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Regaining confidence

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Regaining confidence

Old 10-22-21, 12:09 AM
  #1  
LarrySellerz
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Regaining confidence

Hey guys, have any of you had your confidence on a bike shattered after a horrific injury? I broke my c5 vertebrae in my neck bodysurfing 2 months ago, had it taken out and im lucky im not paralyzed. Started riding again this week, and my confidence on descents is just totally shot. Its actually dangerous because i'm holding the brakes and just skittish all around. Used to be very comfortable on a bike, so this is eating at me. Will it come back in time, or are there things I should practice to regain my confidence.
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Old 10-22-21, 05:50 AM
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Sounds 100% normal to me.

Best advice is to ride on familiar roads (to minimize surprises and anxiety) and it should come back with time.
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Old 10-22-21, 05:55 AM
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Sup Larry! We all wondered where you went, though a couple of the others have resurfaced in your absence. Bummer about your horrific injury, just when you were making good progress toward snatching the young lady away from the old codger. Your skittishness on the bike is a sign you didn't lose all your brain cells. Another bike wreck and you could easily end up vegged! That wouldn't be fun. Might be time for a recumbent trike.
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Old 10-22-21, 05:56 AM
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I went to a Trike after my Crash. Test ride some.
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Old 10-22-21, 07:32 AM
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I crashed last week. Luckily no serious injuries, suspected leg fracture but x ray was clear. It was the worst crash to date for me and my confidence has been shot.

I hit an object carelessly left in a bike lane, it was early morning and I never saw it. Since then I havnt been able to ride in the dark, I did a group ride a couple of days ago, and I am usually carefree but this time I was worried the whole time, was sticking on the wheel in front of me and was death gripping my hoods.

I do think each day it gets a little better.
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Old 10-22-21, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Hey guys, have any of you had your confidence on a bike shattered after a horrific injury? I broke my c5 vertebrae in my neck bodysurfing 2 months ago, had it taken out and im lucky im not paralyzed. Started riding again this week, and my confidence on descents is just totally shot. Its actually dangerous because i'm holding the brakes and just skittish all around. Used to be very comfortable on a bike, so this is eating at me. Will it come back in time, or are there things I should practice to regain my confidence.
had a bone in your neck removed? i assume replaced with something else? modern medicine is really amazing, one of the reasons i firmly believe i will live to 100.

very glad to hear you are alive and well. i agree with your skittish being normal and i too would only stick to descents you know really really well and don't push it.
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Old 10-22-21, 08:02 AM
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It takes time, maybe months. Just take it easy and don't rush it.
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Old 10-22-21, 09:26 AM
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Glad you're okay, Larry. Jerry Seinfeld said the ocean doesn't want humans in it, so what happens when we surf is we try to go into the ocean and it throws us back out. Sounds like it was too rough with you.

It's totally understandable for you to be nervous on your bike, and that might continue for some time. Your brain is programmed to keep you from going too hard too soon.

I recommend gradually increasing your effort/intensity. Start with an easy pace on flat ground, and work your way up to higher speeds, steeper grades, etc. You shouldn't expect to quickly get back to your pre-accident activity level. The important thing is that you are going in the right direction. It would be sad if you let this keep you from ever riding again, but very reasonable for you to take your time to recuperate after such a big setback.
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Old 10-22-21, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Hey guys, have any of you had your confidence on a bike shattered after a horrific injury? I broke my c5 vertebrae in my neck bodysurfing 2 months ago, had it taken out and im lucky im not paralyzed. Started riding again this week, and my confidence on descents is just totally shot. Its actually dangerous because i'm holding the brakes and just skittish all around. Used to be very comfortable on a bike, so this is eating at me. Will it come back in time, or are there things I should practice to regain my confidence.
On the plus side, you should be a little bit lighter now, which means you're faster.

Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Might be time for a recumbent trike.
Unless things have changed since I was three years old, ladies don't go for dudes on trikes.
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Old 10-22-21, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Unless things have changed since I was three years old, ladies don't go for dudes on trikes.
When I get too old, frail, or wobbly to safely ride a bicycle, I plan to get a tadpole recumbent. Some of those are pretty nice, and I think they offer an experience that's reasonably close to regular biking. Hopefully this won't happen for another two decades. By then, I don't think I'll care if the ladies notice me.
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Old 10-22-21, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
When I get too old, frail, or wobbly to safely ride a bicycle, I plan to get a tadpole recumbent. Some of those are pretty nice, and I think they offer an experience that's reasonably close to regular biking. Hopefully this won't happen for another two decades. By then, I don't think I'll care if the ladies notice me.
When you quit caring you are no longer living.... Just saying

Glad you're okay Larry
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Old 10-22-21, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
When you quit caring you are no longer living....
Crap. I'm only 51 and have already stopped trying to impress everyone but my wife. So I guess I'm as good as dead.

