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2018-05-27 8:42 PM

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Subject: Anatomy of a DNF
This is my twelfth year of triathlon with close to 50 finishes under my belt. An iron distance, a couple of halfs and lots of Olympics and Sprints. I have never been particularly competitive and have always been happy and satisfied to finish injury free and with a smile on my face. When I prepared for my iron distance race and the half distance leading up to It I followed a regimented plan. For basically all other races I have simply prepared by engaging in SBR which at this point is interwoven into my DNA My perfect completion record came to a halt last Saturday at the Charlottesville Xterra Olympic Triathlon. I had been aware of the Xterra series for a number of years and since my passion for triathlon has waned of late, this seemed like the perfect endeavor to re-ignite the fire. I have been a mountain biker longer than a triathlete so no problem there and have had experience trail running. This race was in the bag. Another checked box in my now lengthy triathlon resume. Not so fast. I had made a campground reservation for the Friday night before the race. As forecast, it rained incessantly the day before the race. In the pre-race ride the trail was already becoming a sloppy mess. A portent of things to come. The swim was wetsuit legal and in a small natural body of water that certainly did not meet the criteria of a lake. Nonetheless it went well and I felt really good. There was a considerable run to transition but all was well. Now I should point out at this point that I had I finally broke down and purchased a sweet new Trek Fuel EX 8 mountain bike back in February. There was NO way I was going to ride the new steed in this race. The potential of damage or worse yet theft (in transit) was just too great considering the newness and cost of the bike. This decision figured into my ultimate demise. I opted to instead ride my trusty 20 yo. Trek 8000. A solid bike but a hard-ail with side-pull brakes and rubber brake pads that were reduced to shadows of their former selves in lap 2 (read zero stopping power). With about four miles left into the second lap I thought my shoe lace was loose. My mountain biking shoes were only slightly less old than my bike. My laces weren't loose. The sole of my right shoe was coming apart. The plan then became push the bike for the remaining four or so miles with what was left of my shoe. This plan changed when the shoe completely disintegrated. New plan was to push the bike the remainder of the way with one bare foot over eel slick and often rocky terrain. This went on for a while. Under no circumstances did I want to DNF but for the first time ever I wasn't having fun in a race. Despite my intense desire to finish this was not going to happen. With a mile or so to transition I could see a bail out and I took it. I had actually been the last person on the course. I was dejected and a little embarrassed. I licked my wounds and began the three plus hour trip home.There were obviously unforeseen factors that figured prominently in my failure to finish but truthfully I had not given the race the respect it deserved. It was humbling and maybe the very thing I needed to put a fire under my butt. Needless to say I have that race on my radar for next year as well as others in the series. Time to get back on that horse. Yipikaye!



2018-05-27 10:33 PM
in reply to: CBess

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McAlester, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Anatomy of a DNF

My first Triathlon that I actually trained for I was 2 hours over my predicted finish time.  I had trained for 8 months and was in the best shape of my life, but ran into some challenges in the race like you did with the bike shoe.  My failure got me motivated to improve and I have every year.  It sounds like a lot of things went wrong on this race which should make it easy to improve.  Good luck.

2018-05-29 10:49 AM
in reply to: CBess

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Subject: RE: Anatomy of a DNF
Onward and upward!
2018-05-29 1:20 PM
in reply to: CBess

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Champion
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Placitas, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Anatomy of a DNF

There is no success without the risk of failure.  

I haven't DNF'd but I probably should have.  I have a lot of respect for some of my BT friends who have DNF'd.  

2018-05-29 4:35 PM
in reply to: CBess

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Vancouver (not Canada) Washington (not D.C.)
Subject: RE: Anatomy of a DNF
My first triathlon was an Xterra in Oregon which they quit hosting years ago. It was brutally fun race but equipment choice was crucial. It's funny to see equipment that we paid so much failing because of age. I had the similar thing happen with my ski equipment and I was mad until I realized my skis were 15 years old.

Thanks for posting this race report. I tend to learn more from DNF or similar races than ones where everything went perfectly.
2018-05-29 9:54 PM
in reply to: CBess

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Anatomy of a DNF
Sh... happens; sometimes equipment fails or the triathlon gods are in a bad mood. If you've ever read my Worlds race reports, you can see that I seem to be cursed with that particular event. Not a DNF but....not glorious either, through no fault of my own, really. In this case, you did your best to cope and dropped when it became unsafe and impractical for you to continue. No shame in that. Hopefully luck will be more on your side in your next race!


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