This weekend marks the one year anniversary of my first ever... and hopefully only ever DNF at a triathlon. Though I want to forget that it ever happened... it's soemthing that will live with me.
The race was the International Triathlon Union Long Distance World Championships in L'Orient France. L'Orient was a beautiful little town on the Brittany Coast of France. The swim was a two looper in a salt water bay that fed into the Atlantic Ocean... the bike was a two looper that went through town to then parallel the Atlantic Ocean... the run a four looper through town. I still remember the whole experience... the whole week... and the race post and pre DNFing. The swim was short of 2 miles. I came out in just a minute over 1 hour... tore the wetsuit off... and headed down transition to get my bike. The bike started on a nice little climb right after the dismount line... and it was tough. I made it through town and got out to where we paralleled the coast when things went wrong. I heard my aero water bottle screaching on my wheel. I kept pulling it up and the next thing I knew it kept screaching again. Finally it happened my handlebars started to lean over... which clearly meant trouble on my part. I had no tools due to the fact they were in my car back at the airport in Dallas. There was no support via any other athlete, spectator, or personel of the race... which meant there was only one thing to do... pull out. It was tough... but I ended up making the right decision. The same thing happened to another guy on Team USA... ended up crashing during the second loop... DNFing with an injury from the crash. After hearing that I knew I made the right decision... it wasn't my day... and thats how I have looked at it since.
Since the DNF a year ago... I learned many lessons from that horrible day... where the clouds hung over my head all week and race day. People felt bad for me... I told them to get over it. The DNF made me a stronger triathlete... and most importantly helped to go farther and harder to earn my MDot a montgh ago.
I still wear my Team USA shorts, shirt, and hat proudly... becuase even though I let my country down by pulling out... how many people have a chance to represent their country in this wonderful sport?
I hope to never have to DNF again... but if it does happen... I know how to handle it this time!
More to come...