>What a rubbish weekend I have just endured. Never before have I had a DNF classification in a race.
But if you raise the stakes enough, finishing 10th in A class would have been as bad and that was the situation that we faced on day one, having started well, very well my partner (am sure he won’t mind me saying this!) simply imploded, and despite eating and drinking everything there was available could not recover, causing us to lose 20 to 25 minutes in total in just two legs over the leading times and with not much hope of any recovery.
It was so frustrating, I felt strong, very strong (despite my concerns over my knee) and we were at or ahead of the field, but a race is more than 5 checkpoints. We knew that, and took the decision to retire; completing the course was not a result for us nor was a mid-table finish, we had come here to be competitive and possibly win. And so it was too very dejected folks who plodded down the hill to the overnight camp, our race over for another year.
Trying to explain our decision to people has been equally as hard, it would be so much easier if one of us had injured themselves or we had made a major navigational error but when the only reason for your retirement is simply that “we were not going fast enough” it seems a hard, uncompromising message to put across. But that was the truth of it.
So what can we take away from this? I believe more than ever that winning is achievable, we were and are faster than most on downhill legs (having clocked the fastest checkpoint time of anyone on one leg 2-3), we were in fact within 3 minutes of the overall lead at the end of 3. But we have to run harder, for longer, more consistently and we cannot afford to have an off day! And of course fundamentally its a team game, you take the rough and smooth with your running partner, however tough that may be.