Why we crash?

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Why we crash?

Postby Grabnmcbuttt » July 10th, 2018, 8:35 am

I have been pushing harder this year trying to really improve race times as oppose to just riding a bit to not completely die during a race. The result is that I am getting faster but I am also crashing more. Which at 55 years old hurts a bit more and those aches take longer to go away. This has me wondering if I am crashing more because I am pushing more or at 55 am I losing a bit of reaction time or balance and coordination.

Is there truth to the thought that “you’re not pushing if you’re not crashing”? After the crash do you analyze why or do you just get back on the bike and keep riding? Other than going slower what can you do to keep from crashing? How often do you crash in a season?
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby ej132 » July 10th, 2018, 8:46 am

Not crashing comes down to increasing skill, just raging through the trail does make you faster as its increasing your fitness but sounds like now your fitness has surpassed your bike handling skills. Time to slow down and get the skills up some more
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby bbender785 » July 10th, 2018, 8:57 am

in what situations are you crashing? are you overshooting corners? tucking the front tire? trouble holding a line on technical straights? having trouble sticking jump landings? navigating rocks/roots?

i'd also question if your bike setup is right: c0ckpit appropriate for the riding you're doing? tire pressure extremely high or low?

could be anything. i always at least replay in my head and think about what happened while scraping myself off the ground after taking a dirt sample, to (hopefully) learn from it. but i agree with ej, maybe find some tight, technical trails to work on bike handling and develop good form to start with. i've had to do that with my new bike this year, the head tube being just enough more slack than the old bike that it's taken some adjusting to.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby ryguy79 » July 10th, 2018, 9:27 am

I usually crash for one of three reasons. For me at least, the minutiae of tire pressure, technique, etc, have little to do with it. I'm either not paying enough attention, outpacing my skill in technical terrain, or riding new-to-me trails too quickly (like a near crash/big save I had riding a recent enduro stage blind).
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby Grabnmcbuttt » July 10th, 2018, 9:45 am

Last one was hitting some roots on a curve after a faster section. Part of what has me wondering is that I am a pretty experience rider. 30 years of riding and racing. But my latest crash got me wondering how often do experienced riders who are pushing themselves crash? Is it once a season ... 3 times ect.
I have been thinking about the speed vs skills comment and that may be part of it but I think there is more. I could ride Island lake all season and push as hard as possible and I would expect to not crash at all. I have been riding Ionia Rec area which is rocky, rooted and twisting with off-camber climbs and descents. So obviously and increased skill level is needed.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby ihateplaindave » July 10th, 2018, 9:51 am

"This has me wondering if I am crashing more because I am pushing more or at 55 am I losing a bit of reaction time or balance and coordination. "

Both. Definitely both. Actually, I've found that as I improve my speed and distance, I crash less but the crashes are more severe.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby Jared13 » July 10th, 2018, 10:28 am

Grabnmcbuttt wrote:Last one was hitting some roots on a curve after a faster section. Part of what has me wondering is that I am a pretty experience rider. 30 years of riding and racing. But my latest crash got me wondering how often do experienced riders who are pushing themselves crash? Is it once a season ... 3 times ect.
I have been thinking about the speed vs skills comment and that may be part of it but I think there is more. I could ride Island lake all season and push as hard as possible and I would expect to not crash at all. I have been riding Ionia Rec area which is rocky, rooted and twisting with off-camber climbs and descents. So obviously and increased skill level is needed.


Speed vs skill takes into account the technical aspects of the trail. If your skill can't handle the speed at which you're traveling for a specific section of trail, it could end badly.

Like EJ said, it's time to improve the skills. The good news is, skills can improve faster than aerobic capacity. The bad news is, it's not as 'easy' as improving aerobic capacity as you actually have to focus on improving skill instead of just riding around.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby drider85 » July 10th, 2018, 5:29 pm

For me crashing is almost always about exceeding my mental focus for that day. If I have the legs not the focus I try to hammer gravel or road. Lack of sleep is almost always my focus killer. I tend to crash about twice a year. This year might be 3. The common causes seems to be PR attempt on dusty conditions and the first wet bridge of fall.

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Re: Why we crash?

Postby b_b » July 10th, 2018, 8:37 pm

It happens. My last "crash" I was cornering hard and rolled over a stick which rolled sideways and sent my front wheel sliding out. Not sure I could have done much about that since I was looking down the trail and did not even notice the stick. Even with that said I think as you get faster it's very important to look down the trail and know what you are going to do ahead of time. I think some riders can get fixated looking down at the front wheel. I used to race motorcycles in the woods 24mph avg speed which is very hard to do, so you must look well ahead. I've had some pedal strikes that sent me flying over bars, so I try to be more careful about pedaling over rocks, etc. I also take it easy first lap on trails I've not ridden before or in a long time until I know where the sketchy areas are.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby Roy » July 10th, 2018, 10:29 pm

If you ride a mountain bike on dirt, it is a given, You will crash - sooner or later
Ok
You can increase your speed, but you can't increase your the speed of you brain and nervous system.
The faster you go the sooner you need to react. You will get to a speed where you can't react fast enough to avoid a crash.
So how do faster riders do it?
It takes practice and more practice for you brain to react before you sense a danger.
Think back to when you first road on a trail. You probably notice every little bump. Now you just roll over the small bumps and don't even think about them.

I think you have increased your speed faster then you then your automatic nervous system can adapt.
Just keep at it, maybe reduce the rate of your speed increase.

Just keep ridding, just don't try so hard.


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Re: Why we crash?

Postby DynoDon » July 11th, 2018, 5:57 am

Pedal strikes are my biggest problem,I guess they happen more to full spension bikes, I have to stay more to the center of the trail, set the bike up for it, like putting more air in the rear shock, move the seat forward more to get more weight forward, but those stumps shouldn't be there, thats just not good trail building, those are not features, not roots, not a natural/planned part of any trail, If you want to take them out I sure don't mind, they stump a lot of people.
Don't forget to tighten the loose nut between the handlebars, and the seat.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby TimTucker » July 12th, 2018, 8:48 am

Something that I've been finding going out riding with my 3 year old on his balance bike -- going super-slow can be a good exercise at improving handling.

Uphill and downhill sections that I wouldn't have ever though difficult suddenly become challenging when you're dropped down to your lowest gear and moving slow enough that tipping over becomes a real threat.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby c0nsumer » July 12th, 2018, 9:55 am

TimTucker wrote:[...] going super-slow can be a good exercise at improving handling.

Uphill and downhill sections that I wouldn't have ever though difficult suddenly become challenging when you're dropped down to your lowest gear and moving slow enough that tipping over becomes a real threat.


This is one of the the primary reasons why I feel winter time fat biking is a huge benefit to bike handling in summer.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby Allmountin » July 12th, 2018, 11:22 pm

^Agreed on that point. Riding in snow and ice frequently puts one in a position to recover from slips and slides at a much lower speed threshold. It also readily provides feedback on body positioning errors.

My last crash(depending on definition) was on a non technical downhill slalom/sweeper section on the back side of the poto. Pushing the pace a bit, but lost focus momentarily and hung the front off the outside edge of the trail into loose off camber. Bike washed out from under; I let it go and did a head first slide/superman down the middle of the trail. No harm and got up laughing.

I like to push the limit in corners on pretty much every ride, which means I make mistakes on almost every ride. I don't really consider low side slide outs as crashes, and being a flat pedal rider, I dab and tripod myself out of trouble on a daily basis. Proper crashes are maybe a couple/few a year, but it really depends on definition. Yard sales are not good for business.

I like riding Ionia, though I only get there a couple times a year. Some of those sections have a unique technical flavor, and definitely offer more intrigue and opportunity for mistakes. ILRA is a fine hammer fest, I guess, but I don't feel like it does much beyond fitness to prepare riders for our more interesting/challenging trails.
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Re: Why we crash?

Postby 2Old2BFast » July 13th, 2018, 7:33 am

Many elite athletes structure their workouts for strength, power, endurance, skills and rest. For example, you might focus on each one of these for two weeks for a 10 week training program.
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