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I'm super new to the sport. My initial interest came about because I was given the opportunity to participate in a bike patrol program at a local recreation area where I work as a ranger. My district obtained two 2019 Stumpjumpers, wrote SOPs, and opened the program to any ranger who wished to take part. Having not spent much time on a bike prior to this opportunity, I figured it would be beneficial to purchase my own bike and ride the trails during my off time in order to build up some skills and confidence. So I picked up a 2015 Trek Marlin 5 and got to work. I started with small sections of the local loop trail and finally tackled the entire 9mi lake loop last week. I felt great, steaming with confidence, and was ready to set out on my first patrol. Yesterday I linked up with another Ranger, who is quite a skilled rider, and set out on the trail. To no surprise, he was much faster than I, and I'd be lying if I didn't feel a bit of pressure to keep up. About three miles in, I approached a slight downhill with a sharp left turn at the bottom. I took said turn too fast and thus, too wide. This error led me right into a tree and a hard fall to my left. What resulted was the inability to grasp my handlebar grip with my left hand. Because this happened at work, I was sent to the hospital which, in retrospect, was the right call as I was told I had suffered a "Boxer's fracture" and that my left hand would be immobilized for at least six weeks. Though I outwardly maintain a positive attitude, I'm wicked bummed. I did my best to take the right steps, practicing off duty before attempting anything while on the clock. I also recall my initial thought after receiving the news was, "damn, I can't ride for a month and a half?!" Even though Ive only just taken an interest into the sport, I was really excited to sink my teeth into a new hobby and felt like I was improving at a steady pace. I guess my one silver lining is that I've now taken my first hard tumble on a mountain bike; box checked. I knew it was bound to happen eventually, but I didn't expect it so soon and at a relatively routine section that I'd traversed successfully before. Again, perhaps the pressure of wanting to keep up with my partner got the best of me. Maybe it was a test from the MTB gods asking "are you sure you wanna take on this hobby?" Regardless, I know these next six weeks are gunna be brutal. I suspect that I'll wash and inspect my bike more times than necessary, and I'm sure to watch an unhealthy amount of Seth's bike hacks and GMBN videos. I feel an old sense of validation in that I'm excited get back on two wheels. To those who've read this far, I appreciate the opportunity to organize my thoughts and vent a little. Simply getting my thoughts out there has made me feel quite better.

Cheers.
 

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Cycologist
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Bummer, heal up well. The trails will still be there when you do.
 

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Hang in there, man. Yeah, pushing a little hard when new, or doing kind of tricky stuff when tired (from trying to keep up) can get you. Box checked, indeed.

Honestly, a more experienced rider should slow down and not apply that kind of pressure to a newb.

Part of it is just you don't know what you don't know. I waited a good four years before having an injury accident and now I'm a little more cautious when I'm tired. And also, I used to pay a lot of attention to steep drops/descents and the roots and rocks and stuff and not as much to the runout, unless it was super-sketch. Now I pay as much or more attention to the runout.
 

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Riding with someone faster than you is a pretty common way to get hurt unless you can really park the ego and ride your own ride. I hope you heal up fast and get back out there. I find it's important to go back and "conquer" whatever took you down assuming it wasn't a feature that you had no business being on. Maybe go hike that section and get it mentally dialed so when you are back on the bike it's a breeze.

When you are back on patrol ride your own pace. Rest and eat/drink when you need to. If your partner is faster he can wait for you or slow down and stay together. His choice. You do you.
 

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bipedal
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FiveThreeOh - Kudos for joining the program and thanks for sharing your experiences. :thumbsup:

The replies are all spot on. The only thing I would add is to try and take a mtb riding class if possible. This is better than relying on a colleague to "show you the ropes". A skilled coach can identify potential problems with your technique and can help you develop needed skills - this will pay off in the long run. I'm kinda surprised your Ranger District didn't try to arrange something like this at the outset. Some of our local police - the lucky ones! - ride mtbs on the trails in the area and are required go through training classes before heading out.
 

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Sorry to hear it! I am sidelined for the rest of the summer too, from pushing too fast into a corner and fracturing a finger. It's tough to know where the traction/control limits are until you cross them, but I've had a few "reminders" this year that I need to stay away from those limits, rather than push toward them, if I want to ride consistently, without injury.
 
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