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Fear!!

DanielleTDanielleT Posts: 259
edited February 2012 in Women
Hi Girls,

Not been on here for a longtime, password problems etc!

Anyhows just thought i'd start a thread on fear and nerves and how you all manage yours and any advice you'd give?

I've been riding XC for a couple of years now and got in to DH at the end of 2009. I've ridden at Wharncliffe, Cwmcarn, Moelfre, Innerleithen, Cannock Chase, Stainburn and went to Morzine for a week back in July. Everything was going really well until I had a couple of nasty stacks, one at Cwmcarn on the slab from the road when some idiot taking photos stepped out in front of me as i'd set off down it, another at Dalby ending up with a cracked lid and concussion and then a couple of stacks in Morzine, no real injuries but badly shaken nerves and a interesting scar on my inner thigh from tyre burn! I also saw one of my friends snap his shin bone landing off a drop at Cannock too. So now when I go out to do DH i'm a bag of nerves and really struggle to get myself down tracks that I was confident on before. I can't turn off the 'what if' and the pictures of my friends leg bending in half.

Has anyone else had a similar experience or have any advice to get over the fear? I just want to get back on my bike and enjoy it again rather than worry myself sick!


Cheers :oops:
delightfully dangerous!
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Posts

  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    hi there, i know i'm not a girl but i'm that bored in work i'm browsing all the forums :lol:

    i knocked myself out at the forest of dean on the XC route of all places!!!!!! it shook me up pretty badly and it took me quite a while to get back up to speed again. i still don't think i'm hitting stuff as big as i was before though :?

    all i can say is, take your time, go at your own speed and slowly build back up your confidence.

    although i did go to one of my local tracks and hit a 4ft drop off the week after just to prove i could still do it :lol:
  • Good post, will be interesting to read some replies. I have luckily never had anything major happen, usually just fall off on the flat as I am that busy looking behind me a what I just managed to do :lol:

    I do always worry anout the 'what if' though and it does hold me back, I suppose its all about practice and more practice to build up the confidance ect.
    Specialized XC Comp
    Specialized Pitch Pro
  • suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
    I didn't get back on a bike for 10+ years after an on road accident where I woke up with a bus being directed around me. Admitadly it wasn't because of the crash I took so long however because I didn't get back on the bike straight away I lost the motivation and the fitness :(

    More recently, a few weeks after I started MTBing last year I crashed 3 times in the one day and ended up with a sore shoulder for weeks afterwards. I was just building up my confidence when I crashed so that was pretty much destroyed as I kept worrying that I'd crash and do my shoulder in again.

    Add to my natural pessimism and "what if" (as Lissie calls it) attitude and I tend not to go downhill very fast. Which matches me not going very fast up hill or even along the flat either :wink:
  • DXG82DXG82 Posts: 35
    Hi there. I am sorry to hear that you have had a couple of accidents and your confidence has taken a knock. I also sometimes suffer from a lack of confidence and sometimes my nerves get the better of me. I don't think you are alone in feeling nervous about mountain biking.

    Maybe you could book some lessons to get your confidence back? I am intending on booking a day's tuition with an instructor at Cannock Chase, as I have heard the bike school there is pretty good. This will also hopefully teach me the correct way to do things and make me a safer rider, as I am sure I do not do everything correctly at the moment as I am self-taught.

    I have also done some downhill riding (Morzine/Les Gets) and found it to be pretty scary stuff! Maybe you could concentrate on easier trails or XC for a while until you have built your confidence up again before you go back to doing hardcore downhill trails.

    If you are doing downhill then I assume you already have some good safety gear, helmet, pads etc but if not it is well worth investing in. I brought a helmet with a face guard (after a friend of mine landed on her face and damaged her teeth) and also some shin/knee guards which have helped me to be a bit more confident. If I was going to be doing more downhill I would probably invest in shoulder/back pads as well, but I think personally I prefer XC so will stick to that!

    Hope you get your confidence back soon.
  • I get the fear sometimes and it totally spoils the ride - it's totally a mind thing, but when you can remember the pain of the last crash, that's very easy to say! As soon as you think you can't do something, it does go wrong. The last time I went to Cwmcarn, I got totally hung up on not being able to do one bit of the trail. In the end, I fell off because I had slowed down too much - If I had just ridden it full on, I would have been fine. My concentration was gone after that and I messed everything up :cry:

    My fastest and best ride was after a skills course, where everything was fresh in my mind. I had 100% confidence in myself and my bike - it was an awesome feeling to totally let go on the trail! I think you should consider a skills course to boost your confidence and then go to a trail you know well or a less technical trail, just to get back into it.

