when things go the wrong way…

May 5, 2009

oops!When things go the wrong way… normally it sucks.

At the end of a very enjoyable All Mountain ride with some mates (we found some new single-track sections!), there I was having the “fun of my life” blasting trough a fast section of an old downhill track when suddenly while getting out of a small (but quick) jump exiting a left corner, my front wheel decided to take a different route than the one I was planning… you can imagine what happened, let’s say I had a very quick and unexpected encounter with the “mother Earth”. The damage was restricted to the careless rider (that’s me), basically I reshaped part of my right arm and leg (fortunately I had no serious damages). For some time that I hadn’t a fall like this, it wasn’t serious, but it was enough to raise some alarms inside my head.

The confidence we have on our capabilities to ride is for sure one of the key points which enable us to ride quick and be aggressive enough to overcome the natural obstacles.
The falls are almost inevitable for anybody who is riding in a competitive way (since we are constantly riding over the limits) either we are training for the race of our lives or racing against our best friend in the backyard track, every time we pass over the comfort zone we are exposing ourselves into a potential dangerous territory. Nevertheless there is a certain margin (security margin) above our comfort zone which we know we still can handle and we in-conscientiously use it to evolve and improve our riding skills. But, when things go wrong we must reflect on what happened and be able to determine if we are being careless (riding way over our limits/comfort zone) or if it was pure bad luck. Riding high above our skills is not the right way to evolve, we must take it step by step.

I try to enforce some basic rules during the rides to avoid unnecessary damages, as such during the ordinary epic rides I usually ride inside the comfort zone (maximum in the boundaries of the comfort zone but risk nothing); in downhill/technical training sessions the default working mode is very often above the comfort zone but still keeping a security margin, of course sometimes I pass way beyond such security margin but I try not to due it frequently.

Most importantly, each of us must have conscious of our limits, improvements will come as often as we train. An interesting detail I earned with the experience of riding for some years is that the awareness each of us have about our comfort zone and security margin is a little influenced by our age and stage of our lives; unconscious teenagers simply don’t think in the consequences, I remember to be one of them.

Anyway, like it or not, anyone who rides fast will (time to time) have some unpleasant surprises, it’s part of the sport. If we cannot avoid it, at least we can minimize the damages by using the correct protections and body armour according to the type of riding. At least for downhill and/or very technical trails  I strongly recommend everybody to use protections!  …but, in the end that’s up to you to decide.

my message: do not be afraid, just enjoy your rides and be conscious.

…still about my fall (in the picture), it was purely bad luck!

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