Sometimes you win, sometimes you finish and sometimes you DNF. That’s what happened to me yesterday; my first DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season, which wasn’t my fault, really. I ran out of gas after the 40-mile-mark and pushed my bike about 2 miles, hyperventilating and crying, before two course workers rescued me with a splash of fuel. At the riders meeting, the club had said the loop was 38 miles, but it was more like 42, and I heard a few other two strokes ran out of gas, too. “Wtf???That’s not like you,” one of my buddies told me when he learned of my DNF.
The race was combined with an ISDE qualifier, which made for an interesting format that’s similar to how the enduros are scored out west. I was thankful to have experience with the transfer and special test sections. Usually, when you show up to the start of a race, you’re on the gas from beginning to end, but not this time. The first 6 miles didn’t even count, so I tried warming up without tiring myself out before the first special test, which is harder than it sounds when you’re all excited to race and your adrenaline is pumping. I had a new rear tire and rear brake pads, too. (Note to self: next time, warm up the pads – aka “bedding in” – before going out because it took me blowing out a few corners until they engaged.) By the first special test, I was ready to rip and of course smacked a pine tree right off the bat, which caused the vent hose on my gas cap to come loose and eventually fall off. Looking back, I should have stopped to grab it because I noticed gas immediately start spilling out of my full tank over every bump, and that’s what ultimately ended my day. I did try to MacGyver some duct tape over the hole in the cap so more gas wouldn’t spill out, but it wasn’t enough. I ended up being a few miles short of fuel.
“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
I returned to the pits almost an hour late to the start of the second loop and called it a day. I could have gone back out but I was so defeated at that point, both mentally and physically, that I decided to quit while I was ahead. After sled-pushing my bike for the last hour, I was torched, and I loaded up before the rain rolled in. On to the next – 48th annual Sumter Enduro in two weeks!