Video: Exploring the Tricky Relationship with Injury in 'Dirt is Soft' - Race Face Creator Series

Oct 2, 2019 at 14:26
by Race Face  

Filmmaker: Peter Wojnar

Synopsis: Getting hurt is, unfortunately, an eventuality with mountain biking. For some reason, hurtling ourselves down obstacle-riddled hills as fast as possible is inherently dangerous. But for the most part, injury doesn’t scare us away: where others would back away, we push forward. Injury drives us to work hard for recovery and motivates us to be better. We have a tricky relationship with injury. But if the worst thing about getting hurt is the time away from our bikes that we’ll never get back, then the silver lining is that feeling when we finally get back on the horse.

Why We Chose this Film: Crashing sucks. As mountain bike riders, we have to come to terms to the fact that it's not if you'll crash... it's when. We learn so much about ourselves in dealing with this reality and the journey to get back on the bike after injuries. Peter explores this relationship we have with crashing through thoughtful prose and powerful visuals. Enjoy this insightful film and remember to keep the rubber side down!

Head over to Creator Series to see some behind the scenes shots!

Next week is our third round of Creator Series! We'll start off with Dru Kennedy's Landwash - a look into a growing mountain bike community on the mythical island of Newfoundland.


  • 23 1
 I'm sitting here with my wrist in a cast, dreaming about the next time I'll have a top tube between my knees and pedals beneath my feet. Injury is just something you have to deal with from time to time in this sport.
I have noticed when I speak to my riding friends there is a different mind set to the norm. My other friends and family question my desire to get back riding again after injury (one or two injuries have been pretty serious over the years) and they can't relate to the benefits, both physical and mental, that come from getting out there on a bike.
I probably don't have to explain this to most people on here, you already get it. This sport is like an addiction, the main difference being, a lot of those addicted to other things want to stop.
  • 7 0
 8 weeks later, my wrist is finally back to 98% strong. I found it's amazing how the physical pain wasn't as much a bother as the psychological pain of not being able to ride - like, what do I do with myself??? Not having the daily stress-relief and active meditation was the most frustrating thing. On the positive side, I oddly made a weird peace with the indoor trainer - just continually telling myself I'd be able to ride up those climbs that I used to hike.
  • 11 0
 Aaah the constant struggle of risk vs. reward to keep on progressing without holding ourselves back. Accepting the potential consequences in the pursuit of bliss. It's a beautiful dance.

Great to see piece based on the reality of our sport.

Cheers all - Stay safe and have fun out there.

  • 8 0
 Good film i needed that. i am sat here with a frozen shoulder post dislocation. grrr. itching to ride. explaining why yes i would race again, yes i would do that jump, yes even at my age. no i dont want to stop. hard to explain to those who dont ride.
  • 8 0
 Sat at home here in the UK after breaking my neck in Canada 2 weeks ago. It's a pretty nasty fracture in my C4 and my doc says surgery is still an option. It could've however have been far worse, I've had zero deficits, never lost mobility or feeling thankfully. I'm trying my hardest to look at this injury in a positive light, in that I'm so lucky I've 'literally' walked away from it, however it's not easy. I lost my job, had to fly home to England and can't ski this winter. My doc has said I won't be able to ride DH again, tbh I'm not really on board with that. I'll be back, better than ever.
  • 2 0
 Scary stuff, thanks for sharing. I'm wondering, would a neck brace would have prevented the fracture? Seriously considering getting one along with a back & chest protector for DH riding. Heal up and prove your doc wrong!
  • 5 0
 @JamesGTi - So sorry to hear about your crash. I'm in a vaguely similar boat, but mine was more severe face/brain trauma than neck. I'm a month out from mine, so we had a similar time of impact.

Like you, I'm immensely grateful for coming out of it mostly intact -- any injuries above the shoulders can go from "eh" to "oh shit" really quickly, and the fact that we're here to trade war stories on the internet means it could have been so much worse.

I haven't lost my job, yet, but I've had to take an unpaid leave of absence, and who knows what will happen in the future.

So, yeah, I very much echo how hard something like this is. Do you have a good support network at home, and people to talk to about what you're going through? Keeping everything bottled up is a recipe for disaster. For what it's worth - I'd be happy to chat if you ever need an ear, one head trauma patient to another.

