Where art thou confidence?

March 28th was the date of freedom.

Cheekily I rode to the doctors appointment on the Thursday morning to get the O.K. to cycle again. The doc said, first week light road riding, then the next week I can do more and try light mountain biking. The following week after that I can do the amount of road cycling that I was previously doing as well as a bit more intensive mountain biking, finally third week I should be able to ride the mountain biking normally.

Riding road I slipped straight back into the groove of things and feel like I did before the crash. The collar bone feels a little odd but nothing that bothers me. I can pull and lift through the shoulder so bumps and sprinting are fine.

I have ridden the mountain bike on the trails but I am not all there. It doesn’t help that there hasn’t been dry dirt out on the trails since I crashed but through corners and even down some simple descents, I feel shaky. Shaky isn’t good when you’re on the mountain bike. You need confidence to hit something to control what is happening.

Even today I was out on the trails with a friend and we were just rolling down a trail I have done a heap of times. Admittedly it wasn’t an easy trail since it’s aimed for downhillers. Never the less I could usually ride it all but today I felt as if I was going to hit the ground hard.

Prior to riding this track I went and had a look at where I crash or at least where I thought I had crashed. The way I remembered the crash didn’t fit the area where I crashed. This has me a little worried. Seeing where I crashed wasn’t anything spooky but riding down to it was weird and I felt vulnerable.

The plan for now is to ride more and more on the single tracks and build up my shoulder strength and confidence, not much strength was lost, but enough to make me feel weaker.  The confidence has taken a big hit though. The way I have learnt to get faster and improve is to do a lot of small steps to get to bigger steps, not giving it my all and then crash and spend another week… or month sitting on the sidelines.

There is no point in trying something ‘big’ in order to improve. I have seen too many crashes of inexperienced even experienced riders trying jumps or drop offs and eating so much dirt. Sure there is some crashes that are unavoidable by random variables but in reality if there is something you want to do, work up to it.

For a small tip I will use an example. If there is a jump, small gap or lip you want to get air off or jump over and you know there is a good chance that your skill level really isn’t appropriate then this is what you should do.

If you can’t roll it don’t do it. By ‘rolling it’ I mean if you can’t ride over the obstacle then don’t attempt it at high speed. Try smaller jumps or similar obstacles that will help you practice the skills you’d need to tackle your goal. Once you can do those smaller things and you feel as if you know what will happen when you hit your desired challenge then grab a couple of mates and go try it.

I would advise body armour and obviously a helmet. It’s really important to have friends because if you do hurt your self you don’t want to be dragging your self to the road alone.

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