Guest Post: Anatomy of an Endo

Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in Bike | 3 Comments

The following is a guest post from Greg Heil.

Greg Heil is currently located in North Georgia and spends his free time riding mountain bikes and blogging about the sport. He is also a member of the Airborne Flight Crew. You can read more from him at his blog: Thanks Greg!

Anatomy of an Endo



1. Short for “end-over-end.”

“Make sure you don’t pull an endo!”

2. A pretty cool t-shirt company.

“I wear Endo.”


1. In mountain biking, the act of going straight over the handle bars.

“He hit that rock wrong and totally endoed!’

1. Cause

There are 3 main causes that crop up time after time causing countless, painful endos.

Grabbing too much front brake in a hurry without grabbing enough rear brake or leaning far enough back can easily cause an endo. I have seen this happen multiple times. It feels horrible to bring that much pain on yourself.

Having a rock bring your front wheel to a dead stop when you thought it would roll over it can easily cause an endo. One time this happened to me and I landed smack on my helmet, on a big rock. Then it happened again less than a tenth of a mile later. That trail (Pile Driver) was my long-time nemesis. (I’ve since conquered it!)

As I discovered just yesterday, a big stick in the spokes can cause a very nasty endo. This stick-induced endo is especially nasty because it can catch you by complete surprise. While grabbing too much front brake is your own doing and getting stopped by a rock is something you see coming, I don’t tend to think about sticks getting stuck in my wheels very often. However, as I was bombing down a singletrack hill yesterday, a big stick got picked up in my spokes. It hit my fork in a nanosecond bringing my vision-blurring descent to a nasty halt. I didn’t realize what had happened until after the fact… the surprise factor was vicious.

2. Effect

Yesterday I got vaulted over the handle bars and pile drived into the ground on my forearms. Upon impact my cleats released, slingshotting my bicycle over my head and down the trail another 7 feet. In the short second or two during which the crash took place, I distinctly remember seeing my bike hurtling through the air above me.

3. Damage Assessment

Body: After crashing, I picked myself off the ground, caught my breath, and went “Holy crap, that HURT!” Then the typical course of action is to figure out what, exactly, is hurting. Yesterday I quickly determined that my left forearm had lost a lot of skin and was already bleeding, and that my right elbow had been scraped up and there was already an egg-sized lump forming on it…. I hurt just about everywhere else too.

Bike: Personally, this is usually the most worrying part of a crash. I always jump up off the ground, thinking “I so hope I didn’t break anything on my bike! Because if I did, I probably can’t afford to fix it.” I always check my rear derailleur first, as I am infamous for ripping them off and destroying hangers and cages. Luckily, it was still in true and shifting well for me yesterday, and the rest of the bike checked out as well.

4. Reassessment of the Ride

“Do I still want to continue riding?” is usually the main question. Yesterday, I was out specifically looking to set up the camera on a stand and film myself on certain sections of the trail. I crashed literally about 15 feet before the first section I wanted to film. I had to decide: “Should I still rail through these gnarly sections and try to get the video I came for?” I was already there, so I decided to hit it hard and take the footage, despite being a little bloody and shaken. Falling is just a part of mountain biking, after all.

5. Reassessment of Sanity

Normally after a very bad crash, I’ll pull myself up and continue riding. Typically, thoughts similar to these come into my head:

  • “Isn’t it pretty much insane to love a sport that can dish up so much pain in such a little amount of time?”
  • “Why can’t I have a gentler hobby like golf, or stamp collecting?”
  • “I just tore up both of my arms in a crash I wasn’t expecting, and despite that I’m now going to film myself tearing through some of the gnarliest sections of trail as fast as I possibly can. Is that normal? Should I admit myself to some sort of mental asylum?”

Wow, on second thought… maybe I am insane. One thing I know for sure: I definitely have the disease! Despite charging a price paid only in blood, I can never get my singletrack fill!


  1. mark
    August 17, 2010

    Crashes hurt.

  2. Christopher Langley
    August 18, 2010

    Great post, Greg. As I’m knocking on wood, I’ve been fortunate to not have takien a spill lately. I’m not sure if my skills are improving or I’ve simply found my safe zone. Whatever the case, crashing hurts as Mark so eloquently stated. Sorry to hear about your recent rash of bad luck (see what I did there? lol). All we can do is pick ourselves back up, survey the damage and keep riding. Hell yeah, I love this sport!!!

  3. Greg
    August 18, 2010

    I’m with you mark: crashes hurt!

    And christopher, I’m totally on the same page with you as well. You’ve just got to get back up and do it again! Although, I do think that in sports such as mountain biking and other more “extreme” (I hate using that word) sports (skiing and etc.), that if you aren’t falling every once and a while, its quite possible you’re not pushing your boundaries enough and really aren’t progressing at all.

    Of course, with true XC mountain biking that might not apply as much.

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