Durand: Sometimes you gotta put your ego aside

Mirror columnist James Durand knows what it’s like to be humbled

We came down to Laguna Beach this winter for the riding. The beaches are sandy, the water is warm, and the sun is plentiful, and those make for a nice bonus, but it’s the riding that attracted me in the first place.

The mountain bike trails offer up lots of technical terrain, challenging steeps, and with low bushes opposed to the dense forests I am used to, the mountain and ocean views are spectacular.

The road riding is endless and takes you along the Pacific Coast Highway for as long as you desire. You are never without the scent of the ocean, or a view of the beaches. Again, spectacular.

On the down side, the hills are steep and there is no getting around some seriously painful climbs. It seems every ride starts off with no warm up, and a grunt straight up the hill. My granny gear may be worn out by the time I get back home.

Granted, I haven’t seen a huge amount of other riders out here, but in a couple of weeks I have, surprisingly, passed a lot of riders on the climbs. I assumed the local mountain bikers would be used to these climbs, but they look to be suffering more than I am. One guy the other day said out loud as I rode past him, “I HATE CLIMBING.” It kind of made me laugh. I am sure if I brought this guy to Campbell River, he would hate wet roots more than climbing in the sun.

I actually started feeling pretty good about my fitness.

Then yesterday I was heading up one of the regular climbs on my route. As I was cresting the steepest section, I saw a shadow approaching from behind. As I casually looked over my shoulder, another mountain biker went by me so quickly, I checked to see if he was on an E-bike. Nope, human powered. And to make it worse he started a short conversation and appeared to be breathing as if he was watching tv, not sprinting up a crazy steep trail. Unfortunately that’s when I noticed I was breathing so hard I couldn’t form more than a gasping ”Hey” in reply.

As any male ego will dictate, I picked up the pace and tried to hang on to his wheel, but reality is what it is. He dropped me so quickly that I checked to see if I had a low tires. Nope, bike was perfect. Lungs, not so much.

It was a great reminder that there is always someone slower than you, but there is also someone faster than you. It’s best to put your ego in your pocket and just go ride your bike.

So for the remainder of my trip, I’ll just explore, enjoy the trails, and look at the ocean.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’