words by Amy David
The Wasatch bike scene has a little something for everyone, whether you’re a weekend warrior looking to rip the full Crest Trail or it’s your first time back in the saddle since training wheel days. With a multitude of resorts offering lift-assisted trail access paired with human-powered trails galore, the Wasatch Front is a mega hot spot for two-wheeled bliss.
It certainly takes some grit and guts to launch off a jump over rocks on a mountain bike. The same type of grit and motivation crossover to moving up in the workplace. There’s a batch of women in the Wasatch who shred on bikes and excel as leaders in their careers from lead field mechanical engineers, to pilots, to marketing directors and students. Overcoming fear and challenges on a bike translates to stepping up at work. For Episode 13, ride along with several Bike Bosses who are in top leadership positions in their careers and slay it on their mountain bikes.
Loud deep belly laughs, wild curly hair flying out of her full-face helmet, and a no-fear determined attitude are a few ways to identify Hailey Schiff. She has a knack for mastering airborne activities quickly and inspiring other people along the way. As a Colorado native, she only biked a few times a year as a kid. After moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, Hailey got her first full suspension mountain bike and became hooked on downhill after a friend took her to the Canyon’s Bike Park for the first time. The past two years, she’s been racing and placing while continually progressing her riding on more difficult terrain at faster speeds.
“Another huge part of my riding progression has been riding with women by doing lady trains off features. When you see her do it and it’s like, ‘okay she can do it and she’s my size. She didn’t do anything fancy off of it, she just did it. I can do it too!’ We build off of each other,” says Hailey.
In College, Hailey studied environmental science and has recently earned her pilot's license joining the 6% of certified pilots who are female. She describes how mountain biking has helped her in pursuing this career, “Biking has shown me what I’m capable of mentally and physically. I think that’s translated over to my career as a pilot, being able to manage fear, fast quick thinking, problem-solving, line choice. In biking it’s coming at you so fast, where you’re going, how fast you’re going, looking ahead - similar to being in the cockpit of a plane managing so many instruments and what’s happening in the sky.”
Joy started mountain biking in 1995 and began racing cross-country in 1999 for the Cal Poly Wheelmen while studying at California Polytechnic. She raced cross-country for 10 years building a strong foundation of bike handling skills. Joy explains how conquering more challenging terrain helped her grow self-confidence in daily life knowing she could do what she put her mind to.
In 2005, Joy started racing downhill progressing to the pro division. She recently was named Queen of the Showdown after a second-place finish racing at Sundance Mountain Resort's downhill race. This summer she is teaching technical riding skills to all levels of mountain bikers. Specifically, she hosts an all-women bi-monthly mini skills clinic series with And She’s Dope Too. The clinics cover topics from body position, braking, manuals, drops, switchbacks to jumping and steep descents.
Professionally, Joy works in a major leadership position at a company called Solar Turbines. She earned a mechanical engineering degree from Cal Poly where only 10% of her school was women. During challenging moments pursuing her degree, Joy explains, “I’d be in class taking a test stressing if I could get the equations done, and in the back of my mind I’d tell myself ‘You rode that really gnarly line yesterday, you totally got this!’ So that’s the awesome part about mountain biking, is taking the empowerment on the trail, to the classroom, to your job. It’s really helped me believe in myself.”
The teenage girl who has the fastest times in the pro women division at enduro mountain bike races. That’s Lauren. Growing up in Salt Lake City, she started racing cross-country at age six, then soon evolved to gravity contests once she turned 11, racing both downhill to super-d and dual-slalom. She’s 15 now and competes at the pro-level in Enduro races across the country and is part of acclaimed Yeti Cycles Ambassador Team. In 2017 Lauren won 18 & Under Women Enduro National Champion, 4th place Overall Pro Women Scott Enduro Cup, 2nd place Pro Women Scott Enduro Cup Moab, Womens Cat A Utah State Champion Cyclocross, and the year before, earned age 13-14 Junior Women Downhill National Champion. The girl rips!
Lauren is half-way through high school and with her drive and determination to succeed, she'll set a strong example for girls to push their limits. “When you hit a new drop or take a corner faster, and seeing how much you can improve and push yourself as a person, it’s made me a stronger more resilient person. I’ve had crashes that could have made me quit entirely, and have come back from them and pushed through to realize that’s how life goes.”
Summer solstice is right around the corner maxing out the sunshine each day which means more time to hit the trails. Stay up to date on summer happenings in the Wasatch with @SkiUtah, and join my personal travels on Instagram @AmyJaneDavid. Thank you for reading and watching the stories of the Wild Women of the Wasatch!
More inspiring #WildWomen of the Wasatch stories:
Watch Ep01 Adaptive Sports
Watch Ep02 Chicks Who Rip
Watch Ep03 Dawn Till Dark
Watch Ep04 Escape the Heat
Watch Ep05 Mountain Canine Companions
Watch Ep06 Steep Jobs
Watch Ep07 Local Pioneers
Watch Ep08 Boarder Babes
Watch Ep09 Spring Fling
Watch Ep10 Who are the Wild Women
Watch Ep11 Gnarly Nurses
Watch Ep12 Mountain Mamas