Would it be discovering that I could do something I thought impossible?
New bike day?
New kit day?
Seeing a different side of Decorah?
creating lasting friendships with awesome women.
Yes. I think above all, creating friendships with other women and establishing a positive, supportive, and encouraging environment for us to get together- that is it.
I've struggled with building and maintaining friendships with my female peers all throughout my school-years into adulthood. I found being myself was challenging, and often times I felt folks thought I was "weird" so it was safer for me to keep to myself and be on the outside looking in.
When I discovered I enjoyed riding my bike, I wanted to shout from the hilltops that everyone should buy a bike and ride it. I found myself feeling happier than ever, becoming more confident, and having better health. I also wanted friends to ride with- but I knew better than to think they would just "appear."
I had to make them.
I had to step outside my comfort zone and seek conversation with folks who I believed to ride bikes, to learn if they did, and to see if we could ride together- even tho I was afraid that I would suck at it. Yes, I was afraid I would be too slow or not skilled enough to ride the paved trail with my newfound biking friends.
I was assured I was fine.
We rode together regularly.
We didn't judge or criticize.
We bonded and had an open conversation- which for me was something refreshing as I wasn't able to open up and be vulnerable with many female peers while growing up or in early adulthood.
Then I was introduced to mountain biking, and after that introduction, I shared my fears, concerns, and excitement with my friends. It became intriguing, and even tho it had been years since they had been on a dirt trail, never for some, but they came out with me.
Celebrating newfound victories.
Bonding over raw conversation.
Comparing bruises from our slow-mo biffs.
I didn't realize it until later on that I had started to create the beginnings of a women's mountain bike community in my town. How awesome and equally terrifying is that?!
I also made great friends from online, other women who supported and encouraged my "dream big" mentality. My optimistic mindset and determination bled into my wanting to make something legit. Something that would be recognized by others in Decorah and beyond. I was going to create something- I was determined to make a change.
I wanted other women to find out how powerful mountain biking could be- for emotional, mental, and physical health.
I wanted women to discover and cultivate friendships- ones filled with encouragement, celebration, and positivity.
Women building each other up rather than competing with one another.
Women supporting each other.
Women encouraging each other.
Celebrating our victories on the trails.
Not judging, supporting, and inspiring.
That my friends is what Fearless Women of Dirt is all about.
This is what I bring to the table and this is who I am. I'm here for you- to help support, guide, and encourage you to discover how strong and capable you are. Please, if you have any doubts about the Fearless Women of Dirt community, I encourage you to stop by Decorah Bicycles and chat with me, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stop by the Fearless Women of Dirt Facebook page and direct message me. The Fearless Women of Dirt community is open and welcoming to any and all women of any skill level or age. We want young women and adults alike to experience the camaraderie, support, and inspiration of women coming together to ride bikes.