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Written by Jimmy Schrage   
Thursday, 10 September 2009 15:41

How to Crash

 

Well, I am going to try and breach the topic that many shy away from.  Crashing.  Yes, it happens.  Yes, it will happen to you.  As this is a racing site, I will focus on crashing on the track and save the other scenarios for a later date.

You know it will happen.  You know it is going to happen.  That voice in the back of your head constantly reminds you of it.  No matter how “safe” you ride, how fast you are, or how much experience you have; you will crash.  In fact, many consider this a rite-of-passage into lower lap-times.  After all, how are you supposed to test your limits unless you know them?  How are you supposed to come near your maximum abilities if you never pass them?  Some say this is a catapult into better riding.  Ironic, isn’t it? So, when you do crash, just remember that it is not the end of the world.  Sure you will have some stuff to fix, but it does not mean you are a “bad” rider.  It does not mean that it is time to quit the sport (although you may hear that from your significant others).  It means it is time to sit down, reflect, study, and learn (and heal).

So let’s take you through the steps.  You should never plan on crashing.  You should be aware that crashing is a possibility, but do not plan on it.  Do not go down the road of doubt.  You will not like the consequences.  I said crashing is not the end of the world, but crashing multiple times may be the end of your bank account.

There is a two second window in which you know you are going to crash.  Some people take the time to curse themselves, some people freeze, some prepare for the inevitable, and some try everything in their ability to escape their fate.  If you see an opportunity to ride it out, go for it.  Remember that rear brake in the dirt/grass.  The front brake will take you down immediately.  Get up on those pegs and rear brake only.  If there is nothing left, you ran out of road, or cannot think fast enough; prepare.  Relax.  Tightening up your body will do nothing for you but cause more injury.  How do drunk drivers survive horrendous car accidents?  Their body is totally relaxed and absorbs the impact, rather than fight it.  So relax.

Depending on the type of crash (lowside / highside), there are a few things to be aware of.  If you lowside and find yourself skipping along the pavement, please do not try and get up.  This will only cause you to tumble and you will hurt yourself even more.  Take some time (count to five slowly) after you believe you have come to a stop.  Touch the ground.  Is it still moving?  Then count to five again.  Make sure you have your senses after the dust has settled.  Many a rider has done the sideways moonwalk (no balance and dizzy) after getting up after a crash.  If you highside, good luck to you.  You are in someone else’s hands.  Think good thoughts and enjoy the view from up there.  I would shy away from sticking out limbs to break your fall, as they are easily broken.  It is up too you though.

Before you stand up, make sure you can wiggle your fingers, toes, move your legs, arms, and head.  Do this slowly and deliberately.  Make sure nothing major is broken before getting up.  Sit up, count to five, and then stand up.  Just to be safe.   Do not run to your bike.  There is no saving it.  You are not a pro, so leave it.  Find a nice shady spot (hopefully next to a kind corner-worker) and take a seat.  Your adrenaline will have taken over your body by this point.  You may feel like you need to run, jump, pick up your bike, help out someone in some way, but it is best just to sit down and relax.  The adrenaline may be masking the pain from an injury.  It is best to wait it out rather than irritate or worsen an injury.  If you can, get some water.  It will make you feel better and get that metallic taste out of your mouth (you will understand once you crash).

When the crash truck comes by, let them do the work.  That is their job.  They are there to do that.  Thank them of course, but just stay out of the way.

When you arrive back at the pits, get the bike on the stands and change out of your gear.  Drink some water and take some Advil/Tylenol/whatever.  You will need it no matter what.  Everyone will come and talk to you after a crash, just be ready to tell the same story about fifty times over and over.  After an hour has passed, it is time to evaluate what has just happened.

Get a pen and paper.  Draw the spot in which you crashed.  Try and remember every detail and document it on this paper.  Every detail from how fast you were going, what gear you were in, what makers you were using (turn-in, braking, etc.), body position, throttle position, suspension settings, tire pressure, type of crash, amount of braking pressure, etc.  Get every detail you can remember and write it down.  After all the information is down, become a detective.  The part about crashing that many people leave out is the “learning” part.  You must learn from your mistakes.  This is a sign of intelligence.

What could you have done differently?  What lead up to the crash?  Could it have been avoided?  What will you do next time?   How will you setup the bike differently?  Do you need to change or tweak some sort of your riding style?  You have to evaluate, learn, and change.  If you do not know, discuss it with a peer.  Everyone has crashed, so ask someone.  A second set of eyes will bring a refreshing perspective into the situation.  They may provide the missing link into the mystery of your crash.

Just remember:  DO NOT be embarrassed.  Everyone has done it.  Do not quit, learn.  Crashing may seem like a discouraging event, but you can turn it into a valuable experience.

 







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