Existential (MTB) Crisis

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  • Existential (MTB) Crisis
  • vonplatz
    Member

    Background: I have been riding for 10 years more or less. In that period I came off trying to do a jump without knowing any proper technique and broke my collarbone. That was about 8 years ago. I needed surgery and was off work for two months. Upon returning to work, I was fired. This was becuase of other factors apart from the time off but I still think to this day that if I hadn’t of taken two months sick leave when I did I would not have lost my job.

    Fast forward to now and I am currently recovering from another crash. I have broken three vertabra t5, 7 and 11 and have whiplash like symptoms in the cervical spine. I am now in my 8th week off work. I went to a Bike park and was paralysed by fear of crashing leading me to roll off a drop instead of committing and landing on my head.

    My relationship with my wife has been strained since the accident. She has had to take on more responsibility in caring for our two children and she is angry with me for causing this problem in our family unit.

    We are looking to purchase a new home and yestearday, after seeing one we like she has expressed that before she is ready to commit to buying the house, she wants me to stop mountain biking or she would like to end the relationship. Her argument is that apart from the money I spend on it, apart from the time it separates me from my family she considers it selfish of me to put a hobby over my own safety and responsibility to my family.

    I have expressed that both accidents have come about from me taking on things “above my paygarde” and that I would be more cautious in the future but after hurting myself for a second time I don’t have much credibility. I have tried to explain that risk can be mitigated by descisions made by the rider but her argument is that the sport is inherently risky and that I can take up any other number of activities that will not put my life in danger.

    I have just said that I will sell my bikes and equipment in order to demonstrate my commitement to our family but of course I’m absolutely gutted. This is against my will.

    Without going into much personal detail, perhaps this is a symptom of a more serious problem in our relationship?

    I can think of no rational explanation to argue my own case apart from the fact that it is something I love and desperately want to continue.

    What do the STW massive think if anything?

    hols2
    Member

    Get a new wife.

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Subscriber

    Halfway house? Take up gravel riding?

    But I’d agree that this is perhaps symptomatic of other underlying problems in the relationship.

    My SO knows that cycling (and specifically MTBing) keeps me sane. Without it I’m a grumpy arsehole. I’ve tried other sports, but nothing hits the parts that MTBing does.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    If you’re not making the effort to spend time with your family, maybe she’s right. Nothing to do with mtbs apart from the injuries.

    Suggest gravel bike as cheaper than new wife. :).

    mildred
    Member

    I would just agree to whatever she says then slowly start doing it again.

    To be honest, and without being too harsh,  if you’re getting injuries as serious as this, she’s got a point.

    from a riding point of view, I would seriously consider a skills course or take things back to basics. You sound like you’re trying to ride things way past your ability, yet accepting it as a part of MTBing… it’s not. Get some help.

    As for it being a symptom of a more serious problem in your relationship, only you can tell that but my first instinct is to say get over yourself – you are being selfish if you put biking above your relationships.

    what I don’t understand is how it has to be “all or nothing”? Either pursuing your hobby to the point of maiming yourself or not doing it at all. Learn that there’s shades of grey and different degrees to which you can participate in an activity. Don’t make promises you don’t mean, like getting rid of your bikes etc. Just explain what it means to you and work out how our can take part in a less intrusive way. Christmas is coming so ask Santa for a skills course.

    eddiebaby
    Member

    Decided where your loyalties lies.

    Cut back the riding or ditch tha family and move to Whistler.

    You have a family. Existentialism vs them?

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    If anyone says “change or the relationship is over” then the relationship is over.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    Sort of agree, this is a conversation that needs clear heads on both sides and all cards on the table all round or you will both make decisions you regret.

    MTB riding is inherently risky.  You can take jumps out which improves things but you still run the risk of falling sideways off unprotected drops etc.

    What do you love about MTB?  If it’s the adrenaline then whatever happens you’re going to keep gravitating back to high risk sports and if your wife can’t accept this then you probs should both be talking seriously about the future of your relationship and attitudes to partnership.  If it’s the getting out and working side then Gravel or even Fat depending where you are may be a option.

    Personally, I’m single again these days and I’m responsible for my dogs.  I know I’m shit at jumps and it doesn’t really bother me avoiding stuff much bigger than a couple of foot of drop simply because I’m not comfortable with it and I need to get home in one piece.  That means I also avoid places that are based on hitting big stuff as I’m likely to spend the day feeling bad about not trying stuff.  For me, this balance works but everyone needs to find what works best for themselves.

    Premier Icon vincienup
    Subscriber

    If anyone says “change or the relationship is over” then the relationship is over.

    This is pretty much true unfortunately although it’s still worth talking to see if there’s a middle ground you can both live with.

    If your OH is adamant it’s the bikes or her and the kids then that’s a question only you can answer.

    rene59
    Member

    Let her leave.

    vonplatz
    Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    Addressing some of the points made:

    I have had some very serious injuries and that is of concern to myself as well as her. I don’t even know what it will be like to get back on the bike at the moment but I am pretty damned sure that I will be sticking to my limits in the future. Despite my terrible record I am not the worst rider in the world, maybe just too gun ho. I have been on skills courses and found them useful in different degrees. Part of the problem with the latest crash was new bike syndrome. I have had a two year near hiatus from riding as my children are now 4 and 2 so I was not going out riding as much. As I thought that we were turning a corner in terms of the demands of taking care of the two of them I treated myself to a new bike and went back to riding features that I had ridden before without really getting back up to speed. BIG MISTAKE.

    About taking time away from my family, does any hobby not make you take time away from family? I do spend the odd Saturday up in the hills but these were negotiated and offset by constant willingness to let the other half spend time on her own, with friends etc. I have to admit that I have constantly made more demands time wise than she has but the issue here is my safety and commitment to the family (though of course there ara other factors)

    Addressing other issues regarding getting a new wife or the relationship being over, I think my other half is employing a bit of brinkmanship in terms of threatening to end everything. I’m not trying to explain away a deeper problem in the relationship but perhaps a middle ground be found.

    This has been a very hard period for both of us and tensions are running very high.

    With kids that age, you  know it can be a stressful time in any relationship, and what with her coping with you being injured, chances are she’s frazzled emotionally and physically. So it might seem like a slightly unreasonable request, but context is everything. It’s hard for a non-mtber to understand the risk/reward balance and how you manage it. And, to be fair, you’ve either been managing it badly or been very unlucky. She is presumably terrified that she could end up with a severely disabled husband and two young kids to look after.

    My instinct would certainly be to commit to taking a break from drops and jumps and embrace something a lot more mellow for the time being, whether that’s on two wheels or something different.

    tjagain
    Member

    MTB riding is inherently risky.

    No it is not.  Its only risky if you take risks.  Bimbling around bridleways is not risky.  Riding within your limits is not risky

    To the OP – sounds to me like you have pushed your wife to the limit and been very selfish.  You need to sit down with her with an aim and agreement that neither of you get angry and calmly discuss it

    Overall tho I am on her side.  You have put your wishes above the needs of the family and that will never end well.  You have backed her into a corner.

    Premier Icon dukeduvet
    Subscriber

    Riding bikes is great but to be seperated from my wife and children would just not be worth it.

    Maybe agree a temporary break from the bikes so you can get better, support your wife and family and take it from there. Keep your bikes though.

    Also family bike rides are great and hopefully your kids will want mountain bikes soon. Then you go out with them, wife gets to hang out with friends and everyone’s happy. Until the kids start having big offs!

    nicko74
    Member

    Not knowing the context, it seems a little… extreme…Realistically you know what you need to say to her right now; whether that means you’re done with riding for good, or just taking a bit of time before easing back into it again, is tbc further down the road

    Premier Icon kennyp
    Subscriber

    If she’s threatening that the relationship is over because of biking, it’s only a matter of time before she’s threatening it’s over because of something else. Unless you really are spending an excessive amount of time on the bike.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Can I be the first to suggest a skills course before you attempt getting your wheels off the ground again?

    Without going into much personal detail, perhaps this is a symptom of a more serious problem in our relationship?

    Yep. It’ll seem obvious when you look back, I expect.

    jimmyjuju
    Member

    I’m not you but, when our son was two (and then four – he’s seven now), it was an enormous strain on our relationship. It brought up all the things that were wrong and highlighted them. We’d grown with him of course and so couldn’t really see it. But I agree with the above points, surely they’ll be having a huge effect. Instead of living across from one another, we lived through him – in just simple ways like, everything became practical (because it just was so much of the time), we poured loads of our energy in to him (because you do) so we didn’t have anything left for one another.

    Although yeah, you sound like you got back on the bike and hit things too big for you (classic) and, yeah of course you’ve got a commitment to your kids which is bigger than just you (don’t agree at all with just, get a new wife – you’ve got kids, they deserve more effort and by **** it’s messy – we tried it and it was HORRENDOUS even with an amicable separation); still, you’ve got to be you, too.

    Who else is she going to be in a relationship with? If there’s no room for something which really makes you tick – assuming mtb does – then that’s her problem and not yours, surely there’s room for negotiation?

