Practicing crashing

Today I rocked private clinic #2 with a junior female Cat 1 XC racer. She’s picking everything up really quickly, and today we got into some super-techy climbing skills. That was super fun, then she surprised me.

“Hey Lee, I want to practice crashing.”

Practice crashing?


I focus on giving people the skills to NOT crash.

But we all crash from time to time, so why not learn to crash well?

Here’s how we broke it down:

Option 1: Run away from your bike

It’s usually best to ride through sketchy situations, but that’s not always possible. Say you get into trouble you don’t think you can ride through:

– Get rid of your bike BEFORE you freak out. Once you panic, you get tense, then you’re asking for trouble.

– Send your body straight and send your bike to the side.

– Unclip one foot and reach it forward. Right before it hits the ground, unclip your other foot and leap over the bike. This is a LEAP with capital letters. Let your bike go.

– Start running at the same speed as your bike, then gradually slow it down.

– Find your bike and pin it!

We started slow and worked our way up to full-speed running dismounts. I’ll have to post video.

I once saw pro XC/SD racer Mike West pull this move while holding his handlebar. He lost his front wheel, jumped off the bike, ran it out then jumped back on in less than a second. Sick.

Option 2: Roll it out

You can’t always run away from your bike. If you do hit the ground, tuck and roll.

– Spot your landing.

– Actively close your body into a ball. Don’t just flop onto the ground. Pull everything in tight — head, arms and legs — and land on the back of a shoulder.

– Roll it out.

– Stand up. Find your bike. Pin it!

Next: Combine these techniques into the ultimate crashing kung fu. I need to post video.

Try not to crash, but if you crash:

Crash well.

— Lee

Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 2nd Edition has an entire chapter on avoiding injury.

Know more. Have more fun!

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