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Post crash blues/re-growing a pair

neilusneilus Posts: 245
edited July 2014 in MTB general
Hiya
I'd appreciate your thoughts on something im sure many of you have been through - of trying to get confidence back after a crash (or two!)
I was out today, and theres one section, that in my post-crash nervousness, seems to be haunting me...its a steep, rooty descent (not where I crashed btw). I've been down there 100 times and ive never really enjoyed it particularly but neither have i been particularly scared of it. I did it a few times on an absolute clunking, rusted up mess of a BSO when i started out and all was good. Ish.
Now Im really pushing myself to do it, even though Im extremely uncomfortable which is a recipe for disaster. I keep telling myself "Well if you dont wanna do it, dont do it...you only want to do it to prove a point to yourself", which fine - but it leaves me feeling a fraction of the rider i was...arent you supposed to get better, braver, more skillfull?
So its a bit of a dilema...any advice?
Cheers!
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  • t0pc4tt0pc4t Posts: 978
    it depends how old you are mate. When I was in my early 20s I would do things like that simply because they scared me

    Now I'm older I just can't see a point in pursuing something as part of a leisure activity unless I enjoy it. So 'scary fun' is fine for me, but 'scary' on it's own is just a waste of my time. I don't need to do stuff like this to prove to myself that I've 'got a pair'
    Whether you're a king or a little street sweeper, sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper.

    Cube Curve 2009
    Giant Anthem X4

    FCN=6
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    Cheers, theres absolutely an element of "not getting any younger"...despite feeling 22, birth certificate says 43. Good points, well put...thanks!
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Riding things when nervous makes it more likely that you will crash. You will be tense and more likely to panic brake and just forget how to ride. You need to build up to it again.
    Some coaching might help from a good instructor.
  • MaroMaro Posts: 226
    Sounds definately more of a mental block than a lack of skill or ability. Sometimes if I'm a bit nervous about a section I try to really focus on a good line, hit it hard, and own it rather than just ride through, I usually feel like the best rider in the world after that.
    Bird Aeris. DMR Trailstar. Spesh Rockhopper pub bike.
  • marcus'73marcus'73 Posts: 41
    You don't mention if you wear pads? I had a couple of offs earlier this year and at 41 things don't heal like they used to! I was bottling out of things I'd hit fast before so I bought some knee pads for when I want to push myself and mentally they have helped me get back up to speed as I'm not worrying as much about the consequences.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 1,135
    I know exactly where you are coming from. I'm 45 but think I'm 25. I usually ride a lot of X-country stuff, just going where I feel like it on the Plain, or bridal-ways, woodland paths, rocky, rooty trails etc. However, 8 weeks ago I had a very nasty yet unexpected off on a very smooth, tarmac'd cycle path. Such a bad off that I shattered my collar bone into 3 or more bits and damaged all the nerves going into my right hand. Here I am 2 months and an operation later typing left handed as my nerves are taking a long time to recover. It might take a year if I'm lucky. Longer if not. I have little sensation in my fingers and wrist though this is slowly coming back.
    When I'm back in the saddle I know I'm going to be more than 'Captain Slow'. There is no way on earth I want to go through this hell again! I'll still ride X-country but if there is any bit I don't like, I'll walk it. Don't care what others think. I've nothing to prove. I know what is important in life and going down hills fast with a further chance of injury is just not worth it. Others might have a different view. And yes, when you are older things don't heal fast and things break worse.
  • Youngsters I am 53 , took me months to finally try a section I thought risky . Finally just did it one day and wondered why I was worried . That said I am certainly not reckless.
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    PhotoNic69 wrote:
    I know exactly where you are coming from. I'm 45 but think I'm 25. I usually ride a lot of X-country stuff, just going where I feel like it on the Plain, or bridal-ways, woodland paths, rocky, rooty trails etc. However, 8 weeks ago I had a very nasty yet unexpected off on a very smooth, tarmac'd cycle path. Such a bad off that I shattered my collar bone into 3 or more bits and damaged all the nerves going into my right hand. Here I am 2 months and an operation later typing left handed as my nerves are taking a long time to recover. It might take a year if I'm lucky. Longer if not. I have little sensation in my fingers and wrist though this is slowly coming back.
    When I'm back in the saddle I know I'm going to be more than 'Captain Slow'. There is no way on earth I want to go through this hell again! I'll still ride X-country but if there is any bit I don't like, I'll walk it. Don't care what others think. I've nothing to prove. I know what is important in life and going down hills fast with a further chance of injury is just not worth it. Others might have a different view. And yes, when you are older things don't heal fast and things break worse.

