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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So just looking for any thoughts on this bummer of a topic. Here goes.
So I am 70 now and have been a multi-sport athlete for 40 years with mtb being #1 favorite. I bought a fully rigid 26er around 1987 and rode around Slickrock trail on it. I’m pretty fit and don’t mind training hard with intensity/intervals thrown in. In my early 60s I did the Leadville 100 three times. Have won age group at several trail marathons in my 60s. Podiums Xterra Maui in my 60s. So I’ve been around and have some great memories.

To my question, I’ve certainly had some spills, and shed some blood. But, nothing like the last few years. In 2018 I had a bad crash on Porcupine Rim just 2 miles from the end. Sort of lucky didn’t knock teeth out with face plant off side of bike. Dislocated elbow, very sprained wrist, and shoulder contusion. I’m writing this now from a hospital after a crash in race Saturday. Broken clavicle and 9, yes 9, broken ribs. Doing better after surgery on the 5 worst ribs called rib plating. I will be fully recovered in 2 months or so.

So I can rationalize why each crash happened, but they happen so fast you can’t be sure. But this type of injuries never happened before. So I think about my age and how to forward. Just stop a thing I love? Just ride local trails I am familiar with. Don’t travel far from home to ride? Don’t race and try to go fast? I am a 7 hour drive away from home right now and family/friends will have to come down to drive me home. Not fair to them.
Any thoughts appreciated. I’ve been on this forum a long time under different users names.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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bones can't take the same hits as before.


just don't hit dem bones yer good.

road or gravel biking can be the future
 

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sounds to me like it's worthwhile to do some serious risk assessments.

sounds to me like dialing back intensity would be a good start. really examining when it's okay to ride solo and when it isn't.

probably worthwhile to start trying to figure out the ultimate cause of these crashes. are they mental lapses? reaction time not what it used to be? skills declining? each of those might point to different things you could do to address things.

I had to do a similar examination at 30, after a bout with leukemia. I mean I could decide to not let it affect anything, but the truth of the matter is that the consequences of crashing, even now after more than a decade in remission, are higher than they were pre-cancer. my answer will probably be different from yours, as each risk assessment will be different.
 

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Pushing 70 myself, I totally understand. But it is the fact you are riding that lets you keep going. Buy an e-bike. At our age anything that still keeps you in the game, is fair. I couldn't do the climbs or go as far as I used to because of age. Now with the e-bike, I can go as far as the battery will allow, and climb anything! You do it while keeping your fitness up, and having more fun than you ever had.
Wearing a full faced helmet (like a Fox Frame, TLD Stage, or IXS Trigger as they are so light and well ventilated), is a no brainer. I suspect that in 5 years, mountain bikers will all be wearing full face helmets. There is now, no reason not too. Keep on peddling buddy, I am right there behind you! Doc
 

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So just looking for any thoughts on this bummer of a topic. Here goes.
So I am 70 now and have been a multi-sport athlete for 40 years with mtb being #1 favorite. I bought a fully rigid 26er around 1987 and rode around Slickrock trail on it. I’m pretty fit and don’t mind training hard with intensity/intervals thrown in. In my early 60s I did the Leadville 100 three times. Have won age group at several trail marathons in my 60s. Podiums Xterra Maui in my 60s. So I’ve been around and have some great memories.

To my question, I’ve certainly had some spills, and shed some blood. But, nothing like the last few years. In 2018 I had a bad crash on Porcupine Rim just 2 miles from the end. Sort of lucky didn’t knock teeth out with face plant off side of bike. Dislocated elbow, very sprained wrist, and shoulder contusion. I’m writing this now from a hospital after a crash in race Saturday. Broken clavicle and 9, yes 9, broken ribs. Doing better after surgery on the 5 worst ribs called rib plating. I will be fully recovered in 2 months or so.

So I can rationalize why each crash happened, but they happen so fast you can’t be sure. But this type of injuries never happened before. So I think about my age and how to forward. Just stop a thing I love? Just ride local trails I am familiar with. Don’t travel far from home to ride? Don’t race and try to go fast? I am a 7 hour drive away from home right now and family/friends will have to come down to drive me home. Not fair to them.
Any thoughts appreciated. I’ve been on this forum a long time under different users names.
You're an inspiration! I wish I could be at your level at fitness - and I'm almost 45.
Two months of healing isn't bad. Honestly, I would have expected twice that length of time. Things happen. Don't do gap jumps and don't attempt risky techy features. Don't go so fast you might break your neck, but do go. You'll find your safe spot soon enough.

