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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just got home after a very strange afternoon followed by a 4 hour drive (it's 00.50 here).

I went to some new trails today with a couple of friends, one of who'd been several times. Quite demanding XC/AM with fantastic rock gardens and lots of other technical bits to keep a rider alert....

Anyway, during the ride it became very clear to me that I've lost some of the 'bottle' (bravery) that I used to have and aged 47 I've slowed down on the technical sections. It was wet today and a little slippery and I fell off on the first rock garden. The only reason it happened was due to lack of speed and too much thought. I climbed off the bike and walked it down the next two and felt a little ashamed of myself but I just lacked confidence, which was a new and unpleasant feeling for me. I've never been ashamed to admit when I'm scared, and the man who says he's never afraid is either certifiably insane, or a fool. Anyway, it came as a bit of a rude awakening and, for some reason, I felt I wanted to share my disappointment in myself!!

Later in the ride we had to make a detour due to logging activity and this meant heading down a steep logging track with a broken surface of small rocks and peat..... We all set off down together, me in front and it was a great descent although I started to feather the brakes at 28mph (so the Garmin has just told me). My pal came past me as if I was stationary and turned into a gentle right hander which pushed his front tyre and he ran wide into the bend and straight into a deep rutted edge, made worse by recent prolonged and heavy rain.

Anyway, he came off heavily, a really nasty crash that left him motionless initially. I stopped with him and our other pal went back up the fire track to slow other riders coming down. My first aid kit was really useful (it sits there for months just taking up space and gathering dust but we needed it today) I did the basic checks to make sure he was compus mentus and cleaned up a bad gash to his scalp which covered what looked to be a compression fracture.

Another rider stopped (thanks Phil Jones) who had local knowledge and talked an ambulance into us. Anyway, my buddy looks as if he's also fractured his sternum and a vertibrae in his neck and is now faced with a stretch in hospital.

I'm waffling a bit, very tired and a bit low. Strange day today, a definite passion but tinged with some sadness.

Ride safe, don't go without a first aid kit and always wear a helmet. It almost certainly saved my friend's life today.
 

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Wow, sorry to hear about your friend, but he's lucky you were there. I hope he makes a full recovery.
I know what you mean about not being as daring as we used to be, but after some bad crashes, some that led to surgical repairs and long recoveries, I've come to the conclusion that there's no shame in slowing down and/or walking a sketchy section if it means that you'll be in good enough shape to ride the next day. I don't bounce when I hit the ground anymore, just splat and sometimes break, so I try to avoid doing that, even if it means I don't ride some of my favorite trails as much. I figure I'd rather accept some riding limitations and enjoy other parts of life than to go through some of the medical crap again.
Don't kick yourself for getting older, pat yourself on the back for getting wiser.
Besides, there's only one alternative to aging.
 

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Hoping for a speedy recovery for your friend. I have also learned
after many crashes and surgical procedures due to poor riding
decisions its better to live to ride another day.

This year I am learning how many more miles of riding
one can accomplish when not broken and repaired.

It has been hard to walk on sections I have cleared before or
a place I think I could be successful on clearing.

The best feeling is typing this and knowing I can ride tomorrow.

Good luck and stay healthy
 

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Another voice hoping your friend makes a quick and complete recovery.

I am also 47. I don't know how it happened. I just woke up one day and found myself closer to 50 than 40. Cool thing about it though, it doesn't mean a thing. I still feel great, still love to ride, have an awesome little granddaughter and if anything I am a little wiser and know my limits a little better.

All that aside, I can identify with what you are saying. Don't read too much into it. Some days your rhythm is just off and things don't feel right. The next time you go out everything may be good as ever. Regardless, there is no shame in walking once in a while.

Like others have said, one of the things I too have figured out is that I don't bounce as good as I used to and I don't heal up as fast. I do like to believe that I am at least a little smarter than I used to be.:thumbsup:
 

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I was thinking of inspirational words to share as I started to read your post. The best I could come up with is ride your own pace and it takes more of a man to walk (act human or project vulnerability) than to not.

I know I take far fewer risks now but I'm at peace with that. I wish your buddy a speedy recovery, though. Nasty crashes are scaring (mentally or physically).
 

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Hope your friend has a full recovery.

Speaking as a fellow old guy (just turned 49), I can relate to your quandary. I had two bad falls last summer that really shook me up. One was a 25mph get-off that broke two fingers and left my whole right side with severe "road rash". While still bandaged up, I tried to ride two weeks later. I ended up crashing that day, as well, and reopened the wound that I received a couple of weeks earlier. I've never felt so out-of-touch with the bike.

It took me a long time to get my "mojo" back, in fact, this summer is the first time I've felt "one with the bike" in a long time. Had that crash been 15 years ago, I would have simply got up, dusted myself off (mentally) and thought no more of it. Not these days. I've reevaluated what I consider "fast" and "daring". While I'm no slouch as a bike handler, I've considered that there's more to being fast than going downhill. I've focused much more on my fitness and my climbing prowess. No big drops, no big jumps.

I think there's a switch in your mind that turns off your common sense. I think as you grow older, that switch is harder to override. I look at this as a good thing. Our bodies don't heal as easily as they used to. Back in the early spring, I had 5 of my (older) cycling friends (two roadies) sitting out with cycling-related injuries. They ranged from broken collar bones to broken backs. This was a wake-up call for me. While I like to go fast, I also like being healthy. I'd rather be riding my bike, than riding the couch anytime.
 

