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Riding bikes, and getting old.

Dirtjumper999

Turbo Monkey
Feb 13, 2005
1,556
0
Charlotte, NC
At 23, I am nowhere near what many would classify as "getting old", but today I took a pretty hard crash on something that normally I wouldn't have crashed on.
Quick replay, riding towards a flyout quarter, didn't have near enough speed for a full 360, but went for it anyway, clipped my backwheel on the coping, sprained my wrist hard and smashed my face pretty good.

I bounced right up, thinking I should shake that one off. Decided to call it a day, and on the way home I got to thinking: Is this the age I am going to stop doing tricks on my bike, start riding xc and wearing spandex?

I have always been a fairly cautionary rider, helmet and knee pads all the time, and I am rarely doing things spur of the moment. I take crashing seriously, so because of that my progression has been slow, usually taking me a full year to dial any given trick. Am I being a puss? Do other riders hit these kinds of forks in the road where they are not quite sure where their riding is going? I am always telling new riders that I can promise two things, first that they are going to crash so hard that they will question why they ride bikes, and second that they are going to have so much fun and accomplish so much, that they will remember why they ride bikes. Balance is key when riding bikes, after all.

But today really got me thinking. I mean right before I hit the quarter, I thought to myself "you don't have enough speed for this spin" and any other time I'd have just rolled it and went for another go, but for some reason I went for it anyway. It's got me a tad worried about my attitude towards riding in the particular way that I do. I know that very soon, I am not going to heal up quite as quickly as I used to.

As a prereq to some of the negative nancy responses, like I said I am always very cautionary, but I do remain optimistic about my riding, trying to progress, but at a rate that hasn't put me in the hospital for a while. Knock knock.

Help me Obi Wan.
 

KavuRider

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2006
2,565
4
CT
I think you made the right call. I'm 26. I have had a few crashes that have resulted in permanent injuries and have made me question why I ride. If you're not feeling it...then you're not feeling it. I think listening to that voice in your head is important.

I don't quite understand what you are asking though. It sounds like you are aware of your abilities and know your limits. FR/DH/DJ, you are more likely to get hurt. If you are ok with that, then keep on keepin' on. If you aren't, then yeah, maybe hang up the big bikes and stick to singletrack and road. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I have FAR more respect for someone who steps away than the moron who thinks they have something to prove and ends up seriously injured.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,296
1,693
Seattle
One of the guys I ride DH with regularly is somewhere around 50, and he shreds. I'm more like your age, but watching him ride is awesome. He doesn't push his limits to quite the extent that some of the younger guys in our group, myself included, do, but he's a great rider, and just rides what he's comfortable with, and tears it up.

My point is that there's a world of difference difference between not pushing your own limits quite so hard, and not jumping a bike altogether. If you're worrying about hurting yourself, you don't need to stop riding, just hit stuff you're comfortable with, just have fun doing it, and don't worry about going huge. Ride what's fun for you. Isn't that the whole point?
 

Dirtjumper999

Turbo Monkey
Feb 13, 2005
1,556
0
Charlotte, NC
The biggest thing that has me worried is that I identified an issue with what I was planning on doing, and went for it anyway. I was fully committed, but made a massive mistake on what I was committed to.

The level of crash also has me a bit jarred. Had I leaned forward a bit more than I had, I could have been leaving in an ambulance. Just wondering is anyone else has felt their love for a certain type of riding, teetering on the edge of fear.

I guess my real point is, I wasn't trying to go big. I was doing something I was very comfortable with. It was the fact that I ignored my instincts that has me worried. I wasn't thinking about impressing anyone, to be honest, I have no idea why I went for it. I can't figure it out at all.
 
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HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,296
1,693
Seattle
Just wondering is anyone else has felt their love for a certain type of riding, teetering on the edge of fear.
I hear that. I ride more DH than anything else these days, and there are 1 or 2 trails I ride a lot where I'm a little scared dropping in at the top. That's part of why they're awesome.
 

RUFUS

e-douche of the year
Dec 1, 2006
3,482
0
Denver, CO
I am 28 and I stopped racing and riding, (for the time being) downhill because of my injuries and lack of progression from being scared of more injuries.

I now race road and cross in that "spandex" and love it. I do miss DH and will get back into it soon, but sometimes you just need to step away for a little bit and let the fire reignite.

