The only retiring Swicked Cycles owner James Durand expects he'll do is retiring customers' bikes. Photo submitted

Let’s be careful, we don’t want to get hurt?

By James Durand

So, a couple of buddies and I planned a big Whistler riding trip for last weekend.

Four days of epic rides with long steep climbs and a mix of blue square, black diamond, and double black diamond trails for the descents.

In my world, this is the perfect weekend. No work stress, no family stress, and not much of a schedule … just fun on the bikes and hangin’ with the crew while tackling some of the best riding on the planet.

Last time we did this trip it rained and despite common sense screaming to change up the trail selection to some easier options, we stuck to the plan.

We had lots of fun, but a couple of us came out a bit beat up after a few nasty crashes. (Steep, wet rocks are slippery, who knew?)

This recent trip had a bit of moisture, but trail conditions were perfect and I think Justin summed it up perfectly when I asked if they were good with one trail I’d chosen.

“I like being a little scared when I ride,” he said.

Most people would look sideways at that, but I get it. A bit of adrenaline keeps us young and on our toes right?

Just before I left for this amazing trip, a few people told me, “Be careful” or “Don’t do anything stupid.”

I’m a strong believer that altering your riding to avoid crashes, actually causes crashes, so I ride on instinct and it typically keeps me upright and safe. OK, back to the riding weekend. We rode hard, we climbed 3,500 meters, and we descended some really hard trails. And we had soooo much fun. We were cooking our last dinner before we got ready to head home the following day. Just one ride left in Squamish before we returned to reality. As we were discussing how steep some of the trails were and how we came out without a scratch, the kitchen hood fan started making horrible screeching noises. I popped the screen off to have a look and just then, the plastic fan dislodged itself, flew toward me spinning like a racing drone, and smashed me in the face.

After a few seconds of figuring out what just actually happened, I wiped a bit of blood on my face, confirmed it was just a scratch, and we ate dinner. That was a close one.

So, going forward, I won’t ride carefully, I won’t avoid what many of you think is stupidity on a bike, and I won’t act my age, but I will wear my goggles while I cook. At any moment I could be decapitated by a hood fan gone awry, trip on my kid’s skateboard and break my neck, or become super cautious and shrink away into old age. Wow, that last one seems really horrible.

OR … I could ride like a kid, take risk, and live life just a little bit scared.

Which option are you going to pick?

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

Campbell RiverCycling

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