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crashing and that feeling...(8 posts)

crashing and that feeling...Frith
Dec 1, 2002 6:59 PM
A post by LenJ further down got me thinking about that feeling you get after getting back on the bike after an accident. I'm not talking about that feeling of elation and the wind in your face although that's always great. I'm talking about the feelings of nervousness and trepidation you get.
I had a pretty bad spill because of some street car tracks and when I finally got back on the bike, I was really afraid of repeating... that feeling went away eventually although I'm a little more careful these days near the street car tracks (everywhere in Toronto).
I know that I used to be fearless on my mountain bike when I was younger. Everytime I had an accident I lost some of that and these days I spend most of my time hammering on the brakes.
Slowly these feeling are dampered but I think we always carry some of that fear away. Sometimes that's good and helps us to learn to be more safe. I bet that sometimes, though, it causes more hesitation which can be dangerous.

I think you answered your own question...Lone Gunman
Dec 1, 2002 7:34 PM
The question is what did you learn from your crash? How to recognize a potential dangerous situation and how to react to it. Hopefully you have learned to stay away from parallel street car tracks or bunny hop them, or ride rollers which helps with balance skills at low speed.

My near brush with a very serious accident was last year on a road I was unfamiliar with, carrying way too much speed into a rt turn that banked the wrong direction and was way sharper than I was prepared for. By all rights I should have been (1)smashed by a vehicle coming the other direction, or (2) off the road across a ditch and into a stand of pines that was along the road @ 45mph. In my opinion I did everything possibly wrong that got me into that situation. Several people later that day crashed at that turn and were carted off by ambulance. I came so close to crashing I almost tried to lessen the crash which I thought was inevitable by laying the bike down but decided to try and ride it out. I was completely across the opposite lane and beyond the edge line trying to steer around that turn. I unclipped, put my foot down and "skied" the turn and brought the bike back under control. After that I did alot of reading and practicing high speed turn technique and I have gotten better at setting up a turn, I can feel the bike responding to my imput of pressure on the bars, pedals, and top tube. Now I still am cautious about turns, but more confident in my ability.
I wish there was something to learn.........Len J
Dec 2, 2002 7:26 AM
from my accident......other than you really are at the mercy of others.

A 71 YO guy goes for the brake, hits the accelerator and flies out of a blind driveway onto a shoulder in which I'm doing around 20 MPH. First time I saw him he was less than 2 ft in front of me, I never even got my fingers on the brake levers (&Iwas riding on the hoods).

My fears are a result of realizing that you can do everything right & still get hurt bad. The last thing I heard was the crunch of tires on crushed stone. I rode this weekend & panicked when I heard that sound.

I sure hope the fear goes away.

It does go awayKristin
Dec 2, 2002 10:16 AM
Its just a little PTSD (post traumatic stress). Very common after an accident. Psydoc could do this much more justice than I am about to, but here goes...

Here is are a few snipettes from the PTSD website:

"PTSD is often heard in connection with war veterans; but 8.9% of all people will experience some PTSD during thier lives. You should recover from it naturally, but it may take several weeks/months. Knowledge is a powerful combatant of all things. Reading about PTS may help you get over the hump. At least you'll understand why you experience certain symptoms."

"Most people who are exposed to a traumatic, stressful event experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the days and weeks following exposure. Available data suggest that about 8% of men and 20% of women go on to develop PTSD, and roughly 30% of these individuals develop a chronic form that persists throughout their lifetimes."

About this quote. My best understanding is that the severity of the trauma, the duration and the rate of occurance play a large role in determining on how severe PTSD will be for a person. There is no reason to think that someone who has experienced little or no trauma in their past will ever develop long-term, chronic PTSD. Those "nerves" you feel should go away within a few weeks/months. If symptoms don't go away over time, or become worse, you may want to talk to a psychologist expereinced in treating PTSD.