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Old 10-22-21, 10:28 AM
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Totally normal. After my crash, I was off the bike for a couple months and was too chicken to ride no-handed for at least another couple months.
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Old 10-22-21, 10:41 AM
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Practice. Practice concentrating on every little thing. Zen. When you descend, let the bike run, brake for corners, dangerous looking driveways, and extreme speed, say over 50 Practice holding your line and looking around. The idea is to stay present, no boredom. Always be doing something, concentrating on something. I find that takes the fear away. As it is said, "Fear is the little death."
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Old 10-22-21, 10:41 AM
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did I read that right, had C5 removed?? wow didn't know the neck could still function like that.

But about confidence. You can ease back in. Ride on flat roads for a while. Then do only easy descending routes, skip the technical ones. Then see how you go from there. It may take a few months to a year before you'll get back to the previous level of confidence.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
When I get too old, frail, or wobbly to safely ride a bicycle, I plan to get a tadpole recumbent. Some of those are pretty nice, and I think they offer an experience that's reasonably close to regular biking. Hopefully this won't happen for another two decades. By then, I don't think I'll care if the ladies notice me.
That comment was for Larry. If you've followed his exploits, you'll understand.
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Old 10-22-21, 11:48 AM
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Yes, it comes back. I had a car clip my rear wheel and flip me over landing simultaneously on my right shoulder, hip and head. Instant ambulance ride to the emergency room. Broken clavicle, 3 bruised ribs and a serious contusion. Takes some time, and I'm sure it varies. It took me a year to loose the jiters, and about 3 years to come back to bombing downhill in traffic.

ps: brushing your teeth with the off hand is really hard, wiping your butt nearly impossible.
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Old 10-22-21, 12:27 PM
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Jesus, that's terrible. ☹️

Ride slowly and conservatively. Don't take any risks at all. Be very boring. Ride slowly at places like the beach where the scenery and experience of being outdoors provides enough enjoyment to make it worthwhile. Confidence comes from good results. Plus, you're probably still healing and getting used to your new experience of life.
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Old 10-22-21, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
That comment was for Larry. If you've followed his exploits, you'll understand.
Yeah, I remember his adventures that prompted that comment. I believe the cute young lady ended up staying with her much older guy pal... but at least they gave Larry some clipless pedals. Larry, you been getting any more respect on the group rides lately (when not recovering from a broken neck)?
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Old 10-22-21, 03:06 PM
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Guys i'm not trying to get with that girl lol. Someone on my ride might see this and put 2 and 2 together and give me the cinzano treatment.
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Old 10-22-21, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Crap. I'm only 51 and have already stopped trying to impress everyone but my wife. So I guess I'm as good as dead.
I don't even try to impress my wife!
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Old 10-22-21, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Hey guys, have any of you had your confidence on a bike shattered after a horrific injury? I broke my c5 vertebrae in my neck bodysurfing 2 months ago, had it taken out and im lucky im not paralyzed. Started riding again this week, and my confidence on descents is just totally shot. Its actually dangerous because i'm holding the brakes and just skittish all around. Used to be very comfortable on a bike, so this is eating at me. Will it come back in time, or are there things I should practice to regain my confidence.
After a few major crashes on my DH rig when I was younger I lost confidence for quite some time, but it slowly came back. I would imagine your brain has put you in lockdown for now to prevent any major risk of trauma. Maybe ride easy routes and avoid fast descents for a little while. I don't think there's anything you can practice that would help much. You need time to fully heal and get your head back in the game.
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Old 10-22-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I don't even try to impress my wife!
Same here, man...

Working on mine is all I can handle, so you're on your own with Mrs. Hski. [rimshot!]

Larry, the Cinzano treatment is the worst! But you get it for showing off to pro racers, not from trying to make a move on someone's girl, and especially not for just being accused of doing so on BF.
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Old 10-22-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
Guys i'm not trying to get with that girl lol. Someone on my ride might see this and put 2 and 2 together and give me the cinzano treatment.
You're gonna have a hard time living that down, it's part of your forum story.
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Old 10-22-21, 03:40 PM
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Just do the rolling roads for a while. Save descents for when you feel more confident. Start out with the less technical ones like 84, and just don't let your speed creep up too far. Over time your confidence will return, plus you'll have built up more experience to back up the confidence. Oh! And for a while, don't try to follow anyone down a descent. And you can always try doing what I do - shout at yourself "LET OFF THE BRAKES!!" as you come into a corner.

I know you're probably not looking for another bike, but I can tell you, now that I have 9 of them, some bikes just handle better than others. Some of my bikes feel 'dodgy' on turns unless I commit. You know, weighting the outside pedal, pushing into the lean. Then they carve the corner. A couple of them, one especially, just feels like it knows what to do, almost like it barely needs my input. I never get that 'dodgy' feeling on it. Just solid cornering. It's a question of geometry, not age, or material, so you don't need a fancy new CF bike. The one I'm most confident on is a 30 year old steel frame. Your hybrid, by comparison, may not be the best at high speed cornering.
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