Cheers, stud!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Pushing 70 myself, I totally understand. But it is the fact you are riding that lets you keep going. Buy an e-bike. At our age anything that still keeps you in the game, is fair. I couldn't do the climbs or go as far as I used to because of age. Now with the e-bike, I can go as far as the battery will allow, and climb anything! You do it while keeping your fitness up, and having more fun than you ever had.
Wearing a full faced helmet (like a Fox Frame, TLD Stage, or IXS Trigger as they are so light and well ventilated), is a no brainer. I suspect that in 5 years, mountain bikers will all be wearing full face helmets. There is now, no reason not too. Keep on peddling buddy, I am right there behind you! Doc
 

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I would scale back.
Leave single tracks and gnar behind, perhaps get a more pure XC or flatbar gravel or w/e bike to keep some of the accelerations and the related thrill @ lower speeds & ride fire-roads and milder trails to remain in contact with nature & your bike which I think can still be a healthy excersise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're an inspiration! I wish I could be at your level at fitness - and I'm almost 45.
Two months of healing isn't bad. Honestly, I would have expected twice that length of time. Things happen. Don't do gap jumps and don't attempt risky techy features. Don't go so fast you might break your neck, but do go. You'll find your safe spot soon enough.

Cheers, stud!
Thanks all! I got some time to figure out. Yes, I wish I had a full face helmet on porcupine rim crash. On this one, looking at the large dent in my POC tectal I feel blessed to have hit on my side and wearing this helmet with spin tech in it. No concussion or brain injury. I owe those guys a lot.
 

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Yeah, you might want to dial it back a little bit. I'm mid 60s and used to do a lot of cross country dirt bike racing. I thought nothing of going 90-100 mph across the desert. Had a number of high speed get offs and usually wasn't too badly damaged. Now I break easier and heal slower not to mention the reflexes aren't quite what they used to be. I still ride my dirt bike and mtb a lot, but I'm not quite as daring. Then again, I like Hunter Thompson's quote:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!”
 

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Wow, so sorry about your injuries. I’m 69 and I ask myself the same questions all the time. I have also had some crashes in my 60’s. Broken ribs, collapsed lung, broken clavicle, two broken wrists (one now has a four corner fusion). I really don’t want to have another bad crash. My bones just aren’t as strong as they used to be, and the recovery time can be long. I like to ride hard and fast, but for me, I have tried to dial back the intensity on the descents. No racing, nothing too sketchy, no Strava KOM’s and keep my speed at about 80% or so going down. I also bought a Garmin inReach gps tracker so that I can call for help when I’m out of cell range. It’s been about two years since had had a crash. Like you I would really hate to give up the sport. I hope you have a fast recovery.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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first, way to go still out there riding, now don't forget to go to the gym and do some strength training, you will be stronger to take the occasional spill. I don't recommend anyone to ride above their skill level, crashing sucks and the older we get the longer it takes to heal. just ride to have fun and keep your priorities in check. but don't stop riding your life depends on staying active.
 

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I'll give you my two cents: Dial back a little, just enough to play it safe. I'm 57, started mountain biking two years ago because I couldn't lift like I used to, joints just can't take it, so I had to find something new. Started riding a bike again than rode in the woods a bit, than a little singletrack and bam I found a new passion. Since I suck at mountain biking I can only improve. Last year after a lifetime of healthy living, no family history and no elevated cholesterol or BP, absolutely no predisposing conditions; I had a heart attack, a widowmaker (12% survival rate). I was back on a bike four weeks post-op triple bypass surgery and built two bridges and 700' of new singletrack in our woods before returning to work at 8 weeks post op. I was lifting at three months. If you can't do what you love, you're not living. Don't give up your passion. My mountain biking IMPROVED last year despite the setback! You need to find something you can improve on, maybe put yourself out there as a mentor for other MTBers. Helping them improve will feel like a big accomplishment (because it is) and you will improve in your couching/teaching. Just a thought. Too bad you're not in southern NH. I know a 57 year old heart attack survivor who could use some coaching! Anyway good luck, speedy recovery.
 

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I've managed to have all my accidents in the last 5 years, lol... so here I sit at 46 y/o, 2 weeks post-op shoulder surgery. Luckily, this one was easy, just a broken bone (glenoid, displaced fracture).

