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This month's magazine question: when races go bad!

Afternoon all

Hope we're all enjoying a slightly muggy and overcast Wednesday – in Bristol anyhow.

Right, once more after your much-appreciated help with this issue's (262, summer, out 28 June) magazine question…

When has a race gone bad/awful/hilariously, badly wrong?

Now we're looking for light-hearted answers so no hospital visits of three months or more please!

I have many (!) but the one that stands astride at the top of my podium of mishaps happened at last year's South Cerney Triathlon. In the small ring out of T1, the front derailleur refused to shift to its bigger brother. Stopping to try and rectify the technical, a cyclist kindly offered mechanical assistance. Unfortunately he badly cut his thumb through this frantic process, but manfully refused to give up. The chainset was a fresh, claret colour by the time I remounted... only for the derailleur to give in again. After recording a new PW, it took three weeks to scrub of the blood. But sincere thanks for a fine effort from the rather faint cyclist.

Sure you can all better this poor story…

James, Ed


  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Where do I start,mmmmmm
    early in my tri career,using a good old fashioned ten speed with down tube gear levers,I had reached the top of a climb,and tried to switch from the 39 sprocket to the 53,but it wouldn't go,so pushed the lever forward,then cranked it back as hard as I could as I started the descent,the front dérailleur moved past the 53 sproket and caught the pedal crank bringing my descent to a crashing halt.Bit of blood,damaged mechs no big deal,cruised back to T2.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    nothing major (yet)....

    Although same race, just different years.

    First year went to Abu Dhabi and left my tri-suit lying on my bed at home. Done the tri in jammer short and then had to swtich into bike gear and then run gear.... not ideal.

    Second year - Tri suit with me this time. Went to pool for a practice swim and all was good. Then up 4am for the race, put my tri-suit and the zip stuck. Gave it a gentle tug and the suit ripped good and proper. Once I got to transition I put some chain oil on the zip and it came free albeit I did have a huge rip on the front of the suit.... oh and the second year I didn't take the wet-suit as the year before it was banned for the water being too hot... then this year it wasn't so warm in the water.... you can never win!!

    Or what about at Trentham Gatorade Big Half where I got a dose of the runs as I was putting on my wet-suit, sprinted to the toilet with the wet-suit round my ankles and just about missed the swim start

    Or IMUK

    Where I left my timing chip in the hotel and had to get a new one. So everyone who was tracking my number was actually left thinking I hadn't even started... i did go onto complete it...!!

    Think I've embarrased myself enough now!
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    When a "overzealous" BTF ref dished out a penalty 2 hours before the race started, made me so upset that I accidentally ate all my post race food before the start. Went too hard in the swim. Spent the bike feeling decidedly unwell, and the run (well, walk) being decidedly ill. Race was ruined. But sense was seen and the errant ref was made to withdraw the penalties (I wasn't the only one he was victimising).
  • sonofsammosonofsammo Posts: 191
    Second ever sprint tri and I was in T2, focussed on "do not take your lid off until you've racked your bike". So didn't take it off and was trying to decide on o/road or normal running shoes. Decided on the normal shoes as they were more supportive and set off out of T2. As I ran past a marshall I was shouted at....then again..... and again......didn't want to stop cos I was flying.......The next marshall very kindly suggested that I might like to take my helmet off.... I had to carry it for 2.5k before I found someone to take it (couldn't risk a DQ for littering!)... Lesson learned. Decide what shoes to wear before hand and only have one pair in transition! And listen to marshalls!
  • balaclavabalaclava Posts: 1
    I completed my first open water event on Sunday and it was eventful to say the least.

    First, my timing chip was dragged off during the swim - I see that is not exactly unusual but I am now wise as to how to prevent this....then while worrying about this at the start of the bike, I wasn't concentrating on getting my feet in my wet bike shoes. As a result I slowed down too much, wobbled over the curb and fell off in full view of transition and spectators. Adding to this I cracked a rib in the process and my season is now hanging by a thread.....

    I still did a reasonable time as the adrenalin helped me over the line.

  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    Whilst on lap 2 of the cowman middle bike leg towing my son, the wheel of his trailer decided to take a leave of absence and shot off into a ditch full of stinging nettles. After leaving a 20 ft metal scraping in the road, I retrieved said wheel, now covered in lumpy stinging nettle bumps all over my bare legs, my mate stopped and used a CO2 cartridge to hack away at the hole the QR spindle of the wheel went into.

    Took 20 mins but we finished
  • TRIumphantTRIumphant Posts: 850
    Stepped up to an Olympic race, having only started Tri two months before, and entered the Welsh National Champs, which had some Elites, fully commentary and TV cameras. Struggled in the swim, struggled on the bike, and finally made it into T2. I exited T2 to a huge cheer from the crowd, which I duly acknowledged, only to be passed by the winner, as I had to bear left and start a long and agonising 10k run.
  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I think Ben has only elaborated on half the comedy cluster that day.... or has the issue with tub been skated over??
  • Browny1980Browny1980 Posts: 28
    I've had a couple of "bad" things happen 2 weekends on the bounce in all honesty!!

    I did the Beaver Half at the end of May, had a pretty decent swim, came out of transistion in good time but after about 30 secs of cycling knew something was wrong!! Front tyre was flat, I thought it was a puncture, obviously having not travelled too far away from transition and being absolutely inept at changing tyres, I ran back to find anyone who could help!! A very helpful member of the public kindly assisted in changing my tyre, but the valve was too short on the new inner tube for the rim of the wheel!! After seeing us struggle, a Marshall came over to help and in seeing that the valve was too short said that he would fix the puncture in the old inner tube......however he found that it wasn't punctured, it had just gone down!! Apparently someone had knocked the valve in transition causing it to expel air!! The old inner tube was put back on and off I went. It went flat again at about mile 8!!! This time I was alone (very melodramatic!!) so I struggled on the side of the road with the upturned bike, pumping the tyre up, in the pi**ing down rain!! The air was blue with the language I was spouting so if anyone did pass a tyre changing maniac on that day screaming with rage at the side of the road, I apologise!!

    The week after (Sunday just gone) I did the Full Boar Olympic, due to me running back to transition at the Beaver and general wera and tear, I needed to change my cleats on my shoes, but didn't go out on the bike before the race, assuming that the cleats were fine. Again, swim went quite well, got out of transition, went to put shoes into pedals......cleats didn't fit!!! Try as I might, they didn't go in, so the air turned blue again and for 40k I had to balance my shoes on my pedals, generating no power whatsoever!! My legs were like blocks of wood on the run and it was by far the worst I'd felt in any race!!

    Being honest, I came very close to pulling out of both races but thought I may aswell carry on!! It was my own fault and poor planning was the cause, especially in the 2nd race!! Needless to say that for my next races, everything will be checked 2 to 3 times before!!!!
  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    Windsor OD - I had an upset tummy and hadnt eaten for 24hrs before the race. I rocked up and racked on the saturday without eating breakfast, no lunch ( still felt like my tumy was a washing machine) and went home to bed. No dinner and woke up at 3am on race day.

    The swim went well and once i got onto the bike I was flying..... until mile 7 where it all started to go wrong.

    I was dizzy, vomited, shaking and my vision was a bit blurry - I finished the bike in 1hr 19 after stopping twice to throw up.

    T2 was a disaster and I felt pretty unwell. I called it a day and bailed on the run. I was in no shape to carry on.

    What a cluster!!!
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I had a "funny" Windsor. I actually raced quite well and got a good time but my pre-race routine went to pot.

    20 mins before my wave started I was putting on all my kit and realised I'd left my swim hat and timing chip at home. I dashed over to the help desk in the registration tent, filled out some forms and then got given a new hat and timing chip. I got back to my bike to set all my kit out and found my original hat and timing chip in my running shoes. Duh! So, anyway, I put my new timing chip on and off I went.

    At the end of the race there was a guy on the finishing line collecting timing chips. Unbeknown to me until then, mine had fallen off! Afterwards I went back to the help desk to give my original chip back. Unfortunately they remembered me. I had to explain that I found the one I thought I had lost, but lost the one I had been given as a replacement. They must have thought I was some idiot.

    Anyway, it's not as bad as my mate. He does Ironmans and has a very posh TT bike, so I was very surprised to see he failed to get inside 3 hours. He told me his wetsuit zip broke, which messed up his swim and his T1 and he forgot his bike shoes, so did the bike leg on a Cervelo P3 with Zipp wheels and a conehead helmet in his trainers! I think there are some here who'd say he got what he deserved with a Cervelo and Zipp combo though
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