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  1. #1
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    Psyched Out - Lost Passion

    So over the weekend I had a pretty scary stumble on the bike at a bike trail I wasn't THAT familiar with. I'm still fairly new and have been obsessed with MTBing but yesterday I went out to a trail I have done over and over again and was still afraid on well known spots. Is this a familiar feeling to anyone? Have you ever suffered from a fall and taken some time to get back into the groove of things? I just literally was not feeling it at all...

  2. #2
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    I've got a section of trail that after 2 years STILL makes my butt pucker, and I built it! And yes, it's quite normal to be a bit gun shy after a get off, or even a close call sometimes.

  3. #3
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    Pretty normal to be very tentative after a good spill. Go back to your well known spots, visualize riding them well, and then ride them. Your confidence will come back.
    When my confidence is low, I find my technical riding is worse and I'm more likely to spill again until I get my mojo back.

  4. #4
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    Oh yeah...
    This is one of the most mental sports I know.
    Par for the course what you are going through. Its part of the sport!
    Ride places you would deem easy and rebuild your confidence, but get back in the saddle once you are feeling it again.
    Lynn Woods
    JRA cycles

  5. #5
    El Gato Malo
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    ^^^^+1

  6. #6
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    It happens. Just need to ride to get it back, but maybe not the same bits of trail. I took a nasty fall this January on a ride. I am not riding that trail again because the trail was more of hiking path than a trail in the first place.

    Still next time out on proper trail when I got to similar type spot it cause me to pause and just walk it. I had never crashed here before, but was always dicey. So I just wimped out and walked it. No big deal. A few weeks later I rode it again and this time I just bucked up and rode it. Confidence. It comes from riding and can be lost in a crash. To build it back up either tough it out and ride the crash zone again or ride some other stuff that get progressively more complex and like the crash area.

    BTW.... Not ever ride needs to be super techy challenge. Some times you need just smooth spin on easy terrain just to get the enjoyment of pedaling the bike again. I have trails near home with different character and I can choose to ride smoother trails with tough climbs or techy steep sections or moderate tech with lots of exposure and just about everything in between. I just choose which trails I am in the mood for.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  7. #7
    bust a move
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    For me the length of time that I'm psyched out is directly related to the seriousness of the tumble. It always goes away though...thankfully.

  8. #8
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    ^
    which is directly proportional to the cost of damage to the bike and the cost of hospitalization.

  9. #9
    undercover brother
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    It happens. Like others have said, gain your confidence back by riding easier trails. It will come back to you, but you can't let it linger in your mind.

  10. #10
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    Everyone has ups and downs.. It's natural. Just don't lose your focus on why you ride, what brought you to biking in the first place.

    I don't ride chunk all the time - I prefer smooth and flowy with a tad of chunk tossed in for fun - I do from time to time hit the chunkier stuff just to keep the bike handling skills in line.

    Crashes happen and I am sure most of us on here have done it from time to time - some more than others. I have done it, separated shoulder and all that, and got back on the horse and rode again like my dad always told me.. Son, get up and dust off and get back on the bike.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  11. #11
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    get back on the "horse",,, look where you want to go..not where you don't.......and no harm in walking some parts if you are not feeling it..... i'd rather be teased for a minute or two that nursing a separated shoulder for a month.

  12. #12
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    Completely normal feeling.

    Learning to deal with fear is a big part of becoming a better rider.
    Check out my You Tube Channel

  13. #13
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    Something similar happened to me the other day. It was my first time out on my favorite local trail this season. There is a funky 3-4 foot drop between 2 trees, juuuust wide enough for your bars to fit through. There are also 3 or 4 roots at the top of the drop pointing in different directions, between the trees, on off camber ground... The key to this drop is just being confident and hitting it with speed so that the roots can't substantially effect the tracking of your front tire which causes you to slip out sideways. Being my first ride on that trail on my new bike for some reason I decided to go at it a bit slower than normal and just roll it (remembering the last time I hit this feature on a new bike, at speed, and crashed anyway) Well, big mistake. Probably the worst crash I have taken in years. I ended up sliding off the back of the saddle, the bike shot forward and I landed on my back, crunching my spine in the process.

