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Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

                    Just TRY!

It's always exciting and inspiring to see a chick out on the trails ripping it up. Being a girl, it can be intimidating trying to keep up with the fearless antics of the boys. Hell, I see male riders who are intimidated by the maneuvers some of the more technically skilled guys throw down without any thought. Regardless, none of this should stop anyone from trying.

Men seem to have enough ego to challenge themselves most of the time, but the women seem to have more of a monopoly effect. One rider can control the actions of the entire group. One girl second guesses herself, and the rest of the group folds. It's like a Get Out of Jail Free card.
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       Do one thing every day that scares you.

I, myself, have fallen victim to this conundrum. The downfall of this group behavior is, 'Get Out of Jail Free' equals 'Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.'

If the group stalls itself from trying, no one in the group will progress.

 

What's stopping you?

When I started riding, I started with a group of women. Honestly, I saw what the guys were doing and knew I was not ready for any of that yet. So I worked on my skills with the girls; my lines, my climbing, my fear of bridges and hatred of rocks... We were learning and developing our skills together, until it stalled.

If we were intimidated by something, we all skipped it. There was no mentor. No leader. No coach. It was, "If you're not comfortable, just walk it."
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If you're not falling, you're not trying!
I eventually outgrew that mentality though. I did not want to "walk it". I needed to find a way to get out of my comfort zone and stretch my skills. I needed to learn from those who dared to try and boy did I find the right crew. A few fearless, free riding, down hilling, "That's insane. Let's try it", guys.
I tagged along trying to learn, trying to follow. I would hike-a-bike as they floated over rock gardens with ease. I would careful find a path to walk my bike down the huge rollers while they went over the edge without even looking. I would listen to them tease me about getting my tire over the log they didn't even touch. I would watch, I would try, I would fall, but most importantly, I would learn.

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Know you limitations & then defy them.
I love riding with the guys. I love riding with people who challenge me. I love conquering obstacles and new challenges. I love feeling accomplished. The challenge is EXACTLY why I love mountain biking. It keeps challenging me. It only gets mundane if you stop trying. There is always something to conquer. There are always limits to defy.

                                         

                                                 Stop worrying!

However much I love riding with the guys. I enjoy riding with the girls too. It's different; the comraderie, kudos and genuine excitement. It's thrilling to watch them conquer new things, challenge themselves and cheer one another on. It's probably the same satisfaction the guys get when I finally master skills they display with ease.
The Monopoly Effect in a group is the paralyzing factor though. The dynamics of women's group rides needs to adjust. No more 'Get Out of Jail Free'. No more 'Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.'

This can happen in any group ride, not just with women's. However, I think women's rides are more prone to it due to the natural lack of testosterone and ego persuasion residing within most women.
Break the cycle. If someone conquered the obstacle the rest of the group stalled at, ask them to do it again. Don't just press on. Ask them to lead you through it. Try to conquer a new challenge each time you ride. Mix up your riding by going out with another group of riders. Find a partner or crew that will challenge you, even if you have to hike-a-bike some of the time.
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Stop worrying about what could go wrong. Start focusing on what could go right.


Original Blog post found here.




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