Even the professionals have a “bad day in the office” from time to time. We talked to some of triathlon’s top professionals about race experiences they’d rather forget, and compiled their advice to help you salvage a race when things go south.
My worst race ever was when I was just getting started in triathlon, as an age grouper at the Long Course World Champs in Denmark, back in 2005.
First, I’m not the most cold tolerant athlete in the world, and that race was freezing, and the water was riddled with jellyfish. For a guy that was not mentally or physically super comfortable in the water, this put me into a pretty stressful state, right from the get go.
All said, I got through the swim. After riding hard for a bit, one of the screws that holds the lower rear derailleur in place popped out and wedged the pulley at an angle. Basically, the derailleur was on the verge of destruction but somehow still allowed me to pedal. I could not shift at all. I was stuck in one gear for about 90 kilometers, spinning out on the downhills and grinding a crazy gear up the short climbs. It was really frustrating and stressful.
I didn’t care too much about having a ride that I felt wasn’t as fast as I should have had — I just remember being so relieved I was even able to start the run. In the end I wound up having an amazing run, and feeling pretty darn relieved I was able to finish.