I awoke to my alarm at 5:30 a.m. The scheduled time to get out of bed according to the scheduled itinerary was 5:45 a.m., yet I figured it would be to my benefit to be ahead of the schedule when it came to getting out of bed on a chilly morning. In the works for over a month, the day of the 1st Annual Quadrathlon was upon us. Overseen and planned by lifelong friends, Fred Jannone and David Button, the day would consist of four outdoor activities all revolving around the surrounding environments of California. Surfing, Snowboarding, Dirt Biking, and Water Skiing would take our group (consisting of Jannone and Button as well as Jannone’s two offspring, Delaney and Alex, and Button’s middle child Colby, with occasional participation from his youngest, Caylie) all around the Golden State throughout the day. Caylie Button described the morning as “frigid” as everyone prepared for the first event: Surfing. I made sure that I had a warm cup of fresh coffee before we set out, (god forbid I ended up falling back asleep on the beach) to wake and warm myself. With wetsuits and boards all loaded into Button and Jannone’s respective truck beds, the team set off.
The team grouped at Surfer’s Point in Ventura, California to commence their adventurous day. Slipping into their wetsuits to prevent an aquatic frostbite, the group laughed and buzzed with excitement and anticipation. Mixing up the events seemed to be a favorite bit of middle child, Colby, claiming his plan for surfing was “to get the holeshot right out of the gate” (terms used to describe a motocross race). I collected a bit of oceanic footage as the group continued to prepare. The Buttons waxed their boards and the Jannones prepped their waterproof camera. Soon enough, Dave Button was scoping the shoreline, debating if the group would paddle out north or south. The surf was not ideal, with hightide creating waves that crashed right against the shore. Joining Button on the shoreline, the team snatched up their boards for a group snapshot before heading out. A golden dawn was creeping on the horizon, promising a glimmering sunrise soon, as they all made their way down the rocky shoreline after settling on south surf.
David was classically in the water first, Colby and Alex following shortly behind the pioneer. The other three made their way down a bit further, shortening their distance from the planned spot. In similar fashion to David, Fred pioneered the water for the other three, Delaney joining him shortly after. Nerves seemed to get the better of Caylie Button as she paced along the rocks, delaying her paddle out. It took convincing from a beach-returned David, but soon enough all six members were out in the morning water, waiting to catch a wave. Any bystander on the cool spring morning would venture to guess that the waves were superb. In total, 11 surfers all waited for waves to ride. Despite the lack of a classic California surf, the group still managed to get up, get out there, and have a great time with each other. There were times I thought it was possible that the Great Lakes had better surf. However, at 6:51, as the group sat on their boards, enjoying each other's company, watching seagulls begin their morning flights, the sun finally greeted the waves. The shimmering rays seemed to cause a change in the surf, as Colby and both Jannone boys were able to ride a decent wave, officiating true participation in the first event. At 7:02, as I stood on the shore, the group waved at me, fondly making me feel included, despite not having my feet suffer in the frigid ocean alongside them. With the rising sun, the view of the horizon became breathtaking. The recent rains in Ventura made the air so visually clear, and there was no doubt in my mind the group’s eyes were feasting on the gorgeous sight of the Channel Islands in the glorious morning light. Yet with an eventful day ahead of them, at 7:08 the group began to paddle back to shore. One by one, Colby, Delaney, Caylie, David, Fred, and Alex all were back on their frozen feet. Newly arrived surfers passed as the group returned, proving that they were on top of their day. Hot water from a five gallon jug the Button’s supplied relieved everyone from the ocean chill. Drying off, fantasies on the edge of reality became the topic. A unanimous dream to plunge into the Jannone's hot tub. At 7:27, the two trucks were on their way to the previously mentioned hot tub.
The drive from surfer’s point to the tub was not a long one, a quick 15 minutes that varied on southbound 101’s traffic. On the freeways and streets of Ventura, Fred and David re-lived their rambunctious High School Days by racing. Button arrived first at 7:39, and soon enough all six were enjoying the delightful comfort of the relaxing hot tub. The team laughed about Jannone’s dogs and how their paws at the moment resembled that of a sasquatches’. At the same time Jennifer Jannone prepared the group breakfast: delicious toasted and buttered bagels. Everyone, including myself, munched on the delicious carbs- with the exception of David, who was exclusively delivered buttered english muffins due to his sesame seed allergy. After a delectable meal and returning Button’s truck, snowboards were piled into Jannone’s truck bed and the group set off for Mountain High for their second event: Snowboarding.
Departure for the peaks occurred at 8:22, eight minutes ahead of the itinerary schedule. With Fred as our driver, Alex, Colby, David, Delaney, and myself trekked away from Ventura. I took the time during the two hour drive to nap and regain some energy. The conversation I picked up on was that of Delaney, laughing about April Fool’s jokes she played on her friends back home in San Diego, and discussions of after college plans. The view driving up resembled that of a childhood illustration when learning about perspective. Passing different ranches and admiring each one as we went along, I prepared for the windy roads, praying I avoided car-sickness. Greeted by melting snowmen, switchbacking up the mountain road, we were nearly at our second destination.
