Endo – meaning “End over handlebars” in the world of cycling. If you’ve been on a mountain bike for a while, you probably know what I’m talking about. You clipped that tree, your weight was incorrect on that technical drop or you just did something boneheaded and didn’t pay attention to that dip in the trail.
It sucks because your body is thrust over the handlebars and you get to temporarily feel like superman as you’re hurled through the air waiting for gravity to take hold of your body.
The aftermath of an endo can be rather nasty. Most people’s reaction when thrust forward is to stick your hands out to catch the fall. Guess what? You’re going through the air at 2,000 miles per hour and when your hand catches the ground a ripple effect is sent through arms and right into some of the weakest bones in your body – the clavicles (or collar bones).
I’ve damaged both my collar bones due to an endo. It’s super painful and you won’t be biking anytime soon afterwards and it could even end your biking career altogether.
Having an endo isn’t if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen. All bikers end up having an endo sooner or later so instead of hoping you’re never going to have one, it’s better to at least have some knowledge in that noggin while shredding the trails.
Let’s revisit the previous scenario. Your bike hits a rock and starts, physics sends your body into the infamous “endo.” Now instead of throwing your hands out, tuck and roll instead. Yep, do a somersault.
You did them in school, you’ve done flips off a diving board and now it’s time to save yourself from that endo. With your body all tucked and rolling you stand a better chance of not getting those precious collarbones snapped. Okay, sure, that brand new jersey you have on is probably getting messed up but hey, it’s a helluva lot cheaper than a visit to the emergency room, amarite!?
Like most things on mountain biking, things appear counter intuitive and need practicing at first. Anytime I start a hard ride, the first thing I tell myself is “tuck n roll” and try to keep that fresh on my brain so I don’t thrust my hands out and do even more damage to my clavicles. Plus, if you’re riding with a group and you go into an endo, you’ll look awesome doing a Ninja Turtle like roll and jumping up looking like you’re Mary Lou Retton.
I said that outloud, didn’t I?
And remember folks…
Mountain biking is fun, a whole lot of fun (okay maybe not as fun as Cyclocross but that’s like Mountain biking light!) but it can be dangerous so taking a clinic in your area by visiting a local bike shop (here in Birmingham, Cahaba Cycles has them all the time). Sinking some cash in a good helmet, knowing how to prevent an endo and knowing what to do if you are entering into an endo will have you having more happy rides than spending time having a doctor fix you back up.