David Main: Former golf GM on biking, bears and the business

I came to know David Main a few years ago when an industry friend suggested we were like-minded and might get along. I connected with him for a conversation about the game over lunch and we continued those conversations for the coming couple of years. At the time David was the GM at the prestigious Beacon Hall GC in Aurora. Last year, amidst nasty infighting at the club, David departed and this summer he’s committed to biking across the country — solo. He’s raising money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation along the way, and connected with me about his plans for the ride, the personal challenge it entails and his eventual return to golf.

David’s blog on his ride, which starts on May 20 and runs through August, can be found at

RT: What made you decide to try such an adventure?

I thought if i wasnt going to be working this summer i wanted to do something productive, something challenging and outside the norm.  Having gone through a few recent setbacks (job loss and divorce) my thinking was to do something that will help me reset my compass. Over the past several years I have been too focused on proving myself to others (family, friends, colleagues, clubs etc).  Sometimes it takes a setback or two to realize you have nothing to prove but to yourself.  Any time I start feeling down about what I have dealt with I think of my Aunt who is dealing with Breast Cancer and know I have nothing to complain about.  Her strength and courage, like many others who have dealt with Cancer, is the reason I am fundraising for Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

RT: What has been the most challenging aspect to date — what do you expect on the road?

David Main: There are several cyclists who have done this journey before me so I must admit using their knowledge made the planning stage relatively easy.  Sticking to the training and conditioning schedule has been the most challenging but i keep my focus knowing this is in essence my current job!    As I approach day one (May 20th) and during the ride i expect the mental focus will be the toughest challenge, essentially the solitude of cycling 8+hrs a day continually…your mind tends to wonder.  Any distance runner will tell you the same thing, you go through mental stages during the long time on the road by yourself.  I am learning to expect those stages and embrace them.

RT: Give readers a sense of what this involves.

David Main: This is a solo journey, no supply truck or others with me.  That said I am expecting friends and colleagues to be joining me for portions fo the ride as anyone is more than welcome to tag along for the day.  I will be averaging 110km a day which should go at an average of 20km/hr so 5-6hrs of cycling time. I will rest approximately 10min every hour with a half hour lunch break.  I will tow everything i need with me on a trailer (approximately 50+lbs of weight), to include bike repair supplies, tent, sleepingbag, ultralight stove and fuel, clothes, raingear etc.  I have mapped a route that will see me camping at provincial parks and local campgrounds across the country.  I am planning to ride 5 days a week and expect the total trip (7924km) to take 102 days. The most grueling part will be Allison Pass and Rogers Pass both with elevation changes over over 1000ft and steep grades, however more challanging could be the flats of the prairies with a strong headwind!  Bugs, Blackflies and Bears will also be a challange in their own way. Rain or shine the ride goes on!

RT: You’ve been a GM at some of the top private clubs in the country — what do you take from that experience to this?

David Main: Club management is a very dynamic environment where you are constantly learning, researching, planning, evaluating progress and adapting.  My trip has been an excercise in all of these, researching the ride, creating a promotional plan, developing a website, preparing and soon to be executing.  I am expecting that i will be evaluting my progress daily and likely encountering and adapting to many things i didn’t expect! Many things will be beyond my control, like in club managment.

RT: Where do you go from here? Once it is done are you back to the business? What’s next for David Main?

David Main: I do expect to learn a lot about myself over the summer and intend to take what i learn from this tour to make myself that much better in club management.  Where I’ll be, I can’t say for sure, but it will be in club management as that is where my passion is.  I am fortunate to have this opportunity to explore my physical and mental limits, when I return in the fall I believe I will be in a great place to add value to the next club I work with.


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi David,
    I hope you are still in one piece.
    You are a brave individual and I know you will learn a lot! I don’t even like bugs so you have my adminration.
    Take care of yourself .

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