The weather up at Mountain High was shockingly warm. Arriving at 10:26, a full parking lot led us to the Eastern slopes, where the ski lift was conveniently inactive. Once parked, we all got out of the truck and took large stretches. The others soon began assembling their snow gear and debating their outfits due to the temperature, finishing with the ultimate question: Glasses or Goggles? At 10:44 our shuttle bus arrived to take us back over to the western slopes- where the lift was actually active. Complicated ticket purchasing led the group to a minor setback, but by 11:00 a.m. everyone was prepped and ready to hit the slopes. A nervous Colby gathered himself in preparation as a stomach bearing Delaney, jump loving Alex, Reflective head David and Fred all got in line for lift. Without a day pass for the slopes, I ventured to the food area to snack on something as I waited.
I stepped out of the dining hall conveniently as Colby was returning from the mountain, finished after his three runs. The new snowboarder conserved his energy for the later events, as the other four made their way down on their boards. David was hard to miss in his reflective helmet that had the shining sun beaming off of it. Delaney in her electric purple snow pants and sports bra slid down looking as if she had just come from a swimsuit shoot at the peak. Fred and Alex were the tail end of the group, having collected a solid amount of footage with Jannone’s camera. We all gathered and made our way to the bus stop, preparing to return to the truck. Each attempted to discard their day passes, getting scolded by one of the workers who assumed they were tempting to resell it instead of giving it away. Each day pass was handed off to individuals who were departing the shuttle. At 12:35 p.m. we all sat on the bus, and were on our way back to the East parking lot. Disassembling their snowgear and preparing for another two hour drive in the truck, the group discussed lunch plans, and once again a unanimous dream surfaced. This new fantasy on the edge of reality consumed the group with a desire for a gourmet meal at Taco Bell. At 12:55 p.m. the Quadrathlon team set off once more, back down the mountain to their next location, Gorman/Hungry Valley, for the third event: Dirt Biking.
At a Taco Bell in Palmdale, we all stopped for lunch to fill our stomachs. The kiosks for ordering made our requests inconvenient, but we eventually began to all feast. Chalupas, nachos, tacos and freezes all lay across our table. In a moment of pure genius, I placed my small freeze in Colby’s large Mountain Dew Baja Blast, both of which were full. We soon communicated with Caylie, who had all of the dirtbikes, once more around 2:00 p.m. and let her know to depart Ventura and meet us at Gorman. At this time the team began our trek for Gorman as well. The drive through Antelope Valley took us straight through the most gorgeous superbloom, where mother nature had painted the meadow with fluorescent oranges, purples and yellows. Many travelers along Highway 138 were pulled over, holding their own photoshoots with the painted fields.
A quick reunion occurred just off Interstate 5 in Gorman. Once reunited with Caylie at 3:02, the group was all able to find a place to set up, and start riding. The sharp winds in Gorman threw us all for a loop, everyone agreed the valley’s weather had a lower temperature than the snowy peak surprisingly. The Jannone offspring had a bit of a difficult time recalling their past with dirt bikes, but once after yet another group photograph, the team set out to ride at 3:17 p.m. During their ride, Caylie and I remained with the trucks and hung out, trying to keep warm in the midst of the harsh and frigid winds. In what seemed like a time jump, the group returned to the site at 4:30 p.m. which was perfectly on track with the itinerary schedule. Once finished with the third leg, we all began packing up and reloading the bikes onto the trucks and trailer. In a half hour at 5 p.m. the six of us were reading to head to the final destination at 7th Heaven Ski Ranch and partake in the final event: Water Skiing.
After a quick 45 minute drive up Interstate 5, we arrived at our final destination for the day. Leaving behind the windy chills of Gorman, 7th Heaven returned us to pleasant weather and set up the final event perfectly for the team. Starting off, Alex stepped into his wetsuit and jumped into the lake, taking the first ski ride. Shortly after, Colby followed, getting up, but soon crashing and creating a gnarly wound on his right bicep- it is unknown what the injury was caused by his rope or ski, but the visual bruising obviously shows it was not a light crash. Delaney was third behind the boat, fulfilling her mission to achieve a “quadrathlete” title. Dave ran a few passes after Delaney, and finally the adventure concluded with Fred’s ski ride.
The day concluded with a fabulous meal provided by Christine Button, David’s wife. Jennifer also joined us and all nine of us grouped together to devour lasagna, garlic bread and cooked veggies. After the sunset at 7:17 p.m. and an hour of enjoying eachothers company and feasting, a fire was created outside for all of us to cozy up to. David brought out some of his fireworks, and each child took turns setting off roman candles. David then after the show ended with large fireworks that lit up the sky, seeming to be luminous curtains, revealing a glowing gibbous moon in the night sky. Once the show was finished dessert ensued. S'mores supplies were brought out to the fire by Christine, and strawberry shortcake was prepared inside by Jennifer. The two families reminisced on their eventful day, and an atmosphere full of pride, adrenaline, and exhaustion settled in.
Despite not actually participating, I was fortunate enough to travel alongside the Quadrathlon Team and witness their great adventure. The day truly showed the magic of California, and the endless possibilities of outdoor excitement a group can have together.