Coming back from a scary one...

Related:
metadave
Posts
714
Joined
2/15/2016
Location
CA
9/12/2022 9:54pm
This weekend I had a legit scare. Did an over the bars on rock roll in a no crash alpine spot and somehow "landed" in the only flat area between a bunch of sharp rocks, mostly walking away with some cracked ribs, a small leg puncture/brusing and some facial lacerations. Considering the possible outcomes of I landed even a few inches to any side was pretty much might have been game over or at least a very long term recover at best. I'm worried about mental recovery and holding back long term. I know it's likely individual, but how has anyone else come back from a sketchy one?
3
|
Primoz
Posts
2275
Joined
8/1/2009
Location
SI
9/13/2022 8:14am
In my experience, busting a cheekbone in 2020 and still dealing with the effects of what looks like has been a concussion last february (followed by covida month later, which I think left a mark psychologically too, feelings of anxiety mainly), it's just building your riding model back up to the previous level, on trails and conditions you're comfortable with, in a company you trust (following a 'known quantity' you like following for example) and just grinding it out. And progressively doing harder, sketchier stuff once you feel you've got it on the easier stuff. Add variables one by one.

Building the confidence back up basically. As for how that goes, I guess it's a person to person thing, someone can shrug things off, some need a bit more riding to get back up to speed.
1
kcy4130
Posts
111
Joined
7/14/2021
Location
MT US
9/13/2022 11:04am Edited Date/Time 9/13/2022 11:05am
I'm glad you avoided major injury.

I've never had a big injury. Only collarbone, and of course sprains etc. But I found that I feel cautious/apprehensive on first ride back till I've hit something gnarly and gotten a little hit of adrenaline (if I rode it well) then I tend to get a bit over excited with how awesome biking is how great it is to be able to ride again and I unconsciously start to ride too fast too early. I'm better about it now that I'm less young and full of piss and vinegar but still have to be cognizant of it. That might not be you at all, but maybe it's something to look out for.
1
w4s
Posts
105
Joined
9/2/2009
Location
Verdi, NV US
9/13/2022 11:51am
Yeah that's a tough one, it was easier when I was younger. I had a pretty high speed crash few months ago that sent me flying down the side of steep hill into jagged rocks when i caught my pedal on a rock i never saw. I got lucky, I only came out wiht facial lacertions, crushed helmet, significant soft tissue damage to my shoulder, scapula and collarbone, still have bruising almost 3 months later, and deep bruise on my thigh. it was on fairly mellow section of trail that i've ridden at least 75 times, but i was riding alone, if it had been more serious i would have been fukced.

I have a couple rides back and I'm starting to get back to it but its definitely on my mind so I'm pretty easy on myself and just ride at a comfortable level until my confidence starts to come back.

accidents happen, seems like i'm good for an injury crash at least every few years.
Falcon
Posts
257
Joined
9/6/2015
Location
Menifee, CA US
9/13/2022 1:46pm
Just focus on healing up and don't rush your recovery. Your speed and talent will return with seat time. It takes many rides to wash the bad memories out. Just take your time and put it out of your head.
4
9/13/2022 2:32pm
I spent the past season (2021) laid up after June.
Lost control after a rock roller, started going over, then I contacted a fairly large tree. Didnt get knocked out, and rode down the mountain.
I walked away with a fractured Zygomatic (side eye socket) a broken Orbital (cheekbone) and Maxilla (Upper Jaw)
Got two Ti plates put in the day after.

I still get random concussion symptoms from this.

Did more walking around than I have in the past ten years, so it wasn't bad.

2 months after I did light pedaling, but didnt get back on a DH bike until the following season.

I was filled with nervousness and anxiety for at least the first month. for me, after a while everything started to meld back to normal. My way to get over this was to go and ride with myself. Not with all of your buddies, but by yourself, at your own pace. Build yourself back up from the ground up, building your fundamentals and body posture.

you will have a mountain to climb back onto with every injury, I enjoy the learning experience with every one.

a year and a half later, I am feeling better on my bike than I have in years. Much more aware and in control of everything
You'll be back before you know it
1
ebruner
Posts
16
Joined
3/29/2018
Location
Tustin, CA US
9/13/2022 3:45pm
Similar story for me. I've had a few bad ones in my motocross days when I was younger and a handful of bad ones and close calls on my mountain bike in my adult age. Each time the path back to what I would refer to as, "riding like myself" has been a bit different based on the injury, but the outcome is the same.

Generally, I've found it's best to just reset the basics. I re-frame the crash in my head as the symptom of a problem and not the problem itself. That helps me put my head in a place where I'm focusing on controlling the drivers/signs of an impending crash instead of riding either scared of a crash or riding specifically not to crash (both of which are seemingly impossible). This is obviously a bit of a mental game, but if you think through it, you can usually boil the crash down into more then just bad luck or just a smidge off line. Typically, when I yard-sale, I'm able to look back and see some signs that either I was off that day, or I was pushing too hard when trail conditions weren't optimal, etc etc.

This allows me to re-focus on the important things when it comes to riding... the things you can control and avoid focusing on all of the extraneous things that are totally out of your control. I find that the focus on those things out of your control is what causes the lizard brain to flinch.

I sorta use this re-frame of the crash and the drivers for it, as an opportunity to reset and get back to basics. I start with re-reviewing my bike setup, Ergonomics (bar height), rider weight balance and suspension setup. Then I move methodically through all of the mechanics that are critical for advance riding. IE, pre-ride-re-ride-free-ride, front to rear weight balance in corners and features, braking points, and so-on and so forth.

In the end, the only thing that will truly reset you is time. It's how you use that time to focus yourself on what you have control over, and what makes you a confident rider, that will define how you come out of it. Each time I've clawed my way back... I'm a safer, smarter, faster and more calculated rider. 2-3 months or 5-10 rides after the crash... it feels like that will never come, but somehow, it always does.
5
dolface
Posts
356
Joined
10/26/2015
Location
CA US
9/13/2022 4:36pm
ebruner wrote:
Similar story for me. I've had a few bad ones in my motocross days when I was younger and a handful of bad ones and close...
Similar story for me. I've had a few bad ones in my motocross days when I was younger and a handful of bad ones and close calls on my mountain bike in my adult age. Each time the path back to what I would refer to as, "riding like myself" has been a bit different based on the injury, but the outcome is the same.

Generally, I've found it's best to just reset the basics. I re-frame the crash in my head as the symptom of a problem and not the problem itself. That helps me put my head in a place where I'm focusing on controlling the drivers/signs of an impending crash instead of riding either scared of a crash or riding specifically not to crash (both of which are seemingly impossible). This is obviously a bit of a mental game, but if you think through it, you can usually boil the crash down into more then just bad luck or just a smidge off line. Typically, when I yard-sale, I'm able to look back and see some signs that either I was off that day, or I was pushing too hard when trail conditions weren't optimal, etc etc.

This allows me to re-focus on the important things when it comes to riding... the things you can control and avoid focusing on all of the extraneous things that are totally out of your control. I find that the focus on those things out of your control is what causes the lizard brain to flinch.

I sorta use this re-frame of the crash and the drivers for it, as an opportunity to reset and get back to basics. I start with re-reviewing my bike setup, Ergonomics (bar height), rider weight balance and suspension setup. Then I move methodically through all of the mechanics that are critical for advance riding. IE, pre-ride-re-ride-free-ride, front to rear weight balance in corners and features, braking points, and so-on and so forth.

In the end, the only thing that will truly reset you is time. It's how you use that time to focus yourself on what you have control over, and what makes you a confident rider, that will define how you come out of it. Each time I've clawed my way back... I'm a safer, smarter, faster and more calculated rider. 2-3 months or 5-10 rides after the crash... it feels like that will never come, but somehow, it always does.
This is excellent advice (and similar to what I do to come back); I'm pretty data-driven so analyzing (as best I can) what led to the crash helps me understand what I can do to prevent similar crashes in the future which, in turn, makes me feel safer and more in control.

(I've also used therapy and hypnosis to help me recover when I was having a particularly hard time getting over post-crash fear.)
1
9/13/2022 7:53pm Edited Date/Time 9/14/2022 8:34am
My worst riding injury really scared me for a while because it felt like a mellow crash compared to some others I've had.

I was riding a wet skinny that was maybe waist height, slipped off and broke my arm clean in two. 2 plates and 8 screws, so not the worst but it was on something that felt so inconsequential.

Coming back, I tried to ride mellower trails for a while, but couldn't build any confidence. My method was to really focus on one feature for a week or so (so like 2-3 rides if I'm lucky). This rock roll, that skinny, those jumps. Really gaining confidence on one feature at a time.

I still get the jitters sometimes when I roll up on a feature. What I do now is just move past it as quickly as possible. I don't care if I don't ride that feature, this is supposed to be fun. If it bugs me I'll make that feature a focus for a while, but I definitely don't try things if I'm not feeling it on the first or second run-up.

I'm not sure how to handle high-consequence, low difficulty terrain... I tend to ride more high-difficulty, low consequence (or so I think).
Just remembering this is supposed to be fun, and if you aren't feeling up for it, then just don't! That ride you fell on? if you don't feel like riding that trail again, don't! I think it should be that easy. If you want to overcome something then go for it, but you really don't have to.
3
sspomer
Posts
3062
Joined
6/26/2009
Location
Boise, ID US
9/14/2022 7:06am
sheesh @metadave - glad you're ok. and all the other stories in here are awful to think about! great insight here.
thejake
Posts
45
Joined
6/16/2018
Location
Carnation, WA US
9/14/2022 7:54am
I agree with what everyone here is saying. I feel like analyzing why I crashed is key. Sometimes it is just bad luck. But most of the time I feel like there is bike set up, poor line choice, pushing too hard, etc. Something caused the crash. Figure that out and address it.

When you get back on the bike take it slow. This is a hobby. It’s supposed to be fun. Start having fun and the nervous anxiety will go away.

Do you have pictures of what you crashed on?
2
hogfly
Posts
66
Joined
2/10/2020
Location
Fayetteville, AR US
9/14/2022 9:07am
You might listen to the first 5 or so episodes of Matt Macduff's podcast. It's basically interviewing a ton of action sports athletes on how they've come back from injury (both mentally and physically).

One thing that's helped me is to do some confidence-inspiring riding for a while. Bike park flow/jump trail laps that just inspire confidence and make you feel good on your bike.

Also... just time. Don't rush it.
1
Falcon
Posts
257
Joined
9/6/2015
Location
Menifee, CA US
9/14/2022 11:14am
@LookinForIt, I totally understand the "low consequence, high difficulty" part. I'm more about that too. I have a friend who rode the White Line in Sedona, but I'm never even going to try it. It's a super-easy maneuver, but it has life and death consequences. Nope.
3
Salespunk
Posts
42
Joined
1/15/2015
Location
Carlsbad, CA US
9/14/2022 11:29am
Crashes and injuries are part of the sport unfortunately. First and most importantly, just focus on having fun while riding. You will slowly build confidence and then work up to the point where you are pushing again. Might take a few months, but you will get there.

As a side note, I am convinced that risk management is the biggest difference between the speed of younger riders and older. The more you ride the more "events" you see occur either to others or yourself. At some point these begin to invade your thoughts while riding and you start making decisions based on risk.

As an example, last weekend we rode Deer Valley. Myself and two others were in half shells riding some of the double black diamonds. During the last run of the day (of course) we were in a steep rock chute and my buddy lost the front end. He ended up with a huge slice on his calf and had to be taken down the mountain by the Bike Patrol. Luckily he was one of two people wearing a full face because he ended up dragging the mouthguard down the same rocks that cut his leg wide open. Definitely made me rethink throwing down the bike park with a half shell and it is something I won't be doing again.

My point is that as you get older your risk assessment and willingness to take it on will change. This is not a bad thing as we tend to do some stupid stuff when we are younger. For me personally I have nothing left to prove and the most important thing is that I can ride the next day. This means I walk some stuff that I know I can ride just because of that 0.01% chance that something random happens.
1
9/14/2022 12:38pm
Remember this...it is ok to 'cruise' or go 'slower'...enjoy the ride and happy healing.
4
bstens
Posts
47
Joined
3/29/2010
Location
Seattle, WA US
9/14/2022 1:08pm
Maybe even consider EMDR therapy with a registered therapist. I used that with my therapist after a traumatic crash earlier this summer. It helped me reframe the whole scene and come away with a different mindset when I think about the crash.

https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/
1
mtbman99
Posts
57
Joined
8/30/2016
Location
CA
9/14/2022 1:39pm
I have over the course of my time riding have had several good sized wrecks, a few broken bones, deep cuts and a fair amount of lost skin.

Like most have said just getting back out riding with no pressure on pace or performance and slowly try and work through the mental block. Just recently I lost my front tire at speed and slid along the ground and ended up a fair number of cuts, scrapes and bruises. It took a good 2-3 rides to start to loose the post crash jitters and another 2 or 3 to really start pushing pace again.

I usually aim to reride the trail/feature that caused said incident within a ride or two of the crash just to clear my head of any outstanding insecurity.
2
Stewyeww
Posts
46
Joined
6/10/2021
Location
CA
9/14/2022 10:28pm
I ruptured my spleen a while back, lost lots of blood and spent a couple weeks in hospital recovering. There is no need to rush getting back on the bike if you don't want to, the trails are going to be there next year anyway. I don't think I looked at a bike for a couple of months, gradually got back on and after 8-12 month was back to normal, everyone is different. Im sure your ridding buddies will understand if you don't want to ride for a bit.
9/15/2022 12:01am Edited Date/Time 9/15/2022 12:02am
Had two crashes in my career followed by hospitalization and I came back stronger each time because I dealt with the why and worked on it. In addition, I got back on the bike as soon as possible (of course you´ve to be fit) and rode exactly the section in which I fell. Fear quickly turns into fun and you will feel comfortable because you know you can do it, but NEVER lose respect.
9/15/2022 12:09am
The mind game is the worst.
I had a big one 3 years ago, (punctured lung, lost a kidney and spleen) on a nothing bit of trail. Just a sniper sent me in to a small tree, taking the hit under my arm.

But occasionally I still get irrational flashback terrors that last a couple of weeks. I just work back through them, coaxing myself to trust my abilities and relax. Then build on the easy stuff until the speed returns.
Maxipedia
Posts
258
Joined
8/7/2012
Location
Brașov RO
9/15/2022 2:57am
Subscribing to this one. I have had my shares of downs in the last 10+ years.

Remember how I was very confident back in 2009, when I got my first proper DH bike, a Commencal Supreme V.2 in World Championship livery. I was floating through the rockgarden of a race on a regular basis and friends were amazed by this. Until I landed head-first at the end of it and all went downhill (sic).

These days I am at the opposite end of the confidence spectrum. I broke my elbow late 2020 and it was very hard for me to get back to speed. Riding less than usually last year didn't help either, so I found myself in a slump at the beginning of this season. General consensus is that ”just riding” does it and I agree to a certain extend, but I found myself struggling on the type of terrain I was excelling in the past. I am better now, as it seems that every speedy lap behind somebody who is better than me helped, especially recently, but I am still very curious what people here have to say.

Thanks!
Mx
Cougar797
Posts
14
Joined
7/25/2012
Location
Bentonville, AR US
9/15/2022 6:53am
kcy4130 wrote:
I'm glad you avoided major injury. I've never had a big injury. Only collarbone, and of course sprains etc. But I found that I feel cautious/apprehensive...
I'm glad you avoided major injury.

I've never had a big injury. Only collarbone, and of course sprains etc. But I found that I feel cautious/apprehensive on first ride back till I've hit something gnarly and gotten a little hit of adrenaline (if I rode it well) then I tend to get a bit over excited with how awesome biking is how great it is to be able to ride again and I unconsciously start to ride too fast too early. I'm better about it now that I'm less young and full of piss and vinegar but still have to be cognizant of it. That might not be you at all, but maybe it's something to look out for.
This, I have found that easing back into it and not rushing yourself is fine because you are invariably going to be stoked to be back on the bike and that excitement will rapidly start overcoming the trepidation.
hd4rider
Posts
36
Joined
5/2/2018
Location
Bentonville, AR US
9/15/2022 7:20am
Do your due diligence on scanning for injuries and talking to specialists, especially if you feel you might have a concussion. I had a concussion turn to PTSD, in part because I self-diagnosed and eventually developed uncertainty about what was a long-term concussion symptom, an even more serious issue, or anxiety. Turned out all my symptoms after the first few months were PTSD, but it took a lot of therapy sessions and tests for my doctors and me to accept that; I still have bad days 4 years later. I think the process would have gone more quickly and the PTSD would have been less severe if I had immediately gotten a CT and official concussion diagnosis, preventing the uncertainty that came after.
veefour
Posts
94
Joined
7/31/2016
Location
GB
9/18/2022 7:31am Edited Date/Time 9/18/2022 7:38am
I've had a couple of pretty bad accidents over the years. I fractured 3 vertebrae 25 years ago, then 15 years ago I snapped my left femur in 2 places. Unsurprisingly many friends and family members thought I was mad to continue riding after both of these, but most of us who ride seem to have a different mindset.
I have always been able to analyse accidents, work out what went wrong and try to mitigate the same thing happening again. I've also looked at these 2 accidents in particular and rationalise the unlikelihood of a similar event occurring. In both crashes, had I landed a few feet before or after where I did I would've probably walked away.
I've definitely progressed as a rider since both accidents, however self preservation is kicking in with age (55 now) and I've become a lot better at recognising when I'm having good/bad days. If I don't feel like hitting something, then I don't, regardless of whether I've done it before or know it's within my capabilities.
I think it's also largely dependant on what you want out of the sport. If you want to progress, then that takes a certain amount of pushing yourself and getting out of your comfort zone, If you're happy to stay at an already achieved level, then there's a lot less risk involved. There's no right and wrong with either of these, it's purely personal.
2
owl-x
Posts
52
Joined
3/23/2016
Location
Seattle, WA US
9/18/2022 11:10pm
Mushrooms
1

Post a reply to: Coming back from a scary one...

The Latest

The Latest