Reply To: Cycle crashes

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I think a way cyclists could overcome their fear after a crash (also anticipation of another crash) and continue on at the level they want to ride is by employing a contingency plan. The plan can be prepared and practicised as part of their training. It sounds like the expectation of a crash is common at this level of cycling. The impact of the crash on the outcome (time lost, ability to continue riding at the level you want to, injury taking you out of the race) can only be assessed once it happens and would vary how the contingency plan is used. The plan could include:
(1) The Logical Side (a) understanding what lead to the crash (b) if they could have done anything differently (c) what if anything could they do to prevent another one (d) to know when to pull out due to injury so it doesn’t have long term negative effects on their health and ability to ride in future (e) talk to other cyclists about what happened and if there are any learning points to be gained
(2) Awareness and Management of the Emotional and Physiological Reactions (a) how do they want to react emotionally knowing it can use up precious energy (b) how to think about it -“it is just part of the ride experience” or not think about it – use defusion, so it doesn’t affect the rest of the ride (c) breathing and mindfulness to control their threat reaction (fight and flight) (d) pain management strategies so that initial sensations can be assessed and help decision making to continue or not.

I think another factor that would affect fear and self-confidence levels is how you see others deal with the same situation that are experiencing the same or similar level of impact.

I think the crashes in the video would have affected the cyclists’ self-confidence in different ways.
In the group crash everyone seems to remain calm and those that could just got on with it. They would have had a negative emotion about it happening but it appears that they weighed up the extra use of energy reacting negatively to it and instead used the energy to just continue on. Overall, for those who could continue on following the crash it is unlikely to have had much of an influence on their self-confidence.

The railing crash looks like it could have caused major injury that could have involved a time period of recovery. I think this situation would have had a significant impact on self- confidence getting back to riding. This would need a systematic approach to build up confidence in riding and his threat reaction in similar situations to the initial accident.

The save by Lance Armstrong would have potentially added to his self-confidence as he could come up with an alternative plan on the spot. I think it could also impact on others sense of confidence as they watched how he dealt with the situation and recovered from it.