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A TR: Life in the Saddle...Working on a Mountain Bike in The Tetons and Western Wyoming

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

The last week or so in Wyoming has been absolutely beautiful.  I'd thought I'd share a few pics of what I got going in the summer.

 

Since 2001, I've worked for Teton Mountain Bike Tours and am a Senior Guide.  I get to ride a bunch of grewat stuff, road and mountain, and get paid for it.  In no particular order her are a few pics of my last few days at work.  Guiding for ten years, I have zero pics of me, so I got my guided guests to snap a few pics of me.

 

Enjoy:

 

Togwotee Pass is about 60 miles NE of Jackson. We drive to the top of the pass and get one of the local ranches to send a hand to shuttle our car back to the bottom of the pass, some thousands of feet below and 22-40 miles away.  These flowers are Arrow Leaf Balsom Root.  These are everywhere.  A mountainous ocean of yellow.  Really cool.

 

balsom root.jpg

 

I like to size my guided guests on this little ssction of singletrack about five miles in.  They are moving pretty fast here and my outlook for the day was improving.  Getting the chance to guide singletrack with three stronger riders is the ultimate privledge.  So far so good, they were riding and climbing pretty fast. Yeah Buddy!

 

single track 1.jpg

 

Me and my StumpJumper by Specialized.  It is an excellent work bike.  5 inches of travel front and rear.  Fox Triad in the rear and Fox Float in the front.  Avid Juicy Hydraulic Brakes and lots of other sweet stuff.  This bike performs and I know how it will handle just about anywhere.  That said, I'm looking to trade it in for the 2010 Stumpy (anybody need a great deal on a well maintained, professionally ridden bike?)

 

In the foreground is a Kona 120.  It doesn't climb very well at all, but it descends like a dream.  Of I'm gonna be 25 miles in the backcountry, I'd rather have a bike that descends well than climbs well.  I've been on the scene of some pretty nasty accidents/evacs and stability downhill is way better than agility uphill for the average guided client.

 

overlook 1.jpg

 

Some sagebrush grabbed the front brake rotor on this guy's bike.  A few tweaks and we were rolling again.  My CamelBak H.O.S.S pack weighs around 30 lbs.  If I am going to be guiding in a dry area I'll carry and extra gallon of water for the clients in addition to my 100 oz in my CamelBak.  My H.O.S.S. pack is very comfortable.  A true performer.

 

brakes.jpg

 

Our state flower, Indian Paintbrush.

 

photo(11).jpg

 

This is a great little step.  I like to bring guests here to see how well they can downshift/climb.  This guy was a great rider.  He did great all day.  He and his wife were avid dirt bikers and it showed.  They knew how to ride.  The flowers were this nice all day.  Even for me, guaging a hill and the gear I should be in are still hard. I hate spinning out.

 

steep wild flowers.jpg

 

More later... Time to BBQ!!!

 

 

post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

More:

 

This is a great shot with the Tetons in the background.  I've seen a ton of bears here, both black bears and griz, so note the bear spray on my shoulder strap.  I've come pretty close to numerous bears and so far so good.  The bears are cool.  An excellent tip generator.

 

narrow orad.jpg 

 

This is a great steep section of singletrack.  The gal here is killing it.  She rode great all day and even participated in several ultra marathons at 48 y/o.  She's moving pretty fast here.  The surface is talc powder which makes turns at speed, well, interesting.  The flowers are everywhere.

 

photo(13).jpg

 

The random guy was OK.  Just OK.  He was an alright rider, but required constant maintenance.  He ate my food, drank my water, used my sunscreen, I carried his stuff, raided my first aid kit for trivial reasons, I took his picture a bunch of times and he stiffed me at the end of the day.  The other riders, the couple, greased me great and were very generous.

 

Here he is going down a nice, if blocky, section of singletrack.  I got down low to get a good pic.

 

photo(12).jpg

 

This morning I guided on the road from Colter Bay to Jenny Lake.  I had a few brews at the Wort last night (late) and was happy to have a few fast riders behind me.  We do the guiding for a few big adventure travel companies and I get the opportunity to guide a killer road ride a few times a week.  It is always a nice break from usual guiding as I don't have to talk to anybody.  Anybody who hires a guide for a road ride is generally looking for a rented mule to draft behind in high winds.  That is where I come in.  I'm a pretty good rider in a headwind.  Today there was a slight breeze, but nothing serious.

 

My road bike is a Specialized Rubaix Comp in Carbon.  Awesome work bike.  It has a more relaxed ride and isn't so tight and demanding.  My tires are Specialized Armadillos.  Spendy but bulletproof.  I hate changing flats with guided clients around.  it is a little heavy, but rolls nice and well, I've not changed a tire on the road in two years.

 

cathedral group.jpg

 

The road into North Jenny Lake and String Lake Parking Area...  Not bad!  I snapped this one from the handlebars of my trusty road bike.

