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  1. #1
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    Crashing, do you become 'better' at it?

    Okay, since I took up Mountian Biking again begining this summer, I've had 3 major recks, plus countless minor ones (getting used too clipless pedals is fun ). So after my most recent reck, I noticed a diffrent mindset than my first major spill.

    Crash 1- I was heading fast down a really rutty section of single track, eventually the rut got too deep and I flew off my bike. I was barrel rolling several feet until my head met a small tree which brought me to a stop. This crash I really didn't even know what was exactly happening, exactly how I ended up off my bike, exactly how I stopped tumbling down the hill, and exactly why my head hurt so bad. I was kind of dazed and zoned out during the whole experiance, I didn't even think about my bike until my head cleared a bit a long ways down the trail.

    Crash 2- I was going over a jump and realized in mid air that I was way too far over my handle bars to stand any chance of NOT endoing. This time, I'm actually seeing this crash develope as it happens, and plan accordingling to land on my shoulder, rather than my head. I notice the actual moment of impact and give my bike a good going over after I determine that I'm all right.

    Now, at first I thought "well it's much easier to see a crash developing in mid air like that rather than when your bombing down a hill" but then we have my most recent crash...

    Crash 3- I'm riding a trail I've never ridden before, it's a pretty good decent of single track with your typical rocks and roots of the Cascades. Eventually I come out of the woods to a cliff section, you know, one of those ones where on your right is cliff wall, and on your left is a nice steep drop off. Well I'm looking ahead at this trail and was noticing the trail was increasingly leaning tword the drop off, of course I don't notice the big rock on the trail right under me. Unlike Crash 1, I know the moment of impact, exactly what happened, I hit 'something' and am going over my handle bars. As the crash is progressing, and I'm going over, I realize that I'm looking to go right over the cliff. I manage to roll to my in the air, to avoid a potentially very damaging fall over a cliff. I end up with my upper body on the trail, with my lower body and bike (still clipped into my clipless pedals) hanging over the edge.

    Once I pulled my bike over the edge of the cliff, gave it a good checking over, and started heading down the trail (only then noticing that I jammed several fingures pretty bad), I began to wonder, am I getting better at crashing? This crash was by far the most instant and unseen crash I've had yet, and also potentially the most dangerous. And yet, I feel I survived it the best, with the least amount of injury to myself, and more imporntatnly, my bike.

    I was wondering if anyone else felt that they have became 'better' at crashing. I would hate to find out it was just dumb luck, and with my riding style relying on dumbluck could become very painful.

    Also, it lead my to ponder, is becoming better at crashing a good thing? Shouldn't I be working on getting better and not crashing?

  2. #2
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    You do get better at crashing, but personally I don't think its a good thing. For us XC types if we crash we know we did something stupid, but its different if you are bombing a DH or some singletrack in rock-gardens and such.

    I hate sand, and at my last race this one hill had about 4in deep of sand everywhere. First time I am almost down it. except I loose my balance, and fall on my side. slide about 5 ft and sit there thinking dam. 2nc lap I basically do a 1/2 endo on the hill.

    But ya, your body learns when your bike is going out of control, and gets ready to brace for it. But preferably, you'd rather npt crash, but its inevtable.

  3. #3
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    Hmm, pretty interesting stuff. I didn't know about it though. It seems I haven't been able to 'think' during a crash. My two most recent ones I didn't think at all, and got of reletavily lightly:

    Clipped something after bunnyhopping off a curb at high speed on a mountain bike. Crashed, ripped my palms up (ouch) and skinned my knees. I think instinct might have had a bit to do with me having my hands hurt rather than my head, sticking them out and suchlike.

    My other crash was yesterday, where I hit a kid when I was on my BMX. Don't gasp He came running out from no where, I was only going at medium speed standing up on the bike. He only bashed his leg from the initial impact, and I was thrown over, crashing on my side (I tend to do that a lot) and scrapping my leg, hip and shoulder. Again, totally missed my head and also my palms (I hate having my palms cut)

    I haven't 'improved' at my crashing really, so hopefully (even though it sounds silly) I hope I have lots of little crashes on my BMX to 'perfect' it, if you could ever do that.
    I'm gonna eat it cause it's red!
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  4. #4
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    All I got to say is remember tuck and roll
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  5. #5
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    I think that you do not get better at crashing, you just get more graceful and learn to deal with the pain.
    Slainte

  6. #6
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    You get much better. You learn escape techniques that work. I can wipe out and come away unscathed now. I rider xc/ freeride on very rough and technical terrain. If I don't fall at least once a ride I probably wasn't pushing hard enough.

