Crash and burn - falling off wooden pallets with my bike
Crash and burn

My trials biking abilities seem to have plateaued. Progressing my abilities and learning new moves has been somewhat elusive. While there are several factors involved, one fairly important cause is that I need to move past my fear of crashing so I can actually try new moves and bump existing skills to the next level. Trials is hard. The only way to progress in trials biking is to try something, crash and burn, learn from it, and try again. And do that over, and over, and over, and over.

But that insidious fear of crashing keeps holding me back, keeping me from even trying certain things. I’m not talking about big crashes like from trying a 10 foot drop, I’m talking about small stuff, just a couple feet off the ground. It’s frustrating.

How to Overcome Fear

Honestly, I don’t have a magic formula. I haven’t figured out the secret yet – I’m still learning how to conquer fear. However, I have found that sometimes I can force myself to do something scary, in spite of the fear. Not crazy stupid stuff, but things that are at the edge of or just beyond the limits of my comfort or abilities. I also try to set myself up so that the consequences aren’t catastrophic. I might crash and it might hurt, but I’m not likely to break any bones or take a trip to the emergency room.

The part where I struggle is not so much the fear of failure, but the fear of pain. Some of the moves that I am trying to learn seem awkward. I can’t seem to get the feel of it. Instead of just sending it and paying attention to how it feels (whether or not I succeed or fail), I avoid committing to the moves. The result is that I rarely crash or fall… but I can’t ever learn the moves either.

All said and done, I think I need to start pushing myself a little harder outside the comfort zone and start failing more. That should have a couple results:

  1. I’ll probably discover that the crashes aren’t that bad (or just suck it up and learn not to be such as wuss), and
  2. I will learn what works and what doesn’t for each move I’m trying to learn so I can improve my skills.

Do you have any tips on how to overcome fear?


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