I was born and grew/growing up in Whitefish, MT and working for The Cycling House has been life-changing for me. I have always loved riding my bike ever since my uncle (Brendan Halpin- Director of Trips) got me, my first strider. As a kid, I never knew what my uncle did for work; I just knew that when I was growing out of my bike, he was the guy to call. But once I did find out what he did, I knew that it was my dream job. I worked my first trip in the summer of 2021; it was all I dreamed of and more.
Before working for The Cycling House, biking meant getting big air, racing hard, and skinned knees. Of course, friends were a huge part of riding to me, but its meaning completely changed. The purpose of cycling became so many new things; coffee, food, people, views, distance, grade, stories, and so much more. It became a lifestyle that I can’t believe is real, especially as a teen; I get to do what I love for work?! Not many teenagers I know can say that. Neither do they learn the things I did on trips, not only from my co-workers but also from all of the guests that have so many tips and skills to teach me before I am in the real world. I learned that guests love to ask me what my plans are for college, and as often as the question is, I’m never annoyed by it because I know I am about to get knowledge from someone who has lived a lot more life than I have. Some other lessons that I learned are- its “What would you like?” not “What do you want?” and that cycling doesn’t need to go with coffee, but it sure is a lot easier when it’s there, even though it tastes terrible, always check your water bottles before you take a drink. You never know what you will find in there. I learned many lessons, but one of the big ones is you got to keep an eye on Owen; after he was struck by lighting, he has been a little off.
I am on the Flathead NICA team and have raced mountain biking for the past two years. At the same time, I do Cross Country running, trying to beat my uncle’s 5k time to earn bragging rights until he very quickly puts me back into my place after losing a bet or a race with him. I also do Track and field running long-distance events and relays in the spring. I currently go to Whitefish High School and try to ride my bike as much as possible with my friends and family. No matter how many skinned knees or flat tires I get, I will never stop riding my bike. After only a year of working for The Cycling House, I will never say no to working on a trip.
What do you love most about working at The Cycling House?
The best thing about The Cycling house is the people. There is nothing quite like a group of people who all love to ride their bikes and live together for a week. No matter how different everyone is, they all have one thing in common, but they all realize how much they have in common. Almost all love food and coffee; even if they don't care for food, it's hard not to when you are served a meal by one of the fantastic chefs at The Cycling House. As much as it is meeting new people and hearing about their lives, it's about seeing and feeling the bonds made on a trip. Between guests and staff, by the end of the week, you have joined a new family. The bonds I have made on trips have become lifelong friendships and changed the work environment. Seeing guests connect is amazing; I love to see the difference from the first to the last day. Guests show up being friendly with each other and introducing themselves to eating dinner with old friends, and exchanging contact information so they can stay in touch with each other to plan the next trip!
What is your favorite ride?
Although I love all of the rides done on trips I must say that my favorite is going from West to East Glacier. There's something about Going to the Sun Road that never gets old, the feeling of accomplishment at the top can't be beaten. Then going over 2 more equally as beautiful passes top it off. Along with the views, the stoke of accomplishment is record levels high. Along with that one, Mount Lemmon and Beartooth pass are at the top of the list too. There's nothing like climbing a mountain on your bike.
What's your most memorable day on a bike?
The Heart Butte road on the Glacier to Yellowstone trip with Speedy Claeson. He was on a Pinarello E-bike that had been having issues but even without the motor working he was still cruising along enjoying the Big Sky. At an aid station we checked the bike out and got the battery working again. We only had a few miles left so I told him he could put it on turbo and fly back to camp if he wanted. Naturally, he cranked it up all the way(I had to put it on turbo because he is colorblind and couldn't see what mode it was on) and hopped on. As soon as he started pedaling the motor kicked in and he was flying up the hill. It took all I could to keep up with him while he was laughing away, not even breaking a sweat. Seeing his happiness after riding the bike for around 30 miles without any assistance made my day. That was the highlight of his trip and made it so that he could keep up with his BA wife and enjoy the trip. It's the most memorable though because even when he had no help from the bike he was still cracking jokes left and right and loving the ride; that's why it's my favorite day on the bike.