    A decent tip when in sketchy situations is to drop your seat height. During tough technical parts or dh sections (can't avoid either out here) I drop the seat. This does a couple of things.

    1 - force me to stand give far better balance on the bike
    2 - lowers the seated centre of gravity giving much better balance especially from side to side
    3 - during bumps etc allows you to go with more speed

    Oh yeah. You also become tougher. I live with bruises and cuts in various spots. I just know winter is coming up. That is my healing time

    Another thing to do is practice trials. It is the art form of using your bike to do strange things. While I don't think everyone should be able to hop their bike verticaly 4 ft I think some key factors are lacking in a lot of riders (especially intermediate and lower) repetoire

    1 - trackstanding
    2 - wheelies (rear balance point)
    3 - hops (bunny, j, baby hops)
    4 - rocking
    5 - wheel pivots

    If the average rider could become 'decent' at these crashes would occur FAR less as they would be able to get out of sketchy situations by either bailing properly (you bail a lot learning trials) or being able to bounce out of a sketchy situation.

    Clipless people when inexperienced also tend to fall more than platforms (I prefer platforms for my riding) but the basic trials stuff will be so easy to pickup because there is no real skill in moving your bike when it is attached. You BMX also, definately play with trials on a BMX (freestyling) you single track skills will increase so quickly you won't know how to keep up.

    It also impresses the heck out of people too
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 08-17-02 at 10:29 PM.

  7. #7
    bac
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    Senior Member bac's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    You get much better. You learn escape techniques that work. I can wipe out and come away unscathed now. I rider xc/ freeride on very rough and technical terrain. If I don't fall at least once a ride I probably wasn't pushing hard enough.

    A decent tip when in sketchy situations is to drop your seat height. During tough technical parts or dh sections (can't avoid either out here) I drop the seat. This does a couple of things.

    1 - force me to stand give far better balance on the bike
    2 - lowers the seated centre of gravity giving much better balance especially from side to side
    3 - during bumps etc allows you to go with more speed

    Oh yeah. You also become tougher. I live with bruises and cuts in various spots. I just know winter is coming up. That is my healing time

    Another thing to do is practice trials. It is the art form of using your bike to do strange things. While I don't think everyone should be able to hop their bike verticaly 4 ft I think some key factors are lacking in a lot of riders (especially intermediate and lower) repetoire

    1 - trackstanding
    2 - wheelies (rear balance point)
    3 - hops (bunny, j, baby hops)
    4 - rocking
    5 - wheel pivots

    If the average rider could become 'decent' at these crashes would occur FAR less as they would be able to get out of sketchy situations by either bailing properly (you bail a lot learning trials) or being able to bounce out of a sketchy situation.

    Clipless people when inexperienced also tend to fall more than platforms (I prefer platforms for my riding) but the basic trials stuff will be so easy to pickup because there is no real skill in moving your bike when it is attached. You BMX also, definately play with trials on a BMX (freestyling) you single track skills will increase so quickly you won't know how to keep up.

    It also impresses the heck out of people too
    Wow - great post! I agree regarding the crash - practice your skills, and with experience, there is a better chance that you'll come out of a crash with less damage. That's all any of us can hope for!

  8. #8
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    I ride and race XC and I'm 42 years old. At my age crashing is best avoided. . . you know, wife and kids to feed, etc.

    However, I crash almost every time out, at least something small. When I took up MTB crashing was traumatizing at first. After surviving a few good endos, I realized it was part of the sport and to get used to it.

    It seems like many of my crashes these days are avoidable, and due mostly to fatigue making me lazy, or a slight drop in concentration.

    Crashing in races is the worst, though, as I'm pushing harder and, therefore, going faster. They usually hurt more.

    When I find a particularly difficult section that I can't "clean", I ride it trying different lines and techniques until I'm successful. This makes me a better rider and builds confidence.

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