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Nicola Paoletti

When is it time to hang up the helmet?

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Hello everybody,

I am 48 years old and after 36 years of motocross I am in a big crisis, the second or third to be correct.

In the last 3/4 years I am constantly worried about getting injured, my rhythm si slower and slower...and I am not having the fun I used to have.

Is it the time to quit? 

I remember Ricky Johnson said thet he was going to quit the day he felt he was scared to ride.

I am in that situation.....but I still have a lot of passion  for the sport....

I would like to listen at yours opinion , maybe giving me also your age so that I can relate.

Thankyou

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2 minutes ago, Nicola Paoletti said:

Hello everybody,

I am 48 years old and after 36 years of motocross I am in a big crisis, the second or third to be correct.

In the last 3/4 years I am constantly worried about getting injured, my rhythm si slower and slower...and I am not having the fun I used to have.

Is it the time to quit? 

I remember Ricky Johnson said thet he was going to quit the day he felt he was scared to ride.

I am in that situation.....but I still have a lot of passion  for the sport....

I would like to listen at yours opinion , maybe giving me also your age so that I can relate.

Thankyou

I'm 46, gave up MX years ago but still ride trails, though not fast anymore. It took awhile to get outta the got to be first mentality and just put it in 3rd and cruise with occasional bursts of excitement. I do ride occasionally in hare scrambles for a Xtra burst of fun.

My Dad gave up dirt bikes at about 40, all us kids were old enough to drive ourselves by that point but at 75 or so he just picked up a YZ 125 and we went for a 2 hour trail ride Sunday 👍

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You hang the helmet at the end of each ride then put it back on for the next ride. Not every ride has to be for the championship. You can ride and simply have fun. I still ride nearly every day. It is getting harder to bend to swing my leg over and that will probably be what eventually stops me from riding, actual physical limitations. I do not ride as aggressively as I used to, my crashing days are behind me and that is OK, I enjoy riding a trail, the peace, solitude, sun flickering through the trees, stopping by a river to have a nice lunch. I'm mid 60's. I ride dirt, hit the tracks from to time, both MX and flat track. I ride the street on my super moto.

If not being able to go balls to the wall all the time means riding is not your idea of a good time, then it is time to quit. For me, it will be when I simply cannot physically do it.

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Posted (edited)

I started back into dirt bikes and MX racing at your age, after a 28 year break. I approached it differently, and with more discipline and practice. I focused on technique and studied videos. My riding vastly improved, as did my race results. 
 

So. Maybe taking a little break from MX might help. Try a new discipline?  Surely your MX skills will enable you to enjoy cross country/hare scrambles, or just playing around with your buddies. There are many fun and challenging ways to enjoy dirt bikes. 

Edited by motrock93b
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Posted (edited)

I'm 51, currently on my 9th season of recreational motocross.

I've learned to go by 'feel', sometimes I'm on fire, everything flows perfectly and able to charge more than usual.

Other times if I get tired early on, start to loose concentration and make mistakes, 

no matter if I drove out 2 hours to get there, I simply load the bike back up and go home.

 

Bike & gear loaded up the night before, I've even changed my mind the next morning.

If you head to the track initially with a bad feeling, better stay home as that likely will stick in your mind all day long.

 

 

Edited by mlatour
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36 years is a lot of years. Even in my short 5 years of owning a motorbike I have went from a street bike to an adventure bike to a dual sport to a 2 stroke trail bike. I know I will switch back to more dual sporting and adventure riding as I get older. I couldn't imagine just hanging up the helmet and walking away. 

If your passion was for MX riding and you no longer enjoy it then maybe it's time to give it up. If you passion is in off road motorcycle riding and you aren't enjoying MX riding anymore... well there are tons of different and lower risk ways to enjoy off road motorcycle riding. 

Adventure bikes can be a lot of fun. Its a great way to travel and experience new places and lower risk for the most part. 

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I'm 66 and have gone through the racing years and associated injuries. I think about getting hurt, mainly because at my age recovery will take a long time. But once actually on the bike, the thrill of the ride takes over, and any huge concerns are secondary. I know I'm not as fast as I used to think I was, lol, and that's a little hard to accept. Considering the alternative of not doing what I love, I'll take it. Once the fear of something bad happening overcomes the fun, I guess it will be time to hang it up. 

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Posted (edited)

hi Nicola I am 58 and just enjoy the trail riding it is too soon to hang it up the fear will go away when you go on a trail ride no competiton just leisure ride 

Edited by timothy tetreault
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Posted (edited)

It depends on each one's specific conditions but myself actually find trail riding more of a risk due to all the crazy ATVs & SxS out there plus,

at least on an MX track there are no trees & rocks to crash into and, everyone is riding in the same direction (no risk of head-on collisions).

Also, unlike when at a track, when you get tired or do injure yourself, you are likely miles away from your truck and still have to ride back.

 

Only you decide how high/far you want to risk jumping, it's not a competition and there is no one there but yourself you are trying to impress by clearing everything.