 

cath group road.jpg

 

The other day Eden came along for a guided road ride in Yellowstone.  Wow, what a great day!  This is the Grand Pryzmatic from a small hill that is a nice, quiet overlook.  Few people visit this spot.  It was really hot this day and the wind felt like a hot air dryer.  We rode about 26 miles this day.  Not alot, but there's so much to see around the Old Faithful area.

 

yellowstone.jpg

 

and the Bonus Pic:

 

There is a summer art fair at the city park next to where we live.  Here is a pic of Eden modeling some jewelery for a sculptor from LA.  He was so impressed by the questions she asked about his art, he hired her to modle some of his jewelery.  He promptly send her home to get us (for permission).  When we returned, we found him a super guy and very interesting.  What a great oppotunity for Eden!  He told us he'd never done this before, but was so impressed with Eden, he needed an assistant for the show.  She not only modeled, but made several sales, one of them large.  He gave her a necklace and earrings he made.  We are so proud of her.  She did great.

 

eden silver.jpg

 

 

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

That's it...  No more thanks for reading!

 

post #4 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

The road into North Jenny Lake and String Lake Parking Area...  Not bad!  I snapped this one from the handlebars of my trusty road bike.

 

cath group road.jpg

 

 

and the Bonus Pic:

 

There is a summer art fair at the city park next to where we live.  Here is a pic of Eden modeling some jewelery for a sculptor from LA.  He was so impressed by the questions she asked about his art, he hired her to modle some of his jewelery.  He promptly send her home to get us (for permission).  When we returned, we found him a super guy and very interesting.  What a great oppotunity for Eden!  He told us he'd never done this before, but was so impressed with Eden, he needed an assistant for the show.  She not only modeled, but made several sales, one of them large.  He gave her a necklace and earrings he made.  We are so proud of her.  She did great.

 

eden silver.jpg

 

 

 

..That picture of Jenny/String Lake from your handlebars betters most taken from a tripod support.  Spectacular view!

 

..Good for Eden…understand why you have such pride. 


 

post #5 of 29

Great pics!  I love how you always seem to work in pictures of your kids.  It says a lot about you...all good.  The Grand Pryzmatic is spectacular.  I remember it from a couple of years ago when we went to Yellowstone with the family.

post #6 of 29

you have a cool job.

 

but I hate moon dust you can have it!

post #7 of 29

Great report as usual. Ignore BWPA, he is just hellbent on minimizing stoke that isn't his. Stephen, I know I have said it before but I will say it another way now..your kids are so blessed to have you as a father and roll model. You ARE the MAN! Eden was born in the wrong decade, she is sooo pulling off the 60's look. 

post #8 of 29

SIJ, You Freakin  Rock!

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Great report as usual. Ignore BWPA, he is just hellbent on minimizing stoke that isn't his. Stephen, I know I have said it before but I will say it another way now..your kids are so blessed to have you as a father and roll model. You ARE the MAN! Eden was born in the wrong decade, she is sooo pulling off the 60's look. 


he has freaking awesome job.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

you have a cool job.

 

but I hate moon dust you can have it!

BWPA, I think the thing PP was talking about is that your comments,(good or bad) are usually followed by some "dudly downer" comment. 

 

It may or may not be intended to 'anit-stoke', but that's how it can come across.
 

post #11 of 29

AS ALWAYS, thanks for sharing and giving us a little glimpse into the life of a rocky Mountain rock star (OK Tetons but its doesn't work as well with "tetons")  Eden is an awesome young lady as are all your kids. You and Mrs. SIJ should be so proud.

 

We are about to leave Steamboat tomorrow AM, it's harder and harder to go back home. The wildflowers are in full bloom, its like hiking/riding in a dream. BTW- yeah, that dust is not fun.

 

post #12 of 29

Cool TR (if thats what we should call it). I'd be interested to know how consistently you get work for that? Do multiple groups go out every day? How many guides are there? Do you go through dry spells?

post #13 of 29

epic, I can totally see you guiding in your area.  You should do it!

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

RE: misc questions above:

 

^^^The dust is a common trait of our trails.  Bentonite is a mineral component of poor quality clay.  Wet and dry it is a pain in the @ss.  When it it dry, it becomes the finest "Wyoming tooth polish", when wet it cakes onto your bike and won't come off.

 

^^^I know it will be tough to go back home Finn- you're right- come up here!  You are welcome to live in our VW bus and we'll even feed and beer you for a week or so!

 

^^^I guide 4-6 days a week from mid-June to mid-September.  As a Senior Guide I never get stuck in a slow time.  New guides regularly get stuck driving the sag/shuttle van- or not working.  Not me, I ride every chance I get.  The company has about 12 full time guides and about 3 more that can be pulled out of a hat when needed.  As you can imagine, permitting with the National Parks and the Forest Service is difficult.  Purposefully, I've given the owner (a close personal friend from before I worked for him) a wide berth on all of that stuff, honestly I don't know how it all works.  We have about 50 bikes and they get ridden one season, maybe two before he gets rid of them.  Our old bikes are all over town.  As you can imagine, we take pretty good care of them and they are still nice when he unloads them. 

