I spent yesterday afternoon alternating between swings of optimism, and pits of disappointment. Yesterday’s London Triathlon did not go the way that I had intended. Just at the start of the bike course I down shifted as we approached one of the many road overpasses the course has to offer. As I downshifted I was losing speed, and my gears felt strange. I had taken my bike in twice over the past week because things were not feeling right – my bike was skipping gears. I was assured on Saturday afternoon that things were good to go, that adjustments had been made including to my “chain tension”. I didn’t probe the mechanic too much, I figured the bike was good to go and headed home. This came back to haunt me on that first ascent, as I shifted and my rear mechanism completely locked.
I could not downshift to release the tension. I remove the wheel to loosen tension, but I still could not get the chain to move. My frustration peaked. Maybe I could get the bike to work. But would I feel safe riding it for another 35km? No. And I did not want a crash. So after 10 minutes of fiddling around on the side of the road, two St John’s ambulance volunteers and one cycle course safety officer looking on, I called it a day.
DNF = Disappointing Not2Mention Frustrating
In deep frustration I flung my helmet to the ground. And um, yeah, well, I forgot that I always poke my Oakleys into the top of my helmet when I stop, you know, to stop them from falling on the ground. And yeah, well, that fling resulted in my Oakley’s snapping at the bridge.
DNF = Do Not Fling
Feeling deeply sorry for myself I crossed the course and walked back to transition. Sockless, in my cycle cleats. As I walked up the ramp I just shook my head, fighting tears of frustration. The British Triathlon official looking after transition saw me, and I asked if I could try to turn around my attitude by hitting the run course. I knew my day was a DNF, but I needed to do something, anything, to help to change my mood. Thankfully he said yes, and gave me a big hug. (I love the BTF officials who work at the Excel!)
And it worked. At the first lap I saw my coach (who had come down to spectate me and DH racing) and chatted. Was it even worth me completing 10k as, essentially, a stand alone run, as I already had done two of these in recent months? Why not just run until my heart felt happier, and find another race to do? So I decided to do two of the run loops (out of three) which brightened my mood immensely.
I think I have found another race to do, to be able to see how an Olympic Distance Triathlon is feeling after all of the work I have put in this season.
I have also found two places to take some bicycle maintenance classes – not just the basics which I can do, but the more advanced things, like changing gear cables, adjusting gears / indexing, being comfortable taking apart my bike… If I had more skills and knowledge, perhaps I could have sorted my issues out on the course and saved my race. And as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
DNF = Definitiely Never Fail2Learn