James Durand

Unexpectedly, it was the best 20 minutes

By James Durand

We left Swicked last Thursday with a small group of riders and were headed for Snowden.

It’s been a few very stressful weeks in my life. Chenoa and I are in the midst of simplifying our lives in the hopes of getting more free time, less stress, and a better balance.

Ironically, the process to get from our current situation to simple, is a tough transition that takes up a lot of time, therefore, less free time, more stress, and not nearly enough mountain biking.

So, on this Thursday I decided I needed to burn off some of my stress and went out pretty hard. I pushed on all the climbs and did my best to drop my buddies. We arrived at the damn and started into the freshly tuned Snowden trails at the same pace.

It felt great and I quickly forgot about life as I concentrated on the trails and my pounding heart. Considering how unfit I am these days, I was pleased to be staying ahead of the group.

After some great trails and a ton of fun, we were back at the damn ready to head back to Swicked. I realized I was exhausted from pushing past my limits all night and hinted that we should ride down the highway opposed to the single track option. Yes, this is sacrilege to a mountain biker, but I was about to start cramping and I was genuinely concerned my heart was about to burst if I didn’t step it back a notch.

Then Dave gave me this sad little look stating clearly how disappointed he was in my suggestion and I could’t help my self. I stepped up and followed him into the single track.

Apparently Dave had saved a bunch of his energy for this part of the ride, so we didn’t take it back a notch, but stepped it up several notches. I wasn’t willing to let Dave drop me without a fight, so I pushed harder than I have in months trying to keep up.

My legs were screaming, my heart beat went from a loud thumping to more of a steady beeeeeeeep, and I just kept pushing at Dave’s pace all the way to the bottom.

I should have collapsed on the spot, but I’d had so much fun “racing” that I couldn’t feel any pain.

I was happy to see Ken and Jordan right behind me with the exact same s#!t eating grin.

It always amazes me how much energy you can find if you have enough motivation, and sadly for me, getting dropped by younger and better riders is very motivating.

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