I Broke My Face and My Balls Left Me

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Mar 28, 2016

Hello Uncle – I’ve been reading through some articles on various mountain bike sites, occasionally I look through the comment section. There is a common response, “looks like a session”. What is the historical relevance of this “looks like a session”? Some of the bikes being reviewed or released clearly do/did not look like a session and a number of readers used the reply.
Do you know when the first “looks like a session” was used?

Thanks buds

Dear “Thanks buds”:

Your parents clearly never taught you manners, grammar or typing skills.

I debated how to answer this question. Earnestly? Sarcastically? Satirically? I finally decided on Scholarly. Unfortunately google analytics doesn’t seem to be a good tool for tracking the history of an obscure meme perpetrated by mountain bikers within the comments sections of inbred genre websites. And any analysis tools beyond that are above my level of sophistication. So we’re left with our default answer style (It’s “crappily”, if you’re wondering).

On a side note, has anybody else noticed that nobody yells “First!” in comments sections any longer? I think there might actually be hope for this world.

“Looks like a Session” predates “Norbs was robbed” by several years. It began as an ill-informed comment by people with no historical knowledge of mountain bikes or the finer points of full suspension design (clearly, with the proper knowledge, the comment would be “Looks like a Turner”). From there, it turned into a meta-commentary on the cut-and-paste nature of bicycle design. And finally, it became what it is today: the mountain bike equivalent of a past-its-prime quote from a TV show, commercial or bad teen comedy. Our “That’s what she said!” or “Whaaazzzup!” or “Yeah Baby!” Use accordingly.

Uncle Dave

Hi Uncle Dave,
I had a really shitty 2015. First I got my bike stolen, then I borrowed some money and got a new one in a week because of a race, then I smashed my face and broke my nose ( full face helmet on) and the last one was a twisted ankle in december.
Now I got back on my bike, and can’t find the confidence. I was fast and comfortable on my old bike, but I can’t seem to find the same confidence on the new one, I’m almost scared of some sections on the old trails.
The bikes were really similar, both 180mm in travel and FR oriented. The only big difference is the air fork and shock on the new one.

Do you think is the lack of riding because of the injuries, the bike or did I just become a pussy overnight?

Thank you!

Slow Guy

Dear Slog:

I wonder what you can learn by analyzing how a person lays blame for a lack of confidence? Do only sad sacks blame themselves? Is it a sign of an inflated ego when you cast blame on others and inanimate objects? And what if you do both? Does that mean you’re well adjusted?

Myself, my confidence riding a bicycle right now is pretty low. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks and every pedal stroke sucks more than the previous one. Heading back down the hill is better, but not much. My last ride was a psychiatric session of blame assignment. Was it the illness? First time back on flats in a few months? Should have adjusted my seatpost down a bit to account for the change in shoe height? Is the tune of this new shock different? I came up with a few dozen ideas that pointed away from the obvious: I’m old, slow, out of shape and I can’t just hop back on the bike after a month off and expect things to happen like they once did. This makes me sad and afraid.

So what I’m going to do is embrace this sadness for a day or two. And then I’m going to start riding. And you should do the same. Just keep riding. It will probably come back to you. Ride familiar trails. Ride trails that are fun. Maybe you’ll be a bit slower and maybe you’ll shirk away from a gap or a drop that you used to do, but your skills and confidence will start to build.

In the meantime, start working on making sure your gear isn’t the problem or an excuse. Start with easy stuff. Is your handlebar the same width and bend? Are your controls in the same position? What about your tires? So many bikes come specc’d with crappy tires and this will make you hate things. You should also take a close look at your suspension tune. If you’re new to all this air sprung stuff, there can be a learning curve. Lots of adjustment means lots of things to screw up.

And what if you do all this and you still don’t feel like you’re riding your best? Well, who cares? Are you having fun? Great. If you’re not, send me another note and we’ll tackle that problem.
Uncle Dave

Which brings us to the meat & potatoes of this week. The scolding. We’ve got a big month coming up. For some reason, Commencal has decided to sponsor all of the prizing for April, and sees some sort of value in allowing us to hand out a bicycle frame to wrap things up (Don’t worry, this is going to have no impact on Uncle Dave’s ‘impartiality.’ He will continue to get fuck all from any of the prize givers).

So I’m going to use this as an opportunity to let you know that your question asking game has really suffered over the last few months. This shit doesn’t just write itself, people. You need to reach down deep into the bad place inside. Root around in those thoughts that you keep to yourself and figure out a way to express them in the form of a question. Jeopardy run amuck, if you need some kind of visual. Because there is no fucking way I’m allowing somebody to walk away with a bike frame for yet another question about wheel size. Put some thought into this, people, or I’m going to spoil it for everybody.

For the last few weeks, Uncle Dave forgot that he was on social media. Now that SRAM ruined mountain biking with another new standard, he’ll probably be reasonably active on Twitter@ReallyUncleDave. As always, it’s nothing but dog photos on Instagram @davetolnai. (while you’re at it check out the NSMB.com instagram at @nsmbteam)


Didn’t win? Check out these and other products in our online store…

And finally, congrats to this week’s winner. Slog – you win a Bitchin’ Camaro T and a pair of NSMB.com wool blend riding socks from our online Store. If you’d like to be in the running for a frame and other swag from Commencal, get your questions in to Uncle Dave!

How do you get out of the rut?


Trending on NSMB


Aaron K. Mattix
6 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps Slow Guy should consider a singlespeed. Then you have all sorts of glorious excuses why you were going slow, didn't clean the gnarly section, etc. If you are on a hardtail singlespeed, you won't feel as obligated to mach stupid monster trucking through the rowdy stuff. Singlespeeds reward getting back to bike handling basics, such a line selection, and carrying your momentum (even more critical at slower speeds). My favorite quiver combo has been a squishy FR-oriented bike, and a singlespeed. Ride the same trail on each bike, and you will have two distinctly different experiences.


Cooper Quinn
6 years, 10 months ago

*ok, second.


Mark MacKenzie
6 years, 10 months ago

Spot on Dave - the first question is as bad as someone just posting "looks like a session" - now onto the heart of the matter. I've got some good ones for you and I'll be sure to send them your way. The best way out of a rut is to just get on the bike and blame everything but yourself right?


Perry Schebel
6 years, 10 months ago

first! sorry; had to be done.


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