    Mind games, man. Like others have said try to build your confidence back up. One way to do that is to attack familiar features that you know you can ride and have ridden many times before. Good luck.
    All good things in all good time

  14. #14
    The 5th knuckle
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    For me it's when I'm not a little apprehensive is when I get hurt. If it's too easy, familiar, I'm not paying attention, that is when I mess myself up. A little fear is good, none = dirt snack.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando Gutierrez
    The only thing you have to figure out is don't fall down. To keep riding the bike.

  15. #15
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    There is a sketchy section of a particular trail that I often ride several times a week, that previously over the years I made it through unscathed at least 60-70 times. In fact, I didn't even look at it as much of a challenge anymore and thought nothing of it when I approached. Then, last November, I suddenly found myself going over sideways and breaking a few ribs at this section, and was scared to death just trying to make it back to my car (difficultly breathing in the middle of the woods with nobody around will do that to you).

    Guess what---to this day some days I simply dismount at this section and walk through it, depending on how confident I feel on that day. A few months ago, I dismounted every time...I'm just now getting back to where I ride through 60% or so of the time. Remember, before the crash I scoffed at the section and thought nothing of it; I'm guessing it will take a solid year before I get back to that point again.

    It's human nature and you'll just have to fight through it. But whatever you do, don't let fear get the most of you and succumb to it. You'll have to become mentally tougher and that's a good thing, which you can then apply to other areas of your life.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the advice guys. I guess a lot of it has to do with how you're feeling that day huh? I climbed up this massive hill two times last week and failed to get it yesterday, I was pretty hard on myself but I guess I should just chalk it off to an off day and expect to have those every now and then.

  17. #17
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    I had a massive otb on a quick downhill bruised/cracked ribs and cracked my helmet. For about 2 months I avoided the spot and when I would ride it I would stop right before it unintentionally and get off to walk. It was all in my head. One day I just rode it again with no problems and now its all good again!

    Your body can handle anything
    Your bike can handle most things
    Your mind can only handle what it wants

  18. #18
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    It just means your brain is still working properly.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarBoom View Post
    I had a massive otb on a quick downhill bruised/cracked ribs and cracked my helmet. For about 2 months I avoided the spot and when I would ride it I would stop right before it unintentionally and get off to walk. It was all in my head. One day I just rode it again with no problems and now its all good again!

    Your body can handle anything
    Your bike can handle most things
    Your mind can only handle what it wants
    I think I would change that one a little:
    My mind can handle anything
    My body can handle most things
    My bike can handle what my mind and body want it to...
    It's all Here. Now.

  20. #20
    High Desert MTBer
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    ...and if I have a big tumble, I go over it in my mind and try and figure out why. It's usually caused by lack of focus, or lack of commitment, so next time around, once I am healed, I try it again only mo bettah! Usually that works...
    It's all Here. Now.

  21. #21
    A Gentleman and a MTBR'
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    We've always called it "the fear," it happens to any sane person in any action sport. I've experienced "the fear" as a kid when skateboarding, as and adult after crashing, or almost crashing my MTB and BMX bikes. I've felt it after a scary slip rock climbing. It can become impossible to commit when "the fear" is in you... you just have to work through it, or take a break. You'll pull an awesome move, or bunny-hop an obstacle that jumps out of nowhere and you'll be fine again.

  22. #22
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    This has happened to pretty much anyone who rides a bike. I find the older I get the more cautious I become. The last major crash I had I separated my shoulder, broke my helmet and caused all sorts or damage to my bike. I also learned I needed to wear glasses when I ride but thats another issue. My first ride after I healed was that trail. I had to face it. I rode it slow and easy. The next time a little faster.. It took me some time before I could go full speed but I got there. The thing is, if you're not feeling confident, walk it. Who cares? Another person said it and I agree, I'd rather be made fun of for a few minutes than to crash, separate a shoulder and be off the bike for a month. This sport is a giant mind game. But its up to you on how you handle the game and how much you let the fear get to you. For what's it worth, I'd rather walk a section and live to ride another day... just sayin..

