More experience doesn’t mean less curveballs in racing. There are almost always going to be one or two that are thrown at you in a race, you just lean to expect them and figure out how to deal with them a little better as they come. One example from my own experience was at Ironman Texas this year. I was in the best shape of my life and had everything fine-tuned. My body was ready, my equipment was clean and working well, and I was confident that I could meet my performance goals. Around 10 miles into the ride, I hit a pothole. After that, little by little, my quads started to burn like I was in an Olympic distance race even though I was going at an Ironman effort. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then, I hit another pothole and I felt myself slide down. I immediately realized that my seat dropped. I could have just quit the race, but I road on. About five miles later, I went through an aid station and yelled out for a wrench to fix my seat, but no one had a wrench. I continued on. I saw a competitor about 300 yards up the road and road hard up to him to ask if he had a wrench. He did and he gave it to me. I stopped, fixed the issue and continued on with my race.
I checked my bike 3 times prior to the race to make sure everything was tight, but sometimes this sort of stuff just happens. It was probably the pothole that loosened things up. Nevertheless, I had to stay patient and go into trouble shooting mode. The athlete who gets thrown a curve ball, troubleshoots, and still find a meet his or her goals are the best athletes (Chrissie Wellington having flats on the bike and still winning Kona)! We don’t always meet our goals when this stuff happens, but we try anyway. It’s the kind of stuff that makes us stronger athletes.
(Pic from Quassy this past weekend)