"possibly some fear that some little female might even do better than them and a myriad more"
Happens all the time, but it only hurts the first time. After that, the ego sort of callouses over and you can admire a fit female just like a fit male when they smoke your butt on some long uphill grind. I've known a lot of very fit women in my time, runners, climbers, and backpackers, and have found them generally a lot of fun to be around, with the notable exception of the occasional hard a$$ with something to prove.
"But yeah, I wish there were more women out there doing stuff like this."
+1 big time!