When I first started racing I used to cycle around the course thinking of different ways I could "accidentally" puncture my tyre, to relieve myself of the hard work. I had many different ideas - like picking up a thorn and stabbing my tyre! Luckily, I never actually carried this out, as I did actually enjoy the achievement of finishing.
As time has moved on, the last thing I would ever come to want in a race is to have a mechanical. Especially when you have travelled miles (the South west to Glasgow) to compete. It is inevitable that at some stage in a season something like this will happen and it is the harsh reality of racing.
I started off the race in Glasgow last weekend in 6th position. Feeling quite confident that I was settling into it and could keep pushing at that pace, which would have led to my best National result. My heart sank when I felt the tyre go down and I did everything in my will to stay calm and pump it back up. Unfortunately it was a slit too big for any sealant to recover and so my running to the pits began.
I got to the pits and had my excellent mechanic (A.K.A dad) was wondering what had happened to me and hoping I wasn't injured. He and friendly pit crews helped to put a tube in - so I thought my bad luck was out the way and I could continue to race.
Again, it was not to be, as my tube went down slowly, so I stopped at the returning pits to pump it up...then shot off for it only for it to go down AGAIN...resulting in more running to the pits for a whole new tyre to be put on.
By this time I new my race was definitely over. I had been lapped by the leaders and was far behind the rest of the pack. I put in another hard lap to finish, even though I was exhausted from waddling/running around by then and a little less motivated. I did not want to travel all that way to stop riding until I was told to stop.
I finished pretty much last and slightly heart broken, but I gave my dad a massive hug for getting me around the course and was so pleased to have still kept going. I have never given up and stopped in a race and don't plan on ruining that streak anytime soon.