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Thread: Wake up call?

  1. #1
    Not so Senior Member Eureka's Avatar
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    Not sure if that is what I mean.

    I took a pretty bad fall two weeks ago today on my mountain bike. I am used to trails, but these - on rocks yet - got the better of me. When I was asked what hurt, I replied - my left side. What stood out was the pain and blood on the knee, the deep tissue pain in the thigh, and the sharp ache in the rib cage. Two weeks later, almost all better other than the ribs (off to the doc on Monday) and the mind.

    I think I have been scared somewhat. 50 is not 40, is not 30, ... And the realization that I can get hurt doing this cycling thing has got me thinking a little too much.

    Tested myself on the road today, and while every little bump hurt somewhat, I think, I'll be ok.

    As for the trails, I don't know. Maybe keep it easy, maybe push a little, but I don't think I should be doing 30 year old activities when I am 52.

    What do ya think?

    P.S. FTIW: I think yoga is the answer to preventing injury somewhat. If is wasn't for yoga I think the injuries would have been much worse. STAY LIMBER.
    Last edited by Eureka; 09-25-04 at 05:05 PM.

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    Thoughts like that have crossed my mind at times also but in a few years or more (I hope) you will not be able to do things as good as you can now so go for it when you can.

  3. #3
    Queen of France Indolent58's Avatar
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    Keep riding. The health benefits of keeping active and fit far outweigh the risks of injury.

    I had a nasty road crash about six weeks ago (the first bad fall in my life) with injuries that sound similar to yours. Unless you have an injury with lasting implications (torn knee, shoulder, etc) the worst effects are really mental. I found myself much more paranoid about my speed on descents, much more worried about road hazards - and for the first few weeks back on the bike, I was convinced that my bike had become somehow less stable.

    While I still have thigh and shoulder pain, I am getting back my normal cautious but calm attitude when riding. Just did a Century 2 days ago.

    As for off-road riding, I doubt that it's really more dangerous than road riding. Crashes may be more frequent but they don't involve cars or pavement so the absolute risk of serious injury might even be lower. You should be able to do most any thing at 52 that you could do at 30, provided of course you weren't a reckless bonehead when you were 30

  4. #4
    Now with racer-boy font! Moonshot's Avatar
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    Similar experience here.

    I used to love blasting through the trails with abandon. Until the day I endoed and landed on my head and fractured two vertabrae. I was sore, but everything still moved. I was 42 had a wife and two small kids and loads of responsibility and here I was risking paralysis for the thrill of mtn biking.

    I haven't been mtn biking since. Strictly a roadie now. Just my .02.
    Last edited by Moonshot; 09-25-04 at 06:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    FWIW, I am EXTREMELY selective about the roads and trails I ride - either mtn or road.

    I do no technical mtn bike, and I choose roads for my roadies where I feel relatively safe, and use a great deal of common sense and defensive riding on MUP's.

    I started riding seriously 6 years ago, and have done almost 19,000 miles since, with 4 falls.

    1. Two in the month after getting clipless.

    2. One just a couple of weeks ago when a lady on a MUP stepped right in front of me trying to retrieve a ball coming out of her stroller, "So I wouldn't hit the ball." Well, I didn't hit the ball, and I didn't hit the lady, but I did hit the ground. I was only going about 2 miles per hour, so other than a bruised ego, I was fine.

    3. One just a couple of weeks ago when I turned on some gravel and lost it - my own darn fault. However, I was going just abot 5 mph, and so, again, the only thing I bruised was my ego!

    All the stats show that

    1. More accidents occur on MUP's, but;

    2. The fatal and serious accidents occur on the road.

    Now, this does not have a lot to do with mtn biking, but if you return solo to roadie status, might be interesting.

    Never had a close call with a car (but I dread putting this in writing!)
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-25-04 at 07:01 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member UncaStuart's Avatar
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    My experience is on the road, so I can't speak directly to your trail question, but I certainly had the self-questioning after my crash, and can attest the worst effects being mental, as Indolent58 said.

    I crashed on a descent (caught a crack in the pavement) and broke pelvis, rib, and collarbone, and punctured a lung, back in January. Happily, in each case the injury was on the mild side of the continuum, and I was cleared to ride after 6 weeks. However, back on the bike, I found that a mental governor clicked on at about 30mph on descents and redlined at 33mph. Regardless of intellectually knowing that my descending skills were adequate to the task (and after the accident, I learned that my club riding associates thought of me as a fast but safe descender, which was nice to know), my body was remembering the ER visit and the hobbling around with a cane. In talking with some friends, I found that most of them said it took about a year to regain their confidence after a crash and get back to their normal descending habits. Happily my governor's been recalibrating itself and last week I got up to 42mph without my imagination going into overdrive.

