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  1. #1
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    Confident Training After a BIG Wreck

    Friday I took a big fall. It was about 3 weeks into my training for this upcoming season. Up to this point everything was going well.

    I spun up the rear over a big, flat rock at the exact time I had a big petal strike, which in turn caused me to bobble, losing my balance and falling off a small rock ledge-about 6 feet-and into an arroyo filled with large rocks. It was ugly, but lucky for me all I did was scratch up my back a bit. The bike is OK too.

    I took Saturday off. Today I went out to ride again. (Of course I went back to the scene of the accident.) It is really discouraging to feel like I lost all of my early season confidence. I rode terribly.

    The only take-away was the little mantra I ran through my head while riding; "If its not smooth, it probably isn't fast. You can always add speed, but only after you are smooth."

    What do you do the clear your head to regain confidence? After a certain point, it is a totally mental game!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    Friday I took a big fall. It was about 3 weeks into my training for this upcoming season. Up to this point everything was going well.

    I spun up the rear over a big, flat rock at the exact time I had a big petal strike, which in turn caused me to bobble, losing my balance and falling off a small rock ledge-about 6 feet-and into an arroyo filled with large rocks. It was ugly, but lucky for me all I did was scratch up my back a bit. The bike is OK too.

    I took Saturday off. Today I went out to ride again. (Of course I went back to the scene of the accident.) It is really discouraging to feel like I lost all of my early season confidence. I rode terribly.

    The only take-away was the little mantra I ran through my head while riding; "If its not smooth, it probably isn't fast. You can always add speed, but only after you are smooth."

    What do you do the clear your head to regain confidence? After a certain point, it is a totally mental game!
    You said you went back to the scene of the accident. Did you ride it again? If not, I'd say go ride it a few times focusing on pedal clearance and clear it to boost confidence. At least you know what caused it, so can work on that aspect in similar situations.

  3. #3
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    Oh yea, I rode it again, in both directions. Thanks for the response, BruceBrown.

  4. #4
    LMN
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    It takes me a bit after a crash to get my mojo back. Usually I focus on riding smoother and technically well until my confidence returns. Some times it takes a minute or two for confidence to come back some times it takes months.

    I do find if I have had a big wreck on a particular trail feature that I may never ride that trail feature with confidence again.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  5. #5
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    It will come back. Your crash didn't sound too bad. I broke my back about 15 years ago on a mountain road in West Virginia. It has forever changed how I mountain bike. To this day there are things I just can't and wont even try and ride. Lucky for me the races in CO. generally aren't technacal they usually involve lots and lots of fire rd climbing. I just happen to be really good at that.

  6. #6
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    As long as you know what went wrong then I think it is relatively easy to get over. those 'what the hell happened' major offs are far more difficult to recover from

  7. #7
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    6 foot drop into a pile of rocks? Dude, glad you arent hurt.

    Just keep riding and you will live and learn. I had a pretty bad wreck in March of 2010 and took off all the flesh on my left knee cap and broke my left wrist. I couldnt bend my leg for over a month much less ride or even walk! Life was rough for a few months....

    Needless to say, I still get extremely nervous when descending and cornering in loose gravel. Thats where I had my accident and I wont ever forget it!
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  8. #8
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    PTSD from accidents is a real thing and can have an impact on your riding. With a multi sport lifestyle I have had periods of injury in both winter and summer and had the spend just as much time mentally and physically getting back to performance level. A broken femur when hitting a tree while snowboarding out of bounds still rings in my memory when whizzing past trees in the summer on my bike. Personally I take my level of confidence in my riding abilities and trust in skills as the determining factor as to when I am back in good form and have move on from an injury. For me that is essential because if I am thinking about that crash when riding it will wreck my focus.

    I had a decent crash at the end of last season that took more time that I thought to get over. Nothing broken but my trust in myself was questioned internally. What did I do? Dial it back and just put some miles on the bike. Before I knew it I was charging just as I like, well at least that is how it works for me. I learned to trust that my skill set is solid and trusting in it is the safest thing, getting all into my head will only get me hurt again.

  9. #9
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    Crashes can really affect your form. One of my team mates was in really good form recently, winning virtually everything he entered. Then he had a huge crash whilst leading a race and since then he has been out of sorts. It's just one of those things. You just have to ease yourself back into it and you'll soon get you confidence back. Hesitant riding is what causes crashes, that's why I say just take it easy for a bit. You need to get back to riding with confidence and conviction.
    and no, I am not missing the other half of my fork....

