From the pond to the ocean

Spin My Ride with James Durand

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “big fish, small pond.” Me and many of the riders in Campbell River use an app called Strava. It tracks your mileage, your routes and also sets up timed-trail segments so you can compare your times on a certain trail against your friends, or anyone that has ridden that same segment. It’s definitely not a race since trail conditions change, weather conditions change etc, but it can add a completely new aspect to your rides and can really be a lot of fun; although best not taken too seriously in my opinion…and here’s why.

In the smallish community of Campbell River, there are definitely some very fast riders, but we are still a relatively small cycling community. I have been lucky enough to have a few fast times on segments around our trail networks and even managed to be the fastest on one or two, for a short time anyway. There is a handful of other riders in town that seem to dominate fast times on Strava and they are obviously fit and skilled riders who love going fast.

Often a new rider comes into the shop and knows me only by following me on Strava and assumes I am a fast rider. It’s great for the ego, but not always accurate. Coming to California for a few weeks gave me a taste of some true realities regarding fast vs. average.

There are a bunch of trails here that suit my riding style perfectly. They’re steep, rough and technically challenging. Basically, these trails are less about fitness and more about adrenalin and I’m having way too much fun for a mere mortal. After a few days of getting to know some trails, I ramped up the pace and started riding a bit faster, so I thought.

After what felt like a quick rip down some steep chundery trails, I arrived back at the camp site and down loaded Strava…only to discover that when you’re in the ocean, you’re small and apparently slow. What would have had me in the top 2 or 3 of 40 or 50 riders at home, puts me in the top 500 of 4,000-5,000 riders in Laguna beach. There are apparently a lot of riders here, and a lot of fast riders at that.

So, next time you’re riding as fast as you can for the sake of going fast or beating your friends, remember it should still be about having fun on your bike and whether you’re in the pond or in the ocean, make the best of every trail and look for the fun lines.


I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…more slowly than I thought.