    Kripes...that sounds rough mate. Good luck with the recovery!
    Thanks a lot for some really good advice there. As a wise man once said to me in a shepherds hut in the mountains of Montenegro, "Only a fool knows no fear" :wink:
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    The problem with pads is it's difficult to get back to riding without them again.
    I was so hot in my pads on Saturday I decided broken bones would be less uncomfortable but trying to push hard without any protection felt a bit wrong.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    What PhotoNic said. I'm on the wrong side of 50 and the balls shrunk years ago, when I realised I not longer felt the urge to scrape my knees round corners on a motorcycle.
    You start splatting instead of bouncing, it hurts more, and takes ages to heal.
    Anything too scary and I'm quite happy to walk it. Now enjoy XC singletrack, and even, sadly, technical ascents.
    I may be slow but I can often get up tricky stuff better than most. Until I run out of steam.

    Just enjoy what you enjoy.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    cyd190468 wrote:
    I find if you go out with a group and get yourself in the middle of the line you ride stuff that you won't ride alone. Partly because you can watch the guys in front and partly because you don't want to hold up the guys behind.
    Riding things when nervous makes it more likely that you will crash. You will be tense and more likely to panic brake and just forget how to ride. You need to build up to it again.
    Some coaching might help from a good instructor.

    These...

    I found it helped massively following someone else with more experience/talent when I first got an FS bike to appreciate how much faster you can ride through stuff.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • russyhrussyh Posts: 1,375
    Great thread this, with some great advice so far.

    I have been in the same postion as you, back in my late teens early 20's i had no fear...Of anything, fights in pubs, driving like an idiot, gettign sacked..Anything.

    Now i am considerably older i have found a commonsense and self preservation nerve, that whispers in my ear in situations that may cause me harm.

    I had a nasty off last year which completely shattered my confidence, i still struggle today with some drop offs etc. (like a light flashes on in my head when i see something a little iffy ahead saying STOP) but i am getting better. I basically bought some decent pads and just got out there and took small steps pushing myself slightly each ride, a big leap forward for me was agreeing to do an uplift at Antur Stiniog, i spent the day riding the blues and Red trails pushing myself faster each time, learning lines and bike control. This has helped my confidence no end. I have booked a second uplift there and will try pushing myself a little more. But what it has done more than anything is develop my ability at trail centres, where Black runs etc. are a walk in the park. I still get nervous, but i know exactly what i can and cant do.

    maybe its worth giving it a try, but dont push yourself into a run thats massively out of your comfort zone...Remember the best way to eat an Elephant is in small chunks!
  • I'm like that, I had an off that resulted in 6years of hobbling round like an octogenarian. I got a shiney new
    hip and now I am really nervous about falling off.

    I am slowly gaining more confidence and the fact I went censored over censored helped a fair chunk :lol: but I am still very wary.
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    Some great replies, definitely making me think about this issue...many of us have mentioned a "fearlessness" we all had before a crash. Very early on, i got into night time mtb-ing...didnt bother with any of them fancy, expensive (before i discovered dx!) lights, just grabbed my 10 euro 5 x led headlight and off i went. When i look at what i did in virtual darkness, it chills me to the bone!!
    My point is that we can think of that pre-crash fearlessness as a positive thing, and you feel a lesser rider for losing it. But it may well be the case that it was foolishness, not fearlessness and obviously theres a big difference. I think its natural that in the aftermath of a fall, you perhaps become overly cautious but that can hopefully be worked on by slowly building up your confidence and skills again. In the long run i think you'll become a smarter rider who isnt one stupid move from serious injury...
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Sometimes other people don't help. Before I jumped a big gap at BPW I was having a look at it telling myself if it didn't go well then a crash wouldn't be all that bad and then some bloke comes rolling down and tells me that he had just recovered from breaking his back on this jump and then called his mates over to watch me hit it!
    I then had no choice but jump it. Some poo came out.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I then had no choice but jump it.

    Only if you feel a need to prove yourself to others.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I then had no choice but jump it.

    Only if you feel a need to prove yourself to others.

    Not really but it added pressure to do it and do it well. To be fair, it stopped me bottling it.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I then had no choice but jump it.

    Only if you feel a need to prove yourself to others.

    Not really but it added pressure to do it and do it well. To be fair, it stopped me bottling it.

