What’s It Like To Be A Mountain Bike Guide?
I hear the same comments every week: "You are so lucky!" "I would give anything to do this!" "You're living the dream!" You know, at first I wasn't so sure, but I'm starting to believe it—in fact, I'm absolutely convinced. Working as a mountain bike guide, I am actually living the dream. And if the grass is greener on the other side, well, I've landed in the grass and I'm going to roll around in it for as long as I can. In no particular order, here are a few reasons why mountain guide life is the good life.
Our job is your one week vacation
How many of these places are on your bucket list? Island in the sky and the Maze in Canyonlands National Park, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, the Redwoods, Sun Valley, Idaho, Crested Butte, Colorado... That’s our work schedule for the summer.
Last week I swam in two lakes, the Sevier river, and a perfect little hole in the Virgin river. This week, the Umpqua in Oregon and the Pacific Ocean. Jump in, cool off, throw your bike shoes back on, and start pedaling through the beauty. A quick dip is always a good idea.
Six states in three months is a lot of moving around and home is where the truck is parked or the sleeping bag is stretched out. But the mountain west sure isnʼt a bad place to explore: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Idaho. Where to next?
Itʼs hard to close your eyes at night when you feel like you might miss a shooting star, but Iʼm usually tired enough to be out within a few minutes. And nothing beats a paco pad beneath the desert sky.
Cold beer never tasted so good
Long days, hard work, unexpected challenges and unruly weather can add up. One of the best things about guiding is cooler sittinʼ with a cold beer in hand.
Everything I own fits in a 5x8 storage unit. In fact, thereʼs still room if someone wants to share it. I’ve got no permanent address, either. Just a PO Box in a sweet little mountain town. And even though there are moments when I desire a little more stability, right now I crave this life. I love the simplicity, the ability to roam, and the freedom from too many possessions. Less is more.
Dutch oven cooking, mountain bike maintenance, trailer backing, wilderness medicine, 4-wheeling, drinking games … not a bad way to build a resume!
The people I work with are awesome, inspiring, knowledgeable, patient, hilarious, motivated, committed to excellence, and super fun. They travel the world, live out of their cars, live simply, and make peopleʼs days better just by being themselves.
I had a guy in his 70s on a White Rim trip, and he was the most enthusiastic guest for sure. He loved every minute of the trip, rode every section or pushed his own bike if he had to. He was the first to rip it on the downhills. LOVES LIFE. He had lost his son in a skiing accident a few years back. He said his son died when he was young, so he wanted to live when he was old, and really live. I love peopleʼs stories and how they inspire and ignite passion.
This quote has been my inspiration for a few years and I feel like I'm getting to live it out as a guide for Western Spirit. :
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his own vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always appears to be doing both.
—Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand