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  1. #1
    Hi!!!
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    Coming back mentally from a bad crash/injury

    On Labor Day, I had a pretty bad crash on an intermediate DH run at one of the ski resorts in central Idaho. Long story short....nothing broken....just some very sore ribs and a badly bruised ego.

    Since then I have only gotten in two rides...a very easy road ride and a very easy SS ride. Needless to say my ribs weren't too happy with me. They were sore, but the riding was tolerable to a point.

    Right now, my right ribcage feels pretty good, still sore, but nowhere near the pain I was experiencing days after my crash. I really do feel that I am OK to hit the trails.

    However.....

    On both the road ride and SS ride, I kept having visions of crashing on both bikes and what it would be like. By no means do I ride balls out, but I do sometimes push the edge of my comfort zone on rides. I'm gonna try to ride tomorrow. But I'm kinda concerned that I will be having these visions of crashing again. I'm guessing the more I ride, the more I'll feel comfortable again on the bike. But on the flipside.....I'm kinda worried if that crash will affect my riding from now on.

    Ehhh...just needed to vent I guess.

    Nick

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    My guess is that you'll be a little shaky at first, but as soon as you build up a little sweat, everything will be ok. You know what they say about falling off of a horse.

  3. #3
    Mud Boy
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    get some rib protection

    I think my padded belt was from the lacrosse world. I broke some ribs every season for three years straight. All crashes were fatigue caused, tired-relax the attention or going too slow thru a technical section.

    I found the pads gave me a little mental cushion to push again. I'm currently healing from an enormous bruise on my left hip. Bruise goes from belly button to butt crack-base of ribs to lower hip.

    Again, fatigue caused. Three hours in to an xc ride, over leaned thru a very fast twisty tree lined section, hit a 3" diameter tree with my left side of my head. That unweighted me enough to cause a very bad, very hard hit.

    Been riding the road until the swelling went down some. This Sunday I'll get back in the mtn saddle.

    Sometimes the mind play's funy games, and ribs take a long time to heal. Look for that rib protector, especially if your the freeride/hucker type. The mo pads the better...right

  4. #4
    you know your crazy right
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    It is hard to come back from a bad crash. My sprained back from last August held me back from DH riding this year,all I could think was would if it wasn't just a sprain. I crashed off a small drop with a gap and the day before I had done my first 4 foot drop....the crash was bad.I waited for the parametics to get to me before I moved.It has take a good year for the pain to stop. As someone said before I would have prefered to break an arm, that would have been easier to deal with.I got out twice to DH ride in the early season and it was sooo had to make myself go...I did alot of xc riding instead. But then it was holiday time (in September) and my bf and i always go DH riding in as many places as we can...so off we went (got in 6 days at 3 mountians) and I just took it easy and stayed away from drops this year and had a good time.I had some good crashes,that didn't hurt to bad and bought some new body armour.I am sure that next year I will give'er a lot harder. Just take your time and rememeber why you love it and try not to focus on the crash...easier said then done. lol. K
    Boobs to the tube.......

  5. #5
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    The shaken confidence takes longer to heal than the body sometimes. I crashed hard onto some rocks this spring while riding alone on a trail I hadn't ridden before. One pointy rock got me right in the ribs and I thought I was toast. My wife happened to be traveling for business and as I was lying on the trail after the crash and my wife called my cell phone to check in. I told her that everything was fine and I'm sitting on the couch!! I didn't touch the bike for a week and stayed away from ANYTHING technical. The apprehension about crashing goes away with time that's the only cure

  6. #6
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    Wear the right gear but of course there's always a chance you'll get a stick or rock right between the pads etc. I find the nagging worry only vanishes after a fresh crash when I bounce to my feet and say "hey this time I'm fine!".

  7. #7
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    It's important to know the reasons why you crashed so you are not just plain scared of everything. For example, my broken bone and crash was from fatigue and low nutrition during a race. I felt all fuzzy-headed before I fell. As a result I'm very careful about my fatigue factor before and during the ride.

    My broken bone had me on crutches for three months. However, I had ridden MTB long enough to know that I loved it and didn't want to eliminate it. I spent the winter rehabilitating and retraining myself. I went as SLOWLY as I needed to. You should, too. Even if this means just standing with your bike for 20 minutes at the top of a run without riding it, then going home. Or stand at the site of the accident, and then go home. Or just sit on your bike in the living room until you feel safe. Be creative with your solutions to this problem. There's no reason to give up, you have tons of time to get over it.

    My first rides after the accident were on a mountain bike on the road with regular flat pedals. I started from scratch like a cycling kindergartener. I think I did 20 minutes at first. To be honest, I was so happy to be back on my bike. My first race after the accident was spent mostly on foot, then I DNF-ed. Sounds wimpy, but I needed to feel completely comfortable in the woods, and in that situation. The next few races I would freak a little if I fell down, but soon I saw that my injury really was from a particular circumstance which, as I said, I have become hypervigilant about.

    A year and half later I can say that it is rare that I think about my injury at all. My riding has improved alot this summer, not necessarily because of the crash experience, but it proves that I can move ahead despite the past.
    Last edited by cgee; 09-20-2006 at 11:57 AM.

  8. #8
    I'm a dog person
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    It's important to know the reasons why you crashed so you are not just plain scared of everything.
    I couldn't agree more. I crashed in 2000 when the left end of my handlebar hit a downed tree that was hidden by some foliage. I was on an easy, flat, level singletrack at the time but going fast enough that I ended up w/ a shattered (four major pieces and many little ones) clavicle, three dislocated ribs and a rotated vertebra. Because I knew the crash was a total fluke and had little to do with what I did or didn't do, it didn't affect my riding.

    Contrarily, I had my bike slip out from under me in 1996 on some slick rocks. My frame went sideways and all of my weight came down on the frame with my left leg still clipped in underneath it. The downtube left a pretty good bone bruise on my tib. Comparitively a pretty minor injury to the aforementioned, but it was painful and left some psychological baggage.

    What helped me was to go the site of the crash and to ride that section over and over until the puckering fear was reduced to small voice in the back of my head. To this day, I still have to consciously remind myself to relax through that section of trail.
    Last edited by emptybeer; 09-25-2006 at 05:22 AM.
    "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."

  9. #9
    Hi!!!
    Reputation: BelaySlave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    It's important to know the reasons why you crashed so you are not just plain scared of everything.
    I've gone through the crash many times in my head to "rationalize" what happened.

    I was up at Tamarack planning on doing some chairlift riding. Got off the chairflift and headed down and noticed how choppy and rutty and loose and crappy Super G was...much moreso than when I rode it several weeks before. Not far from the top I approach the first wall ride (no I don't do those). It enters it somewhat steeply, but not super steep. Had a good head of steam going. Now keep in mind that the trail is just sucky for me to handle compared to my abilities. Next thing ya' know....CRASH!!!!!!!

    I surmised that my front tire somehow got bogged down in a rut that was covered over in several inches of loose dirt and I just lost control.

    Ugh.

  10. #10
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    takes time love and tenderness...huh!?
    ok maybe just time and tenderness but love cant hurt right?
    i slammed into a tree recently and again before that...
    broke my thumb this time so haven't ridden since should be 3 weeks but the first time my chest took the brunt of impact and for awhile afterward i had to go slow when on that downhill cause flashbacks of the accident kept popping into my head when i least expected it but that goes away along with the fear the more you ride and especially if you learned from what happened if it was something that could have been prevented you'll know what NOT to do next time and that helps...
    so keep riding and dont worry the memories fade w/ time

  11. #11
    Die trying, not watching.
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    Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

    Three years ago I suffered a serious shoulder injury that took me a long time to rehab. I first got back on my road bike and eventually my mtn bike. Each time I rode the mtn bike on anything bordering steep or rocky I would "see" myself crashing and suffering some dreadful injury. Sometimes, even thinking about a sketchy section of trail produced the same effect. I became a less confident rider which actually increased my risk of new injury. I stuck with riding though, doing easy rides at first and gradually increasing my risk level. Each time I rode, I focused on basic riding skills and lots of positive self-talk ("you can ride this") Eventually, all my symptoms resolved. I think my symptoms were those of PTSD (see title) that resolved. For folks having persistent symptoms of PTSD, seeing a psychologist or counselor would probably be helpful.
    Just get up again ...

  12. #12
    Make some music
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    Take it easy...

    Last summer I came back from a broken collar bone and was plenty aprehensive. Started riding with some clown buddies who kept dragging me down every highly technical trail they could ride. Before I knew it I was over the bars numerous times and even more gun shy than before.. I finally ditched the "well this is where we're gonna ride" clowns and took ten steps back.. Some easy solo rides on very predictable terrain and eventually some new riding folks and then time... time.. Stayed loose and gained confidence and composure and now I'm riding better than ever.. New technical skills and alot more smiles....
    J.O.R.B.A. More than just tm. WWW.JORBA.ORG

  13. #13
    Double-metric mtb man
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    I agree here too....my worst wreck to date was a nice little 3' drop to a slight downslope where I didn't stick the landing and bounced into a deadfall....winded, scratched up all over, some good bruises (thank goodness I was wearing a little armor) plus some minor damage to the bike.

    It rattled me a fair bit for the next couple weeks...I kept wondering "what did I do wrong?" I've been back to the spot a few times since and I have figured out why I bounced. In looking at it from the landing side, the "take off" point is stepped and has a bunch of roots at the apex...it's a dang tough approach to get a line that won't kick your butt every which way you don't want to go.

    I know right now that I can clear it...I've worked my way back to the point I'm confident in my technical skills including what it'd take to do this drop...now I've just got to face the bugger that got me once the trails dry out a bit (we've had a week of rain and showers). I've seen evidence of others getting the same treatment I did, but there is also evidence of people clearing it... I'm going to be in the latter group
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  14. #14
    Hi!!!
    Reputation: BelaySlave's Avatar
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    Well got in a one hour birthday ride last night....

    Other than the sore ribs and lack of fitness, I did pretty damn OK. There were a couple of spots where I thought about crashing, but suprisingly I rode fairly well. I didn't hit jumps or try to rail the corners like usual...had to take it easy to get reacquainted with my bike...but it was alright!

    I think the really big test will be next summer when I'm chairlift riding again and approach tricky sections.

  15. #15
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    Congrats, BelaySlave, keep up the good work! P.S. Happy birthday!

  16. #16
    President of the Internet
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    i think

    it happens to eveyone. Once bitten, twice shy. Its your body's natural protection. Like everyone else I've had numerous injuries. The worst of which was a ruptured spleen that almost killed me.

    A few months ago I was in a head on colision with another road rider on a paved bike trail. That left me with casts on both arms! NOT FUN!

    I'm not mtbing yet, but am road riding. I too am getting pestered by my mind. the worst part is because my crash was caused by a dumbass rider, not myself. I'm afraid of another jerk ridinging into me on the trail. Something I can't control.

    But, we live, learn & move on.

  17. #17
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    Suck it up, *****!

  18. #18
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    This past summer i was screwing around some loading docks and this pompus seagull comes and plants one right on my shoulder(favoutie shirt too!)

    I have been paranoind of birds ever since.

  19. #19
    Three sheets to the wind
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    I broke my elbow last September at Whiteface during a high speed breakout, which resulted in an open surgical repair. I'm still a little speed shy the first few runs until my confidence oozes back in place. And I ride DH nearly every week, and on the road several days a week...I guess it our brain won't let it go...

  20. #20
    liver abuser
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    I broke 3 ribs and my collarbone on Bob's last Oct. It took me all winter to heal and it was July before I started to really push the envelope again. But now I do and I never think about those bones crunching anymore.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaySlave
    I think the really big test will be next summer when I'm chairlift riding again and approach tricky sections.
    No it won't. One year from now, you won't even remember the crash until after you ride that section. Seems like it would be impossible to forget, but actually, it's quite the contrary.

    I had a pretty "weird" accident in the middle of this summer. Went over an A-frame and fell off the other side in an endo. Hurt my shoulder for a couple weeks and really shattered my confidence on technical sections.

    Just take it slow, and things will slowly come back to you. Start on smaller technical things, and work up to where you were before the accident. One of these days, you'll be out riding and something will just "click" for you; you'll see

    Good luck!

  22. #22
    Mmmm...Pivo!
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    Getting your head back in order is tough. I got hit by a car back in April--went face first into the windshield of a van. Ouch. Honestly, I felt violated. With a serious job and a family, I have almost no free time, and riding is MY time and my space, and when I got on my bike, it is me, only me, fully in control. And a big red van getting smashed that completely just like my face smashed the van's windshield. Two things helped.

    1. Get some closure on the original crash. It happened, it is over. You can analyze it until you die, but the fact is, it happened and there is nothing you can do about it now. Don't let it screw you up moving forward. Reride where you fell, and do it really easily, so you can have some memories from the same place that were not traumatic. You will likely always let up in that spot, but that is better than not riding at all.

    2. Get back on the bike and start off easy and build up. My head was really screwed up for a while, but it helped that I went on vacation shortly thereafter and rode every day, easily at first to get the feel back, and then I built up over the week. This was very theraputic and I recommend it highly.

    I do not ride downhill, so maybe this advice doesn't count for a can of beans, but it worked for me.

    Good luck and hang in there!

  23. #23
    ravingbikefiend
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    I think that tomorrow is the one month anniversary of a crash that kept me off the trails for most of that time and yesterday was the first day I really got out and hit things hard albeit on a different bike which I think made a difference in my mindset.

    We ran through many of the familiar places and I had no aversion to the singletrack and climbs and was actually riding at a fairly high confidence level but when we came to the fairly level spot on the twisty rolling MUT where I crashed I had a moment's hesitation before hammering through that section for all I was worth.

    Crashes are a matter of when and not if... you just have to get back in the saddle and get back into things at your own speed.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

    -Environmental stickers don't mean shite when they are stuck to CARS!-

  24. #24
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    Last year I got talked into doing a jump off a ramp on a downhill. I didn't know how to jump and tried it on my old hardtail with Mag21 fork, duh I'm 38 should know better!, I completely spangled it and somersaulted over the front wheel still clipped in, and did an actual face-plant i.e. drove my face into the dirt with 200 pounds of the rest of me and bike trying its best to really finish me off and twist my kneck. Got up undamaged just a bit of blood and grazes, I was giggling like a school-girl at getting away with it. I decided that must've been my one get out of jail free card from above and I don't try jumps, or any crazy stuff, its not worth it to me to mangle myself with a family and the rest of my life to live, injuries suck so for me its about risk management. The one comment from above that I really aggree with is about fatigue and getting tired, I think apart from trying stuff beyond me which I don't feel I need to try anymore, the main thing to watch out for for me is the fatigue that sets in and the little laziness that can creep into your riding, the slight lapse in concentration, that before you know it it can be goodnight nurse.

  25. #25
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    Good thread,

    I recently have had some bad luck, towards the end of last summer I took a pretty bad crash and broke my left wrist and my right thumb had surgery on the thumb. I lost all my fitness. So next spring rolls around and I'm at the Angel Fire DH race (not in shape) and I had a pretty nasty finger dislocation and sprained the wrist I had broken before. A couple of months after that I get back on the horse and I separate my right shoulder, a couple of years back I had separated my left, so now I have matching bad shoulders!

    So after the last crash I have been really taking it easy, mostly trail riding some DH but not pinning it. I intend to get strong again this winter and not hurt myself, by next summer I hope to have forgotten all about this crap and pin it again!

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