Just can’t stop crashing in XC. It’s not the technical section, and I have a positive self image, but these crashes are due to stupid riding. The problem is that at 54 even little crashes hurt for a long time and everything takes forever to heal.
Is there anybody out there running pads for XC? I mean…50+ sport class, I should probably just get over it and run what it takes to feel safe. But here in Florida heat management is a thing and my trail riding stuff is pretty warm. I don’t need enduro level protection, just something to mitigate some of the damage if another crash happens. Light, comfortable, and not looking completely dorky is the goal here.
Thanks for any helpful comments you may have and I’m ready for snark as well
In my opinion you hit it on the head with this line. Run what you need to. Your in the 50+ sport class. I don’t believe the Olympics are in your future. I’d rather race and look a little odd than never race.
I second the refresher class suggestion. A good way to identify and isolate skills you may be weak on.
In terms of protection, I use the lightest RaceFace knee pads about half the time for XC/AM riding. They have a foamy pad in them and are mostly mesh. This could be the sort of solution you are looking for.
A refresher class assumes that you have taken skills classes before. If you haven’t then it should be on the top of your list. That holds true for everyone.
As for pads, here in Chicago we have the range of riders that goes from full face and all the armor to full lycra and full rigid on the same trails. Wear what you feel safe in. If I haven’t been on flat pedals in a while I definitely put on shin guards. As mentioned you can’t go wrong with the lightweight elbow and knee pads.
Yeah so the first dnf was a little “fall over” at the top of a short steep climb. I scramble to get up fast and snagged the skin on the outside of my calf on a little something (stick? branch? who knows?) and a 4X6" fluid pocket formed. I figured my compression socks would help get that to heal down pretty fast but 7 weeks later I still have a little hematoma there. Or seroma or whatever.
Sunday the race was on this tight ass smooth single track. So I’m losing my mind, riding like an idiot, threading my 800mm bars and oversized body thru pretty well, pacing plan be dammed I’m going all out. I get to a double track section and take a drink with my brand new never used before fidlock bottle. Now those things are kinda best used with your right hand, right? Well I was futzing, trying to get it back into the cage looking down. I look up and see the arrow for a 90 to the left like RIGHT THERE! I freak out and grab a handful of brake with my left hand. Front wheel locks up, weight goes forward, bars turn abruptly left (because R hand is on the bottle, right?), and body slam onto my L side. Bruised hip, ribs, shoulder, elbow.
So it’s not really the technical riding that is the problem, just stupidity. Having said that I am signed up for The Ride Series clinic here in Florida this weekend, I’m totally in on that.
But one of the things is just “getting used to riding trails at race pace” again. I raced a lot of XC in the 90’s but moved to road time trials in the 00’s and 10’s. So my power is good but my tech skills are rusty. Still…it wasn’t the tech parts that got me, it was the freaking doubletrak. Gak!
Well I agree with you that getting used to race pace riding will help but I’m a fragile flower and my skin just blows apart and bruises form like crazy. Not pathological crazy…it’s just that I’m in my 50’s now and I need to take care of the meat bag if I want to make it another 50.
And…the comment about probably not making the olympics this time around is, as much as I hate to kill my delusion…probably true. I’ve won races and gotten lapped in races and once you get into your race, be it in a little group or alone, it feels remarkably similar. Plus passing the guy in a sweet skin suit when I was in my trail garb…that was pretty fun. (until he passed me as I was on the ground LOL).
You guys are great, thanks for all of the comments
Yes a little (or lot) protective gear can help even in our age! I’m with ya in the early 50s. Recovery and nutrition is even more important!
Honestly a skills clinic will help too even if you’ve raced XC back in the day like ourselves. Bike geometry and tech has changed and how to adapt that to courses is critical. It helped me a lot and also gained new perspectives how to approach races.
Look into some of the pads with D3O. It’s soft and flexible until impact and then hardens up.
[quote=“Joe, post:7, topic:80624”] So I’m losing my mind, riding like an idiot, threading my 800mm bars and oversized body thru pretty well, pacing plan be dammed I’m going all out.
Everyone is different but 800 mm bars are really wide. I rode 800s for a bit because I thought wider is better but kept having problems. Most of my issues (at least on the bike) eased when I cut my bars down. Talk to a fitter or look at some of the online info about handlebar width and consider cutting them down. This article first got me thinking about it:
Joe, I think you said it in your second sentence of the OP. You’re 54. You aren’t getting paid to race so step back, relax and get the feel for racing again. Set little goals like don’t crash on double track. You are going to need a lot of armor to protect you from injury after you go over the bars.
I don’t race much and we aren’t supposed to ride on wet trails so when it was raining for the big local race last summer I really held back at the start. I didn’t want to get caught up in any mass chaos. It cost me a lot of places but I’m 48 and had to go to work the next day. With the wet conditions I knew people would be making mistakes and decided to stay upright instead of staying in front.
Doing things that make you feel more comfortable is a big plus, even if it is just the placebo effect — the placebo effect is real. In my experience a lot of mistakes of mine are due to me suddenly losing confidence or no longer feeling comfortable. Rather than keeping going, I pull the brakes or try to do some last second correction, and it is the latter that does me in and causes the crash.
So if you feel more comfortable, you might make less of these kinds of mistakes.
I dabbled in a small gravel race awhile back…didn’t make it to the finish line of that one every time either but managed 11th in Version 3 and 6th in Version 12. No crashes though so maybe you are onto something
And bars…you’d have no way of knowing I’m 6’ 4" with extra long arms until now but I swear the 800’s feel great. Plus it seems some people that know a thing or two are for 800’s as well. They are a bitch in the tight trees though, no argument there.
2 days of Rick Drew and The Ride Series, it was one of the best…maybe the best…clinic I’ve been in any sport. Got a lot from the “generating speed from terrain” part and their technique for lifts make them incredibly easy and efficient. The cornering part was good, definitely upped my game there. The bit on drops was good but we only went up to a 12" drop. I think moving up to bigger drops would have been helpful. Still, their technique should work for drops up to 24" and make them safe and easy. Tons of jumping! Really nailed the timing at the end of day 2, going higher than ever before and feeling super good. Then overshot the landing, smashed the front wheel down at a bit of an angle and washed out crashing hard. It was the L side last week, got the R side this week. Two hardest hits riding ever within 8 days. But I’d still give the clinic two thumbs up, it was good. But the advice on “taking a clinic so you don’t crash as much” might need a subtle change.