Getting older and showing restraint

I’ve never been one to show restraint when it came to riding, or sport in general.

I am a passionate guy and a little bit competitive with myself, therefore when a challenge pops up, I rarely think of the consequences. I am more likely to see the chances of success and jump in head first. Most times it works out positively, but not always.

A few years ago I started a list of bones I have broken throughout the years. After three full columns, I gave up. It was not flattering, even when you consider how many stupid things I have done successfully, the list was still longer than I expected. I can acurately predict the weather these days based on aches and pains.

Now that I’m older and supposed to be more mature, I try to show some restraint.

It doesn’t matter if I jump off every drop, ride every steep chute, and end up at the bottom of each trail ahead of my friends. I should just enjoy the ride at what ever pace suits me that day. You know, like sane people.

I arrived in Laguna Beach this week. The excitement has been building for a while now and I was keen to get back to one trail in particular.

Two years ago I rode a trail with two local pros. They showed me some of their favorite stuff, ending with what they said was the most technical trail in Laguna. They laughed, and said, “You’re from from B.C., you have to represent.”

Richie led with Brian close behind. I got dropped. I soon came around a corner to the steepest part of the trail. (imagine a 15 foot cliff with a 90 degree right turn at the bottom and then a second 10 foot cliff with a sharp left hand turn, then it was just really steep after that.) I honestly think I would have ridden it, except Lopes was stopped and looking for the right line.

Brian Lopes is arguable one of the fastest and most successful racers in the last 20 years, and I come around the corner to see him stopped and seeking the “rideable line.”

I stopped and watched him roll in with ease, but my confidence was shot. I couldn’t get going again and after a few minutes, I walked down a trail for the first time I can remember.

I thought of lots of excuses that day. Brian’s stopping killed my flow. I don’t have medical insurance down here so I have to be careful. It was my first time on their trails, so I should be hesitant … blah, blah, blah. I was just scared of smashing face first into some hard packed dirt and then tumbling down a cliff until I hit who knows what.

So, I’ve had two years to think about it and now it’s time to decide. Do I do something stupid, because I can’t back down from a challenge, or do I show restraint?

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…