And you thought MTB was dangerous

I coach people from 20-something to 60-something in age. The older you get, the harder you seem to hit the ground when you fall off. Even still, natural decline in aggression seems to keep things about neutral for many a year. Sometimes the unexpected puts you outside your “zone”.

Around a month ago, one of my athletes was on his way home from his usual mega-ride on the weekend (up to 8 or even 9 hours). It was dusk, or just after. He had good lights on his bike. It should have been fine.
Coming down a descent at around 60 clicks he thinks he might have hit a kangaroo. Maybe.
Someone found him (preferable to running over his body in the road).
He was sore, his bike was wrecked - but overall he seemed OK.
Then he took another tumble on a slick corner in the bunch and things started to go wrong. A visit to the hospital saw him having emergency surgery on his brain. Two blood clots were removed.
The event he was preparing for will not see him on the start line. But hopefully everything will be fine in a few months. This is going to take some recovering I think.

Things like that can go unnoticed until one day you fall over dead. Pretty scary. Roos are everywhere; on the trails, on the roads (OK, I’ve never seen one on an outdoor velodrome in 15 years of racing on them).

There are not too many places at Mt Stromlo where you can have a really nasty fall off the trail (but there are plenty of places where you can have a nasty fall on the trail). I think one is more likely to have a bad accident doing hill repeats on the bitumen strip taking bikes and tradesmen to the summit, because the ‘roos are thick and stupid up there and the traffic has been quite bad since ACTEW put the dam builders up there.
Sparrow Hill is probably even safer, nothing resembling a cliff in the whole forest. Far more likely to get hurt driving out there.
The same holds true for the rest of Canberra’s trails - Kowen, Majura, Bruce. The riding is as safe as you make it.
Further afield this is definitely NOT the case. I was reading about cycling in Peru today, and if the drive to the trail head doesn’t get you in the psycho South American traffic then the 2000 metre exposure on the side of the singletrack just might.
Everyone who has watched the Tour on TV knows that there are some pretty good exposures in both the Alps and the Pyrenees. Every year someone seems to miss a corner and go over the edge. Sometimes it is a spectacle, other times a tragedy.


Just remember this particular accident the next time you are in ‘roo country. Be careful.