    Now that I've had that level of accident, I do think about things that can go wrong probably more often than I did before. But then I also think that being on a bike is one of the best things I can do for myself, and remind myself that I went 35,000 miles between crashes (with the earlier crash resulting in minor rib pain for a few days). Also, even though it was riding a bike that resulted in my injuries, it was riding a bike that also gave me the level of fitness that allowed me to bounce back quickly.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Odd how at this age, I ALWAYS wear protective gear. Never thought about it as a youth. I posted in the safety forum about a fall in my driveway. I was STUNNED when I realized how hard my head (in helmet) hit the concrete. I was going perhaps 2 mph. Wasn't for the helmet, I'd be dead or speaking gibberish. (like my spelling).
    Kept in your mind this thought. Hate to see on my thombstone "Last Words - Hey! Watch This!"
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  8. #8
    old, fat, lazy wannabe plain.jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    ...I do no technical mtn bike, and I choose roads for my roadies where I feel relatively safe, and use a great deal of common sense and defensive riding on MUP's... All the stats show that 1. More accidents occur on MUP's...
    Pardon an arrant newbie's ignorance, but what's an MUP? Multi-use somethingorother?

    (BTW, I love this over-50 hangout. gratias ago vobis.)

    As far as my own experience, I started looking at bicycles after my last motorcycle accident. I know that bicycles can be dangerous as well, but the danger is mitigated when compared to motorcycles (that's what the numbers say, anyway), and part of my risk on a motorcycle was due to a personal physical problem; I have this right wrist that keeps dropping. By the time I have any similar problem on a bicycle, I suspect I'll have dropped thirty pounds and be in much better physical shape than currently! (Yeah, I'm, like, JUST getting back to bicycles after more than a quarter-century layoff. Some of the clerks at the LBS's I go to weren't even born yet when I stopped riding!)

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Pardon an arrant newbie's ignorance, but what's an MUP? Multi-use somethingorother?
    Sorry. Multi Use Path

    We have lots of MUP's around here. Horses, rollerbladers, walkers, joggers, kids, adults - all on one path.

    Mostly, they are pretty empty and rideable, but on a sunny weekend, they are full of folks.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
    Senior Member denisegoldberg's Avatar
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    Don't stop riding! Adding stretching and strengthening exercises to your schedule is good, but riding is good for you too. If you need to skip the technical or rough rides on your mountain bike until you get your confidence back, that's OK - but if you are hooked on mountain bike riding I'd say keep right on doing it! I'm 52 too, and I had a similar experience this May on my road bike. I crashed on my way to work, and ended up spending 2 weeks in the hospital. I was back on my bike just 6 weeks after the accident, and although I'm still working at getting back to the shape and energy level I was in before my accident - you can't keep me off of my bike! It's part of my life...

    Good luck with your decision, and remember why you ride!

  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I need to add that I think each of us varies in the responsibilities that we have to others. I am not "footloose and fancy free."

    I have two kids with profound disabilities, and while one is now independent, the other needs my considerable support, such as seeing him regularly, taking him to dinner, going to program planning meetings, etc., etc.

    My wife has been having a real difficult time with some personal and medical issues. She really needs my support. Almost full-time right now.

    For me to be in an accident or injured would be a real catastrophe, which is why I am so extremely careful to be safe in all things I do - biking, driving, whatever. No, it is not a guarantee of safety, but it sure increases the odds in my favor.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    I too have some unique responsibilities that have some control over what kind of foolish things I do so saftey is always important. Having an injury do to your own lackadaisical actions is one thing but some times you have no control over what happens no matter what. Sometimes I question my job as being not all that safe but what are you going to do?

  13. #13
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    FWIW I've never been into the mountain bike thing, I've been a roadie
    since late 70's.
    That said, I am much more aware that there are things that I don't do now
    that I would have not even thought about 25 years ago. Wiser with age?
    more cautious? I don't know. All I do know is that I heal a bit slower than I
    used to, and my reaction times are a bit slower than they were.
    I wouldn't stop riding, but I would cut back on the technical stuff if you
    are not comfortable with it.

    Marty
    Sono pił lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  14. #14
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    You'll work out what's best and how to adjust. Falling off is just as painful for a 16yr old as it can be for you. For sure, we don't bounce as well as we used to, but never mind. I had a minor heart attack doing a 24hr mtb race in the UK at about 20:30 on Sat 14th August. I'm now back on my bike with the green light all-clear from my cardiologist. No more racing though for me, but the effort I put into getting fit at the gym and riding my bike paid off. Both cardiologists praised my level of fitness (I'm 50 now) and said the outcome would have been more serious otherwise. Could there be a better commendation? The knocks you suffer when falling are a small price for the fitness you derive. Just don't break a leg though!
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  15. #15
    aka old dog greywolf's Avatar
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    Keep riding ,I was a bit nervy after my accident, nearly 3months off the bike ,Im still a bit over cautious especialy in heavy traffic & my leg plays up the next day after a 50k ride with a few hills thrown in but it gets a bit better every time . I may have to accept that it will never be quite the same as before but Im lucky I can still ride my bikes . I think Im about 60% compared to before my crash ,Im aiming for 80% anything over that will be a bonus So keep riding but at your own pace.
    :D
    dont worry be happy ????

