"Keep the rubber side down," goes the cliché, but the better send-off would be "Crash lightly" If you ride dirt, you are certain to go ass-over-tea-kettle - it's a matter of "when," not "if." The topic is fresh on my mind, because I was recently given the go-ahead to ride after suffering a mild concussion and some damaged ribs. It was one of those surprise get-offs. I was making good time down a local DH trail, skipping over a patch of imbedded rocks, totally relaxed on the bike and eyeing my entry onto a beautifully bermed left-hander. In the blink of an eye, my bike was chasing me down the hill and I was sky-ground-sky-ground-sky-ground, caroming from stone to stone in slow-motion. Another mountain bike truism is, "If you're not falling, you're not learning," and I accept that I'm going to eat dirt from time to time in my quest for progression. Most often, only my pride is damaged, but that lesson cost me a Troy Lee A1 helmet, two weeks off the bike, and I had to swear off comedy, because laughing hurt so bad it made me dizzy.
I probably pile in about once a week - easy stuff like low-sides, front-wheel washouts, minor ejects and botched landings. I do my best to avoid auguring in. By contrast, I was watching a handful of BMX riders sessioning my local skate park and their tally of get-offs held steady at one every three minutes. On the subject of payment for progression, however, nothing in our sport compares to the yard sales absorbed by pro slopestyle and big-mountain freeriders - all of which inspired today's poll question: "How often do you crash?
While you are preparing your answers, I'll leave you with Nicholi Rogatkin's top-ten bin reel: