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The dream ride

By James Durand

By James Durand

It’s been years and years and still, I’ve never been able to put the pieces together so that this one dream could become a reality.

I’ve dreamt of a Grand Birthday Ride for 20 plus years. I’d gather up all my friends and acquaintances, old racing buddies, work mates, and family, then plan a big mountain bike ride with loads of fun trails, a ton of climbing and even more descending. Then finish it up with a fun backyard social, completely exhausted and basking in the sun.

I’ve been on a few of these rides for other friends and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate my birthday.

I have tried to plan some of these for myself, but the best I ever managed was one ride with one friend that showed up and we rode 52 km on my 52nd b-day.

Sadly, being that my birthday is in early February, about 45 of the 52 km’s were in the snow, and there was no after party, no basking, and no celebration. Just a long cold ride ending with a “Hey Dude, Happy Birthday, I gotta hit the shower to warm up.”

One year I decided to identify as an August baby. I wrote a long letter to my family and explained my thoughts and tried to officially change my B-day to Aug. 9. It didn’t work at all, no-one cared about my lack of birthday riding and they sent me gifts and cards in early February much like every other year. Wow, some people take this birth certificate thing really seriously.

At that point I basically gave up the dream and settled for short, wet, and cold rides on my birthdays, or none at all if the snow was too deep. Stupid February Birthday!

This year, in the middle of January and frustrated with cold and wet weather, Chenoa planned a road trip to California. In all honesty, I wasn’t really listening that well when she laid it out to me, and didn’t pay attention to any of the details she had planned.

I heard her say, “Riding in the sun.”

I quickly answered, “I’M IN!”

As we got closer to our departure date, which I had to ask Chenoa about, I realized that my birthday would fall right in the middle of our trip. Could this be my chance to finally get my dream birthday celebration?

Well, it turns out that none of my friends would up and leave at the last minute to come to Laguna Beach (Their priorities are a bit off if you ask me). So maybe not the perfect birthday ride, but still a huge improvement over years past.

I turned 55 last Thursday, I rode 55 km’s on some of my favourite trails, I basked in the sun, and I celebrated on a roof top patio watching the sun set over the pacific with my favourite person … Actually does sound pretty close to perfect doesn’t it?

Hmmm, maybe this will have to become an annual event, anyone interested in joining me next year for 56 on my 56th, in California of course.

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

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