If you love riding, try something else on a different bike for awhile and get to know why others love that aspect of cycling, you might just come to appreciate cycling as a whole as well as a few of those spandex riders.
 

jekyll991

Monkey
Nov 30, 2009
474
0
Belfry, KY
I'm only 20 (21 next week, woo!) but I know what you're saying. I think I obey my limits more than most people my age thanks to seeing how busted up my father is from years of racing mx/quads. He raced pro on quads in the 80s and broke his back twice on the thing, then broke it again 4 years ago on a dirt bike. He's shattered his knee cap at least twice, and pretty much every other bone. Mysteriously his back gives him no problems but his shoulder (pinched nerve, and damaged rotator cuff) and his knee bothers him almost all the time.

As the cliche goes, "live fast, die young", but I guess I'd rather be that old guy who still feels young and is just as capable of shredding as I was 15 years ago.
 
i got into DH in 2001 (23yrs old then) and progressed to as high as mid-pack Cat1 racer. Which I guess isn't saying too much, but stepped away from dh completely for 4 years due to medical training. Got back into it 2009 (31yrs old) and I definitely noticed the cobwebs and degradation in speed/riding. I'm now working my way up to the podium in Cat 2.

It was as if I knew exactly what needed to be done in my head, but my thoughts didn't translate to what the bike needed to do.

Progression is definitely slower at this point. I'm more calculating, especially in my racing. Hero lines are few and far between unless there is a sizeable time advantage and within my abilities. I guess a byproduct of this is that i crash less and get hurt less (knock on wood).

But i think as you age, the big thing that changes is responsibilities. Either you start a family, or have a career, or both. The big picture changes, DH riding/racing is still a passion, but a tad secondary to those responsibilities.

I've got to stay healthy for my job, to provide and take care of my family. DH riding/racing is a hobby, and I am an amateur. It doesn't pay the bills. Those are the realities. It doesn't mean that my drive to win at races isn't any less, or pin sections and get alittle loose. Does it still mean that I may lose an edge to a younger, more skilled, or carefree competitor? Maybe, but I still get fulfillment from shredding some trails, as long as I know I gave everything I had out there.
 

mandown

Poopdeck Repost
Jun 1, 2004
17,109
4,198
Transylvania 90210
I pushed my limits for growth, but always cautiously. In my mid 20's, I am 35 now, I had a series of crashes that sent me to the hospital and left me with concussions and dislocated shoulders. There was a clear message the universe sent that said I was on thin ice. At one point, I declared myself done with DH/FR and sold my big bike. Later, I got back into it, but there was always a bit of wonder about how hard I wanted to send it. I kept pushing, and had a few good years before it pushed back harder than I could overlook. I don't feel bad about any of the risks I took, or their results. I was aware of what I was doing and the possible downside. It sounds like you are aware too.

Also, by other sports standards, think of how many skaters or MX riders are retired by your age from the abuse.

I say if you have the insurance to cover it, then keep railing to the edge of your comfort zone.

Also remember:
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,335
0
Boulder
It's interesting you say 23. That's the year a friend and I both dialed back our fearlessness quite a bit. We didn't know each other at the time, so it was just a coincidence we discovered it years later when we were talking about something else.

I lost most of my desire to rock climb, get into mountaineering, downhill mountain biking, etc. I still like to get out and do stuff, but I'd rather go for a trail run than climb, or a long XC type ride instead of all downhill.
 

ChelanDHer

Monkey
Jan 6, 2004
181
0
Lynnwood, WA
I myself have gone through this thought process. I used to race DH in high school, you know, back when we were invincible and didn't have bills to pay. Broke my arm racing when I was 17, that was an eye opener. I got out of racing DH when I went to college, I was too busy and broke to feed the habit so I stuck with a cheap hardtail through my college days. Been riding XC/AM for the last few years, I'm just about 25 now and I feel like I don't have a sack anymore. Stuff that used to be an easy hit I now have to think twice about. I work in construction, I need everything to work correctly or I can't do my job so that fuels the fire for me to ride more cautiously.
 

blackohio

Generous jaywalker
Mar 12, 2009
2,775
120
Hellafornia. Formerly stumptown.
I hear that. I ride more DH than anything else these days, and there are 1 or 2 trails I ride a lot where I'm a little scared dropping in at the top. That's part of why they're awesome.
36 here and within the last year I've had a grade 3 shoulder separation, dislocated shoulder, bruiser ribs, some kind of blood clot in my ankle after a bad smash, compressed vertebra and a wrist thats one it's way out like Elvis and have zero desire to stop riding DH.
 

I Are Baboon

nuts of sashimi
Aug 6, 2001
30,952
4,772
MTB New England
Decided to call it a day, and on the way home I got to thinking: Is this the age I am going to stop doing tricks on my bike, start riding xc and wearing spandex?
All that will do is bring a whole new set of aches and pains. :) You ride a mountain bike, you're going to hurt...no matter what your discipline of choice is.
 

CBJ

Turbo Monkey
Mar 19, 2002
11,762
1,920
Copenhagen, Denmark
You can always get smart about riding and not putting yourself in stupid situations where to risk are too high but the worst thing is to be afraid of riding. One thing I have learned is many injuries go away when you are young but the come back again as aches and pains when you get older.
 

OGRipper

back alley ripper
Feb 3, 2004
10,274
708
NORCAL is the hizzle
Sounds like a single instance of an ageless problem: Not listening to your instincts. That's an issue no matter how old you are. There are days when you just should put down the bike. That's especially true in a park or at the jumps. If your head is not in the game you are bound to slap.

I'm 41. I am still progressing, just not at the same pace. If I had stopped progressing at 23 I would not be nearly the rider I am today.

Also, don't forget that the sport has progressed a lot, the learning curve is much steeper, and the stakes are higher. A lot of kids under 20 think nothing of doing stuff the pros wouldn't try years ago.
 

-BB-

I broke all the rules, but somehow still became mo
Sep 6, 2001
4,254
28
Livin it up in the O.C.
I pushed my limits for growth, but always cautiously. In my mid 20's, I am 35 now, I had a series of crashes that sent me to the hospital and left me with concussions and dislocated shoulders. There was a clear message the universe sent that said I was on thin ice. At one point, I declared myself done with DH/FR and sold my big bike. Later, I got back into it, but there was always a bit of wonder about how hard I wanted to send it. I kept pushing, and had a few good years before it pushed back harder than I could overlook. I don't feel bad about any of the risks I took, or their results. I was aware of what I was doing and the possible downside. It sounds like you are aware too.

Also, by other sports standards, think of how many skaters or MX riders are retired by your age from the abuse.

I say if you have the insurance to cover it, then keep railing to the edge of your comfort zone.

Also remember:
Um.... didn't you have a larger crash/accident than a dislocated shoulder?
Or are you trying to spare them the glimpse at their own mortality.
:think:
 

ire

Turbo Monkey
Aug 6, 2007
6,196
4
I am 28 and I stopped racing and riding, (for the time being) downhill because of my injuries and lack of progression from being scared of more injuries.

I now race road and cross in that "spandex" and love it. I do miss DH and will get back into it soon, but sometimes you just need to step away for a little bit and let the fire reignite.

If you love riding, try something else on a different bike for awhile and get to know why others love that aspect of cycling, you might just come to appreciate cycling as a whole as well as a few of those spandex riders.
:stupid:

I sustained some pretty serious injuries racing DH and was already starting to fall in love with cross. Gave it up and haven't looked back. On occasion I miss riding skate parks and urban, but not as much DH.
 

Dirtjumper999

Turbo Monkey
Feb 13, 2005
1,556
0
Charlotte, NC
Think I decided today that a change of scenery is in order, so I'll be hanging up the DJ bike, and logging some trail miles. Think I might also pick up one of these sometime soon...
to try to work on my slow, technical side for a change.
 

mandown

Poopdeck Repost
Jun 1, 2004
17,109
4,198
Transylvania 90210
Um.... didn't you have a larger crash/accident than a dislocated shoulder?
Or are you trying to spare them the glimpse at their own mortality.
:think:
I kept pushing, and had a few good years before it pushed back harder than I could overlook.
I mentioned it. I guess I could have been more specific about the broken neck and resulting paralysis. The way I see it now, it is statistically unlikely that I would break it a second time, so I should be safe to go back at it hard and heavy :D
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,296
1,693
Seattle
36 here and within the last year I've had a grade 3 shoulder separation, dislocated shoulder, bruiser ribs, some kind of blood clot in my ankle after a bad smash, compressed vertebra and a wrist thats one it's way out like Elvis and have zero desire to stop riding DH.
Awesome. I haven't smashed myself up as much, but did pull off a compound fracture to my collarbone in Dec and spent the whole time I was out watching bike vids and counting down until I was clear to ride again.
 

untitledsince89

Turbo Monkey
Nov 11, 2005
1,316
0
Winston-Salem NC
Think I decided today that a change of scenery is in order, so I'll be hanging up the DJ bike, and logging some trail miles. Think I might also pick up one of these sometime soon...
to try to work on my slow, technical side for a change.
Riding street/park your gonna get hurt, especially when your trying tricks, its just what can logically happen if your progressing.
I was in this same position not too long ago and after lacking the motivation for a hit and getting hurt I knew I needed a change in style
Commit or eat $hit is what I've been aiming for the last few weeks and Its been working (knock on wood)
Also switching from a 26" hardtail to a 20" helped immensely in improving my riding style and comfort level with tricks
 

jimmydean

The Official Meat of Ridemonkey
Sep 10, 2001
33,650
6,410
Portland, OR
Also, don't forget that the sport has progressed a lot, the learning curve is much steeper, and the stakes are higher. A lot of kids under 20 think nothing of doing stuff the pros wouldn't try years ago.
This.

I got my first mountain bike in '91, but didn't do anything fun until I bought my Stinky in 2000. But I have given up the huge stuff and never got all that big to begin with.

I would like to race DH next year (no rig this year) in the 40 old man group. But turning 40 has made me rethink the skate park outside of casual tricks. I don't bounce so much anymore.
 

nyhc00

Monkey
Jul 19, 2010
496
0
CT
http://vimeo.com/25063140

this video was from 2 years ago when i was 31, married and only with 1 child. (i'm wearing the the headband, i sweat a lot). Now at 33 with my 2nd child, i didn't slow down. but transferrred my desire to get gnar. Dirt jumps, skate parks, and back on the saddle with X-C mtb.
 
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bdamschen

Turbo Monkey
Nov 28, 2005
3,350
123
Spreckels, CA
Gonna be 31 next month. I've had a couple of good ones that make me decide to try and turn the dial back down to 7 or 8 for a bit-the latest being 6 screws in my left elbow and a feeling that it has started taking me way longer to heal after a solid digger.

Unfortunately I can't seem to stay away from riding wide open for too long. It usually starts by waking up one morning realizing I had an amazing dream about totally shredding some gnarly trail (cheesy, but completely true). Then I start day dreaming about it, then all of a sudden I find I've taken my dh bike out rather than my trail bike and I'm back up to speed and loving it.

I gave up fighting it, but I do try to make sure I'm rocking some decent pads. I see all sorts of old guys in pads... I figure at 31 I'm probably allowed to rock elbow pads, and in another few years I'll be old enough that if I wear a full pressure suit on the out side of my clothes, no one will think twice.
 

4130biker

PM me about Tantrum Cycles!
May 24, 2007
3,883
444
Lizard Town
At the young age of 30, I have had your same dilemma from a gnarly wreck or two...
Here's what I've learned:

a.) Listen to yourself when you aren't "feeling it"
b.) You will get the most hurt at some point doing what is the most comfortable and "easy". Which is either very disturbing, or liberating.


I'm still somewhere between disturbed and liberated.

Also, don't you know that speed helps in wrecks? That was half of the problem with the wreck that you were just in- don't buy an even slower bike! ;)
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,296
1,693
Seattle
Also, don't you know that speed helps in wrecks? That was half of the problem with the wreck that you were just in- don't buy an even slower bike! ;)
:D

This is, unless you stuff your shoulder into a tree stump going mach turkey. That'll just break your collarbone. :rofl:
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
6,943
2,120
Sounds like a single instance of an ageless problem: Not listening to your instincts. That's an issue no matter how old you are. There are days when you just should put down the bike. That's especially true in a park or at the jumps. If your head is not in the game you are bound to slap.
Spot on.
 

Dirtjumper999

Turbo Monkey
Feb 13, 2005
1,556
0
Charlotte, NC
I haven't gotten a lot of time to ride since this crash, but today I spent about 5 hours at the skatepark. I had a blast. New bike, new attitude towards my riding. I threw a bunch of 360s but not on the flyout that I crashed on. Til the end of the day, decided to try since I was pretty warmed up. I crashed again, not in the way I did before. Got me pretty nervous, but went for it again and nailed it. Probably one of the best days on my bike in the past year. Super stoked on bikes right now. So to all who told me what I needed to hear, thank you.
 

eric strt6

Resident Curmudgeon
Sep 8, 2001
19,089
8,229
directly above the center of the earth
Good for you. It's all about clearing your hea,d figuring it out, then saying F it I'm gonna keep pushing it.

I was at that point this spring on the fire dept. Got my arse handed to me on a backcountry rescue cardio wise. I felt that I had slipped to a point where I could be a hazard to my crew. I debated hanging it up at 54 then decided to kick my butt in gear with weights and cardio training and see if I could get back up to my standards. I passed the departments cardio stress test and physical last month and today in honor of IAB's half Marathon

I decided to beat the snot out of myself. I went out and did 50 minutes of hill work at mid day in 100* temps. I'm not an englishman so I must be a maddog