fear and crashing; on the road

A few years ago when I first picked up mountain biking as a sport, and not just something to ride on rail trail and doubletrack, I fell constantly!  It was sort of to be expected and I put a bunch of geeky looking pads on and dealt with it.  Over time I ditched the knee pads, chest protector and full-face helmet for XC type trails.  I still fall all the time, and when I do it's usually pretty hard, but I seem to hurt myself less when I do so.  As my interests/involvement have shifted to also riding more and more on the road (I could write more about that, but I'll save it for a different time) I started to think about the consequences of a fall more and more.  You hear about people dying, you hear about people falling and missing large portions of the season etc.. you hear of carbon bikes shattering. Of course, you always hear about the sensational stuff and I was aware of that but that didn't mean I wasn't scared to go down on the road.  It was certainly on my mind in my first couple road races and crits!

Sunday I went down for the 2nd time in two weeks and the 3rd of the year.  The fall I took in the Royal was pretty tame as I was on a slight uphill and only traveling around 12 mph, but the other two were pretty much the real deal and took place at 20++ mph (Devin said his GPS shows a speed of 37 mph just before he went down).  I certainly could have broken a collarbone, taken a chainring to the neck or otherwise greatly injured myself!  However, in every case I got up and finished the ride/race, did whatever riding/racing I had planned the next day or the day after, my carbon bikes (all previously repaired by me, mind you) all survived with minimal damage.  My right foot and left wrist both kept falling asleep in the crits yesterday and it's uncomfortable to sleep but falling hasn't quite lived up to the fear.  

What's my point?  It's sad how many people avoid road racing because of the 'danger'.  I know I was certainly warned about crits by many people before my first one.  I think this is sad.  Get out and race!  You probably won't fall.  If you do you will probably be ok!  I think falling on pavement is generally scarier than it is harmful.  An example:  I used to play local level coed soccer...  we played about 20 games a year.  Every single year someone on my team did their ACL, every year multiple people received serious concussions.  Because of 'the fear' a ton more people still feel more comfortable playing soccer than being in a road race.  If you are a road racer, mountain biker, gravel rider, or just a cyclist you are doing us all a disservice if/when you make any other form of cycling sound overly dangerous.  

1 comment:

  1. you forgot about cars...my biggest fear when on the road...but again, this can't allow someone to stay on the couch