So much pressure…So much pride

By James Durand

As you may have read, we’re moving house. With moving comes mayhem, packing, carrying really heavy stuff that makes you wonder, “why did I buy this stupid couch?”

But, it also has you going through your things, and some pretty amazing memories pop up.

As I was cleaning out my garage last week, the last thing I took off the wall was a huge poster my daughter made in 2015.

The first time I saw it was after a 12-hour disaster of a trip to southern Washington for a 50-mile mountain bike race.

As I arrived and started to set up camp, I climbed into my trailer and saw this big poster taped across all the cabinets. It was a gift secretly planted by my five-year-old daughter.

I had trained for months and after all my planning and overthinking, I had set a goal of 4 hours 45 minutes … right up until I saw Rhyley”s poster with a squiggly “GO DADDY GO, 4:36.”

Sadly, Rhyey had no idea what she had just done, but I was confident I could pull it off and make my little redhead proud. “It’s only nine minutes right?”

I awoke the next morning ready to rock. The start gun went off and I rode away as planned. I was pacing myself well, I was feeling great, and I was well on pace for 4:30.

About a third of the way through the race, usually a place I am still feeling strong no matter how hard I push, I could feel leg cramps coming on. By the time I got to the first aid station, the one I had planned on skipping to save time, I was feeling desperate and stopped to drink anything they had to offer.

Soon after that, the cramps hit hard. I couldn’t stop pedalling at any point or my legs seized up completely – 4:36 was looking optimistic. Falling into the ditch and crying was looking very realistic.

I couldn’t believe how much pain I was experiencing and I had more than 25 miles of gruelling riding left. Every part of my body screamed “QUIT NOW!” but what would Rhyley think if her Dad just gave up?

it was a couple of hours of agony, yelling at myself, and staring at the little picture of Rhyley I had taped to my bars.

I had to stop a few times to massage my legs so I could make them spin the pedals again. I stopped at every aid station to drink anything I could get my hands on, and I was panicking. I just had to finish, no matter what it took. The only goal I had left was to get home and be able to tell my daughter that I didn’t quit.

Eventually, I came across the finish line and collapsed in agony. I didn’t make Rhyley’s time of 4:36, I missed my personal goal of 4:45 by 50 seconds, but I finished. I wasn’t happy, but I somehow made it to the end.

Things don’t always go as planned, we can’t control our surroundings, but quitting is never an option.

It’s a lesson my Dad taught me, and it’s one I want to teach my kids.

Rhyley’s poster will be front and center in the new bike room, and it will always bring back memories of pain … and pride.

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

Campbell RiverCycling