Injured and riding better than ever

Hi Lee,

Great book, great website! I’d heard good things about MMBS (and conveniently you released v2 at just the right time) but I’ve learnt more and been far more amused by the writing than I expected. Still a ton to learn, I’ll update you in a couple of decades if I have everything nailed by then.

Anyway, exactly three months ago I broke my ankle on the bike (no rad tale, just a bad mix of ice and eventual complacency), had to be pinned back together and started riding again last week. I still have restricted movement and strength in the ankle (quite a lot of healing to do yet) so I’m having to ride all the downhills much more slowly and avoid any drops higher than about 8″ as it can’t handle the dynamic loading. However I have found an upside of great awesomeness — the combination of riding slower (=more thinking time) and having to avoid shocks means that I’ve finally started to pump the trail effectively. It’s quite amazing how pumping smooths out the trail, as the complaints from the ankle prove when I get out of sync with the terrain. I can’t wait to get back to full speed armed with this new weapon in my flow armoury!

Braaap regards,


P.S. I’ve started trying to get some local momentum to build a pump track – I think it’s going to take a while…

Hey Alex,

Right on! It’s amazing what some patience and shifted awareness will do for your riding (or any other skill, I suppose).

Being hurt definitely forces you to focus on clean technique. Warning: Be careful! Don’t hurt yourself worse!

My Light Hands/Heavy feet doctrine began while I was finishing MMBSi — and supposedly healing from a broken collarbone. Turns out that clavicle is still broken. Heavy Feet/Light hands must work!

Crazy: You should see Jerad Fischer ride. He has a severely broken ankle that will be amputated (for real) in about a week, yet he can dirt jump like a mofo. He says he’s smoother than ever. He has to be.

When you’re smooth AND strong, it’s gonna be GAME ON.

Yours in braaap,

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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4 replies
  1. maxofsantamonica says:

    First off amputated!?!? Like no more foot? That is harsh, so sorry. And I have been grumbling about the slight swelling and gash on my knee from a recent crash, and requisite time off the bike.
    Speaking of injuries, crashing, and dialing it back…I have been on a roll with my riding lately, just pinning it, pumping and jumping, and hauling mail. With this confidence comes faster speeds and I got bit in the arse yesterday and went down. Nothing serious, I think my hands were too heavy and I lost the front wheel in a loose section.
    Anyway my question is what is the best way to dial down the speedometer but still maintain an aggressive/confident attitude when riding? I’m a pretty safe rider, but when I get out there and the blood starts pumping I seem to have a hard time reining in the speed. Just haven’t gone down in a while, so I am reassessing my approach. Thanks for any tips.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yeah man, I can’t complain about my shoulders around Jerad, because they’re not gonna be AMPUTATED. He broke his ankle very severely (in this case very and severely are not redundant) on a dirt jump a while back, and it just won’t heal. They’re taking his lower leg at mid ankle. Crazy. But he seems excited to have a leg he can use. We should all pray for that guy. Good dude.

    Focus on great execution. Perfect corners, sweet pumps. Let the speed happen naturally. As long as you’re focused and flowing in that sweet spot, you should be [relatively] safe.

  3. chance says:

    oh man, that is crazy…. definately prayers going out for that dude! to lose a limb over a crash seems almost unreal! I hope he’ll be able to ride with the prostetic!

  4. Alex says:

    I’m still getting over the amputation shock! I hope it all works out ok for Jerad, having found myself on the ground with my foot pointing in completely the wrong direction, I feel his pain. I’ll let you know how I get on with the pumping and flowing – my target for this year was to get bunny hops nailed and get confident up to 4′ drops but hopefully that’s still attainable…

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