Tuesday, August 18, 2015

And miles to go before I sleep

It's pretty rare I go for several weeks without a post.  Sometimes I find experiences are so grand and both my mind and body are so spent in the best possible way, words can do no justice and so I stop writing.  Instead, I let these experiences settle down a bit in my body--kinda like curing cement--before I choose to write about them.

You may assume the past two weeks brought adventures from afar--a grand bikepacking adventure of sorts.  On the contrary.  Instead, I spent the past two weeks enjoying every single part I love about Wisconsin and my amazing group of cycling friends.  The rides weren't glitzy or glamorous, just miles and miles of pure pleasure (and some pain I must admit) and they will be forever imprinted in the creases of my mind.

Getting to ready to roll out with Dan for Dairyland Dare 200km

Meredith and Tim heading out of a long, hot, hilly and fabulous ride to Devil's Lake
Rehydration stop in a tunnel
Rebuilding a cairn for another friend on the H8TR trail

In times like this, I consider myself to be the luckiest girl on earth.  The fact I have people in my life who want to experience the small things with me on a regular basis and can make me laugh, and me them, when struggling up big climbs or through bonks, puts everything in perspective.  Although I love the type of work I do, I don't live to work.  Although there is yard work and chores to be done, there are very few things that can't wait another day.  When it comes down to it, I always go back to a few basic necessities:  friends, movement, sleep, nourishment (both solid and liquid form), music, learning and laughter.  As I get older--another year is about to get added on--I realize I'm quite happy being a simple girl and have very little interest in piling more things onto the table.  Thanks go out to my friends who share these basic things with me and make so many moments memorable!

Memorable day--NOT a memorable beer :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Ladies, The Ladies!

Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.

-W. Clement Stone

I truly had one of the most enlightening, albeit short, conversations on a ride yesterday with two women--one who I've gotten to ride with a fair amount over the past year and one I've only met at a couple gravel events, but never got to ride with until now.

The conversation somehow got started when I told one of the riders why I usually tend not to ride with many women or have a lot of close female friendsI'm pretty sure I've mentioned in previous posts I was raised around guys--especially in the cycling community.  Growing up I usually had one close female friend, and the rest were all boys/men.  So here's the thing...until yesterday, I've been mostly criticized and judged for this.  For some reason women seem to think that I just don't "like" other women--not true, and men just see me as another guy--not true again.  Simply put, I'm drawn to things most guys like--being active, adventure, beer...you get the point.  Not to say that other women aren't drawn to this as well, but in my experience working as an outdoor guide, there is this very strange competition between women which usually arises when you get two outdoorsy women together--and I don't like it.

Back to the ride yesterday.  I was so damn lucky to ride with two unbelievably strong, bright, talented and gracious women who not only liked to be active but also had fantastic senses of humor and a similar outlook to mine.  It was exactly what I was looking for in female riding companions.  Our conversations went everywhere from work to mortgages to training to beer/food, to ahem, a few TMI discussions.  No bitching about our family, no catty behavior and no ego.  I know, I know, not all men behave this way either, but I usually find a bit more grounded normalcy when I hang out with them.  These women proved me wrong and made me really question my theory--and I loved it!

So here's the thing.  Not only did I enjoy riding with these women, but I also look up to them. They are the type of women I want to be seen as and that makes for really great people to hang around.  I guess this means I'm going to work a bit harder in the future to have women like this in my life and especially to ride with.  It's pretty cool when, at age *almost* 41 things can still really surprise you!  Thanks Meredith and Diane for the miles and miles of hills and laughter!