  23. #23
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    It happens, I did it last year, went OTB bounced my noddle off a large rock. Spilt helmet open pulled muscles in my neck but no other injurys thanks baby jesus. For the next two rides I really slowed down through that section, now I just bomb through it again. A friend I used to ride with years ago went off a step down hill at full speed, I don't know what the hell he was thinking its a full stop drop in downhill and he went over at full speed. He went through the tops of the trees then fell to the ground close to the bottom of the hill. No broken bones which was a miracle but bruised his kidneys, he never rode that section ever again and it was totaly his own fault. I tried to get him to ride it again but he refused, don't let that stuff happen to you, just like everyone else said get up dust yourself off and get back at it.
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  24. #24
    9 lives
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    During my brief mtb experience, I've had my share of +++falls, broken bones and health issues (cancer). What works for me is to get back to riding as soon as possible after a traumatic event. The return to riding can be transitional or taken down a notch (depending on physical limitations) but I think mind over matter is the key to overcoming doubt.

    I work with a woman who (several years ago) fell off her bike, got scratched and bruised and never rode again. Which makes me think that the longer you avoid something, the more difficult it can be to go back to it.
    F*ck Cancer

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  25. #25
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    remind yourself that riding is supposed to be fun.
    you don't have to challenge yourself every minute on the bike.
    when i was doing that it became a chore and frustrating when things didn't work.
    now i just head out for a great ride, if an obstacle comes up and i'm feeling it ,i'll try to make it ,if i'm not feeling it ,it'll be there next time.
    after a few bad crashes and injuries i reevaluated why i ride and now i enjoy it more than ever.
    Team Van Go

  26. #26
    High Desert MTBer
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailtrash View Post
    remind yourself that riding is supposed to be fun.
    you don't have to challenge yourself every minute on the bike.
    when i was doing that it became a chore and frustrating when things didn't work.
    now i just head out for a great ride, if an obstacle comes up and i'm feeling it ,i'll try to make it ,if i'm not feeling it ,it'll be there next time.
    after a few bad crashes and injuries i reevaluated why i ride and now i enjoy it more than ever.

    This is a great post! That is exactly what I do sometimes, I tell myself that I am just going to go out, not push, not worry about making every obstacle, just relax, breath and enjoy... sometimes its like a big old weight lifting, and that is why I ride, to relax. When relaxed, I ride better anyway
    It's all Here. Now.

  27. #27
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    It happens. I had a bad crash on a skinny and haven't been able to ride them confidently since. The fall was low speed but it was timed perfectly so that my front wheel came off the skinny right at a support. The support stopped the bike instantly and I went over the bars. Broke my helmet and saddle.

    There is really only one skinny on the trails I ride now and it's a very easy one. It's a split log, about a foot wide, and not even a foot off the ground with no turns and no supports. Even totally screwing up just results in riding off the log and pedaling on. But it still scares the snot out of me every time.

  28. #28
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    When I lose passion either secondary to a fall or just burn out, I completely change up things for a while.

    In my case, I seem to always be chasing a PR. So when I feel a burn out or loss of passion, I will start leaving my Garmin at home and just go ride. I will try to take time and stop a lot and explore around on the trails and in the woods. It is fun seeing things from a new perspective.

    My riding buddy calls this my flipping turtles ride. After a few rides like this I gain a new look on riding and before long, I am back to chasing PR's.

  29. #29
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    I just got back on the saddle after taking an almost 9 year hiatus. Life took over and passion got pushed to the side. Right now I don't have the fear of taking a spill because I'm enjoying every minute of it. Riding new trails helps out as well because things are unknown and I can go balls deep. If a drop pops up out of nowhere, oh well. On familiar trails where I used to crash I would intentionally stop and go oh sh!t before proceeding.

  30. #30
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    Totally normal and those kind of mental battles are part of what makes mountain biking so much fun.

    When I first got into riding I took a pretty good over the bars tumble down a steep rocky section. The next 5-6 times I rode that trail, I walked that part. What helped me get over it, was watching how other people rode that section. The next time I tried to ride it, everything went smoothly and now I don't even hesitate at that section of trail.

  31. #31
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    This is part of the progress. You get in a little over your head, ride outside of your skill level, crash, get cautious, regroup. Without riding at the edge/past your comfort zone, you'll progress slowly or not at all.

    Depending on the level of your psych-out, it may take a long while before you start charging again. Don't beat yourself up. Pretty much all of us have gone through this along the way.

