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I brake big time on descents. Club seems impatient.

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I brake big time on descents. Club seems impatient.

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Old 09-21-08, 01:53 PM
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cyclezealot
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I brake big time on descents. Club seems impatient.

Anyone else have my mild phobia.. 1. Once had a crash on a descent. I hit an unseen rock during a fast descent. The result. Completely torn rotor cuff and major surgery.. 2. I do have a slight elevation phobia, even before the accident. But, since the accident, I brake big time.. My club knows I don't like fast descents. Maybe they wait at the bottom for who knows how long...?... I average probably 15 mph , unless it is ladden with hair pin curves , then I go even slower. .. While the club seems ok with it, I feel quilty.. Should I speed up , even if I don't want to.?... Are my fears silly and should resume speeding up. .. When the descent is directly adjacent the cliff with no barrier , I really get a little crazy. Should I just see a bike shrink?..
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Old 09-21-08, 04:03 PM
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15 mph on a decent descent is maddeningly slow. You should at least try to speed up to 25 mph. Most decent cyclists can hit that on flat ground.
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Old 09-21-08, 04:09 PM
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When the descent is straight , few hair pins; I might speed up a little. Think my crash happend at the 25-30 mph range. Most mtn descents we do are quite twisty.
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Old 09-21-08, 04:22 PM
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I go a little faster, up to 25 or so if I can see the end of it and see it's all clear ahead. I think you need to work things out with the riding arrangements, not just by speeding up. The net result is your average speed is less than theirs. That's okay, but you may need to find a slower group or just ride by yourself. You shouldn't feel obligated to go at a speed you're uncomfortable with.

There's no way to say what a "safe" speed is on a descent. Some people are comfortable with 30, some with 40, some with 50, etc. With increasing speed, you make it more possible to get into situations you can't control, and increase the severity of any wreck you have. Personally, I don't want to be going car speeds on a bicycle, just like I don't want to be going airplane speeds in a car.

It's interesting to me to see how some people drive their cars when it's snowy or icy. You'll see people going 20 mph, other people going 60. You don't know if the folks doing 60 are just idiots, or whether they're expert drivers, or whether they have studded tires and you don't, or what. And you won't know until it's too late. One time we started off on a trip, got out on the freeway, and then went over about 4 or 5 overpasses in a row that had wrecked pickups on the other side of them. So evidently they weren't all expert drivers. Some of the same thing applies to cyclists. Go to the road forum, and read about 'em all wrecking in the races.
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Old 09-21-08, 04:30 PM
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Many of our descents are easily 6 miles in length. So I average say, 17 and they do 25. Guess, that means they are waiting like 7 minutes... Not so bad.. ?...We are a great club and enjoy each other.. They don't seem all that annoyed. I keep up except for descents... I just too well, remember the pain of shoulder therapy.. Many descents, I do a better average. Just when they are full of hair pins turns do I slow down to such a slow speed.
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Old 09-21-08, 04:47 PM
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If you can't beat the other guys down the hill you shouldn't be biking. If you insist on continuing just plant your gaze right where the front wheel touches the ground and don't look elsewhere and keep your hands off the brake levers. It should take away the fear of cliffs since you won't see them. Then before the next ride update your insurance, and your list of quick prayers (that can be said during the short airborne stage should it occur), and prepare to pedal hard to stay ahead of the group. That way if you go down they'll feel bad when they come upon you plus when you're ahead of them its likely the 911 call can be made sooner than if they have to send someone back up to look for you after they've taken a r waiting break for you to show up. So it's the healthy thing to do.

Kidding aside - Do what you're most comfortable with. Don't be goaded/shamed into speeding up beyond what you know is right for you. It's your body, your choice, your risk. Fear is a built in protection mechanism not a phobia unless it's totally unfounded - yours is not! Send your bike to a bike shrink if you think it cannot deal with all of this but you're OK. And keep your brakes in good condition so you can use them when you need to.

PS - I'm usually at the back of the pack myself more than that out of sight. I'm 65 a relatively new biker (about a year now), history of heart problems (5 MIs, bypass, and 3 stents), and a big C survivor as well. But I love biking for the healthy exercise and I set my own pace not the guys I ride with. If we get separated I have my GPS and can find my way. Keep it up!

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Old 09-21-08, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
Anyone else have my mild phobia.. 1. Once had a crash on a descent. I hit an unseen rock during a fast descent. The result. Completely torn rotor cuff and major surgery.. 2. I do have a slight elevation phobia, even before the accident. But, since the accident, I brake big time.. My club knows I don't like fast descents. Maybe they wait at the bottom for who knows how long...?... I average probably 15 mph , unless it is ladden with hair pin curves , then I go even slower. .. While the club seems ok with it, I feel quilty.. Should I speed up , even if I don't want to.?... Are my fears silly and should resume speeding up. .. When the descent is directly adjacent the cliff with no barrier , I really get a little crazy. Should I just see a bike shrink?..
I had the same problem. I took a major spill off road about a year ago, and only am now back to 100% confidence. After the fall I always felt bad riding with others, as I was the slow link, on top of that, EVERYBODY was taking these hilly runs with NO problems (even the girls ). It took some work, but I finally got through it.
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Old 09-21-08, 05:12 PM
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I average probably 15 mph
What's your average on the flats?
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Old 09-21-08, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
What's your average on the flats?
Our group is not race oriented.. In fact were down right casual, tour oriened. Our work outs come on the climbs.. Which we do quite often.. On the flats, normally - 22 mph.
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Old 09-21-08, 05:18 PM
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My 2¢ says work on overcoming your fear. The speed is not the issue; you can wreck your body at 5mph, 15mph, or 55mph. The issue is an irrational association between the downhill and your accident.

Work on building your confidence by pressing the comfort zone, but at your own pace. The above advice to not be goaded into going faster is correct--you want to have the speed follow your confidence, but do work on it. You'll build your bike handling skills, your awareness, and improve your riding across the board, not just the downhills. You'll be safer being confident rather than terrified.
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Old 09-21-08, 05:23 PM
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When I had my accident, I am sure I hit a rock and down I went... I think my conscious fear is not seeing everything in the road at 30 mph.. Is that a realistic fear, after once crashing.? I should probably go out and do more fast downhills on my own. In addition to hitting unseen objects, guess its cornering that bothers me.. Cornering at fast speeds just feels as if you could easily loose control.
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Old 09-21-08, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
your list of quick prayers (that can be said during the short airborne stage should it occur),

I'm sorry, I spit coffee on the keyboard at that ...
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Old 09-21-08, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
I'm sorry, I spit coffee on the keyboard at that ...
It was a good one..
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Old 09-21-08, 07:09 PM
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If they don't mind waiting for you, and everyone is social-ride oriented (not race oriented), then I don't see the problem, unless YOU want to get over your fears. They might like the chance to stop and chat.
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Old 09-21-08, 07:21 PM
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Ride the Pacific Coast Route from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. You will get over your fear pretty quickly.

I can tolerate 30 MPH fairly well, I start getting uncomfortable around 35 MPH. I start to freak out above 40 MPH. I hit 61 MPH coming down a 7% grade outside of Santa Barbara. I'm just glad I did not know it till I checked the computer.

Rebuild your confidence on your own. Don't worry about what they are thinking. If people are trying to push you then find a group of new friends for your rides. They should be encouraging you but not goading you.
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Old 09-22-08, 12:56 AM
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There are no guarantees in life. You will never see everything. There is always the possibility of something unforseen. Blind coners are the worse. Nothing like rounding a corner at speed and finding a deer in the mioddle of the road or a woman pushing a double-wide baby stroller or just a bunch of gravel. But you fear, like many fears, is essentially irrational. If the road is clear for a reasonable distance and it seems unlikely that somebody will suddenly appear riding a horse across the road or something you should be able to go faster. How fast is up to you but 15 is rather slow even on flat ground. Try gradually increasing your speed a bit.
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Old 09-22-08, 02:18 AM
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I would say work on overcoming your fears. I think everyone is a little scared of going fast, just part of being a human. Try going out and just going down a few small(er) hills and get used to it. Keep your eyes off the computer and your mind off of the accident. Focus on how great it feels going DOWN a hill, the wind in your face and the beautiful view you probably have.

That being said, I am a speed freak and can regularly be found pedaling furiously down hills in the big ring trying to top my highest speed.
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Old 09-22-08, 02:59 AM
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I went through a phase where I was scared to descend. I haven't crashed for a few years now, so it seems to be leaving me. The only real way out of it is to simply practice descending and let your confidence return naturally. This will come with time if you don't try to force it, and don't put pressure on yourself. The thread title seems to indicate that you may be putting more pressure on yourself than you need to. Maybe you need to go out and do a few descents on your own to build confidence.

Failing that, you could always work on your climbing and get so good that you drop the rest the riders on the way up, and can therefore afford to lose a bit of time on the way down.
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Old 09-22-08, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by tulip View Post
If they don't mind waiting for you, and everyone is social-ride oriented (not race oriented), then I don't see the problem, unless YOU want to get over your fears. They might like the chance to stop and chat.
Yeah.. Guess, they don't mind all that much.. I just feel a little guilty. Yesterday , one asked me if I had an accident or flat..... Yes. We are quite social.. How can you race when you talk thru half your ride... If it were not for all the hills we take on, we'd do mostly 'junk miles.' .... , i likely overstate my near phobia.. Its just one or two of our more common rides where the downhills are so chocked full of hair pin turns, where my fears are as obvious. ..

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Ride the Pacific Coast Route from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. You will get over your fear pretty quickly.
I once did. Big Sur. Monterey to LA.... Probably a part of my near phobia.. I had a flat on a downhill coming into Lucia. It was a slow leak....Thought I was gonna go over the edge. If it had been a fast flat, maybe I would have?.. That also a little bit, likely re-inforced my near phobia. 1000 foot cliffs and not even a guard rail..
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Old 09-22-08, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
I went through a phase where I was scared to descend. I haven't crashed for a few years now, so it seems to be leaving me. The only real way out of it is to simply practice descending and let your confidence return naturally. This will come with time if you don't try to force it, and don't put pressure on yourself. The thread title seems to indicate that you may be putting more pressure on yourself than you need to. Maybe you need to go out and do a few descents on your own to build confidence.

Failing that, you could always work on your climbing and get so good that you drop the rest the riders on the way up, and can therefore afford to lose a bit of time on the way down.
Rotor cuff's being torn apart, the pain was not that much. But, god the therapy. The pain was awful.... One benefit of my mild phobia.. If it were full blown, i'd not do hills.!.. The benefit, I could climb forever and keep saying, give me more... Its the turning around I don't like as well.
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Old 09-22-08, 03:48 AM
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I am with you cyclezealot. Okay, time to be controversial. I don't wear a helmet most of the time, what I do, is go at a reasonable speed. For me, reasonable is a speed I can dismount and run it out. This is around 20 MPH for me. My legs will push a bike much faster, but I am not a racer, so I don't particularly see the need, and I am not in a hurry anyway.

I once read a report regarding motorcycle riding. They said that if you maintained a speed below 40 KPH and didn't drink, you could pretty much forget the helmet as being a factor. Above that, a helmet isn't going to help much.

This is not to say there is no benefit to helmets, that is not my point nor am I trying to start yet another helmet thread. I am just pointing out that speed will kill you much quicker than not having a helmet, and yet, many seem to assume that they are safe with a helmet. As you learned, there is lots of your body exposed.

It is risky going down hills fast - no doubt about it. Just read the accident threads here. Injuries are made much worse with speed, that is pretty obvious. What you are dealing with is a lack of desire to be injuried again. Seems rational to me. I am nearly 50 now, I know I won't heal as fast as I once did, nor do I want to cripple myself and loose the ability to enjoy things. Just to keep up with a group just doesn't seem worth it.

I have enough scars and aches from stupidity when I was younger, no need to add to them.
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Old 09-22-08, 04:03 AM
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Crtree. I can actually remember hills I enjoyed. .....The "valleys and ranges" of Nevada... The downhills were mostly straight , few twists & turns. Wide roads. Wide bike lane. Little debris in the road... It felt like a Roller Coaster... I barreled down the hill full speed. Probably even said, 'wahoo.' So I guess, its the debris and turns that bothers me.. Along with cliffs with no guard rails.
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Old 09-22-08, 05:37 AM
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I'm slow on descents, as Spinnaker knows first-hand. But I'm working on it. I've hit 40 MPH on a downhill once, and figures in the 30s aren't uncommon. It just takes practice. So I'm getting it. I brake less and less as I go down certain hills.
 
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Old 09-22-08, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by crtreedude View Post
I am with you cyclezealot. Okay, time to be controversial. I don't wear a helmet most of the time, what I do, is go at a reasonable speed. For me, reasonable is a speed I can dismount and run it out. This is around 20 MPH for me. My legs will push a bike much faster, but I am not a racer, so I don't particularly see the need, and I am not in a hurry anyway.

I once read a report regarding motorcycle riding. They said that if you maintained a speed below 40 KPH and didn't drink, you could pretty much forget the helmet as being a factor. Above that, a helmet isn't going to help much.

This is not to say there is no benefit to helmets, that is not my point nor am I trying to start yet another helmet thread. I am just pointing out that speed will kill you much quicker than not having a helmet, and yet, many seem to assume that they are safe with a helmet. As you learned, there is lots of your body exposed.

It is risky going down hills fast - no doubt about it. Just read the accident threads here. Injuries are made much worse with speed, that is pretty obvious. What you are dealing with is a lack of desire to be injuried again. Seems rational to me. I am nearly 50 now, I know I won't heal as fast as I once did, nor do I want to cripple myself and loose the ability to enjoy things. Just to keep up with a group just doesn't seem worth it.

I have enough scars and aches from stupidity when I was younger, no need to add to them.
I very much disagree. Most of the risk of serious injury on a bicycle is not due to going fast on downhills. It is automobiles that pose the real risk to most cyclists. The serious injuries or deaths that I have read about were not related to swift descending, but rather encounters with cars. I think that in traffic where serious injury is probably most likely, faster is safer due to less difference in the speed of the bike and of the cars around them.

I think your helmet comments are dubious at best. Also for what it's worth, I'd be more inclined to bomb down a mountain at 50 mph without a helmet than to ride in rush hour traffic without one.
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Old 09-22-08, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I very much disagree. Most of the risk of serious injury on a bicycle is not due to going fast on downhills. It is automobiles that pose the real risk to most cyclists. The serious injuries or deaths that I have read about were not related to swift descending, but rather encounters with cars. I think that in traffic where serious injury is probably most likely, faster is safer due to less difference in the speed of the bike and of the cars around them.

I think your helmet comments are dubious at best. Also for what it's worth, I'd be more inclined to bomb down a mountain at 50 mph without a helmet than to ride in rush hour traffic without one.
I used to not think so much about speed before my accident.. But, then I think of yesterday's downhill. Those tight turns were often covered with layers of sand, pebbles and small rocks. The road is narrow and you have to ride near the shoulder .. Speeding over sandy terrain,- maybe I just need a little coaching to learn to cope with such conditions.
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