Yesterday, I did my first “ride guide” gig for Rothrock Outfitters. Though I’ve been riding mountain bikes regularly for a couple years now, I know most of the trails in the area, and I’ve done plenty of river guiding and have helped lead group rides a few times in the past, I was nervous. I had never taken a group of strangers out on a ride by myself, much less in Rothrock State Forest, where it can be easy to get lost, and the trails are tough and technical.
But I was also excited for the challenge, and I want to get into more guiding, so I felt this was a great opportunity to start overcoming that nervousness and gain a bit of self-confidence in myself as a leader. And, I was getting paid to mountain bike, and show people the places I love to ride.
After a bit of a miscommunication about the meeting spot, the group of three guys from Pittsburgh and myself got a later-than-expected start, but it all worked out. I still was able to take them on the ride I had planned for them — a mix of some of my favorite trails that best showcased the “Rothrock Experience” without being too difficult for those not used to riding there. And at the end of the day, their exclamations of “that was awesome!” meant everything to me. It was one of the best feelings in the world, to know that I showed them exactly the experience they came here for.