    Or it could have landed you in hospital. And clearly if the guys being there was the pressure then you were doing it not to lose face in front of them. If I wasn't sure about it I'd have been very happy to say "Nope, I think I'll give that a miss today." And if they've got nothing better to do than tell stories about the wimp they met at BPW in the pub afterwards, that's their problem not mine.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    It needed to be done. It's going to be worth a couple seconds compared to the chicken line when I race there in September.
    At least there would have been someone the call an ambulance.
  • booldawgbooldawg Posts: 290
    As an adult the amount of nerve you have in potentially risky situations is in correlation with how good your sickness scheme at work is.
    1999 Scott Vail - Work commute
    2015 Giant Anthem 27.5 SX - Weekend riding


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  • 2x102x10 Posts: 79
    I think the main thing is to stay within your comfort zone, I had a year off MTBing after a nasty crash and was as nervy as hell when I re started. A few trips out on fairly tame routes and my confidence was coming back easily. Im at the stage I was before the crash now but took my time getting there but I have absolutely no problem looking at a run and saying not me, not today. I think with age ones ego settles down a bit.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    At least there would have been someone the call an ambulance.

    Always handy to have someone on hand without a broken collarbone who can dial the emergency services.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    A three mile push with cracked ribs, broken collar bone and fractured shoulder blade is not an experience I want to repeat.
  • Hairylegs66Hairylegs66 Posts: 103
    I agree about reigning it back a bit and being sensible post crash; I'm recovering from a fractured collar bone and I know I'm going to be Captain Slow when I finally get back on the bike. I'm 47 and have never broken anything before now despite falling off quite a bit over the years and the recovery time is really slow. I was about to book another skills session in the Surrey Hills pre-crash but now feeling a bit nervous about the hammering my scapula is going to get, even when healed.....
  • 2x102x10 Posts: 79
    Know just what you mean hairylegs, If your in striking distance of surrey hills then think about trying Swinley forest Blue route, thats what I did after a dislocated shoulder, you can roll it or give it a bit of welly as you see fit. I found it a great confidence booster. I was 57 at the time and now a couple of years on I am more cautious but have plenty of confidence.
  • Hairylegs66Hairylegs66 Posts: 103
    Thanks for the tip 2 x 10; I may well give Swinley a go even though Surrey is more local to me as I live to the east of London. My fracture was a result of trying to roll something un-rollable, so it's good to get some advice on the venue, cheers.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,932
    Ah a thread in the MTB section where I can actually post

    firstly i'm a road cyclist through and through but I do live in some beautiful countryside and i appreciate the more remote paths and trails, so this Sunday I decided to take one of my bi-annual MTB excursions

    It was all going so well, i'm 10 miles into a very off road ride / walk / fall over trip when finally one of the deep muddy ruts left by idiot scramblers throws me to the floor, thankfully at low speed but sadly hard enough to split open my left knee to the bone. :?

    It was at this point I realised I have no mobile signal and the nearer road or people are 2+ miles away, lucky for me it was the knee and nothing broken or i'd have been in real trouble.

    anyway after a trip to my local hospital the on call doc told me to go straight to A&E for an xray, sure enough 8.5 hours later infection had started to take hold and i had to go into surgery to have the mud and stones removed, i'm now at home facing weeks if not month of pain whilst recovering.

    I'm pretty sure if I was < 40 ish this wouldnt be a problem, that said i cant wait to get back out there :D

    the answer to your question is MTFU lifes too short
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    itboffin wrote:
    firstly i'm a road cyclist through and through

    What the hell is wrong with you? How on earth can anyone enjoy road cycling?
    5000 miles a year and I hate every minute of it but I love every second on my mountain bike.
    Road cycling is just like mountain biking with every remotely intering aspect of it removed.
    I like dangerous sports (downhill mountain biking, rock climbing with or without rope) but road cycling is the most dangerous thing I do and there is absolutely no excitement involved.
    You must just be some sort of lycra fetishist. I bet you own team sky kit don't you?
    Bloody roadies

    :D
  • neilusneilus Posts: 245
    itboffin wrote:
    the answer to your question is MTFU lifes too short

    Saw a sign on a very dicey serpentine road in India - "Life is short; dont make it shorter"
    Wondered when the old "MTFU" would make an appearance - my interepretation of this is "do stupid stuff which is sure to end in broken bones just to prove to yourself what a tough guy you are"...no thanks 8)
    Sounds like a nasty bump you had there...get well soon!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Don't worry, MTFU in roadie language means waxing instead of shaving.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
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