Good luck on your recovery, mate. Keep your goals in focus, and try to keep momentum moving forward toward them. It's a long road, but every day gets you healthier.

- Duncan
  • 3 0
 @danny611: I too wonder that, pretty often actually, end of the day who knows if a neck brace would've saved me.

I went straight head over heels and suffered a flexion injury, crushing my C4, the exact type of injury they are designed to protect against. So on paper, yes it would've certainly reduced the impact onto my vertebrae, but life isn't written on paper.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I have a few friends who wear them and I certainly plan on investing in one once I get riding again.
  • 3 0
 @abhorred: Thanks Duncan. Happy to hear you also came out relatively unscathed, we're lucky people.

Yes I've moved back home so my parents can look after me, not something you want (or ever expected I need) at 26!

I'm trying to remain focused. Thanks for the kind comment!
  • 1 0
 @JamesGTi: Regret isn't something that's needed, we all learn the hard way. Never dwell, just look forward to future rides!
  • 8 0
 Seems like a collection of the walking wounded in this comment section, myself included. I'm a bit over a month out from a crash that left me with multiple facial fractures, bleeding in the brain, and a severe traumatic brain injury. I don't remember the accident or several days afterward, and was in the hospital for a week.

It could have been much worse, to be honest. I'm alive, fully mobile, and my condition is progressively improving -- but this is the worst injury I've ever sustained in almost 20 years of riding, and it's going to take a lot to come back from. I'll hopefully be starting an intensive brain injury rehab program in a few weeks, which should increase the likelihood of a strong return.

But for all of that, the single best feeling I've had since the accident was picking up my bike from the shop after the necessary post-crash service and coasting it back to the truck.

What I don't know, though, is how this will change me and my risk tolerance if and when I get back on the bike for real.

Still, the prospect of riding (and skiing) again is what keeps me pushing through.
  • 5 0
 This one speaks to me. Just got my ankle out of a cast post surgery. Bought a smart trainer to try and stay fit before I can properly ride again. Need to get back out there as soon as possible
  • 3 0
 There are levels to this sport. Watching riders push limits makes it amazing to watch and do.
Its just a matter of time till skill or fatigue or luck changes the outcome.
I don't think anyone who mtb's has not suffered through some sort of injury and recovery.
As this video states, almost everyone wants/ needs to get back on their bike for the thrill/ enjoyment the sport brings.
  • 3 0
 Like a lot of commenters for this film, I too watched it from my LazyBoy. I had a small crash in Aug.2 that resulted in a majory knee injury. Tibial Plateau Fracture is something I hadn't even heard of until I did it myself. Surgeon says I'll be back to normal about 12 months. Love this sport so much that it is a part of my identity, even with this injury.
  • 5 1
 I have a conflicted relationship with crashing. My motto these days is: Don't Do It.
  • 2 0
 Watching with a broken hand in a split after picking a fight with wooden bridge in Abbotsford, BC. Great little film to perk me up!

Ps. The shot at 0:25 is captivating as hell.
  • 2 0
 Also watching this with an injury. Separated AC joint, and internal hematoma behind my sternum pushing against my heart. Advil, and tylenol are my best friend. Funny though, I go to my garage every night before bed, and stare at my bike. Cant wait to get back out and ride.
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: similar boat fro me. But, mine is a leg injury and the recovery time is almost a year, so sold the bike. Get to replace it with something "bigger, faster, better!" Next year. LOL.
  • 2 0
 @kkse: Yeah that was my season this year. Got on the V10 29er. Love it.
  • 3 1
 I was hoping for something less cliche, less like a string of motivational posters, but at least it was less than three minutes.
  • 2 0
 8 weeks post op from pec tendon tear off arm. Just want to ride. At least boob looks normal now. 44 more weeks to go. Guess it’s leg day for a while.
  • 1 0
 Really enjoyed that Woj! I was trying to slow down the x-rays to see if I had imaged any of them. Such a cool series from Raceface
  • 1 0
 Superb film skills, narration, and concept. I dont' know this guy but he should make a lot more films! Bike films especially.
  • 1 0
 Friday fails is pretty popular, maybe we could have a video feature emergency room edits?
  • 1 0
 thought I knew that voice...
  • 1 0
 Amazing Woj! The audio of your crash in the past is still crazy to hear!

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