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Lost 10 stone. Now back on a mtb, unfortunately, I feel like I'm absolute garbage compared to others

Hi everyone,

I'm back on hear after many years. So I'm still new to hear I guess.

When I was in my teens, I abolutely loved mountain biking - I was obsessed. Although, I wasn't a good mtb'er back then, I couldn't do jumps, I couldn't do big drop offs, I came off alot but got straight back on, it didn't matter. One day I thought Im going to do it, I'm gonna jump my bike. I felt like censored seeing all these guys jumping there bikes and I wanted to do the same. I tried it and..... Smack!! I hit the deck and my handlebars tore the skin and muscle off my thigh as the handlebar went thru my leg... This required surgery to remove the dead muscle and skin and stitch me back together. Even though I was in my teens I was still 19 stone and 6ft 5.

After 8 or so years off my back I ballooned upto 28 stone at the age of 22. I was depressed, suicidal, and angry. In 18 months or so I have lost 10 stone thru hard work on excerise and nutrition. I wanted to get back on a bike. I'm 24 now and bought a mtb again.... A Marin Pine Mountain 1.... No suspension but it feels solid - I love it.

I really want to increase my skills and carry on losing weight, but I still feel a censored rider because I can't lift those wheels of the ground for the fear of the same happening again. I feel like a don't deserve a decent mountain bike because I can't even do a simple skill such as jumping. I see other big guys on YouTube jumping there bikes and I feel absolutely fuming at myself. I love shredding down the hills, wheeling, trackstanding - I can do all that, but I fear air time.

Please can anyone give me any advice into how I can't become a better rider, I'm autistic so I don't know if I'm overthinking or overcomplicating things. Can you have decent mountain bike and still not jump it? I feel daft I can't jump. How can I work on this? How can I stop this bloody fear?

Any advice would be great,

Thanks,

Sam

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,192
    Firstly congrats on sorting yourself out. I'm way older than you and ride loads of trail centres without doing big jumps pretty fast. Personally I'm more XC but quite happily do fort William, CyB, Glentress,Dalby to name a few. A lot of the lads that jump started young in BMX jump parks etc and have no real fear just a healthy respect for the trail. Red bull stuff is for the experts, downhill is for individuals with big cahoonas including the girls. Don't worry about what you can't do, do your best and keep practicing.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • lumberjack21lumberjack21 Posts: 8
    Thank you oxoman, really appreciate the comment. Your right! I didn't think of it that way. I'm using my mountain bike for fitness therefore I don't really want to risk having time off the bike because of injury. Thanks again 👍👍
  • junglist_mattyjunglist_matty Posts: 1,698
    Don't worry..... if you're scared there's no reason to pressure yourself into riding jumps, there's plenty more trails without jumps than with..... Just stick to what you enjoy and don't worry about what other people think of your ability!
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 545
    So much more to mountain biking than jumps. Don't compare yourself to others. Enjoy riding and do whatever you want. There is nothing stopping me jumping, I choose not to.
  • lettingthedaysgobylettingthedaysgoby Posts: 1,474
    What other people do is utterly irrelevant. Ride you bike, have fun in whatever way suits you. That's all that matters.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 737
    I started mountain biking back in the mid nineties but had a few years where i lived in london and barely rode at all and a few more when it was pretty much just road/commuting.

    A few years back I moved out of london and started getting back offroad, first on a cyclocross bike and then MTB.
    It's fair to say that the years in the wilderness had not been kind and my meagre bike handling skills had seriously degraded.
    I think the key is to find trails you enjoy and get comfortable on the bike generally - I've steered clear of anything too technical and even walked some bits that i would previously have ridden because i wasn't comfortable with drop offs etc.

    This year it feels like the skills are returning and I'm gently rolling off the drops and even occasionally getting both wheels very slightly off the ground (probably not visible to the naked eye) but I'm not pushing it - I'd rather enjoy the ride than keep bashing away trying stuff I don't enjoy just because I feel i should.

    Remember that the guys on youtube are not reflective of the average rider - they are posting that stuff because they are good at it. Most of us probably fall into the 'barely get the wheels off the ground' category
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 545
    My first big air jump when starting out was by total accident, landed like a bag of spuds and hurt my testicles, after that I said jumping is not for me.
  • Darius_JedburghDarius_Jedburgh Posts: 675
    What's wrong with keeping your wheels on the ground? As OP has found out, getting airborne can have a serious downside.

    Ride your bike and leave the fancy stuff to those who learned to do it when they were young enough to bounce.
  • gomezzgomezz Posts: 64
    lumberjack21, All I can add is very well done for what you have done with your life.
    Don't worry about jumps or other stuff that others can do just do what is right for you! I am 74 and a bit over weight but love to ride, just trails and sometimes the Blue trail at Sherwood Pines, I do what is within my caperbility.
    You have my respect, just enjoy and get on with life in your own way.
  • lumberjack21lumberjack21 Posts: 8
    Wow. Thanks everyone. Every comment has really helped, I really appreciate it. Your all right. I enjoy riding my bike and thats what matters... Not how good I am or what stunts I can do. Really appreciate it 👍👍.