In any case I'm not sure that "dialing it back" is going to help. All of my injuries have been from simple lapses in judgement, not when I'm pushing my abilities. I think that an alert mind and total concentration is the answer, and even then you're going to misjudge things and crash, these crashed may result in injury. I don't believe there is any way to really "manage the risk" beyond maybe a short meditation to concentrate the mind, as well as lack of fear and not interpreting your previous injuries as traumas. Anxiety from trauma is possibly the largest factor, as it can effect concentration and have you doubting yourself, which leads to more lapses of judgement and more injuries.

tl/dr... concentration and successfully dealing with fear and trauma is the best way to prevent crashes in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've managed to have all my accidents in the last 5 years, lol... so here I sit at 46 y/o, 2 weeks post-op shoulder surgery. Luckily, this one was easy, just a broken bone (glenoid, displaced fracture).

In any case I'm not sure that "dialing it back" is going to help. All of my injuries have been from simple lapses in judgement, not when I'm pushing my abilities. I think that an alert mind and total concentration is the answer, and even then you're going to misjudge things and crash, these crashed may result in injury. I don't believe there is any way to really "manage the risk" beyond maybe a short meditation to concentrate the mind, as well as lack of fear and not interpreting your previous injuries as traumas. Anxiety from trauma is possibly the largest factor, as it can effect concentration and have you doubting yourself, which leads to more lapses of judgement and more injuries.

tl/dr... concentration and successfully dealing with fear and trauma is the best way to prevent crashes in the future.
Yes totally agree concentration and letting go of fear must occur. I really don’t want to drop a passion like this. Besides all that, I think mtb keeps an old mind sharp. But like another poster said, I don’t think I want to go through this again. Will change some things up for sure. These comments help.
 

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Everything is dangerous and you assume some risk. I've ridden crotch rockets for years and had near fatal misses, yet I've been hurt worse mountain biking. It's usually a matter of time, and with age comes a reduction in physical dexterity and reaction time etc.

I'm only 52 but I have slowed down. I run ultramarathons, but I think the risk of slipping over a cliff a lot less likely than smacking a tree at 30 mph. Even worse is not exercising and eating like crap, who wants to go out that way?

Slowing down doesn't have to mean slowing down, you can still push your cardio system, just remove some of the risk by not doing things that can kill you lol.
 

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So just looking for any thoughts on this bummer of a topic. Here goes.
So I am 70 now and have been a multi-sport athlete for 40 years with mtb being #1 favorite. I bought a fully rigid 26er around 1987 and rode around Slickrock trail on it. I’m pretty fit and don’t mind training hard with intensity/intervals thrown in. In my early 60s I did the Leadville 100 three times. Have won age group at several trail marathons in my 60s. Podiums Xterra Maui in my 60s. So I’ve been around and have some great memories.

To my question, I’ve certainly had some spills, and shed some blood. But, nothing like the last few years. In 2018 I had a bad crash on Porcupine Rim just 2 miles from the end. Sort of lucky didn’t knock teeth out with face plant off side of bike. Dislocated elbow, very sprained wrist, and shoulder contusion. I’m writing this now from a hospital after a crash in race Saturday. Broken clavicle and 9, yes 9, broken ribs. Doing better after surgery on the 5 worst ribs called rib plating. I will be fully recovered in 2 months or so.

So I can rationalize why each crash happened, but they happen so fast you can’t be sure. But this type of injuries never happened before. So I think about my age and how to forward. Just stop a thing I love? Just ride local trails I am familiar with. Don’t travel far from home to ride? Don’t race and try to go fast? I am a 7 hour drive away from home right now and family/friends will have to come down to drive me home. Not fair to them.
Any thoughts appreciated. I’ve been on this forum a long time under different users names.
Dude you are travelling 7 hours to go hit trails? That is pretty hardcore. Being 100% honest with oneself is probably the best exercise ever. I'd say dial it back, stay close to home unless you can come to accept you aren't 25 anymore. My dad is 88 and still riding an old trek I gave him back in the 90's. He sure as heck isn't looking for anything techy though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Everything is dangerous and you assume some risk. I've ridden crotch rockets for years and had near fatal misses, yet I've been hurt worse mountain biking. It's usually a matter of time, and with age comes a reduction in physical dexterity and reaction time etc.

I'm only 52 but I have slowed down. I run ultramarathons, but I think the risk of slipping over a cliff a lot less likely than smacking a tree at 30 mph. Even worse is not exercising and eating like crap, who wants to go out that way?