 

I would do this job for free.  For a short season, the money is great.   A good guide can make a killing on tips.  And... it forces me to stay in shape for ski season.

post #15 of 29

Sounds liek a good job you have there. Look like some fun XC trails with awesome views.

 

Here is my secret weapon for defeting moondust. Blocky tires with no transition knobs. The lack of transition knobs leaves a void around the side knobs. This void channels away dust and loose debris and lets the side knobs dig deeper when you lay the bike over. But you gotta layem over.

post #16 of 29

Stephen,

Great TR, you live in a very sweet area and seeing the pics makes me want to get back soon. I'm sure your clients tell  many great stories about the super-enthusiastic guide they had. My wife had some clothes that looked very similar, back in the days when she wasn't a whole lot older than Eden.

 

What model is the Stumpjumper?

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post

 

 

What model is the Stumpjumper?


2008 Stumpjumper Comp bone stock. Except for WTB front rim & Shimano XT front hub.  Drove over the original one, in Yellowstone, on a tour.  Never wrecked beyond normal tumbles into the sagebrush.

post #18 of 29

 

Quote:

 The random guy was OK.  Just OK.  He was an alright rider, but required constant maintenance.  He ate my food, drank my water, used my sunscreen, I carried his stuff, raided my first aid kit for trivial reasons, I took his picture a bunch of times and he stiffed me at the end of the day.

 

 

Sorry for laughing, but there is one needy person almost every group.  I doubt you let that really bother you.  As usual, your post is awesome!  You have to be very near the top of this forum for average level of stoke per post.  Nothing short of OUTSTANDING

post #19 of 29

Another professional cyclist amongst us! Haha. I'd switch places with you in a heartbeat if it wasn't for that awful dust. Focus on the positives, the flowers and such. 

 

Am I the random guy? I took a guided tour in Jackson Hole once. I broke a pole and used one of my guide's poles to get out. Afterwards, I offered him a twenty but he refused it. 

post #20 of 29

Great stuff SIJ.  BTW, that moondust is a lot better than a sharp stick in the eye, or a multitude of other things I prefer not to think of .

Thanks,

JF

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

Lest you all think I'm riding in Nothing But Blue Skies...

 

 

Today was a rougher day on the job.  It was cold and rainy and a classic Wyoming September day.  Clear and cold early AM, morning showers, then a freezing cold rain and downpour. 

 

Here I am cold and wet, soaked to the bone.  The three families I was with had to take shelter in the trees and my cohort went to the van to return.  We were about 4.25 miles from the van.  I gave my sweater to a kid earlier (a mistake) and I got colder that I should have.  The poor kids were frozen when the van showed up about twenty minutes later.  The below storm was just starting.  It was so cold the car stopped to ask us if we needed help.  We were OK.

 

Antelope Flats.jpg

 

The storm was so impressive, I wanted to get a screen shot from Rain Radar, an excellent iPhone that happens to be free.  Ive been using it a lot to track afternoon thunderstorms.  My hope is that it will be good for SNOW! 

 

Here is a screenshot of the storm we went through.  The arrow shows he direction of travel of the storm.  The parents in the group decided to forge on, I was frozen at the end of a ride that started in the sunshine. 

 

radar.jpg

 

Ouch! 

 

OK, Ok, ok... I'll stop the blogging!

post #22 of 29

but your dirt is better now!

 

in utah its was best just after the rain left. :)

post #23 of 29

Sweet radar shot!  Anyone know if you can get that on the HTC Incredible?  Been looking for that.

 

Steph'  Zip up your jacket! :) 

 

My wife always makes fun of me when I pack for the day in CO, I carry a bunch of clif bars, shell and an extra layer in my pack.....

post #24 of 29
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

 

.....when wet it cakes onto your bike and won't come off.

 

Something like this?  (We have the same stuff up here in SW Montana.)

 

muddy_bike1.jpg

post #25 of 29

Why is your saddle so crooked?

post #26 of 29

I call it "getting clayed", & it sucks worse than moondust or DG (decomposed granite).

JF

post #27 of 29



set for mui-grande cajones..........

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Why is your saddle so crooked?

post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

The above storm resulted in 16 getting rescued form the Grand and 1 death.  That a big day for rescuers in the Park!

 

Very Sad.  It was pretty rough on the ground, I can't imagine what it was like up there (actually, I can...).  It sounds like the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers had their hand full with some pretty serious injuries.

 

Article Link here

 

post #29 of 29

it was covered on CNN today. very sorry to hear.

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