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All you young whippersnappers! I'll echo what ric426 stated. I'm 53 and just starting to lean how to handle cactus lined rock gardens. There have been quite a few that I have chosen to walk down rather than bounce down bikeless. I recognize that I don't quite have all the necessary skills let alone the confidence. You provided a good tip regarding speed through the rock gardens. That is likely one of my problems. Many good thoughts out for a speedy recovery to your friend. I'm sure he is glad you were there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks one and all for your good thoughts, they helped pick me up a bit when I read them....

Positive news about my pal too; whilst he has fractured C4 and broken his sternum and collar bone the hospital think he's caused no lasting damage and his neck injury should have no legacy. I'm mightily relieved.

The news was slightly diluted by my wife telling me when I got home that she's taking the two boys and leaving me (not a joke), so not the best end to the week. One thing is for sure; I'm going bike riding tomorrow!!

As someone once said, "If it wasn't for my bad luck I'd have fcuk all!!!"

Thanks again for the kind words........
 

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Another voice hoping your friend makes a quick and complete recovery.

I am also 47. I don't know how it happened. I just woke up one day and found myself closer to 50 than 40. Cool thing about it though, it doesn't mean a thing. I still feel great, still love to ride, have an awesome little granddaughter and if anything I am a little wiser and know my limits a little better.

All that aside, I can identify with what you are saying. Don't read too much into it. Some days your rhythm is just off and things don't feel right. The next time you go out everything may be good as ever. Regardless, there is no shame in walking once in a while.

Like others have said, one of the things I too have figured out is that I don't bounce as good as I used to and I don't heal up as fast. I do like to believe that I am at least a little smarter than I used to be.:thumbsup:
^^^This. Don't read into it, sometimes something like this will send you into a funk, but you'll bounce back. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger and smarter, right?
 

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Thanks one and all for your good thoughts, they helped pick me up a bit when I read them....

Positive news about my pal too; whilst he has fractured C4 and broken his sternum and collar bone the hospital think he's caused no lasting damage and his neck injury should have no legacy. I'm mightily relieved.

The news was slightly diluted by my wife telling me when I got home that she's taking the two boys and leaving me (not a joke), so not the best end to the week. One thing is for sure; I'm going bike riding tomorrow!!

As someone once said, "If it wasn't for my bad luck I'd have fcuk all!!!"

Thanks again for the kind words........
Hey now you'll have more time to work on your MTB skills and get that riding confidence back. They say use it or lose it and thats the truth!

But really, I am sorry to hear of your frustrating ride and then that your wife is leaving you. There is good that will come of it I am sure.
 

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Praying for quick recovery for your friend.
 

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Thanks one and all for your good thoughts, they helped pick me up a bit when I read them....

Positive news about my pal too; whilst he has fractured C4 and broken his sternum and collar bone the hospital think he's caused no lasting damage and his neck injury should have no legacy. I'm mightily relieved.

The news was slightly diluted by my wife telling me when I got home that she's taking the two boys and leaving me (not a joke), so not the best end to the week. One thing is for sure; I'm going bike riding tomorrow!!

As someone once said, "If it wasn't for my bad luck I'd have fcuk all!!!"

Thanks again for the kind words........
Good to hear your friend is doing better. Hang in there.

Bikes are Prozac.
 

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One thing I've learned about biking and life is its best to look where you want to go not where you don't want to go and looking back requires you quit looking where you want to go. I hope your buddy makes a full recovery and things work out for you.
 

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Hey, I'm 47 too!

And slower than ever going down trails. I'm not only less strong and quick, I'm also twice as careful.

But I'm climbing almost as good as 15 years ago.

All this would bum me out, except for the fact that I'm loving life and riding more than ever!

Keep it up--if we can dodge injury and illness, we'll have many years to go before we have to buy a road bike.....
 

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Good news about your buddy....hope he heals up completely and quickly. Sorry about your situation...
I jsut turned 50 a month ago and like you am much slower on the downhills than I used to be (faster going up though)
I crashed on my roadbike last year and being off the bike for 6 weeks about killed me. It's just not worth it to risk time off the bike. I'd rather be safe and walk the sketchy stuff...
 

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Welcome to the real world of getting older and smarter :D Realising that we don't heal up as fast as we used to and we break a little easier, so take it a little easier and don't get broken. Glad your friend will be OK, but hopefully he's learned some of what you seem to have and takes it a bit easier next time so he doesn't get himself laid up again. I'm not for the fast anymore, I enjoy it, but at MY own "fast" pace and while it may not be as fast as other I ride with, I haven't taken a fall like many of them have and injured myself and keep on riding. I much prefer the slow and technical and on that, that's where I drop alot of those fast guys.
 

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this thread almost makes me happy that I didn't START mountain bike riding until last year. I'm 52 and I'm faster now than ever! It's all relative of course, last year I was super-slow, now I'm just slow. I've always had the "fear of death" switch, even when I was younger I was semi-cautious. I've never been an extreme anything. I have fun riding without doing jumps, drops and nonsense. I'm glad there are those in the world who do such things but I'm happy not being one of them.
 
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