    My tuppence.

    Do what I did, road ride for a year or so post crash and then one day act all surprised when you find an orange 5 in the garage in need of a clean!!

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    after seeing one we like she has expressed that before she is ready to commit to buying the house, she wants me to stop mountain biking or she would like to end the relationship.

    That would be the end of it right there. Not because of loving bikes more than anything, but because if she could make that level of threat, then she’s really not all in.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    She shouldn’t be making you give up bikes. That’s a knee jerk reaction and suggest a lack of care about what you want. She should be telling you to stop smashing yourself up seriously, which is far more reasonable.

    You sound like a bit of a clumsy oaf, so set yourself up safer. Get a gravel bike, head for the roads and trails, don’t go to bike parks, fit your riding in around family time instead of sodding off for days or weekends out. Compromise for both of you.

    Premier Icon northernsoul
    Subscriber

    There should always be room for compromise. Everyone needs a hobby, it’s part of ensuring that we stay happy (I ride, my wife swims and runs – we’re both away from the family for similar lengths of time and better for it). If I were you I’d look to see what she is happy with you doing on a mountain bike and go from there. It’s not always a straightforward matter either – we have children and getting the kids out on a bike is a good thing, so I’d never be happy with a complete ban as they would suffer too (my oldest is somewhat taken with the loop at Hamsterley). Ultimately though, outright bans on doing stuff are rarely productive IMO.

    wordnumb
    Member

    Vonplatz – do you have anyone who knows both you and your wife that you could talk to about this? Asking a bunch of randoms on an internet forum ostensibly about riding bikes isn’t necessarily going to give you an unbiased answer. She may be overreacting, but equally you could be the kind of rider who is a risk to the creatures that inhabit the subsoil (meaning someone who crashes so hard they squish the earthworms).

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    I rarely disagree with TJ and there is a lot of wisdom in what he says.  On this occasion, I disagree somewhat.

    Firstly, your drive to do this as a sport is part of what makes you – you.  I think it is unreasonable to ask you to give up MTB.  Presupposing you want to stay in the relationship, I do think that you might need to re-evaluate your approach to riding to manage risk better.  Your recent accident seems entirely due to poor judgement.

    I think some reflection on you part, regarding changing the way you approach riding is necessary before discussing openly with your wife and finding a workable compromise.  It doesn’t sound that in other ways your riding time or approach to ensuring your wife has similar free time is a problem, so that is a positive start.

    Where I would urge caution, is that you suggest you have been given an ultimatum.  Ultimatums are not often healthy.  Are there other ways where you have been less than thoughtful….?

    Sad.

    Mmhhh

    Keep your family going. Don’t buy the house. Keep on biking.

    Without biking you get bore-out in the new house. Without the kids you get insane.

    Selling your bikes and bike stuff will turn you into an unhappy, old man.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    It’ll be give up the will to live next…

    vonplatz
    Member

    Vonplatz – do you have anyone who knows both you and your wife that you could talk to about this? Asking a bunch of randoms on an internet forum ostensibly about riding bikes isn’t necessarily going to give you an unbiased answer. She may be overreacting, but equally you could be the kind of rider who is a risk to the creatures that inhabit the subsoil (meaning someone who crashes so hard they squish the earthworms).

    Yes, and they have mirrored more or less what had been said here.

    Tone it down, compromise etc.

    I know that I’m not going to get an unbiased answer here. I thought I could vent a little bit though and I have surprisingly found some very thoughtful and intelligent advice (not you singlespeedstu) on here in the past.

    mariner
    Member

    Give it a couple of years and one day she will say ‘why don’t you go out on your mountain bike anymore’?

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    not you singlespeedstu

    😤 😁

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
    Subscriber

    OP, you might be right that this is a symptom of other problems….BUT….

    If you do split over you not giving up riding you will never know for sure.

    Also ask yourself, if for the rest of your life, you can go to bed every night KNOWING for SURE you did the right thing?

    Trust me on this, you will ask yourself this question many times over. If there is a court battle over access to your kids…..if you deeply disapprove of the new “Dad” in their lives but have no say in that….. if as they get older they think you put a hobby before them.

    If you think the above is something you can deal with, potentially, then call her bluff. If there is any doubt…..

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Now would be a great time to take up BASE jumping, that way, by the time next summer comes around MTB won’t seem too dangerous. Assuming you are still around, obvs.

    trumpton
    Member

    your wife is minging and you need a skills course

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Subscriber

    That would be the end of it right there. Not because of loving bikes more than anything, but because if she could make that level of threat,

    Dunno about that. Two serious injuries would be making me think twice so couldnt blame a partner for giving an ultimatum. Having kids and all the financial stress around buying somewhere isnt going to be easy. I wouldnt blame a girlfriend for giving me the choice and I certainly wouldnt consider it being indicative of an underlying issue.