If I feel I'm not up to it that day I'd rather roll thru a series of whoops or over double and,

be able to ride again the next week rather than to chance my luck/health or 'show off' my abilities for the imaginary trophy.

It has to remain 'fun', with never any pressure to 'outperform' anyone and accept your always changing limits.

 

Edited by mlatour
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54 yrs

just started back a few years ago after a long lay off.  First mistake I made was being on the wrong bike, Im 210lbs so I picked up a wr 450.  I love doing mountain and high desert trails so that bike kicked my a##.  So then I picked up a yzx 1000 atv cuz "I'm getting old". That definitely slowed me down on how often I wanted to ride. Bad mistake, so I gave it to my wife.  I never got the feeling riding around in a car, as I do on a dirtbike. 

Switched to a YZ 250x, as Ive read numerous times the bike is playful, It definitely makes me want to ride often.  I guess what I'm trying to say is pick something. and somewhere that makes you excited to ride.

I picked up a few foster kids and put them on dirt bikes, so now I have even more reasons to ride, also good excuse not to ride to fast.

I also worry about getting hurt but I've realized mostly its a state of mind, soon as you go that route, is when you start getting old.  Riding forces me to work out and try to stay fit.  The adrenaline and testosterone will keep you young so don't stop living.

I wear more protection now and have taken a few tumbles on rocky stuff and realized my bones are still hard as a rock, and can take it.  Only thing that has drastically changed is its much easier to get a nasty concussion.  Don't know if its because its cumulative, or just old age, but definitely protect your head as you age.  

Don't make it a chore, as we get older its time to get out, RELAX, and enjoy all the life long earned skills.

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Dual sports are fun, I have 3 @ 64, depends on where you live tho, we are rural so no traffic

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I agree with most.  Just start going trail riding with a few good friends.  Nothing better.  I’m 66, have been riding non stop for 54 years.  Raced motocross, desert, and Grand Prix extensively in my youth.  Now it’s just trails with friends and my daughter and I couldn’t be happier.

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50 years old, and still loving it. I lost the drive to race a while back, now enjoy a spirited trail ride with friends, and wick it up on occasion when everything is flowing well. Sometimes way too fast for my own good, but I still try to gauge effort as no more than giving it 90% of my abilities. 

 

My Dad raced desert, and only knew one speed- WFO. Started crashing more and at 55 he hung it up for good. I hope to be riding in some capacity well into my 70s or until the risk outweighs the fun. 

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If it’s no longer fun for you hang it up and find something else to do. 

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1 hour ago, mlatour said:

I'm 51, currently on my 9th season of recreational motocross.

I've learned to go by 'feel', sometimes I'm on fire, everything flows perfectly and able to charge more than usual.

Other times if I get tired early on, start to loose concentration and make mistakes, 

no matter if I drove out 2 hours to get there, I simply load the bike back up and go home.

 

Bike & gear loaded up the night before, I've even changed my mind the next morning.

If you head to the track initially with a bad feeling, better stay home as that likely will stick in your mind all day long.

 

 

I can usually turn the bad feeling around pretty quickly. Just have to know yourself and be honest with yourself about where you're at and ride accordingly. I will stop if i just can't get ahead of the bike after 20-30 minutes. 

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2 hours ago, Gflo said:

I agree with most.  Just start going trail riding with a few good friends.  Nothing better.  I’m 66, have been riding non stop for 54 years.  Raced motocross, desert, and Grand Prix extensively in my youth.  Now it’s just trails with friends and my daughter and I couldn’t be happier.

Hey Gflo, did you ride D 37 Desert? What a blast, I rode those races in 70's, 80's 00's in fact I was having thoughts of riding a loop this year

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, DPete said:

Hey Gflo, did you ride D 37 Desert? What a blast, I rode those races in 70's, 80's 00's in fact I was having thoughts of riding a loop this year

Just a couple of times in the desert.  Rode motocross with AME and CRC, usually at Indian Dunes.  I mostly rode the many Grand Prix races they had in the greater L.A. area in the 70s.   Seems they had one every other weekend.  They were held at all the parks like Indian Dunes, Valley Cycle Park, Bay Mare, De Anza, Carlsbad, Corona, etc.  They were a lot of fun, most being 45 minutes to an hour.  Also rode a lot of D37 Grand Prix like Viewfinders (2 hours long), Elsinore, and Hopetown.  What a great time to be young, into dirt bikes, and the L.A. racing scene.  Too much fun.

Edited by Gflo
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For me it was AMA/CCS roadracing. Loudon and spring amateur races at Daytona. The 100 mph crashes and such eventually stopped it being fun. I still enjoyed trackdays for many years after that, no pressure, just ride fast and giggle.

Many ways to go fast and get your fix without as much risk. Even a fast single track ride crash is usually a tip over, not smashing your body into a whoop.

What was that old beer brand that used to say "Head for the Mountains"? haha 

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