The only retiring Swicked Cycles owner James Durand expects he'll do is retiring customers' bikes. Photo submitted

So much pressure…So much pride

By James Durand

By James Durand

As you may have read, we’re moving house. With moving comes mayhem, packing, carrying really heavy stuff that makes you wonder, “why did I buy this stupid couch?”

But, it also has you going through your things, and some pretty amazing memories pop up.

As I was cleaning out my garage last week, the last thing I took off the wall was a huge poster my daughter made in 2015.

The first time I saw it was after a 12-hour disaster of a trip to southern Washington for a 50-mile mountain bike race.

As I arrived and started to set up camp, I climbed into my trailer and saw this big poster taped across all the cabinets. It was a gift secretly planted by my five-year-old daughter.

I had trained for months and after all my planning and overthinking, I had set a goal of 4 hours 45 minutes … right up until I saw Rhyley”s poster with a squiggly “GO DADDY GO, 4:36.”

Sadly, Rhyey had no idea what she had just done, but I was confident I could pull it off and make my little redhead proud. “It’s only nine minutes right?”

I awoke the next morning ready to rock. The start gun went off and I rode away as planned. I was pacing myself well, I was feeling great, and I was well on pace for 4:30.

About a third of the way through the race, usually a place I am still feeling strong no matter how hard I push, I could feel leg cramps coming on. By the time I got to the first aid station, the one I had planned on skipping to save time, I was feeling desperate and stopped to drink anything they had to offer.

Soon after that, the cramps hit hard. I couldn’t stop pedalling at any point or my legs seized up completely – 4:36 was looking optimistic. Falling into the ditch and crying was looking very realistic.

I couldn’t believe how much pain I was experiencing and I had more than 25 miles of gruelling riding left. Every part of my body screamed “QUIT NOW!” but what would Rhyley think if her Dad just gave up?

it was a couple of hours of agony, yelling at myself, and staring at the little picture of Rhyley I had taped to my bars.

I had to stop a few times to massage my legs so I could make them spin the pedals again. I stopped at every aid station to drink anything I could get my hands on, and I was panicking. I just had to finish, no matter what it took. The only goal I had left was to get home and be able to tell my daughter that I didn’t quit.

Eventually, I came across the finish line and collapsed in agony. I didn’t make Rhyley’s time of 4:36, I missed my personal goal of 4:45 by 50 seconds, but I finished. I wasn’t happy, but I somehow made it to the end.

Things don’t always go as planned, we can’t control our surroundings, but quitting is never an option.

It’s a lesson my Dad taught me, and it’s one I want to teach my kids.

Rhyley’s poster will be front and center in the new bike room, and it will always bring back memories of pain … and pride.

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

Campbell River Mirror

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