    It's not worth putting youself through tough DH trails if you're gonna be a bag of nerves by the end of the run and you're probably more likely to crash because of it. What I do is go back to a trail that I know I'll find easy to boost my confidence and then go back to the bigger stuff when I'm on a high :D
  • DanielleTDanielleT Posts: 259
    Thanks for the replies everyone, its good to hear other peoples experiences ands thoughts on how to get through it.

    I think you're right in taking a step back and getting confidence back on stuff that I know I can do and slowly build it back up again, only problem is my riding partner is my boyfirend and he just smashes down anything and everything :? I'll just have to tell him off and make him realise I need to take a step back for the moment!

    I think a skills course would be great, I think i'll have to have a look at whats available and get myself on one. I'm pretty much self taught and tutored by my boyfriend so some expert help wouldn't go amiss!

    I do have all the safety gear - full face, torso body armour, knee and shin pads and my beloved 5.10s wouldn't ride DH without any of it!

    Thanks again peeps :)
    delightfully dangerous!
  • I also ride with my husband and regularly get mad with myself for not being able to keep up with him. On occasion I will pass him but this is very very rare.

    He is more confidant but at the same time generally faster and fitter, or doesnt give in as easy as me :lol:

    But after time I have now decided or try to not let this bother me, I cant keep up with him and if I try it spolis my ride as Im too busy looking for him and thinking what a sod he is for being up front by miles. I then dont enjoy it as much. I finally catch him up, bright red face, sweating, puffing and panting and because he has been there a few minutes he looks great and can speak :lol:

    So now, I just go at my pace, dont worry about him and enjoy myself.

    We did nevis last year and will again this year. Doing the red/black he was 5 mins in front of me, which in someways is a long time but it isnt a race and I decided I dont care, I enjoyed it, improved myself each time I went down so thats all that matters


    For now :twisted: :twisted:
    Specialized XC Comp
    Specialized Pitch Pro
  • DXG82DXG82 Posts: 35
    I can understand that - I also ride mainly with my boyfriend who is technically not much better than me but has a lot more confidence and tends to 'go for it' whilst I am naturally a lot more cautious.

    I have given up trying to compete with my boyfriend, he is naturally bigger and stronger than me so I am never going to be able to keep up with him. I just take things at my own pace and find that I enjoy the rides a lot more - and if my boyfriend has to wait for me at the end of a section of trail then so be it!

    I am also lucky that I do have some female friends to ride with too which is nice as they don't treat things like a competition or pressure me to do things that I am not confident about doing / ride too much outside my comfort zone.

    Good luck!
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    I had two big crashes last year 2 broken bones (separate incidents) and had similar problem to you with, being scared to do technical riding again. Just as I was getting my confidence back after the first injury I went and had another injury, Which left my confidence totally shattered.

    As said by other people, I built my confidence back little by little. Start of easy and take little steps. Tell your self from the start this will take a long time and you hopefully won't get too frustrated if you make slow progress. I think the key is having fun and hopefully the confidence will come back.

    A technique I use is to try and have a fun but easy technical ride so you are feeling great and confidence is high. Then try just one technical thing, if it goes well then leave it at that and don't try and do it again bigger, faster, better etc.. this way you leave feeling high and confident. This memory will stay in your head the next time you do the technical section again, rather than the memory of you crashing and burning.

    I also find it helps to go back to the scene of the crime and trying to understand what went wrong causing you to crash. This way you know what not to do and can avoid doing the same thing again. Rather than blaming a jump or obstacle for your fall I find it helps to understand it was your fault because you did something wrong and you can correct that mistake so it never happens again.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    DXG82 wrote:
    I can understand that - I also ride mainly with my boyfriend who is technically not much better than me but has a lot more confidence and tends to 'go for it' whilst I am naturally a lot more cautious.

    I wouldn't mind betting that this is the case with a lot of husband / wife or partners riding together (yep, us too).

    I know lots of ladies who are technically very good but perhaps lack the confidence to blast down the crazy stuff with the boys - and I include myself in this :? I think generally ladies are better than chaps at knowing their limits and what they can and can't do - which I guess can be both a good thing (less injuries, more controlled riding) and a bad thing (less likely to try 'that scary drop' etc etc).

    Not sure what the answer is.... (when anyone finds out, please tell me!).

    I most definitely worry more about what i'm riding than I should, and I know that I am far more capable than what I actually ride (if that makes sense). I think part of my problem is that i'm a complete control freak and I like to know how to handle every little peice before tacking something, which obviously isn't always possible!
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • I found this quote helps me quite alot. Its changed my attitude to alot of things!