Some symptoms:

*Upsetting memories such as images or other thoughts about the trauma.
*Feeling as if it the trauma is happening again ("Flashbacks").
*Bad dreams and nightmares.
*Getting upset when reminded about the trauma (by something the person sees, hears, feels, smells, or tastes).
*Anxiety or fear - feeling in danger again.
*Anger or aggressive feelings ñ feeling the need to defend oneself.
*Trouble controlling emotions because reminders lead to sudden anxiety, anger, or upset.
*Trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.
*Trouble falling or staying asleep.
*Feeling agitated and constantly on the lookout for danger.
*Getting very startled by loud noises or something or someone coming up on you from behind when you don't expect it.
*Feeling shaky and sweaty.
*Having your heart pound or having trouble breathing.

The best thing you can do for yourself: Get back on that horse and ride!!! Remember, courage isn't the absense of fear, but the ability to overcome it. The more you ride the less you'll feel anxious about it. But also, be patient with yourself and understand that the fear you feel is normal. Also, read up on PTSD. There is a ton of online resources for this. Understanding what's going on and why may help too.
re: crashing and that feeling...Souxsie
Dec 1, 2002 7:37 PM
" I bet that sometimes, though, it causes more hesitation which can be dangerous. "

Oh, yes. This is true. At least in mountain biking. This year I crashed, and crashed and crashed. And it got nastier every time. At age 35 you begin to get a bit more scared.

As I venture into road riding, I'm flying down a hill at 25mph and thinking, god what would happen if I fell right now?

On the flip side it is that fear and the overcoming of it that makes both styles of riding exhilirating. So push yourself back into it one step at a time and revel in your daring.

Good luck!
re: crashing and that feeling...netso
Dec 2, 2002 5:50 AM
After my hit-run accident, I was almost afraid to get back on the bike. The feeling of fear has abated, but I must admit that when I hear a car behind me, I still think about that day.
Dec 2, 2002 10:40 AM
Totally agree and I think it's directly proportional to the severity of the crash in most cases. Going down at 50 mph gave the me the heebie-geebies for close to two years and never really got better until I got a new bike even though it wasn't the bike's fault. What's really strange is that even a bad wipe out on a MTB doesn't really bother me anything like that on a road bike. With the MTB I'm right back on the horse going full tilt again like nothing happened - even with an ambulance ride, full backboard, stitches and the works. I think it has to do with the fact that crashing on the MTB is pretty routine whereas going down on the roadbike is kind of "special", it's going to hurt like a mother, and, no, everything isn't going to be OK. It's also funny how thinking about crashing is mentally worse than the actual crash itself - this is probably the crux of the whole matter - in my mind at least.

The good news is that you can live to ride another day. I routinely hit or exceed 50 mph on descents on my normal rides again. Recently hit close to 50 mph in the dark on my maiden descent of Townes Pass out of Death Valley and totally enjoyed it.
I just crashed this weekend...UncleMoe
Dec 2, 2002 2:11 PM
I was riding my MTB up on the backbone - bulldog - mesa ridge trail loop in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. I had never ridden there before and shoulda known better than to go fast on a trail I'd never ridden. I was cruising along at maybe 25 mph and came over a little ridge only to find a small rockslide had occured and blocked the trail with heart sized rocks.

I had about 2 seconds to react and all things considering I did OK. Not sure if I locked my front wheel or caught a rock but I did sort of a sideways endo, landed on my right side and slide about 20 feet. When I stopped my face was peering over small ledge, my right side had that burning feeling, and I was convinced I had broken something.

A few days later and I'm still limping, I have a BBall size black and blue mark on my hip, and my right forearm is a huge scab.

Honestly I feel a little bit of anxiety about me next ride, but nothing major. What I feel more of is how stupid I was for forgetting the golden rule of unfamiliar trails, and how lucky I am I came out of it as cleanly as I did. I think this was my worst bike accident to date and I'll feel blessed if this is as bad as it ever gets.

Funny, too, because when I was approaching the spot I crashed I was thinking, "man, you don't know this trail and you have no idea of what stuff lurks behind these small ridges. You might wanna slow down...."