    _MK
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  32. #32
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    Last year I went down pretty hard on the road bike. Going around a corner to fast and lost the front tire. Skinned up my whole right side. I've not been able to corner fast on the road since. Heck even going down the nice steep hills by my house I shave speed at the top. Going down on pavement hurts a hell of a lot more than the dirt! I don't know how the tour d' france guys do it. Crash and get skinned alive only to hop right back on and keep going. I lose skin on the road, I'm done for the day!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  33. #33
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    I've had this after falling into a creek, I actually started hating myself since I couldn't even make easy turns anymore.

    Which would have led to more accidents.

    I've found that just trying to relax and just concentrating on having fun is the easiest thing for me. Slowly, you'll get your confidence back. I'm sure of it!
    (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ

  34. #34
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    I rarely crash on my bike. Of all my riding friends, i bleed the least hands down.

    Little over a month ago i was doing the final log feature on the gato spur in the laguna mtns and failed. Bike drifted to the left and instead of manualing off i tried to correct. This, of course, resulted in my bike squirting out and me taking the log to the chest. I shook it off and finished the ride a bit on the sore side.

    The very next weekend i confidently told everyone i had paid my dues in pain for the year. I then proceeded to go over the bars at a section we named "over the bars" 15 years ago at sycamore canyon in santee. Finished the ride, but spent that eve in urgent care getting xrays.

    Nothing broken, but i was outa riding for almost 2 weeks. The very first ride after was interesting. I wound up riding harder than i expected, but MAN did my butt pucker in a lota spots. I also did this weird thing where i was not allowing my bike to get ANY air. I had super sore calves for the next week from the way i had been pushing my bike down to the ground after ever dip and terrain feature.

    Yesterday was my 5th ride since those crashes, and it was the first time i didnt have them in my head while navigating sketchy turns and downhills. Yes OP, everyone gets psyched out by crashing to some degree. Today we are going back to the Gato spur. I aint scurd!!!! but i also aint gona do that last log feature. =P Not this time anyway.

  35. #35
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    Last fall I was riding my bike on a trail I hadn't been on before. There was a turn into a short, but steep, hill. I clipped my handlebar on a tree and went flying down the hill. I didn't get hurt too badly at the time, but I landed on top of my handlebar and ended up getting a hernia from it. I rode there a couple more times last year after that and I couldn't bring myself to go down again, so I just walked it and kept going after that. I went there for the first time this year a few days ago. I had been thinking about this hill and how it freaked me out ever since I fell. I rode up to it, and stopped. Went back, rode up to it, and stopped again. Then I just realized this hill was going to become a real mental block for me if I didn't just do it. So I looked at it for a minute, picked out where I wanted to go, and went back and did it with no problems. The rest of the ride I had more confidence then ever for getting over it.
    I think it just takes a bit of time to work up the courage to go back at it with confidence, because if you're really nervous and unsure you'll just make more sloppy mistakes.

  36. #36
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    I took a bad spill about 8 years ago. I broke out my front teeth, broken jaw, shattered helmet, and lost a good bit of skin on my nose, lips and mouth. It took me 2 years to get the balls to get back on a bike and probably another 3 years to get back to the comfort/skill level I once was. When I first got "back on the horse" I panicked at the thought of a 3" step down and/or going down anything steeper than a handicap ramp...now I'm back to loving the steep stuff! Just keep riding, you'll get it back!
    Psyched Out - Lost Passion-mescal-roller.jpg
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
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  37. #37
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    Like someone said, it's fear. For me, it's been fear and trust. I was always balls out riding motorcycles, until I went down. I'm in the process of coming back, the bike is ready, I just need to get my pucks down again.

    If you don't have confidence in yourself, you're likely to fail. Take a deep breath, and get on with it! (so I tell myself)

  38. #38
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    Had the same feelings after coming back to riding after my broken leg - and again after the torn knee cartilage - and yet again after the twice fractured skull.

    Learn from your mistakes - figure out why you crashed, and work on the skills to overcome it. As you learn more skills, your early crash-inducing-conditions become easily conquered - and you come across totally new ways to crash. Don't ever feel bad walking a section or feature because you don't feel ready for it that day.

    And remember that this is FUN.

    Steve Z
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    And paddling when it's wet

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