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  1. #1
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    I'm thinking of doing more events and less racing this year.

    More centuries, fewer races.
    The season is young, but it's already off to a bad start. I had been off the bike for some time due to knee injuries, so my confidence and "racing edge" feel have degraded. I had hoped to get back in the swing by just racing a lot.
    In every race this year so far, there have been bad crashes...many of them have involved my teammates. Each time, my nerves ratchet up a bit, and i can't help but think about not-crashing during the race.

    Then, in the last race - it was a frantic race around a flat course with potholes and weeds and all kinds of crap in the road. Things were going okay, but then some idiot decides to bunnyhop a pothole right in front of me. he comes down at a sharp angle on his bikes and wobbles badly. Nearly takes me out. But i survive, and we keep racing.
    Just a minute later, i'm following a teammate towards the front, and another guy hits a cone, which causes my teammate to go down. HARD. 8 broken ribs, punctured lung, torn groin, road rash all over, the list goes on. The race organizers didn't have EMS on site, so it was about an hour in the cold before he got help...during which time i was darting all over the place trying to meet the ambulance, keep other riders from hitting him, notify his wife, etc.
    And i didn't even plan to come close to winning that race. I just wanted to go and blow out my legs for 40 minutes or so and say "whew, tough race. some of the 3s are monsters this year " and then go home and have a beer.

    Naturally, retelling this story has led everyone i know who doesn't race bikes to beg me to stop. My nerves are kind of shot. In contrast, I really enjoyed racing last year. Felt confident, in control, and close to winning form. If i'm honest, i'm really in it for the fitness, not for the win, so i'm kind of indifferent to the loss at this point. Maybe i'll just switch to trying to do a century in 5 hours and enjoy the same beer afterwards.



    TLDR: blogs.bikeforums.net/inertianinja/suddenly_scared_of_crashes.htm

  2. #2
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    A race without an EMT on site is a bad race

  3. #3
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    Good for you. Do what you want, have fun and enjoy. This life is not a rehearsal, when its over, it OVER.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Find some people to ride with who have comparable skills instead of events or racing. Save your pennies and go to Europe to ride for a week or two. Sure, you can still get hurt just riding around (I did...), but much lower probability.

    There is no need to race to prove anything. And there's always Strava...
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    Find some people to ride with who have comparable skills instead of events or racing. Save your pennies and go to Europe to ride for a week or two. Sure, you can still get hurt just riding around (I did...), but much lower probability.

    There is no need to race to prove anything. And there's always Strava...
    yep, i'm on that tip already. my team is relatively chill and i ride with them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    yep, i'm on that tip already. my team is relatively chill and i ride with them.
    Training with guys who race is still, usually, a good thing. Always fun to get your doors blown off by the odd Cat II.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  7. #7
    Maximus
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    A spirited group ride, with guys that you know, in familiar territory at a time and location of your convenience, still get the juices flowing at a fraction of the cost and risk.

    Yes, anyone can crash, anytime. It's just more likely when racing.

  8. #8
    Successful alcoholic krusty's Avatar
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    If it stops being fun, you need to find some aspect of it that makes it fun again. There's nothing worse than seeing someone in your shoes make the decision to just not ride at all again. Enjoy the events. With less pressure, some of them will truly be fun.

  9. #9
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    If all your thinking about is crashing, you probably shouldn't be racing. One, because it won't be any fun, and Two, hesitation from fear is dangerous.

    That said, don't delude yourself about the relative risks of training rides and other events. Some of the nastiest crashes I've been around have been on trianing rides, and organized centuries.

    While the risk of donating skin, a broken collarbone, and/or some cracked ribs is higher racing, than doing training rides, and centuries, I'd definitely be willing to bet that the risk of death is higher riding on open roads, than it is racing on a closed course.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    8 broken ribs, punctured lung, torn groin, road rash all over, the list goes on.
    Riding a bike is supposed to be fun. There are things I enjoy doing with my groin, but tearing it isn't one of them.

    This year I've been traveling a lot with my bike, doing solo rides, purely recreational ones, and having a blast. At the end of a lot of them, I'm telling myself "that was the best ride I've done so far this year." And then I enjoy the next one even more. There's a lot you can do on a bike beyond racing.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    I don't begrudge the racing thing but there is a reason that probably less than 1% that ride roadbikes race in organized events. For most...not all, the downside exceeds the upside...cost...time...threat of injury...a long downside list. What are you racing for other to prove something to yourself? If you are team sponsored and have high ambitions maybe it makes more sense.
    So I feel the new balance you strike makes more sense...especially if you have injuries that if left unaddressed may ultimately keep you off the bike all together.
    For all of us life is a big balancing act and each of us have to find our individual balance. To me your direction is best but I am a smell the flowers like of guy a bit...but with a racers heart.
    PS: I sold my motorcycle last year for the same reason...concern about life altering injury mostly. I miss it and am abivalent about not riding. I love riding a motorcycle fast but all it takes is one pull out and life is changed and no going back. I am healthy and try to protect my health the best I can but I think about getting another one every day. Tradeoffs...some of the stuff we are passionate about is dangerous.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 05-01-12 at 10:19 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    I don't begrudge the racing thing but there is a reason that probably less than 1% that ride roadbikes race in organized events. For most...not all, the downside exceeds the upside...cost...time...threat of injury...a long downside list. What are you racing for other to prove something to yourself? If you are team sponsored and have high ambitions maybe it makes more sense.
    So I feel the new balance you strike makes more sense...especially if you have injuries that if left unaddressed may ultimately keep you off the bike all together.
    For all of us life is a big balancing act and each of us have to find our individual balance. To me your direction is best but I am a smell the flowers like of guy a bit...but with a racers heart.
    PS: I sold my motorcycle last year for the same reason...concern about life altering injury mostly. I miss it and am abivalent about not riding. I love riding a motorcycle fast but all it takes is one pull out and life is changed and no going back. I am healthy and try to protect my health the best I can but I think about getting another one every day. Tradeoffs...some of the stuff we are passionate about is dangerous.
    Is there anyone else worth proving something to?
    Racing was fun for me, and maybe i'll get back into it. for right now, it's just out of balance.
    I also want a motorcycle, but will never get one. just not fair to the people who care about me.

  13. #13
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    Is there anyone else worth proving something to?
    Racing was fun for me, and maybe i'll get back into it. for right now, it's just out of balance.
    I also want a motorcycle, but will never get one. just not fair to the people who care about me.
    I guess the question is...what will racing teach you about yourself that you haven't already learned by doing it?
    When I raced when I was young, I learned I was pretty fast but there were others faster and others I could beat. Same still applies as I ride my road bike with my friends today in group rides. There are younger faster guys..younger guys who are slower...and some of them are both younger and ride more than I do...and even older faster guys. I know one guy in his 60's that is still ridiculously fast. So racing seems kind of pointless to me really. But...things don't have to have a point. I just built my first computer from scratch. I could have just bought one, but as with building my roadbikes, I am a fussy guy and wanted to do it. I always wanted to prove to myself I could do it which I now have. I continue to learn and will likely build more.
    As to the motorcycle thing...it isn't a foregone conclusion that it isn't fair to others. You maybe one of the lucky ones who ride throughout your life and never get hurt. But then again...there are the others. For me...its more selfish. I don't want to hurt my body to the point I can't enjoy the full beauty of life...and that includes cycling.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 05-01-12 at 04:10 PM.

  14. #14
    I like beans eippo1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    Is there anyone else worth proving something to?
    Racing was fun for me, and maybe i'll get back into it. for right now, it's just out of balance.
    I also want a motorcycle, but will never get one. just not fair to the people who care about me.
    I'm pretty much there with you. I was racing fairly frequently until a couple years ago when I just stopped after recovering from breaking my kneecap (which was actually caused by a little kid smashing into me on his bike while on a training ride). I still race cross, but just don't have the nerve to race on the road any more. It's just not a priority any more, either.
    You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil85207 View Post
    Good for you. Do what you want, have fun and enjoy.

    As I read the OP, that was my exact thought. Just have fun with it.

  16. #16
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    I road race cars and ride a motorcycle everyday, so I've gone over these questions plenty of times already. You really won't get any outside input that amounts to much. These are purely internal questions that only you can answer. Good luck, and enjoy whatever you decide.

  17. #17
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    safely riding a motorcycle, especially a sportbike, is mainly about impulse control and riding defensively.

    if you resist the urge to do 140 on the freeway, even if your 'friends' do it right in front of you, that cuts the risks in half. sportbikes are so insanely fast that it's easy for someone-- anyone-- to loose their head for a moment and take tremendous risks that could kill them.

    the other thing you have to do is actually exactly like bicycling. you have to anticipate cagers will do stupid **** and you have to prepare for them to do so. when a driver turns left in front of you, it's a little late to emergency brake. you should have started braking or at least stopped accelerating and covered your brakes when you first saw them. (or if you don't even see them, like a busy intersection, slow anyway in anticipation of someone dumb being there.)

  18. #18
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    I hear ya. After a couple of years (yes, years) sidelined with injuries I fully recognize the value of time on the bike. The thought of another season shortened or ended due to a crash is a huge reason for not racing and frankly for being very selective about who I ride with (ie groups). I am more than happy putting on volumes of blissful miles while still being highly competitive with myself. At this point in life the time in the saddle is WAY more important to me and I have absolutely nothing to prove to anyone externally. So anything other than simply riding that puts saddle time in jeopardy just isn't worth it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    As to the motorcycle thing...it isn't a foregone conclusion that it isn't fair to others. You maybe one of the lucky ones who ride throughout your life and never get hurt. But then again...there are the others. For me...its more selfish. I don't want to hurt my body to the point I can't enjoy the full beauty of life...and that includes cycling.
    This is the same reason I sold mine.

    I can't believe your teammate broke 8 ribs! How did he go down?
    Last edited by ilovecycling; 05-01-12 at 02:51 PM.

  20. #20
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    If all your thinking about is crashing, you probably shouldn't be racing. One, because it won't be any fun, and Two, hesitation from fear is dangerous.

    That said, don't delude yourself about the relative risks of training rides and other events. Some of the nastiest crashes I've been around have been on trianing rides, and organized centuries.

    While the risk of donating skin, a broken collarbone, and/or some cracked ribs is higher racing, than doing training rides, and centuries, I'd definitely be willing to bet that the risk of death is higher riding on open roads, than it is racing on a closed course.
    Agreed. You'll be much safer if you're relaxed and in control. Whenever you're worrying about something, it's your spidey sense telling you you're outside the zone you belong in. You're also increasing the chances you won't react optimally to situations you encounter.

    On organized rides you'll see a lot of people riding beyond their abilities in close proximity with other less experienced riders. But your ability to control where you are to avoid dodgy situations is better.

  21. #21
    has a Large Member Campag4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    safely riding a motorcycle, especially a sportbike, is mainly about impulse control and riding defensively.

    if you resist the urge to do 140 on the freeway, even if your 'friends' do it right in front of you, that cuts the risks in half. sportbikes are so insanely fast that it's easy for someone-- anyone-- to loose their head for a moment and take tremendous risks that could kill them.

    the other thing you have to do is actually exactly like bicycling. you have to anticipate cagers will do stupid **** and you have to prepare for them to do so. when a driver turns left in front of you, it's a little late to emergency brake. you should have started braking or at least stopped accelerating and covered your brakes when you first saw them. (or if you don't even see them, like a busy intersection, slow anyway in anticipation of someone dumb being there.)
    I hear ya Colin. There is NO defense however against an idiot pulling out. Yes you can mitigate the danger...I have all kinds of defense riding strategies. Many...I resist saying most...but many that have accidents on their motorcycles...it is their fault...no question. They may be technically riding to the letter of the law even...but still aren't riding defensively enough to compensate for other cager's stupidity. I see it all the time. I would say the majority of cagers are poor drivers. Only thing saving them is the grace of God and a big metal cage around them.
    Ride safe.
    Last edited by Campag4life; 05-01-12 at 03:44 PM.

  22. #22
    Annoyed. Andy Somnifac's Avatar
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    I'd agree that I'd rather do group rides with people I know and trust than organized century rides. Too many people doing unpredictable things. I did the Tour de Cure this year (my one fundraising ride for the year, I support the cause, I don't care what anyone's opinion is on charity rides, if you don't like them, don't donate or participate), and made sure I made my way to the front where I would be away from the yahoos. As I pulled past the 25 mile rest stop, the entire train behind me pulled in and I didn't see another soul until the finish. It was great.

    Racing on the other hand, I'm enjoying still. Only have 10 crits/road races (8/2) under my cat5 belt, so I'm still learning, but having a great time doing it, risk or no risk. I also have no one that relies on me for anything outside of work, so that changes my risk assessment possibly.
    Meh.

  23. #23
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    I agree with everyone else here. I'm pretty new to biking, got a decent bike, but don't really intend to race. Just some metric century rides, tours, and that kind of thing. Mostly just to finish, with some soft time goals too.

    That Strava thing is amazing! I didn't realize I really cared, but now that I know where some segments are, I'll really hammer to try to increase my ranking. I've gotten in some virtual races with guys who ride the same segments, and have even connected with a few, to maybe do some rides together.

    I guess I won't rule out competing all together. I said the same thing when I got involved with team swimming, and I'll occasionally swim in a meet (my coach gives us a hard time if we don't do some meets). One of my Strava connections is egging me to try a race with him. Since we're about the same speed, I'll probably see how it goes.

  24. #24
    Successful alcoholic krusty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    safely riding a motorcycle, especially a sportbike, is mainly about impulse control and riding defensively.

    if you resist the urge to do 140 on the freeway, even if your 'friends' do it right in front of you, that cuts the risks in half. sportbikes are so insanely fast that it's easy for someone-- anyone-- to loose their head for a moment and take tremendous risks that could kill them.
    See, that's the reason I don't ride a motorbike anymore. High horsepower and me is like alcohol and firearms mixed. I'm a total idiot in a powerful vehicle - always have been, but always on a deserted road and by myself. I sold an AMG Mercedes to buy a smart car. A year with it has gotten me more relaxed, to the point where I have traded it on a new Mercedes coupe. Even firmly into middle age, I really have to work on the impulse control. Once I have kids, I'm sure some sort of preservation instinct will surface.

  25. #25
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
    I don't begrudge the racing thing but there is a reason that probably less than 1% that ride roadbikes race in organized events. For most...not all, the downside exceeds the upside...cost...time...threat of injury...a long downside list. What are you racing for other to prove something to yourself?
    There's definitely a reason that very few cyclists are licensed racers: it's ****ing hard, and it costs a lot in coin, time, and to a lesser degree the risk of injury.

    Unlike running races or triathlon, you can't really do it at a recreational level; most folks that aren't genetic freaks need to work very hard at it just to participate, let alone compete to win.

    And if you're racing to prove something to others, you might as well quit. I learned along time ago thatI am the only one who cares whatsoever about my results in a particular race.

    So why do I still race at 52? First and foremost, it's fun. There's nothing like being in the middle of a large pack moving along at 30 mph, trying to figure out what's the next move to make. Grinding out a running race, triathlon, or tough century just does not compare.

    And at 52, I still think I can be better than I've ever been. It's the challenge to see what I can accomplish. That has nothing to do with proving anything to anyone. It has everything to do with seeing what I can do with what I have. I'm still at the point that I'd be dissapointed in myself if I quit before playing out the string.

    YMMV.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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