  10. #10
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    Yoda was likely a cyclist, because "Do or do not, there is no try" sure applies to riding a bike in technical terrain. As long as it is something you have ridden successfully, then you know it can be done, you just need to focus on all the times it has worked and think of that one crash as the anomaly (if you think of it at all).

    Do. Or do not. There is no try. - YouTube
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  11. #11
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    Years ago I had a very serious crash, I got home early from work and decided to go for a " easy spin" didn't know what I was thinking because I didn't wear my helmet. Along this ride, a ride along the coast, which I've done several times before, there was this double jump, which I had also done many times, anyway, on this occasion, right at the moment I took flight, I knew things were going badly, when I landed, the front wheel washed out and I face planted on this dirt which was likened to 40 grit sandpaper. After everything was said and done, I had 40 stitches, I rip my left ear in two and almost lost my left eye, as well as very severe head trauma. To make this long story short(sorry) as soon as I was cleared to ride again, about a month, gradually got back up to speed, always wore my helmet and eventually had a great race season. The moral to this story is, if you fall off, get right back up and don't let it bother you much, the only thing my crash changed was to never be stupid again and use my helmet every ride.

  12. #12
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    Confident Training After a BIG Wreck

    After a big crash I usually like to let the broken bones heal and then build up gradually - physiotherapy exercises, then turbo trainer, then riding on the road, then gentle trails to get back into riding offroad before trying anything too difficult. "Super secret techy gnarly fast descents" and "aggressive riding on rocky trails with features of consequence" are last.

    If the crash is bad but not terminal then I'll go away, ride some easier trails successfully for a few days, in order to reinforce the notion that failure isn't an option and then try again.

    I'm not a huge fan of the "get straight back on after a crash and try again immediately" idea. A few years ago I was on a fast descent riding in deep 4x4 ruts. The weekend before we'd gone down it with the club and it was fine. Some days later by myself I was trying to go the same speed but got a little squirrelly, caught the front tyre on the side of the rut and went flying over the bars, landing on my head. I got up, dusted myself down, straightened the bars and set off onwards down the hill. About 50 meters later I wrecked again, going over the bars and smashing my helmet to bits this time. It was a difficult 2 hour ride home on the road with concussion and double vision after that. Riding in ruts has been a psychological problem area ever since. With hindsight I'd have done better to avoid the second crash.

    I think it really depends upon the circumstances of the crash how big a psychological effect it has on you. There are a few days of the year (21st April being the main anniversary for me) where I'm not even going to go out of the house if I can help it nowadays due to the negative connotations.

    I've been listening to a Paul McKenna "Instant Confidence" self hypnosis CD regularly. In the hope that it can help me get a bit more focused with fewer panic attacks.

    Instant Confidence: Paul Mckenna: Amazon.com: Books

    I also tend to like changing bike parts (tyres, bars, brakes etc) post crash in the hope that new parts will perform better and help me stay upright in future. Before a difficult section I'll often try and remind myself that the equipment is more than up to the job so there's no possibility of failure now.

    Since crashing last August, breaking my left femur and dislocating my left clavicle, I've had this constant image playing over and over again in my mind. I'm on a bike, the rear tyre is slipping, it regains traction and then I'm fired off the bike in a massive high side. It ends each time with me flying through the air. It's so vivid that it seems real but it wasn't the circumstances of the August crash at all. About the closest crash I can think of was one in 2009 where I crashed on a road descent.

  13. #13
    Rod
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    I've found it depends on the person. I ride with a friend who didn't even get injured somehow when he hit a tree at 20 mph. He hit the ground on hit feet basically, but he does not descend the same as he once did. He also really slows down when he comes to the scene of that crash.

    P.S. Don't use dry only tires in really wet conditions on leaves. It causes a few problems like sliding into a tree.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  14. #14
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    I actually quit rock climbing after the second of two major accidents. Luckily neither involved me hurting myself, but both involved my partner being rushed to the hospital. Both scared the crap outta me and let me a nervous wreck! I won't go into details, but it looked at my young family and realized that I didn't want to risk the next accident being me.
    Of course now I ride which will still have crashed and accidents. So far, I have been able to have a pretty positive attitude about it all when I crash and laugh it off. This has helped my mindset not shut down right after a crash. I also have practiced crashing (that was fun) to learn how to do it right.
    Right after each crash I do a quick personal assessment (head, eyes, limbs, etc...) and then a quick bike assessment (brakes, wheels, etc...). Doing the mental checklist also help keeps my brain active on something beside panic.

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