I’ve mentioned many times that close to 100% of my biking and skiing partners are dudes. I have long wondered why this is. Months ago I wrote on my idea whiteboard “Are dudes more fun?” It’s been up there so long it’s not erasable anymore. This means that every single time I sit at my desk I see that question. Therefore I am forced to consider: well, are they?
I got to thinking about the pros and cons of riding with dudes. I (obvio) consider there to be more pros than cons; or at least that the pros that exist tend to outweigh the cons, or else I wouldn’t ride with dudes. So here’s my take on it. This kind of turned into a crazily cross-referenced Choose Your Own Adventure (TM?) but you know, rarely are things so black and white that they can fit into one of these ever popular list-style blog posts.
Pro #1. They’re fast.
Dudes ride and ski and climb fast. You never have to worry about being bored with a slow pace with dude partners. They mostly get ready fast. They seem to understand that a “2pm meet at trailhead” plan means BE READY at the trailhead at 2pm. If they aren’t fast, they get dropped or ditched or fall behind. And I like to move fast, so I like to ride with guys. I don’t think this is because they’re fastER, per se, it’s because they don’t want to NOT be fast. So everyone in the group tries their damndest to not only keep up, but to be the fastest. Almost every ride contains this conversation:
Front guy: “You want to pass? My legs are dead today” Oh please, oh please let him pass so I don’t have to work so hard.
Second guy: “Nah, you’re fine.” Oh hell no I don’t want to pass, I’ll have to work harder.
Me: Look at those dumbasses killing themselves to see who’s fastest. They’re gonna need a long-ass break at the next intersection. I’ll just chill here in the back so I can keep going without needing to puke.
Better yet, is the mid-pack position. You get to have a break when you catch up to the speediest guys while you wait for the back-of-pack to get there, but you don’t have to wait so long that you get cold. This is an art that takes experience to truly perfect. My secret weapon is offering to break trail on the way back. Yeah, I work hard, but the guys who broke trail all the way out are usually heavier than me, so they STILL have to work hard on the way back. Heh heh.
But seriously. If you want to get fast, ride with fast people. You will be forced to get faster. Yes, it hurts, yes, it can delve into the realm of Type 3 “Fun,” but just find some faster people and ride or ski with them. It honestly doesn’t really matter if they’re dudes or chicks, but see pro #5.
Pro #2. Better conversation.
“Let me complain for the next three hours of our ride all about my relationship,” said no guy I’ve ever ridden with, ever. Droning on and on about your last breakup is a GREAT way to never ever ride with me again. This post is a great opportunity for me to tell you, readers: I don’t care about your boyfriend. Really I don’t. Stop talking about him. Unless he’s a friend of mine, I am not interested in what he’s doing. Dudes don’t hurt my ears telling me all about their girlfriends’ graduate studies. Why do women like to talk about their boyfriends so much? Stop it.
Pro #3. Easier to schedule.
I don’t know what this is all about. I call the guys, “want to ride?” and I get a “yes, see you then” or “no.” I call a woman, “want to ride?” I get a loooonnng delay in calling me back. Then fifteen phone calls or texts considering all the options. Then some expressed concern about wanting to not be the slowest. Then cautioning about having to get back at a certain time or having to check with their boyfriend or kids or whatever. By the time they figure out if they want to go on the ride, I’m already riding. No clue what is going on here, but for some reason it seems like women have a harder time getting out for a ride or ski. Just go, ladies, the kids will survive, the husband can fend for himself, society will not crumble.
Pro #4. Speaking of crumbling society, guys never show up with their nine year old in tow.
At least not without telling you first (I’m guessing. No guy has ever brought his kid along on a ride with me, full stop). Why? See pro #1. Listen, I don’t want to ride with your kid, ladies. Kids are slow, needy, and annoying. There’s a reason I don’t have any. I probably don’t want to ride with your boyfriend either. There’s a reason I don’t have one of those either; boyfriends are similarly needy and annoying. Kidding! (Not really). I don’t like a whole lot of interpersonal dynamics messing up my day. If I invite you on a ride, I am not inviting your whole family. Get a babysitter. Dudes seem to have a handle on this. I guess that’s what wives are for? See Con #5.
Pro #5. Less drama.
If a dude falls down, he gets up and keep going. If a chick falls down…I don’t know, you tell me, I don’t really ever ride with women other than my friend Sue who rides like a dude, crashes like a NASCAR driver, and gets right up and keeps going. So maybe I’m off base with this one. I just know you don’t have to cringe for an aftermath if a guy crashes his bike (unless you ride with really whiny guys; I’m sure they’re out there). If you’re on a dude ride and you crash, consider yourself lucky to hear “you ok?” as your dude partner rides by without stopping. It’s a dude ride. They’re gonna keep going. Pull yourself together and catch up.