    "Pain is painful, of course, but fearing it is like deciding to be in pain when you don’t
    have any pain."
    MmmBop

    Go big or go home.
  • suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
    Maybe us women are designed to be that little bit more cautious so we don't die and leave the kids motherless.
  • I find I can be a complete chicken too, and get frustrated with myself when I can't push past the fear to try something out of my comfort zone!
    I think it often depends on my mood - some days I feel I can ride anything, and others I'm really not up for trying anything too technical.
    Me & my other half did a few days guided riding as part of a holiday in Cyprus, which I found really improved my confidence in riding. I did a skills course too, which gave me a bit of a boost, but I think the guided riding was more helpful as I felt I was applying what I learned straight away (the skills course was how to tackle specific obstacles, but it was very much on an individual basis rather than as part of what I'd do as a normal ride).
    I didn't realise how much my confidence had improved (& my riding had improved) until we got back home & I went out a few weeks later to do a local ride - both my partner & the friend we normally ride with noticed I was much more confident, especially down hills!
    FCN 10
  • GingieGingie Posts: 98
    Aaah the dreaded fear, or 'head funk' as i like to call it...

    Ironically enough this exact topic was my new years resolution- to try and turn off my head funk and fear. It really messes up my riding, some days i'm fine whilst others i want to throw my bike away and take up something safe like knitting... lol.

    http://www.girlmtnbiker.com/?p=210

    I just wrote an article on head funk, you might be interested in... if only to laugh at my 'head funk face' lol.

    My tip for coping with fear is ging back to basics, do things you know you can do and start building up your trust in your abilities. Coaching sessions always boost my riding confidence too so something like that might help.
  • I don't think your fear is a women-only thing.
    I constantly have a battle between the part of me that shouts "come on you wimp! Ride down it! It'll be amazing!"
    and the part that thinks
    "that will hurt a lot when it goes wrong."

    I think it's natural.

    You're trying to make a value judgement on a risk. You're trying to adjust your level of pretence.

    I think it's fine to realise that something might hurt a lot if it goes wrong and thefore to hold back.

    My attitude as someone who is almost 40 (how did that happen?) is that I don't bounce as well as I used to.
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    i did a video for another forum on the physcological side of riding drops and stuff.

    this may help explain your fear somewhat.


    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/15098401?portrait=0&quot; width="601" height="338" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href=" a Better Rider: Part 3 - Drops</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/singletrackmag">Singletrack Magazine</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p&gt;

    http://www.singletrackworld.com/2010/09/be-a-better-rider-part-3-mind-tricks/[/url]
  • Just found this thread and joined up to comment as it seem to be pretty relevant to my riding right now....

    I’ve only had a my FS a few months and have never been a ‘serious’ cyclist up until now – however I am now well and truly hooked. However everytime I go out I fall off, and its just not quite as funny as it was at the start. As a horse rider I am used to falling off, I accepted that a long, long time ago and have got very good at dusting myself off and getting back on. However on my bike I struggle to ‘let go’ and allow the bike to go forward as quickly as I should then I over react with the brakes and put myself in the dirt/grass/gravel/mud. It’s driving me mad and I’m verging on knocking my confidence, which obviously I don’t want to happen. Its funny that the problem I have on my bike is a problem I used to have on my horse, which thankfully I have managed to banish and have become a better horse rider for!

    For me banishing the fear comes through knowledge of a situation, if something worries you then you need to do it over and over again, in bite sized chunks if need be. My plan now is to ride more varying terrain, how my bike handles, then start getting faster and stringing it together.

    Hopefully by summer all the falls will be forgotten – for now I can’t forget about it as the big bruise on my leg is aching and I still can’t use my left arm properly.... oh well. Roll on the weekend.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    ElleTee wrote:
    Just found this thread and joined up to comment as it seem to be pretty relevant to my riding right now....

    I’ve only had a my FS a few months and have never been a ‘serious’ cyclist up until now – however I am now well and truly hooked. However everytime I go out I fall off, and its just not quite as funny as it was at the start. As a horse rider I am used to falling off, I accepted that a long, long time ago and have got very good at dusting myself off and getting back on. However on my bike I struggle to ‘let go’ and allow the bike to go forward as quickly as I should then I over react with the brakes and put myself in the dirt/grass/gravel/mud. It’s driving me mad and I’m verging on knocking my confidence, which obviously I don’t want to happen. Its funny that the problem I have on my bike is a problem I used to have on my horse, which thankfully I have managed to banish and have become a better horse rider for!

    For me banishing the fear comes through knowledge of a situation, if something worries you then you need to do it over and over again, in bite sized chunks if need be. My plan now is to ride more varying terrain, how my bike handles, then start getting faster and stringing it together.

    Hopefully by summer all the falls will be forgotten – for now I can’t forget about it as the big bruise on my leg is aching and I still can’t use my left arm properly.... oh well. Roll on the weekend.

    Hello :D

    It really comes down to time in the saddle I think.... You say that you have only really been mountain biking for a few months? That's not long, so don't be too hard on yourself!!

