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I used to have pretty close to zero fear about getting injured, and would do pretty large drops and such. I'm much more careful now, though every now and then I'll attempt something that I could possibly end up regretting afterwards haha.
 

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I just got back into lots of MTBing after a some time off the regular ride schedule. I still rode but not too often. Over that time I lost my confidence. Now that I’m hitting the trails all the time I’m slowly getting back to going down and over things that I didn’t before. After I hit a drop or a rock face and I get faster at it over the next few rides I look back and think how boring my rides were before. I’ll probably never be as fearless as I was 30 years ago when I would go down hill as fast as I could get the bike to go on a hardtail with 60mm of front travel. I’ve also had some nasty moments that landed me with titanium plates holding my head together and multiple surgeries. That is what initially slowed me down. I was on the street and got hit by a car at 2:30 am while jumping off a concrete lip. Now I like to get the wheels in the air but I also enjoy the exercise of long rides on fire roads and blue trails, not something I cared that much about back in the day. So I have a balance of heart rate from the cadence and heart rate from the thrill.
 

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I never was fearless.

I've been riding with folks half my age lately. I'm fearful for them. I never rode like they ride. But we also didn't have inspiring trail bikes that make them feel capable of cleaning anything.

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Most people who know how I ride and some of the places I ski, think I am fearless. They are wrong. I am risk adverse. I know the limits of my body and my equipment and stay within those limits. I may stand out to others because at 71, I am in very good shape physically, not just for my age, but for any age and todays equipment is so much better I can ride and ski things I couldn't 40 years ago. Brakes are my friend. Crashing at speed is my enemy. Life is always a balancing act.
 

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Most people who know how I ride and some of the places I ski, think I am fearless. They are wrong. I am risk adverse. I know the limits of my body and my equipment and stay within those limits. I may stand out to others because at 71, I am in very good shape physically, not just for my age, but for any age and todays equipment is so much better I can ride and ski things I couldn't 40 years ago. Brakes are my friend. Crashing at speed is my enemy. Life is always a balancing act.
This is my universe, too. Although I’m “only” 67, I’ve been riding off-road bicycles since I was 32 and feel / believe / hope I’ve honed my skills. While age insures I’m no longer the first guy to the top of the mountain, I’m still in league with the first to the bottom.

I admit I’m beginning to think more about the wisdom of dialing it back. But just two years ago I did my first 6’ drop — thrilling. I simply love playing Trail Tetris — a dangerous addiction, I admit. Wish me luck.
=sParty
 

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52 and counting. I started scaling back about 5 years ago due to the thought of injury. Now I have slowed down due to minor physical aches and pains. If you suffer any chronic pains they can hinder you mentally & physically even on good days. I really don't miss smashing rock gardens or hitting jumps / drops as I now work the opposite of my youth trying to go faster uphill.
 

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I was never fearless, I rarely "on sight" anything that has more than minimal consequences for failure. Even when I rode my BMX bike off the roof of my mom's house when I was 20, I did it because I'd been thinking about that line for a long time and knew I could stick the landing.

When I see a challenging new feature or line I'll seldom ride it right away. Often, I'll go home and think about it for a while until I know how I want to ride it. Usually I end up going back with the sole purpose of mastering that feature and will session it until I do.

It's not lack of fear that lets me do what I do, it's overcoming that fear by planning and preparation. I'm only 55 years old, but I still like hitting the high exposure lines and drops.
 

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I am definitely not fearless, but I love overcoming fear and doing things that scare me. At 60 years old I have a pretty good sense of my capabilities and limitations. I only ride things that I know I have the skills for, and I often skip features I have done before if I am not feeling it that day. I don't do big drops, but steep rock rolls are still pretty fun.
 

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Fearless. I have evolved from "bulletproof to healthy skeptism.
I evolved to a flat bar fitness bike. -gotta have that flat bar and thumb shifters.
Fuji 1.1D. Shimano 105. Solid enough to do some minor off pavement adventures, and any on pavement.
I ride solo as group rides are not my cup of tea.
So motor vehicles are my nemesis. I ride with lights and neon green jacket, daylight, on lesser traveled roads, sub-divisions and bike paths. I use a heart rate monitor for max fitness accountability. 55 years of riding-not being hit, but a lot of the usual stuff, dogs, my own crashes, vehicles ignoring the bike rider etc. etc.
I live in an area/state where bike riders are a slow moving annoyance to most vehicles not owned by bike or motor bike riders.
 

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Im probably coming from the other end , fear is the biggest thing holding me back ,

Im 58 , riding for about 7 years , took it up initially for fitness , that part has worked out perfectly ,

But i get nervous with features for the first time, , gap jumps are my biggest mental obstacle , drops im ok now
 

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I’ve definitely stepped back from riding on the road. Now it’s just bike paths and dirt roads.

I’d rather have more days of fun then risk it over an injury


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I've been riding bicycles and motorcycles all my life, I've always been cautious. I'm the guy that can't quite get rid of his "chicken strips" despite how radical my motorcycle is, I'm way more show than go most of the time. I am the high side of 71 and still do both all the time. I've had my share of crashes and injuries (had one a few hours ago on my 29'er) but I am still able to do the things I love the most , anything on two wheels. At one of my favorite riding areas I will walk the single and double diamonds a number of times and do them partially a to get a feeling for it. I am starting to cut back on my road riding , traffic scares me. I do ride the Blue Ridge Parkway every year but that is one of those rides I am not going to quit until I can't lift a leg, it means that much to me.

Like brother Revbubba, I am in better shape now than ever in my life and I am fixated on fitness as the gateway to continue doing what I love.
 

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I'm not fearless all the time but I have gone through a ridiculous variety of traumatic things and I survived. I know that no matter what happens in the future, I'll overcome that too. When I am fearless (or bold), I find I’m often driven by the need to prove people wrong. My personality is introverted and yet my career and athletic activities are competitive so I've worked hard to overcome my fears, grow as a person, and keep pushing till I find success. I’m not exactly sure where these notions came from, [It wasn't my parents because they encouraged me to succeed] or when they decided to grace my brain with their presence, but I do distinctly remember being pissed off at kids and teachers in school who told me I couldn’t do this or that because I was female.

I've learned that belittling and condescending tones seems to fuel many women. :) Additionally I'm a late bloomer for just about everything because of lack of opportunities but once I try something and I like it, I set regular goals and I stick with it until I overcome the mental and technical obstacles. Not sure if that's being fearless? :)
 

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For me in my middle ages, bicycles are for enjoyable exercise. Clear my mind and get the heart rate up. The workout is the goal and is fun riding along on a bike. My first bike bought as an adult was a trike (Catrike) because you can't fall off of it. It seems pretty safe and still provides exercise. My Fatbike (Trek) is for snow and will be ridden casually through trails in the woods and farm tractor paths. I'm avoiding falls since the health benefits of bikes fade if I am seriously injured.

I remember street motorcycles were said about as, "you will crash. Just a matter of time." Dirt motorcycles and ATV were said about as, "you will hurt yourself. Just a matter of time." Both came true for me (upside down and wedging my legs under the ATV to press it off of me). I'm hoping the Fatbike isn't, "you will hurt yourself" type of exercise.
 

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I demo'ed some new geometry, LT 29ers and I felt pretty fearless. Wow. Then I realized these new bikes are going to be bad for my health, so I got my son a new bike instead and went back to my oldie but goodie :p.
 

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At 66 I am not fearless and to be honest, never was-----been riding all my life and was lucky enough to be in Mill Valley at the start of MB-------I am a good rider after all these years----probably better than most but my view today is I ride to ride another day. This notwithstanding I did get in a big crash at Demo Forest in Santa Cruz this year which cost me 6 weeks on the bike---so still not totally sensible
 

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I demo'ed some new geometry, LT 29ers and I felt pretty fearless. Wow. Then I realized these new bikes are going to be bad for my health, so I got my son a new bike instead and went back to my oldie but goodie :p.
I just bought a new Epic Evo in September. I avoided anything with longer travel and higher capabilities so I wouldn’t go flying down a hill far faster than I’m actually capable of. The Evo is better than I am but the shorter travel allows me to feel the speed more but it is still a very fast bike.
 

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BetterRide
Scott Ranson with really big tires.
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Im probably coming from the other end , fear is the biggest thing holding me back ,

Im 58 , riding for about 7 years , took it up initially for fitness , that part has worked out perfectly ,

But i get nervous with features for the first time, , gap jumps are my biggest mental obstacle , drops im ok now
Yes, fear can be quite an obstacle! During 20 years of MTB coaching, I've studied the impact of fear and how we can use it to our advantage. Here is an article I wrote earlier this year with some tips that may be helpful.
Overcoming Fear When Mountain Biking (and using it to your advantage)

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