Two years in the works

Actually, if we count my master planning, it’s been closer to five years, but it was two years ago when Chenoa and I moved into our house.

Shortly after that we levelled the backyard, brought in some dirt and laid out my pump track.

It’s not a big yard, but I was efficient with the space and we squeezed in as many rollers and berms as possible, while still allowing room for a deck and some green space. When I say green space, I mean Chenoa had room on the track’s infield to plant some ferns. On a side note, ferns are a great way to soften the blow when things go sideways.

At that point it looked like a pump track, but it needed some final shaping, compacting and fine tuning. Then life happened and the pump track was bumped down the priority list. Soon after that winter arrived, and when spring finally came back around it was no longer a pump track, but more resembled an overgrown gravel pit.

We weeded, repaired and cleaned up the mess and to get it looking like a pump track again. We just needed to do some final shaping, compacting and fine tuning…and then we got busy. Soon after that winter hit and when spring finally arrived again we were back to the overgrown gravel pit yet again.

Almost two years in and I hadn’t ridden the track yet, but I had spent so many hours weeding it I was thinking of starting a landscape business.

I was getting discouraged and wondering if I should just level it all and plant some grass. Maybe I could try again when I retire and have some spare time?

But, Chenoa and I cleaned it up and got it back to square one last month. Just as we were getting busy and I was watching the vicious cycle starting over again, one of the riders in our youth club told me he built a pump track in his yard last week.


So I went home that night, put my kids to bed and got out the shovels, rakes and tamper. I shaped it, rode it, reshaped it and rode it again. It took a few days of finessing, but with my new determination it no longer just looks like a pump track.

It was a long process and ended up being way more work than I ever thought, but it was well worth the effort.

I am starting to figure out all the little sweet spots and you wouldn’t believe how much fun a 49 year old mountain biker can have in his backyard with a few piles of dirt and a bike. Oh yeah, my kids love it too.

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