Was it bad luck or jealousy?

September 10th, 2010

On King Mountain overlooking Kelowna, Canada and the Okanogan Lake.

DNF — I never thought that would see that by my name, and frankly in no way did I want to see it by my name.  In all my years as an athlete, whether competing at swim meets in grade school, or at cross country and track meets during my high school and college years, or at my current triathlon races, I have never been the one who Did Not Finish.  To me, quitting or mentally breaking is not an option, and even pain or the shame of not finishing respectfully cannot force me to do so.   I believe that giving up once, however insignificant the situation may be is like a plant, which if nurtured, grows.  Ultimately it has the potential to make it that much easier to give up the next time, and who knows if next time will really matter.

Was it bad luck or jealousy?

My most recent race, Kelowna ITU Pan American Premium Cup/Canadian Triathlon National Championship, was to be my warm up race for USA Triathlon’s Elite/U23/Age Group National Championships.  Unfortunately if you check the results, you will not see a time by my name, instead you will find in bold a DNF by my name.  Now you might be thinking, have I not just been hypocritical by what I have recently said about giving up? No, I will assure you that this DNF was not an act of quitting or reaching a breaking point in my mental psyche.  It was just a case of old fashion bad luck.

In the beautiful Okanogan Lake nested in a small valley that also holds the warm and friendly town of Kelowna, race day looked to be a cool, yet damp afternoon.  After the start of the race the swim put me in my usual position, in a small bike pack, 30 seconds behind the third large bike pack.  On my second loop of a 6 loop course, as I crested the only major hill and started my descent, my back tire felt like it was losing its grip on the road and I hoped it was not a flat.  After I stopped at the bottom of the hill and confirmed my misfortune, my race was over.  I slowly made my way back to transition, having to almost ride a full 7 km loop on a flat and listen to everyone try to motivate me to go faster.  When I finally got to transition to pull out of the race, the only logical thing to do since I did not have an extra set of wheels, a group of guys working the wheel stopped offered me an extra wheel that they had on hand.  I thought to myself, why not, so I grabbed the wheel, got back on the course and tried my best to prevent the lead back from catching me. Unfortunately, my lead was not substantial enough and they finally closed enough ground to force me out of the race.

Racing in Canada.

At that time I was really upset and filled with emotion, since who doesn’t want to finish, but really what could I do. I always checked my tires before the race and the flat wasn’t from any puncture through the tire. Most likely it was a tire/tube pinch, which I have no control over.  At least I can say that I tried to stay in the race.  Joking about it with other racers after the race, I concluded that it was not bad luck, but a planned scheme by my current bike, who was jealous that I was getting a new Serrota road bike the next weekend and retiring her from racing. At the end of the day, Simon Whitfield and Paula Findley claimed overall wins as well as Canadian National titles.

Of Course, thanks to all my sponsors — Total Immersion Swimming, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Serotta, and Sable Water Optics. A special thanks to Jack and Adam’s bikes in Austin, TX who provided great maintenance and very discounted products to help me train leading up to the race. With a new Serrota road bike, I have no doubt that my next race in Tuscaloosa, AL will end better.