  16. #16
    Not so Senior Member Eureka's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the thoughts and experiences. Turns out the rib is just bruised. And the mind is healing. The road rides this past weekend were tough but rewarding. There is nothing like being on a bike!

    I think what I learned is to do what you can without being crazy. As someone said, sooner rather than later you won't be able to do what you can today, so do it TODAY!

  17. #17
    Not so Senior Member Eureka's Avatar
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    BTW: How cool is this forum where you can hear from and learn from like-minded people, from New Zealand yet.

  18. #18
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    This thread (and the new forum) have been real helpful to me. I wiped out about 5 weeks ago, doing about 15 mph on a city street. I broke 2 ribs and my wrist, plus very painful hematomas and road rash. The doc told me I could ride my bike now, but, "Try to fall on the other side." Cute! So far I'm a little fearful of getting back in the saddle. I've decided to wait until the short arm cast comes off--hopefully in about nine more days.

    Eureka--I hope you made it to the doctor's office. Some injuries are not apparent, and older bodies sometimes need a little extra attention! I even had some cardiac problems kick in for a couple days after my accident, and I'm glad I was in a hospital when that happened. I agree that yoga and flexibility are important, but I think that strength training is even more beneficial in cases of "sudden deceleration."

    Again, I'm thankful to read others' experiences--especially to learn that the "fear factor" seems to be pretty common. I have a feeling that I will be able to deal with my fears...eventually.

  19. #19
    fredelicious mini-masher overthere's Avatar
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    What helped me, if you don't mind a comment from someone shy by 5 years, is riding with a group. I was squeezed off the road 2 weekends ago, and had bruised the left half of my face, with road rash - bruised both hands and deep scratches (no gloves - mistake!) Was also nervous about getting back on the bike, but joined a ride this past weekend, about 35 miles. It was great! I had a forward guard, and a rear guard of experienced riders that showed me to 'claim' the asphalt, and not try to ride the edge like I was - and sure enough, the cars gave us space every time! Helped me remember the joy in riding too, and helped fade the memory of crashing, picking myself up, and limping back 4 miles into town. (thought I had broken my left hand)

    Nice forum. Vast majority are helpful posts, not the flip, sarcastic stuff on a lot of the other forums.

  20. #20
    bici accumulatori pinerider's Avatar
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    There are 2 issues with injuries that no one has really picked up on. One, when you're older, the healing process takes longer. Two, when you're injured, you can't ride. Therefore, especially after you've been injured, you are a lot more cautious than you were before.
    As far as mountain biking goes, I love it more than I ever have, I did 4 MTB races this year, a few crashes but no injuries, but I pick my spots. When it looks like a fall could be serious, (in rock gardens, heavily treed areas, etc) I slow down and ride a little more carefully. I haven't won any races, but have had tons of fun!
    ...!

  21. #21
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    Fear, into your heart it will creep (with all due apologies to CSN&Y or Buffalo Springfield. . .)

    Once you let fear start dictating what you do in one part of your life, it will turn cancerous and consume every activity you do, one by one.


    jim

  22. #22
    Senior Member Lost Coyote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimLane
    Fear, into your heart it will creep (with all due apologies to CSN&Y or Buffalo Springfield. . .)

    Once you let fear start dictating what you do in one part of your life, it will turn cancerous and consume every activity you do, one by one.


    jim
    Is it fear, or is it that some lessons are just harder learned than others? I started racing motorcycles in the desert 35 years ago, so I know what my limits are and I normally have no reason to push beyond them. Sure there are some rocky downhills I dismount for that others may bomb down, but I'm alergic to pain, (it hurts) and as others have said it sure seems to take longer to heal these days! And yes, it is all about having fun!
    Gravity kills.

  23. #23
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    I'm 52 and keep my 2 wheels on pavement. I never got into mountain biking although I'm actually going tomorrow. It'll mark the second time I've done that, so we'll see how I survive. That last time I was off road was 10 years ago. I just prefer the pavement. Once a "Roady" always a "Roady" I guess.

  24. #24
    Not so Senior Member Eureka's Avatar
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    So this is my latest:as someone said, "once a roadie, etc." Four weeks after a MTB fall that left my left side - from fingers to knee - hurting pretty badly, I am back on the road. BTW: don't fall and bruise your rib - it takes 4-6 weeks to heal. Anyway, the road is the place for me. Except for hills, the pain is almost gone. MTB riding is a whole different animal. While where I live on "Flat Island" is not too challenging, I don't believe I will be going back to more challenging terrain. Rocks, steep downhills, and me are not meant for each other anymore. Call it 52, call it chicken, I call it realizing my limits and looking out for my strong but not impervious body.

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