From the time I began my warmup, about 45min before the start of the race, until I crossed the finish line, I consumed three bottles, two gels and three blocks.
Quick re-cap on today’s race: Started great. Went into the first singletrack in fifth, just behind Alex and Bryson. Soon after, I noticed my front tire a bit on the soft side. I nursed it for as long as possible but had to pull off the trail and while the group of 14 pro men continued on, I scrambled to grab my Co2 and fill up my tire. It wasn’t too long before I was back racing and catching up with the tail end of the group. I made it all the way to the top of the climb and was looking forward to making some good time on the descent, when my front tire was leaking again. The Stans didn’t seem to be holding. My only option now was to install a new tube. Looking back, I should have done this the first time, but in the heat of the moment, I hoped that the quick fix of Stans and air would do the trick.
An eternity passed as I struggled to pull the tubeless valve out of my rim. It seemed to be stuck in it’s place. I thought for sure I’d never get it out and my day was possibly over. I kept at it and finally pulled it out, installed the new tube and mounted my tire. I pulled my Co2 out from my pocket and proceeded to pump up my tire. There wasn’t much let in the cartridge. I only got about 10 psi. I was now out of optons. A slew of racers that had passed by moment earlier, all asked if I needed anything. Assuming I did, I mentioned that I was ok. Again, the heat of the moment, I wasn’t thinking that I might be low on air.
By now, I could see the first few pro riders darting into the singletrack below. They were starting their second lap and I… about halfway through my first. Not so good. Finally, a friend passed by offering his hand pump. It was a small acton pump that took me a long time to get the ideal tire pressure. By now, I was pretty discouraged, so far off the back there would be no possible way of catching up and tired from pumping my tube by hand. Did I mention this took me a long time 🙂
I got back on the bike and decided to take it one person at a time. I’d pick out someone I could see, way up the trail, and chase them down. It was the only thing I could do to keep my mind off of the discouragement and thoughts of calling it quits for the day. I’m not a quitter though. I made my mind up about situations like this, long ago. I’m to never DNF, unless there is some factor that is physically keeping me from finishing. Last season I dropped out of what was turning out to be a great race because I twisted and broke my chain. it was beyond repar and I didn’t have a tool on me anyway. I felt justified for that reason, but for two flat tires… nope. I now had air in my tires, a functioning bike and lots of good singletrack ahead of me. No reason to quit. So I kept on marking guys up the trail and reeling them in.
One by one I picked them off, kept moving at a decent pace and eventually, finished the race. My performance was nothing to be proud of, but the fact that I turned lemons into lemonade and finished what I came to do, I was pretty happy with that.