It was 2004 and I was racing quite a bit back then. I thought I’d take it to the next level and decided to race in the Down Hill World Champs.
Now don’t let that impress you, it was just the masters category so you had to be old, and therefore slow, to qualify for these races.
I also decided that this would be my last race and I would spend more time just riding after this one. I planned on going out with a bang though and figured winning the Worlds was the perfect scenario, so why not give it my all?
I trained, I got a coach, I changed my diet and I cut back on racing a bit that year to save it all for one day, one course, one chance at owning a set of Rainbow Stripes that cannot be bought, but only earned by winning. Winner gets the Stripes! Everyone else loses.
It was a great year on the bike and I felt faster than ever before. I had an amazing week in Bromont, Quebec preparing for the big day and after qualifying third with an easy no-pedalling run down the mountain, less than a second off top spot, I had oodles of confidence for the actual race.
During the race I pedalled hard. I rode all my lines cleanly and I have to admit, I was very surprised to find out my race was two seconds slower than my qualifier. I was bested by four other riders that day who clearly knew how to put it all together better than I.
So, no Stripes and no going out on top but as much as I wanted to give it another try the next year, it was for the wrong reasons, so I stuck to my promise and that was my last DH race.
Last week I was catching up on cycling news around the world and learned there would be a World Champs race at Mont Saint Anne, Quebec in 2019. Not masters, but the fastest riders in the world, the real pros. I started planning my vacation and got instantly excited about watching these guys in person. AND THEN, to Chenoa’s dismay, I realized it is also a masters World Champs race at the same venue.
I could actually race on the same course as the pros? On the same weekend? Hmmm, another crack at the Rainbow Stripes…
I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…