Swicked: just flick the switch

James Durand explores letting stress go

By James Durand

About six weeks ago I was in Whistler riding with some friends.

I was excited about the trip, but also very tired from a tough summer of bike shop life. Chenoa and I had just moved houses and the stress that comes with that was definitely weighing heavily on my shoulders.

On the first day of riding, we headed for one of my favourite trails, one I have ridden many times. On this day I was hanging on too tight, thinking too much, and frustrated with my lack of confidence. I ended up walking a few section that are normally within my pay grade. I just felt off and was thinking more about consequences, than success.

The rest of the trip was good, but not great. The stress won out and I didn’t quite find my mojo on any of the trails. I came home frustrated.

Chenoa and I headed back to Whistler last week. Most of the stress from summer is still weighing me down, but I somehow managed to leave it at work. Chenoa and I are still nowhere near settled in our house, but our bikes and gear are organized, so it’s good enough for now. (I can sort out the rest this winter)

On day one, I rode a trail that’s been on my bucket list for a few years, Dark Crystal. It is a Whistler black diamond and having never ridden it before, I thought I would be tentative.

Nope, I rode in blind and hit everything like this was my back yard. Never a negative thought, and never a lack of confidence. No white knuckles and no puckering, just rolling along and relying on instinct.

A couple of days later I met up with local buddy who showed me one of Whistler’s newest trails. It’s not even on the maps yet. Good to have friends right?

It was a steep technical climb that had me exhausted when we arrived at the trailhead for the downhill. Never a good sign when you’re at the top of a new trail and you’re keeled over sucking wind, trying not to have a heart attack.

A couple of minutes later as we were about to drop into a blind rock roll that disappeared into the trees, I somehow forgot about life, stress, and the nasty climb we just endured, and I rolled in behind Chris. I figured if he can ride it then so can I. And just like that, I was back to instinct.

On the last day I stepped it up a notch and hit a double black diamond I’ve been keen to tackle. This one is above my pay grade on a good day, but after a great week of confidence inspiring riding, I jumped into the deep end head first.

So, does riding to your potential come down to mind control, confidence, or just luck?

After all these years I still haven’t figured out to flick the switch. I know deep down I can ride, but some days it just doesn’t happen, other days I feel invincible.

In reality, nothing much had changed in my life from one trip to the next. I just decided to let it roll and not think so much. Then my stress levels went down … and my riding improved. Hmm?

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

MORE FROM JAMES: Learning from our mistakes

Just let it happen

Campbell RiverCycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Telus representative Doug Anastos (top left) and SitePath Consulting Ltd.’s consultant Brian Gregg (top right) present to the SRD board, including CAO David Leitch (bottom left) and Cortes Island director Noba Anderson, on Jan. 13, 2021. Photo courtesy SRD/Youtube
Improved wireless connection for Quadra, Cortes pitched to SRD

Idea includes new towers at various locations on islands

Eva Xu (left) and Joanne Moon (right) presents Campbell River Hospital Foundation executive director Stacey Marsh (centre) with a $1,476 cheque to go towards the new mammography machine at the hospital. Photo supplied by Campbell River Hospital Foundation.
Gourmet Essentials donates nearly $1,500 to Hospital Foundation

Machine will cut wait times for mammogram results

Robbie Burns Day will be celebrated a little differently this year, but celebrated it will be as the Tidemark Theatre presents a live virtual celebration that will be available for ticketholders to view for three days. Black Press File Photo
Tidemark Theatre presents Burns Night 2021: The Bard & His Ballads

A tale of whisky and haggis, and of how Robbie Burns would emerge as a champion for the common man

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Bill Reekie and his then-four-year-old granddaughter Lily. Photo contributed
Alzheimer’s – the Unplanned Journey

By Jocelyn Reekie Special to the Mirror “January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month… Continue reading

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

Most Read