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 friends. I'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!