What I Did This Summer- Michigan Ice Fest Guides Nic Dobbs


Gypsy, wanderer, roamer, nomad… these are just some of the terms that have been thrown at me over the last few years. As a rep for Giant Bicycles, I spend most of my time on the road. I travel over 250 days and visit 30+ states in a single year. My territory includes all of the Central states from Michigan to the Dakotas, all the way down to Texas and Florida. My job basically requires me to “chase summer” and once it starts getting cold and snowy in the Northern states, I head down South.

My day-to- day usually begins with me navigating past powdered eggs and stale sausages at the hotel continental breakfast…. oatmeal has become a close friend of mine. Next I climb into my truck and hook up a 30-foot trailer full of demo bikes. When I get to my demo location, I pull out over 50 bicycles from my trailer… that’s right 50! I’m pretty lucky to have access to so many awesome toys. My next 5 -6 hours are spent setting up the crowds on the latest and greatest mountain and road bikes that Giant Bicycles has to offer.


My day wouldn’t be complete without a ride for myself though. One of the greatest things about being in all these new towns and great wilderness locations, is I get to play in most of them as well. In the last week alone, I’ve rode 5 new trail systems and climbed at 2 new rock climbing gyms. I travel with my climbing gear because…. why the heck not! Most of my climbing during the summer is spent bouldering in a random rock gym, because I travel solo. But whenever I get near a true outdoor crag and can dig up a friend I haven’t seen in a while, I make sure to get outside and climb some real rock.

One of the amazing places I’ve travelled to this summer was Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you haven’t been here yet, this place is truly a gem. Amazing biking can be found as well as some really good bouldering. High on the list was also Bentonville, Arkansas. Although I didn’t stumble upon any rocks to scale with my fingers, the rocks and dirt under my tires seemed to be endless and a pleasant surprise considering I was in the middle of what people expect to be farmland. A pleasant surprise and one of the last places I’d expect to climb good rock was outside of Austin, Texas. My good friend Chirs and I Simul climbed an amazing 300 foot slab of granite in just 11 minutes, definitely no record but it was so much fun.

My favorite place though had to have been right at home in Marquette, Michigan. I may be a little biased, but I truly love the place I get to call “my backyard”. The community, the cycling, the climbing, and the land are truly special.
The greatest thing about being a guide is that I get to change lives every day. The look
someone gets on their face when they just conquered their fear or found a new passion is indescribable. Ice climbing, like biking, can be a difficult sport. With a little coaxing and some properly timed tips and tricks, I get to help change that for everyone I work with. In a nut shell, this is my life. It is filled with new adventures and new experiences every single day. It’s an interesting lifestyle and one that I will be glad to look back at later in life. The one thing about “chasing summer” is that it makes me miss the cold and gives me the itch to climb ice! I love winter and can’t imagine living in a place without it. Which is why I
always look forward to my time off in the U.P. Cold days and North winds can’t come soon enough. Until then, look for me coming to your town with a trailer full of fun!



Nic calls Marquette Michigan his home and is a climber, cyclist, adventure seeker, friend, husband, and teacher, he is a student of life and all it has to offer.