Hugo Donais is no stranger to challenging the status quo – evidenced by his recent decision to offer a $2.5M lot in the Uplands for Bitcoin. The 34-year-old financial advisor is pushing boundaries again with another property in the Uplands. Donais bulldozed the backyard of a $2.2M property on Nottingham Rd., brought in truckloads of dirt, and is building himself a dirt jump park and pump track for BMX and mountain biking.
“A lot of people have asked me, ‘Why do this? And why in the Uplands?’” said Donais, who used to ride professionally when he was in his teens and early 20s. The Uplands, one of North America’s premier residential developments near Victoria, B.C. was chosen because of the size of the lots that are available. His answer to the why gave some insight into his approach to life.
“Sometimes people grow up doing something they love and then they get into work, business, school, raising a family and 30 years goes by. The next thing they know they’re 60-years-old and wishing they’d done this or wishing they’d done that,” said Donais. “I don’t think I’ll be able to jump my bike 40 ft when I’m 65 so it’s either now or never.”
While the yard currently looks like a rugged moonscape, there has been a lot of work done and a lot more to go. Donais had to figure out the drainage system to make sure there was no overflow of water onto the neighbours property. He had to build an oxygen system for the roots of the Garry Oaks on the back of the property. He also had to get a fill permit to bring in the many truckloads of dirt.
“Right now it looks like a total disaster but if you come back in a few months you’ll see it’s going to have lots of beautiful, perfectly-shaped jumps and all the rocks will be gone,” said Donais. “It takes about three or four months by hand to finish the whole park. So when you come back in the spring it will look quite different.”
Donais started racing mountain bikes in 1995 on a small ski hill behind his house in Quebec . In 2000, he started racing downhill and made the national team in 2001. He raced in the Quebec circuit, Canada Cup and World Cup.
“I stopped in 2005 and got into finance,” said Donais. “Started into the rat race, if you will.”
Last March, missing his old passion, Donais signed up for a race. In the four months leading up to the March 4 race day, he cut back to working part time so he could train almost full time, losing 27 pounds in the process. In the end, his preparation won him the master category in cross-country.
“I thought hey, let’s just do it. Let’s get on with life here,” said Donais.
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