found this blog hiding in a file somewhere. better late than never?
As previously reported, Kevin Yim fell off his bike while pre-riding at Soggy One (2017), and turned his arm into a meccano set for the surgeons at Derriford Hospital to put back together again, which they duly did and now Kevin has all the titanium he ever requires. We're not sadists, we hate it when people fall off during our races, and spend the next week in all manner of critical incident debriefs, which is not the most romantic over dinner conversation a couple could have. I have no doubt that the sneery, sceptical critics would say something along the lines of "You must be used to people crashing by now!", but let's examine the evidence.
We've been organising mountain bike races for eight years or so now. If we ignore the National XC for the moment (because XC racers clearly aren't ready for our jelly) and look at the last couple of years of Soggy events, the figures stack up like this -
An average of 150 riders competed in each round of the Soggy Bottom and Summer Soggy Series. Since the winter of 2015, we have put on 10 regional MTB races, so 10 x 150 gives us 1500 bums on bikes. (Nice work SW racers BTW.) In these same regional races, we have records that indicate that four people had to attend hospital for a check over, and three were sent home with some paracetamol, and told to stop wasting the NHS's time. One, the aforementioned Kevin Yim, had to stay in for treatment and some proper drugs. I'm happy to be contacted by other riders who got home and realised that they'd broken their backs, but those are the figures as best we know them.
That gives us a figure of 0.2% of riders at these events needing to go to hospital for either treatment or a 'mummy kiss it better' intervention. With the incidence of injury at youth rugby, for example, somewhere in the region of fifty people across a similar number of participants, I reckon that we're doing pretty well. We used to quote a figure of 1% of racing MTBers requiring treatment when looking for first aid quotations, but in the spirit of beating your sat-nav's predicted arrival time, we love the challenge of beating the stats.
So Kevin, while you are recovering, you can rest east in the knowledge that you didn't fall off because of anything you did, or any fault with your bike, you were actually just knocked off by statistics.
Statistics are really useful in other aspects of XC. The once raging debate of the technicality of XC courses are a great example. The UCI guidelines state that XC courses should be 100% rideable. I reckon this must have been written somewhere without the level of rainfall in the UK, as I can think of many courses that had impossible sections for all the riders once the mud got hub depth, but the principle is a good one. So what percentage of riders do we think should be able to ride ALL the sections of the course, i.e. how many racers should be able to ride all the 'A' lines on a given circuit? 50%? 25%? 100%? In my head, as long as ONE racer in the field can successfully ride all the 'A' lines on a race circuit, then you have a course that is 100% rideable. If 75% + of riders can consistently ride the 'A' lines, then surely it's no longer an 'A' line worthy of the name?
We then have the awesome interface of people, statistics and fake news, which brings us the myth that was apparently circulating, of 200 people making complaints after the Newnham Nationals 2016. There were less than 600 people in total at the event, so more than 1 in 3 people complained about the event? And people believed this!? We actually received zero complaints, to our faces. If there were 200 cowardly custards complaining to their MP, the Daily Mail and British Cycling once they got home, I do wish they'd come over for a chat on the weekend. I'd have given them something to complain about!