A blast from the past: My very first DNF in a bike race

It wasn’t the last.

Remember Facebook’s notes?

Before blogging, I used to write them. And this one showed up in my “Memories” today. You know, that newish feature of Facebook that shows you stuff you posted on this day in years past. Well, apparently eight years ago today I was on sabbatical in Australia being shown who’s the boss by hills. (Some things never change!)

My First DNF

This weekend was the Brindabella Challenge, a two stage bike race event. I did really well yesterday in the evening event, a 20 min + 3 lap crit, coming in 4th. Yippee. But this morning’s hot, hilly 57 km road race did me in. It was a handicap event so my group got a substantial head start but about 15 km in on a very steep hill (9-10% grade) I got dropped. The fun part of the handicapping was that I then spent some time on the back of E, D, and C (again getting dropped on the hills again). But by the end there wasn’t a hope of catching a ride with A and B. Just a loud whoosh and some yelling “stay left” as they flew by. I made it to the top of the last big hill but all that was left was a steep descent with a turn around at the bottom. At the point I decided to take off my race number and wrist band and ride back. There was a group of drop outs and we actually rode back together. A really nice woman said “I say we give the race to them.” That was probably the hardest 2 hour ride of my life. I think at this stage in my training and racing I still need a real break, more than 8 hours sleep between races. And I need to get leaner and stronger to handle these hills at race pace.
For the unfamiliar, DNF stands for “Did Not Finish”–equivalent to the academic INC, although unlike grad school there is no way to make up a grad of DNF and have it changed to something else.
race

It might look like we’re waving but really we’re swatting at flies. Oh, Canberra summer.

Cornering fast is the trickiest part of criterium racing. Note the hay bales. They are there for a reason. If you don't pedal fast through the corners you get dropped. But at a certain point there is a real danger of clipping your pedals and crashing.

Here we are warming up. Cornering fast is the trickiest part of criterium racing. Note the hay bales. They are there for a reason. If you don’t pedal fast through some of these corners you get dropped. But at a certain point there is a real danger of clipping your pedals and crashing.

Have you ever DNF’ed? How’d do it feel? Tell us your story. I know it’s better than DNS, Did Not Start!

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

2 thoughts on “A blast from the past: My very first DNF in a bike race

  1. Nicholas Evans says:

    Aw – a DNF is always sad, but having been away from Canberra since post-grad-school life took me to Philly, I sniffed a little at memories or Brindie. And, of course, the trails immediately behind 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pixieannie says:

    Bloody well done. Have I ever DNF’ed? I’ve come close…. 110miles in with nothing left in the tank and a serious inner dialogue telling me I ought to stop and should stop but I didn’t. It’s not failure in my book, it’s about knowing your limits, pushing yourself beyond where you thought you could, adapting and coming away knowing you’ve done everything and then some.

    Like

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