But after the blessings of a dry spring, on the doorstep of summer we were hit with more Teton-typical June weather. All week the clouds hung pregnant with moisture and bipolar storms rushed in from the northwest and got trapped in the horseshoe of the south valley. I was going to race bikes on Wednesday (!) but with intermittent rain, snow, and hail showers, the organizers postponed it. The trails here are delicate flowers and etiquette dictates that everyone gives them ample recovery time after weather. It's not Pisgah; here we don't have those beefy pre-IMBA fall line trails, weathered by decades of erosion and covered with loam as absorbent as a dark, organic-smelling sponge. Fortunately it's also not Tahoe; ample tree canopy and a lack of decomposed granite makes me a happy bike rider.
|We rode this the other day. It's hard to find a trail without views of the Grand.|
Pic courtesy of MBT
Work is heavy: cranking out as many bars as possible and then transitioning straight into the ordered chaos of the bike shop. Talking to customers about gear makes me sweat--I'm always second-guessing myself and wondering if they can see through me. But I love the vibe and the crew. The crusty mechanics accepted me into their club and I feel totally at home in my new position. Here I don't have to brave the turbulent currents of over-familiarity and politics I encountered in my last (beloved) shop. It doesn't hurt that now I get my own sweet, sweet deals, unreliant on the negotiating power of boyfriends or the whims of the KOP. My only employee purchase thus far (insane self control) was a bell, which I merrily ring through verdant corridors, calling out conversationally, "Hey bear," and hoping any large mammal, ursine or cervidae, will be alerted and will mosey away.
|After work rides are great when the sun doesn't set until 10.|
My bosses (one from each establishment, both muscular, short-haired, and ageless women, badass life-juggling entrepreneurs) have showed me rides all over the valley. When left to my own devices, I'll plot something questionable on the map and drag Tyler along. The trail-building community is strong here, and when we're not riding it's fun to attend a dig day and ingratiate ourselves with the local hoe-owners by applying McLeod to dirt for a couple hours. The Valley is also dotted with Fight Club'esque unofficial trails that are well-ridden, spoken of in hushed tones, and rad as shit. This article explains the Teton Pass trail history, but here on the Idaho side the ranchers and ATVers have a much stronger presence, so guerrilla trails stay that way. Last week The Kate took us back by her house to shred some of these unpolished, steep, log-strewn joyrides. I felt like I was in Pisgah, if Pisgah was moon-dusty and moto-rutted.
It doesn't suck. But summer begins tomorrow and already I'm panicking that the snows will come before I fully reap the recreational wealth this valley has to offer.