Bonus Pro: They bring booze. I admit I couldn’t figure out whether to put this in “pro” or “con” because sometimes dudes overdo this aspect of outdoor fun. But, ultimately, a summit beer is a good thing, so, pro.
Con #1. They’re known for making dumb, ego-driven decisions.
You really gotta watch it when you’re out with dudes. They don’t really think things through. I could try to convince you, but I’m just going to fall back on Tremper, Fredston, and Fesler to back me up. If you’re gonna go out in the backcountry with guys, make sure YOU know what you’re doing and don’t have any qualms about bailing if you don’t like the situation. They might go on without you – you’ll have to be OK with that.
Con #2. They don’t look where they’re going.
When I stop my bike suddenly and yell “moose!” That means there is a moose in the trail. It does not mean that the guy following should race by me harder and faster so that he can try to clear whatever obstacle I couldn’t get my bike over. It means there’s a moose on the trail and we should all stop.
(This particular episode culminated with the guy right behind me passing me without looking and almost running into the moose, and the guy behind HIM getting taken out by my bike tire as I spun my bike around to flee the moose, certain that guy #1 was going to irritate the moose enough for it to stomp us all, ending up with guy #2 falling through my bike frame and consequently knocking ME down in an exasperated tangle of moose-bait. Luckily the moose opted to go the other way, probably wanting no part of our goat rope.)
In general guys are too busy trying to achieve pro #1 to bother to actually watch where they are going or think about what they are doing. This is also indicative of the next con:
Con #3. They want to look cool in front of other guys.*
Sometimes this leads to a lot of mountaintop posturing when it’s -10F and all I want to do is ski the hell down so I can start back up and warm my feet up. I don’t have time to listen to you guys trade interesting tales of how much you know about bindings or what you think of those new-this-year planks the other dude is sporting. Just shut up and ski.
Con #4. They never carry hand sanitizer.
Every time a dude steps off the trail to relieve himself, I make a mental note to not touch anything he touches from there on out. Especially not his gloves. Ew, guys, ew. We all know what you’re doing over there. I guess this is pretty smart, actually, because they never have to share their food, just hold it out with a urine-and-ball-sack-sweat-coated hand “want some?” The answer will always be “no.”
Con #5. They focus only on themselves.
OK, not all the time, and in the case of my regular partners, hardly ever. But sometimes dudes are prone to some extremely selfish behavior. Once my buddy Todd broke his chain on a tough climb. It wasn’t an easy fix and we were inundated with horrible mosquitoes the entire time. The guy we were riding with was all “I’m gonna keep going, this is lame” and bailed. Todd’s bike wasn’t fixable, as it turned out, so he scootered it back to the trailhead as I followed. No way am I leaving a compatriot alone with a disabled bike in bear/moose country. That’s against the complex code of ski/ride partners. You don’t leave your wingman.** Even if you barely know each other and are just out for a random ride. By the way, I’ve never seen that dude who left us there ever again, and I pretty much hope not to. THAT’S the kind of dude who pretty much makes up the entire “con” section of this article. However, I think this item also explains #3 and #4 of the “pro” section. Guys are not afraid of being “selfish” and going for a ride when they want to. Ladies, you can learn from this.
Bonus Con: They STINK. Pay more attention to what you’re eating, dudes, please. Yes, we can smell you. Master that uneasy tummy, or ride behind us. Also, wash your shirt.
So, are guys more fun? From all my careful consideration I have deduced that some guys are more fun than some chicks. However, some chicks are way better to hang out with than some guys.
Good thing I can’t erase that white board anymore.
*I’m pretty sure that’s why every outdoors Internet forum is choked with dudes. Guys, don’t you ever get sick and tired of trying to impress the same handful of people over and over and over again? Look, they say, I went here, here, and here. I skied this, this, and this. I’m sure my day was better than yours. No, say the others, my day was better, I skied this and this instead. And this was better snow than your snow, I’m sure of it, here are some pictures to prove it. And on and on. Deadly dull, really. Dudes are fun in real life, super lame on the Internet.
**This has actually happened to me with a female partner, too, so this item is really utter tosh. I just needed a way to round out the list. Don’t be selfish, people, your ride or ski or climb is not more important than your companions’ safety. Well, if it is, do everyone a favor and just go solo. Forever.