Slowing down doesn't have to mean slowing down, you can still push your cardio system, just remove some of the risk by not doing things that can kill you lol.
Very good, that’s what I’m thinking right now.
 

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This is a great post and really reminded me of a lot of the risk assessment that gets talked about in Avy I and II classes. In avy terrain, risk factors #1 and #2 are your brain, and the people you are with, not the snow. We all tell ourselves stories about what we can do, and when we are in danger, whether you're 24 or 70. Sometimes those stories give you confidence and allow you to make calculated risks, other times those stories pressure us to push it too far.

I guess my point is this; in the original post you posed some hypotheticals ..."Just ride local trails I am familiar with? Don’t travel far from home to ride? Don’t race and try to go fast?" I get where you are going here, but with respect, I think these are maybe the wrong questions. I cant tell you how many times Ive done dangerous stuff right near home on familiar trails in the wet, just because I know I can do it in the dry, eat Sh*t, and then feel frustrated I cant do it. This is why I actually really appreciate the way Remy Metallier talks about risk and risk management. Not because I want to ride the stuff he does, no goddamned way, but because I really think he is dialled in way more than most people at his level in risk management. If you think about it from the perspective of risk management it becomes more about "How tired am I? Am I feeling confident riding this feature? Is anything distracting me? does anyone know where I am if I get hurt?" I think as we get older the calculus changes, but in many respects the questions don't.

my $.02. Thanks for sharing what you have going on, too, very important convo that is largely kept as an internal one, or just ignored.
 

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Something not mentioned by anyone yet is the age-related decrease in proprioception. As we age, our brain and body don't communicate as effectively as they did when we were younger, so it's much harder to maintain your position in space, or at least more difficult to react to your body's changes in space.

Not to say you are too old anymore to do this sort of thing (I've known plenty of late 60 year olds that can ride circles around me) it's just something every one of us is looking at in our futures, and sooner for some and later for others, there will come a point when we have to have that conversation with ourselves. At some point we will all be relying on walkers or wheelchairs, and at some point before that, we need to realize our children are going to want to take our car keys from us. Not only for our own good, but for the good of everyone on the road around us.

Like the age-related loss of proprioceptive acuity, there is also an age-related loss of reaction time. I remember once in a very large auditorium at church when the preacher's microphone malfunctioned and gave a horrible screech of feedback across the PA. I was sitting in the very back of the crowd, and plugged my ears as soon as I could, but during the time it took to react to the noise, process what to do, tell my muscles to move my hands to my ears, and then actually do it, I also had the thought that older people can't react as quickly as younger people. The front half of the auditorium was made up of the oldest members of our church, and I had enough time to make this realization and then focus on those people up front. I saw them still sitting there listening intently having not realized the noise had even occurred. All of the sudden, in one wave of unison, every old person in the auditorium put their hands to their ears.

I was in my 30s then, and they were probably in their 70s. Reaction time definitely slows down as we get older. There are a lot of important decisions to make in split second increments while blasting through the forest on a mountain bike. Couple that with proprioceptive loss over time... It's not a great recipe.

I've noticed in my mid-forties I'm falling down on the bike way more then I did in my twenties. I like to chalk it up to riding closer to the edge of my ability, but the truth of it is I'm getting older and I'm not as... frosty... or... my head isn't on the same swivel anymore, you know what I mean?

It's sad to hear you've suffered the injuries you have. I've had a couple of dingers in the woods in the last year myself, but nothing like what you're going through now. I think what is worse though is the internal dialogue you're having with yourself that I had a touch of on my last two accidents: At what point do I need to pull back from this to preserve my safety?

I love mountain biking so much. I am so grateful I have the ability to enjoy it. I plan to do it in whatever way I can until I absolutely can't. I do not want to cross that line in the sand when I realize I have to limit that enjoyment in the interest of self-preservation, but there will come a day when I have to.

Others have mentioned road biking and gravel riding as alternatives, but if you're going to be riding at such a level of intensity because, let's all face it... that's what's really fun in the pursuit, I don't think it really matters where you'll be. A wreck on the road can be as bad as a wreck in the woods. Any rider is probably going to have more wrecks in the woods than on the road, but it's not like road riding is without its own inherent risks. You won't get hit by a car in the woods, but you could on the road.

Keep up the mountain biking for the zen it brings. You might just need to slow down a bit so the accidents aren't so likely to happen or as bad when they do.

Get better.
 
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