I raced downhill for a bunch of years, I raced moto-x as a kid, and I payed lacrosse for most of my life. I like competition. When I look back at these times, I often remember all the good parts, the friends, the wins, the trophies. Even when I remember the injuries, I somehow spin these into positives. .
I watched an interview last week with one of my favourite DH racers, Josh Bryceland. He was always laughing, partying, goofing off, and he won a lot. I am sure he trained as hard as his competitors, but he seemed to just show up and have fun, get a great result, and then drink beers with his buddies.
He retired from racing two years ago. He was at the top of his game and had recently won the World Cup overall title. I remember being disappointed. Selfishly, I wanted to watch him for years to come. When I raced, I took it too seriously and the pressure I put on myself to win was overwhelming. I didn’t laugh much, unless I won. Seeing his casual attitude was refreshing.
I quit racing years ago because the stress overcame the fun, but I often forget that part when looking back. Every spring I think about signing up again, training for DH, and travelling around the province trying to go faster than everyone else.
During the interview, Bryceland mentioned he had retired because the pressure was insane, it wasn’t fun, and that’s not why he started riding mountain bikes. So, now he rides for fun. He still rides at a crazy high level, he pushes the limits, and progresses, but with no clock.
As spring arrives and I start wanting to compete again, his comments remind me that I, too, ride because it’s fun. Instead of racing this summer, I’ll plan a few road trips.. I’ll pick the best riding areas, add in some new trails, and invite my favourite riding buddies. The only goals are to ride hard, ride fast, and laugh. There might be some beer involved, but no clock … and no stress.
It’s not often you get wisdom like this from a 28-year-old, especially one nicknamed “Rat Boy.”
I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin…