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I did a lot of stupid **** racing motorcycles for many years and flat wish I could take it back. 4 ICU stays, 20+ broken bones, 5 injury surgeries. At 49, my body is smashed. Truly wish I could talk to my youthful self. The last big one at 39 nearly wheelchaired me and did make me 1" shorter, that one put the true fear in me.

As a result, I'm pretty darn risk averse. Also I started riding bikes at 43 so don't have all that experience, but I sure love it! But ya know, I'm progressing and the right 8' drop is within my scope and has been done.
 

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I swear I keep hitting bigger drops wherever I can find them. I'll go for it on stuff that used to scare the daylights out of me. I guess I figure I've lived a pretty full life by this point...
 

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Fearlessness implies complete control.

Riding out of control is just plain stupid.
Riding out of control is the cause of a crash, but right before you lost control you were in control, so I’m not sure your comment makes much sense.

The idea that losing control is because someone was doing something stupid, I’m not sure that’s a fair way to describe something you wouldn’t do.

It’s all a calculated risk, some folks are more risk adverse than others, it’s not stupidity on their part just because you’re not willing take the risk.

I’ve been riding bikes on trails since the early seventies, I’ve been injured a lot, and yet I still ride hard and I still take chances; I also still get hurt.

If I couldn’t ride the way I do, I’m not sure riding would have the same appeal.

I plan on riding like a boss as long as I can 😆
 

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Santa Cruz Hightower C XXL
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I grew up idolizing Evel Knievel. Big long jumps BMX'g. Finally broke my leg on a really high jump. Landed in the pedal down, knee locked position. Split my knee and femar straight up, but I didn't fall. I landed it big time. I just couldn't put weight on it when I stopped. Had some big endo's riding motoX over the years. Broken wrists, neck, ribs, torn ACL, etc. I figure I had my glory days early in my life. Big risk taker with a list of broken bones that started a long friendship with my orthopedic surgen. Plus I'm 6'7 and 230 lbs now with one leg slightly shorter than the other due to a leg injury???, but ....I can still fly in control when I want. I just have to remind my old self to "go around it dude...."
 

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XCdude
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I was road racing, some flat tracking motorcycles until a few years ago, I pretty much ride and race exactly like before. But I never been into crazy freeride or looney downhill. But on a xc course or similar we are on. I also keep practicing drops and things like that. Plenty of crashes racing motorcycles, pretty lucky only one broken collar bone.
 

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I am definitely much less fearless than I used to be (after a number of wrecks and the discovery that I've got osteopenia and brittle bones, which I'm rebuilding with meds but are still more likely to break than they used to be before I hit menopause) I found myself unclipping from my clipless pedals going into technical stuff, which meant, duh, that I didn't have the grip and power to go through the technical stuff. So...I bought platforms. I'm already feeling a lot better about tackling things that I'm not completely confident on cleaning, so I think it was a good idea.
 

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4 months ago I was the first comment on this post. Since then I can say my fear level is the same but my abilities are much better. As my abilities and confidence increased what I’m riding has grown too. I’m now riding black trails that I didn’t think I would be riding and really enjoying the challenges. I feel like I’m pushing my envelope the same mentally but physically it’s definitely bigger.
 

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slower than you
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Getting on towards 55 now and I dunno, I think I'm doing okay. I've got Strava data for all my rides going back to 2012, thousands and thousands of miles of riding all-told, and it's not too depressing. Definitely slower by a minute or two on the steeper long sustained climbs, especially on my singlespeeds (being 20 pounds overweight doesn't help either). Definitely a bit more cautious on some of those steep and exposed traps in Sedona, but still riding them all (sometimes with a bit of practice, a mulligan or two). But honestly, I'm faster than ever on the enduro-y fast downhill stuff on my "new" (2017) hardtail midfat Fuse. No doubt, the bike's geo, tires, front suspension, dropper post, etc have contributed to this currently positive state of affairs. But I like to think 3 decades of riding experience, especially on my much beloved local trails, has too (I believe an abiding familiarity with the terrain keeps the fear factor at bay). Case in point (not to brag...too much) but I'm pretty stoked on my time last week in Stage 1 of our little local Strava COVID "social distancing" raceseries... Put down a 14:22 on the 3.2 mile, 1200 foot (-7%) jumbly volcanic singletrack descent, placing me in the top 10 overall and, for now anyway, making me the fastest in the 45-54 age group. I've got another week to try it again before it closes prior to Stage 2 opening up. I think I can get under 14 minutes, provided I don't eat 5h!t, which is always a possibility, no matter your age or the rate at which you're descending.

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Did a big endo on a steep downhill turn a few days ago. I wanted to try to make this hairpin turn that drops about 10' in about 8'. I usually put my left foot down and slide it like a moto turn, which works. But there is a high line people hit which would probably allow you to make it. Big commitment. I gave it my 40% by whimping out half way through the turn. I did a front tire wheelie for about 15' and then face planted on a powdery dirt down slope. I was wearing my GoPro on a Chesty mount and basically landed straight on it. Just smashed the Gopro and left a black and blue impression in my sternum. I also managed to bust my dropper post lever off with my knee and thigh which left a few marks:) I got it all on the GoPro! No broken bones. Whipped my little Park Tool multi-tool out of my pocket, spun my front brake lever around and straighten out my bars. Just tied the dropper lever around my brake hoses and hit the next jump. There was dirt jammed between my forehead and my helmet, plus my left ear was full of dirt:) GoPro gave me a great replacement deal I couldn't pass up. Rode 18 miles yesterday with the wife and felt fine. Just trail riding mostly.
So even at 58, 6'-7 and 230 lbs. I still bounce a little:)
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While I don't think i am necessarily any more or less fearless, I am probably a bit more careful. I have definitely made some good progression in the last few years. I've hit bigger drops at 53 than I was when I was 35. Started hitting some tabletops/gap jumps and starting to clear them too!!! I've always been reasonably fast on the downhills and shorter segments and typically top few folks on a daily basis on some of the popular strava segments(as long as they are mostly downhill...lol.) at 215 lbs I am not a fast climber, but can hammer some of the shorter ones and I carry the mo' going down.
 

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Had one of my knees replaced back in 2018. That has made me a little more cautious than I used to be. I don't do any crazy jumps or drops. Still love to rip the downhills though.
 

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I'm a couple weeks for 60,
did drop the hammer 2 weeks ago,
I mountain unicycle
and feel if I'm not pushing the limit , will the tires hold , can i do this , then why bother, saying that read my post " Oucheee" I might have to back off some to many injuries
 
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