SPIN MY RIDE: Back to school…

By James Durand

I was in North Van doing a bit of work last week, and as you know, I can’t go to the North Shore mountains and not ride.

So, after all the work was done, I hooked up with my buddy Graham and we planned a few hot laps on Mt. Fromme.

This time out, Graham brought his son Sam. Sam is an awesome little 14-year-old rider who lives at the base of the North Shore. He is pretty small for his age and most people guess him to be only 12.

We jumped on our bikes and up we went. It’s a tough climb up Mountain Highway and into the access road for the trail network. Graham doesn’t love climbing so we don’t push too hard on this section, which I don’t mind. I like climbing, but in reality, I ride for the downhills and technical, old-school trails.

I thought, that being a kid, Sam would suffer up the climb with constant complaints, and then smile all the way back down. (Kind of like his Dad)

I was surprised to see Sam on my wheel for all but the steepest climbing, and not one complaint. He even smiled a few times.

As we approached the top and got ready for the descent, Graham suggested that Sam go first, “to keep us all in check.”

Great idea. The last thing I needed was to get carried away chasing Graham on black diamond tech trails, only to end up flying over the bars into a rock garden.

Sam dropped in with Graham right behind him. Being that he is a slow little kid, I gave him a few seconds before I dropped in … and that was the last time I saw him on that trail.

It was steep, rocky, and full of bomb holes. After squeezing through a couple of trees and hitting the first few drops, I realized I needed to pick up the pace or this was going to be embarrassing.

Sam and Graham were waiting patiently for me at the next trailhead. Both giving me excuses like, “We know the lines pretty well, and it’s kind of wet today, so it will be tougher for you.”

Great, I was so slow this kid felt bad for me.

I was a bit more familiar with the next trail and it flowed more than the first, so I was hoping for some redemption.

I jumped in ahead of Graham and stuck to Sam’s wheel. This kid hit every line perfectly, gapped every rock section, and when it came to the jumps, he boosted so much air he could have jumped over me.

I somehow hung on, but I was in over my head, and it was sketchy to say the least. So much for keeping us in check.

I tucked in behind Graham again and rode out the rest of the day comfortably in third, maybe we’ll call it fourth, there was a bit of a gap.

I’m okay being schooled by Sam. He’s a ripper, it was his backyard trails, and he has a super fast Dad as a coach. But, I also realized that when Regan is 14, I’ll be 62. Damn, I better start training again.

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


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