Grad gift hits the sweet spot

Cycling columnist learns it really can be better to give than to receive

If you read this regularly you might remember me mentioning Greg a few weeks back, the kid who works at Swicked who recently graduated high school.

Chenoa and I decided that for his grad gift I would take him to Whistler and Squamish for a little riding trip. I honestly don’t know how I get roped into these things, having to take three days off work and go ride in some of the best trails in the world. I guess I had to take one for the team this time.

So Greg and I headed off to find the only rainy day in Whistler all summer. Bad news was, we got wet; good news was, there was almost no one on the mountain. We rode hard and fast and never had to wait for a chair lift for more than a few seconds all day. The temperatures were warm and the trail conditions were perfect and after a lap or two we forgot about the rain and just continued to ride … lap after lap.

The jumps were seeming smaller, the corners faster and short of some pretty good hand cramps from Greg we felt like we could do this forever. After ten laps, including one from the peak of Whistler to the bottom, we reasoned that any more riding with the fatigue setting in was a recipe for disaster. (Sadly, this was Greg’s decision, I, as the responsible adult, probably would have ridden until I needed an ambulance) We grabbed a great dinner, chilled out and planned day two in Squamish.

With no rush in the morning we stopped at the Southside Diner and had the best Whistler breakfast available before driving down to a Squamish bike shop. Once we were loaded with map and trail data we jumped on our bikes and started climbing. This was a rude awakening after a day of chair lifts, but it does feel good to earn your turns. The new climbing trail in Squamish is a great single track full of switch backs, but IT IS STEEP! After almost 2000 feet of climbing, we crested the top and decided (well, OK, I decided) that there was no way we were doing that climb twice so it would be a shorter day. We rode a tight and technical trail down the mountain and by the time we hit the bottom we had such huge smiles we just turned around and headed up the road for a second lap.

On lap two we hit a flow trail, climbed halfway back up again and hit an old school Squamish trail that has been revamped to be more fun than ever. Now that we were completely exhausted we headed for home and back to reality.

I know this was all about Greg and celebrating his graduation, but I had an amazing couple days riding some of my favourite spots with a good buddy. I should feel guilty, but then Greg did ask me to leave him in Whistler so he could do this everyday. I think he had a pretty good time too.


I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’