    For the OP: What bike park and what exactly were you riding? Obviously mountain biking does have its risks but it depends what level you play at. Lower level then the risk is a shit load lower than rugby or horse riding. If you spend a bunch of time on blacks really pushing yourself then the risk of serious injury is going to be higher. Its why, personally, I generally dont really push my limits unless I know the outcome of getting it wrong is going to be fairly low (when ww kayaking for example I am happier doing stupid stuff at lee valley than on a real river).

    I dont think I would just sell the bikes but I would have a serious conversation about what levels of risk are acceptable.

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Subscriber

    Can’t help but think there’s something more going on here. I’ve been lucky enough to not have had major injuries from the bike (worst was a broken elbow and that didn’t stop me working), but if I’m off the bike for any reason for more than a week or so I get told pretty quick that I need to get out and ride.

    If MTB is really important to who you are, then I’d have thought your partner ought to be able to see that, even if at times it makes things difficult day to day.

    Guess what I’m saying is that there ought to be a way to reach a compromise on this. Talk about it? Explain why you need to ride and look for a way to make that happen. Sell your bike and buy one that effectively limits what you can ride?

    If you can’t agree a way to make that happen then from here it looks like you’re heading into an unhappy place either way…

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I have to side more with your missus here.

    From her perspective you have a hobby that (through your own cack handedness/talent deficit) has seriously injured you twice, while she’s thinking about the family’s future…

    You have two kids under 5 and your priority right now should be the family, your self inflicted injuries have placed your family’s security at risk, when you take a risk with ‘your’ safety, you also, to some extent, risk your family’s future. This is part of being a parent understanding that you have responsibilities beyond yourself.

    Her “Ultimatum” is clearly pitched at making you grow up and recognise your responsibilities and to force you to evaluate what is truly important to you…

    Yes your mood is improved by spending time on a bike, but does it have to be at the risk of spannering yourself? As others have suggested there is perhaps a compromise to be made by you taking up gravel bikes or toning down your attempts at radness…

    My kids are now 6 and 9, and yes I have slowed down a fair bit since their births but my wife recognises the positive effect being able to ride regularly has on my general mood so I still get to keep on riding bikes in various forms just no more racing DH or hucking off stuff… I’m happy, she’s happy I spend a lot of time with my wife and kids and TBH that’s my main priority in life. Now they are both at school and growing up fast we do have more possibility to individualy get out and do our own stuff more, slowly you do “get some of your own life back” but there’s always the family routine and one another to consider…

    A lot will happen with your kids in the next few years, they’ll be starting school, forming their own interests, you’ll hopefully be teaching them to ride a bike… I can’t imagine choosing to miss any of that for a hobby, especially one that pretty much everyone grows out of to some degree as they get older…

    DickBarton
    Member

    Get rid of the wife as clearly she isn’t with you for love and all the good things a healthy relationship has – like being able to do your own thing as well as the family and partner thing.

    Sounds like she needs a hobby for herself as well…you can then both make sure there is time.for you both to ‘be selfish’.

    Probably no real use to you but without a supportive family/partnership a relationship is doomed…irrespective of buying a new house or not.

    As for the biking…sounds like you’d be unlucky but that is the nature of the sport, it has inherent danger, which is why it is so appealing!

    You do however have bigger responsibilities, so you probably need to curb your biking a bit and make sure you don’t injure yourself to the point you can share the workload of family duties. So that is on you to sort.

    As said, this is probably no use to you.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    that is the nature of the sport, it has inherent danger

    Disagree. It can be dangerous or it can be safe as houses. MTB is a very diverse sport ranging from big gaps to bikepacking.

    I have yet to have a big crash in 25 years of doing it, because I don’t take risks. I do jump sometimes too.

    ads678
    Member

     I am now in my 8th week off work. I went to a Bike park and was paralysed by fear of crashing leading me to roll off a drop instead of committing and landing on my head.

    This bit says it all for me. You’re off work from breaking your back and yet you still go to a bike park and crash on your head.

    If you lose your job again who’s paying the new mortgage?

    You need to tone it down a bit a think of your family a bit more, imo.

    I think the OP is describing the crash that caused those injuries, I don’t think he’s been off to the Bike Park since doing it.

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    If the O.P. is Dave Jenvey maybe the missus has a point. (and i claim my £5) 🙂

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