ABOUT BEING ENDURO GUIDE #1
What it’s like to be an Enduro Guide? That’s the question I’m asked by riders on almost every tour.
Usually Enduro companies are small teams doing what they like the most – ride. But not only riding means guiding, there is much more. There are some listed:
- Talking and writing to riders from whole world
- Lot of talking and writing
- Arranging and synchronizing tour dates
- Bike preparations
- Van, trailer and tools preparations
- Organizing the guests arrivals
- Arranging special requests for accommodation and food
- Shooting photos and videos
- Checking the bikes after rides, maintenance
- Paper work
- Preparing and exploring new tracks
I’ll write about some of them in next articles, but there is one that I consider as most important – that’s the relations between you as a guide and the riders. I always say, and that’s my rule N1, that riding is fun as long as all riders are safe and no injuries occur. Which means establishing mutual trust between guide and riders.
It starts long before you meet the guys – while arranging tour over mail or phone. You got to be responsive, flexible to satisfy all reasonable requests, honest to say if something you’re not able to fulfill and respectful towards other companies who might be your competitors.
Let’s suppose that job was perfectly done, guests arrived, they’re all on the bikes, engines started, I’m waving for takeoff. Let’s roll 🙂
We’ve had more than 350 riders from all around the world, all ages, all fitness and skill level and still we get something different every time.
First task that have to be done accurately in first 30 minutes of first riding day is skill level proper evaluation of each rider in a group. It allows you to correctly choose warm up, order of riders in the group and tracks. We always remember that people sometimes arrived from very distant places, Australia and Canada for example, and that they had been preparing for a long time before actually all happened which means you just HAVE TO help them to get used to bikes and terrains and to roll them in very smoothly. We also remember ourselves years ago when we got excited while trying to catch after more experienced riders in a group which sometimes caused disappointment, damages and injuries. We don’t want that (remember rule N1).
The more experienced you are, the less time you need for that first task. Ok, we did it. What’s next?
Then, after we find out their skills, we have to know their fitness and what kind of persons they are. That’s task N2. In order to do that, we rise a difficulty a bit, mostly by using some particular uphill. Some of them have to push and struggle, some would ride it without a problem. There you see who asks for help after being exhausted, who will never ask, who helps without asking, who just ride up, turn off engine and start to look in telephone, who gets pissed off and so on. The picture started to piece together.
Now we know who do we have to pay attention to, who to wait at some particular places which are usually uphills, who would need just a technical tip and who on contrary wouldn’t listen even in nuclear war.
Knowing fitness level, for example, allows you to make breaks without asking no one. Why it is so important? Because no rider will ever confess that he needs a 3 minutes rest and will continue until armpump causes accident. So you got to look after all group but especially the less fit one, and when you notice that he is exhausted, just say that we make a brake without asking it. You saved his pride and what’s even more important – his health.