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June 28, 2017
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  • jules

    I don’t feel much fear about crashing my bike. That may sound like a boast but multiple hospital visits and surgeries mean my loved ones think I’m an idiot. It’s possible they are correct. Most crashes result from you having made an error, or failing to account for an external hazard (usually someone else’s error). Sit down, identify it, and work out how to reduce the risk of it re-occurring. Learn your limits, operate within in them, learn how to expand your limits. Understanding the technique of bike handling, descending, is critical. If you’ve had a crash where you lost the front wheel “for no reason” then that’s bad – there was a reason, and if you don’t know what it was, it’ll probably happen again. Weight distribution, line of sight, grip on the bars, correct line through the corner, relaxed posture – get any of these wrong and your limit is restricted a bit. Get them all wrong and you’re wobbling around, waiting to crash.

    Developing techniques for protecting yourself in a bunch is important. You can’t prevent every crash due to someone else binning it in front of you, but keeping your exit options open, good positioning – these are important for giving yourself (false) confidence in your ability to avoid further crashes. Don’t be a victim – take control, even if it’s not entirely realistic.

    • RacingCondor

      I wish I had your lack of fear. First bad crash I had cost me my ability to corner in the wet (I’m embarrassingly bad, 20ft gaps every tight corner in races) and after smashing my collarbone this summer I’m now finding I can’t descend or ride comfortably in a close bunch.

      Annoying thing is the first crash wasn’t my fault (riders in front went down on a training ride) and while this year’s was my fault I know exactly why so it’s easy to learn from it (rationally).

      For now at least my bike skills suck despite racing many crits and because of better than average positioning, never having crashed in one.

      Rationally I have great situational awareness, good race positioning, can corner OK and out descend almost anyone. Need to work on it to get that mojo back.

      • jules

        maybe just practice? I dunno, I could be just 1 crash away from the same mindset. I had a big off while MTBing a few months ago and showing off, over the bars, major skin loss. Ended up in hospital and wounds were so deep the surgeons wanted a good look inside to ensure no dirt living there. What an idiot I was, I thought. for some reason it doesn’t seem to stop me though :) I really am not boasting nor believe it’s necessarily a strength – I cop it hard from the wife when this happens (again)!

        neither am I a handling/cornering guru by any means, but one advantage is that being willing to push it does help you improve. it’s all relative – plenty of riders still leave me eating dust.

        • RacingCondor

          My plan is practice. Club rides in all weather and focus on the problem then back to chain gangs when I’m not going to be erratic.

          Big advantage is that I have access to a track so I can go back to track skills sessions where the whole point is that you’re practising getting closer than you’re happy with.

          Just one of those things though, I know the problem and I’ll work through it if I have to get a coach to do it.

    • Neil

      All true Jules, but completely rational, when often our response isn’t. I had a bad off at the start of the year, and from the moment it happened knew why, and that the reason was easily fixed.
      But my confidence was smashed and some time off the bike resulted in lack of fitness, motivation and a perpetual cycle leading to isolating myself from my riding mates etc.
      All of this was completely non rational, and resulted from an accident that had nothing to do with rider error, that was easily fixed.

      • jules

        It’s not irrational at all Neil. I also lose confidence after I crash – I’m pretty sure everyone does. I just get it back quickly. Fear is a human protective feature – it’s not a malfunction. I’ve had to train myself to be more sensible in assessing risks. Getting older and more mature definitely helps.

  • Dave

    Step 1 to recovering mentally – ask if the bike is okay.

    • winkybiker

      Yes, skin grows back, bones mend. But the bike, that’s a different matter.

  • Phil Stephens

    While recovering from a crash is worth noting, how about realizing crashing is a possibility and trying to better prepare for those scenarios?! Grass-drills, tumbling drills, bumping drills with friends (or better yet, under a structured, coached session) can do much for mental and physical prep. Keep it up AMR.

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