Review: The Lexus Laceup in Ventura is a great course. Due to the location, a set apart path that hugs San Antonio creek, cheering locals are mainly cluster near the aid stations until the last couple miles in the city of Ventura proper. The volunteers are friendly and accommodating. The aid stations are well-placed and plentiful. Port-o-potties are adequately placed along the course. This is one of the few courses I’d gladly repeat