    I'm looking at riding some trail centres like sherwood pines as that's not to far away from me and I was concerned id slow people down if its single track? Iv never been to a trail centre. What are they like? Are people of all abilities welcome there?

    Thanks again 😊
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,986
    edited 5 June
    @lumberjack21 Very well done for that weight loss, that is absolutely awesome! I ask you, where on earth did that will power come from? <3

    Think about that for a moment! You have a profound strength inside you that overcame your serious injury and then knuckled down to the long grind of serious weight loss. Draw on that strength and ignore the people strutting their stuff on Youtube and other places. I have been riding mtb for 12 years and I still can't do that stuff. My 12 years old grandson has been riding a bike/mtb for 10 years and he still can't do that stuff. Over lockdown he has learned to do a wheelie and very recently a one handed wheelie. This was at the cost of lots of skin and pain and of course at 12 years old he feels invulnerable, has no need to earn a living, and can afford to be laid up for days while he recovers. But he still can't do all that Youtube stuff. I'll grant you that he wants to! But he realises that it is a fantasy. Neither he (nor I) lack ambition to be a riding God, what we lack is talent! We have learned our meagre skills by a slow process of minute gains on a daily basis followed by that occasional happy day when we make a breakthrough! I can remember a few "breakthroughs", but what I can do today on my mtb would have astonished the 12 year younger me on the day I bought my first mtb.

    You are only 22, I didn't even start with mtb until I was 57 (and with very little riding experience before that). Think about that, you have a 35-year head start on me! With that profound strength you have inside you, just think where you will be in 35 years!! Forget about next week, or next month, just keep chipping away. Each day, whether you realise it or not, you will improve. One day you will look back and only then will you see how far you have come! B)
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,192
    Sherwood is a brilliant starter trail centre as its not to technical and relatively flat compared to a lot of other trail centres. The beauty of Sherwood is that on alot of the single track there is plenty of room to pass or pull to one side. If you have a map of the trails you can cut it short if required as the trails crisscross loads of big forestry trails. You will always get some people who will look at you funny as they force their way past but 99% of people will wait or pass when possible and also encourage slower people. I've been taking my youngest to Sherwood since he was a about 6 or so on the Kitchener trail which is red rated but not that technical. Best time to go is in the week as it gets busy at wkends. One of the features of trail centres is the trails are normally fairly short sections, so you can catch your breath between sections if needed. Hope this helps.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • gomezzgomezz Posts: 64
    Pines is a great place, there are riders of all levels there so don't worry.
    It may not be " cool " but a bell is a good idea with lots of walkers and dog walkers around and its polite.
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 545
    edited 6 June

    Wow. Thanks everyone. Every comment has really helped, I really appreciate it. Your all right. I enjoy riding my bike and thats what matters... Not how good I am or what stunts I can do. Really appreciate it 👍👍.

    I'm looking at riding some trail centres like sherwood pines as that's not to far away from me and I was concerned id slow people down if its single track? Iv never been to a trail centre. What are they like? Are people of all abilities welcome there?

    Thanks again 😊


    Whenever you go to any trail centre, take a look over your shoulder when possible just to see if anyone is behind. I don't like the thought of holding someone up or being followed closely as it can feel intimidating (unless it's a Buddy). When it's convenient pull over to one side and wave them through, don't try and go any quicker than you're comfortable with then you can enjoy your run at your own speed.

    You will have a great time, a big smile on your face and you're riding confidence will double by the end of the day. Enjoy! :)
  • lumberjack21lumberjack21 Posts: 8
    Thank you everyone.... Really, thank you. Iv been for a ride today and I feel a hell of alot more comfortable riding knowing all this.

    I'm going to try and hit the peak district or sherwood pines somtime this month...and just have fun riding my bike and not focus on the ability of other riders around me.

    Cheers again 👍👍👍 I appreciate every single comment.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,192
    Lumberjack I'd hit pines first unless you intend doing something along the lines of highpeak trail or ladybower. Some serious stuff in the PDNP.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,986
    @Lumberhack21 On a rigid bike I would definitely advise starting with the Blue trail at Sherwood Pines. It is also known as the Adventure Trail. If you arrive by car, your number plate is scanned and you pay before you leave at one of the pay stations. Normally the all day charge is £6, but they have reduced it to £4 for the lockdown. But best check at one of the pay stations before you ride, just in case they have changed it back again.

    To get to the Blue, start off on the Family Trail (green) for about one mile and you will come to a blue post with a "1" on it. The Blue also ends on the family trail and from there its about a mile to the carpark. From carpark and back is about 7 miles. I like the Blue trail; a lot of work has been done on it and it is now pretty much all weather and entertaining. As you roll down from the start of the Family Trail, look out on your right for a test track (also known as the Skills Loop). It has berms, rollers, rocks, a small wall ride and even a log to ride down. It will give you a chance to session a few things and to warm up. You can injure yourself in there, so be careful.