    It also sounds like you're a bit like me, in that I prefer to get each technique nailed before really going for it. There's a lot to be said for us 'slowies', we may be a bit slower in the beginning but we make up for it later!! :lol:

    Practice, practice, practise, and it will all come together (says the lady who has been in meetings all afternoon sporting a rather sexy black eye and bruised head courtesy of a slippery root last night :? ) :D
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    lots of good mtbers have a background in horse riding.
  • Jedi wrote:
    lots of good mtbers have a background in horse riding.

    It's not working with me :lol:....26 years riding horses, and 3 years on a mountain bike and I still can't do drops or very steep downhills !

    I put it down to a simple case of "crapitis" with me, I'm just censored at mountain biking :(

    Caz xxx
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    think how your feet are in stirrups, how you jump a horse etc.... )
  • bennett_346bennett_346 Posts: 5,092
    Jedi wrote:
    think how your feet are in stirrups, how you jump a horse etc.... )
    I found your little jedi mind tricks video very helpful! thats some sick northshore youve got going on there!
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    thank you, i don't use teh woodwork for coaching. i have singletrack for that :)
  • PamPen25PamPen25 Posts: 111
    I am a major wuss when it comes to big drops, I don't how the guys do it, I would love to be able to suck it up and go for it, even it if ment I stacked it after.

    I think that maybe learning to ride horses is maybe a step to far tho', I'm more scared of horses than big drops. :shock:
  • JediJedi Posts: 827
    drops are a very easy technique to learn. just push with hands and feet and off you go :)
  • I definately think riding horses, especially the cross country/hunting/hacking side of things, helps with the bike riding. It's all about speed, balance, picking your line and finding a good rhythm/speed to cover the ground in, also there are similarities in body position, using your arms, balance etc. My problem is that when I'm on my horse I know that if I screw up she'll help me out and will cover my mistakes to an extent, however on my bike it's just me! so If I screw up, I screw up!

    I guess though it hasn't been that long (only got my full-sus in October) so I need to be patient.

    I do wonder if it would be easier to ride with other girls occasionally, instead of my BF and our mates who are all faster/braver/stupider than me and thus I'm always trying to keep up and maybe pushing too hard, too soon.....

    Love the idea of a skills day/course. Think I'll find a local one and get myself booked in.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    ElleTee wrote:
    Love the idea of a skills day/course. Think I'll find a local one and get myself booked in.

    Dirt Divas are very good is you're based in the South - ladies only and a great atmosphere :D

    http://www.dirtdivas.co.uk/
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • Thanks for that - I'll have a look!
  • This has been such an interesting read. I think you've nailed one of the best ways to help overcome your fear - talking to other people and realising that it is normal and can be overcome.

    I came off my bike at Coed y Brenin back in May, I got off quite lightly but it shook me up as it was my first (and only) mtb fall. My next ride was in my ever-so-soft local Sherwood Pines and I was very nervous and took everything pretty slowly at first. But the more I rode, the more I remembered that the fall was the exception, not the rule, and that I was actually alright and in control, and having fun.

    I think getting back out there and doing it is the way to go with anything that you've lost your confidence on. But as others on here have said, build up gradually so that you don't over do it, or scare yourself off again.

    At the moment I have a fractured rib (not mtb related, I play roller derby as well). Turns out a lot of girls in my team have done the same in the past. To hear them telling me their stories of healing (the right way and the bloody stupid way) and then watching them skating now, so fast and confident, is enough to make me realise that soon I'll be back up to that level too.
  • DanielleTDanielleT Posts: 259
    Some good responses peeps :D

    I think it is about frame of mind too, after getting on my bike again the past two weekends after having a couple of months off due to weather and damn flu! My OH and myself went up to Stainburn for a play around, no expectations at all apart from getting out, turned out to be a really good few hours, hit a double and table top that I can't normally get the knack of, but I did it first time! I also tackled a steep rutted chute that normally has me leeping off my bike and sliding down on my bum!!

    However, went out for a tootle round roundhay park in the woods up around the back this weekend. It was getting dusky and didn't have any lights so the frame of mind changed as I couldn't see roots hidden by leaves etc, and I couldn't ride anything and had the most silly crash!

    Plans are to go to Wharncliffe this coming weekend, going to attempt the postive thinking and going with no expectations 'frame of mind' see if works again!

    II also come from horse riding, ridden for 20 years, had all sorts of falls and accidents and never had a problem getting back on and getting on with it. ElleTee - you're right the horse helps you out 9/10 in tricky situations! Some aspects of horse riding are transferable to biking, but others like jumps and drops personally for me are hindered by it. With a bike you have to actually handle it, compressing it and lifting it and pushing it forward to move it under you, whereas with a horse, yes you have to get them into the right rhythm and get them in the right direction but once they’re up in the air there is little you can do to get them change where they land or how they move under you.
    delightfully dangerous!
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