    The red trail is another level up from the Blue and if you are not careful you can get yourself into trouble (many have). From car park and back again is 10.3 miles, or it was before the diversions due to the recent forest clearance. I have no idea whether it is now shorter or longer, but I doubt there will be much in it.

    To find the red, put the largest building behind you (the toilet block) and ride through the car park until you come to the interior road. There should be a short fence line with gaps made to stop riders from zooming starlight out into the road. It will be marked as the Kitchener Trail or the red trail. It starts with a short section that loops through the forest and back to the road again. If you don't like that bit,then you won't like what is coming ahead of you. Turn right at the road and return to the car park and do the Blue again. Once you cross the road and continue on the Red, you have gone down the rabbit hole and you won't see the car park again for almost 10 miles. So choose wisely.

    If you do the Blue and the Red on a rigid bike that will have been a very good workout.

    Ambition is a wonderful thing, but you need to develop skills and you can't get a skill upload off the internet, you have to earn them with hours spent in the saddle and preferably some instruction. So have a great day, but be careful out there! :)
  • CargobikeCargobike Posts: 298
    Ay up lumberjack.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    I'm also a big lad on a weight loss journey. So far I've shifted 5.5st in the last 8/9 months having had a mahoosive motorbike accident a few years ago. It's a hard, hard journey and huge credit to you for sticking at it and achieving such a dramatic weight loss. Hopefully I can achieve something similar too.

    Likewise, my confidence was shot to pieces when I first started back out on two wheels, especially off-road and in and around immovable objects like trees. I haven't once thought about grabbing air, even though I was quite good at it 30-40 years ago as a kid long before it was cool in the mtb world.

    Remember, all these videos you see on Youtube are edited to f**k and do not show the reality of the trails or the riders riding them. For every rider pulling big air there are literally hundreds of us who are just happy to get down in one piece.

    Ultimately, you are outside, doing something physical, that you enjoy. That's all you need to worry about. Jumping might come sometime in the future, then again it might not, but as long as you are happy that's all that matters.
  • lumberjack21lumberjack21 Posts: 8

    @Lumberhack21 On a rigid bike I would definitely advise starting with the Blue trail at Sherwood Pines. It is also known as the Adventure Trail. If you arrive by car, your number plate is scanned and you pay before you leave at one of the pay stations. Normally the all day charge is £6, but they have reduced it to £4 for the lockdown. But best check at one of the pay stations before you ride, just in case they have changed it back again.

    To get to the Blue, start off on the Family Trail (green) for about one mile and you will come to a blue post with a "1" on it. The Blue also ends on the family trail and from there its about a mile to the carpark. From carpark and back is about 7 miles. I like the Blue trail; a lot of work has been done on it and it is now pretty much all weather and entertaining. As you roll down from the start of the Family Trail, look out on your right for a test track (also known as the Skills Loop). It has berms, rollers, rocks, a small wall ride and even a log to ride down. It will give you a chance to session a few things and to warm up. You can injure yourself in there, so be careful.

    The red trail is another level up from the Blue and if you are not careful you can get yourself into trouble (many have). From car park and back again is 10.3 miles, or it was before the diversions due to the recent forest clearance. I have no idea whether it is now shorter or longer, but I doubt there will be much in it.

    To find the red, put the largest building behind you (the toilet block) and ride through the car park until you come to the interior road. There should be a short fence line with gaps made to stop riders from zooming starlight out into the road. It will be marked as the Kitchener Trail or the red trail. It starts with a short section that loops through the forest and back to the road again. If you don't like that bit,then you won't like what is coming ahead of you. Turn right at the road and return to the car park and do the Blue again. Once you cross the road and continue on the Red, you have gone down the rabbit hole and you won't see the car park again for almost 10 miles. So choose wisely.

    If you do the Blue and the Red on a rigid bike that will have been a very good workout.

    Ambition is a wonderful thing, but you need to develop skills and you can't get a skill upload off the internet, you have to earn them with hours spent in the saddle and preferably some instruction. So have a great day, but be careful out there! :)

    Thank you for the info @steve_sordy. I'm sure I'll end up getting there and getting completely lost haha.

    I can't wait to go.
  • barnstorm55barnstorm55 Posts: 6
    Hey lumberjack .

    Well done getting back in the saddle. It sounds like its been a quite a battle for you ,
    Probably more than any of the airborne loons you envy will ever know .
    A few things to remember .. you are riding a ridgid , a pine mountain just like I ride sometimes. These are great bikes and great fun . Very old school like me .. and these take skill to ride too. Skills you have and can develop too. Retro biking is a thing too .
    The main problem with mountain biking today is the total obsession with jumping . Reviewers are jumping around , youtubers are jumping around and it looks like the only way to ride is to jump . This is fine if you have full suspension etc and no fear of pain , but for most people mountain bikes are just for riding. Keeping both wheels on the ground ..
    Just don't get too focussed on what others are doing , just have fun your own way. Sherwood pines is a great place for ridgid bikes so go have fun. As Steve said , blue to start with.

    Mines a 1991 pine mountain. What's yours ?
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