I headed to Rhodes Greece for my next race and was very excited for the chance to race healthy after my bad luck at the world cups in July. Unfortunately, the bad luck continued and followed me to Greece. Rhodes city was an amazing location to race. The old city is very historic with the walled city and gates still standing from early BC. To race in such a scenic and historic location was awe-inspiring. And the Mediterranean sea was so clear and salty.
On race day, I had a good swim and exited the water with the leaders. But once on the bike, in the first 800 meters I heard an audible pop from my bike tire. I looked down to see a flat. I rode on it to the neutral wheel stop and asked for a 10 speed shimano cassette for my new back wheel. I was given a nine speed and got on my bike as fast as possible but the lead pack was gone and I was now in no man’s land. I rode steady with the second pack for several laps until the cassette locked up between gears on the hill. I just barely avoided crashing and had to ride backwards down the hill to the wheel stop. This time I was given a 10 speed cassette but the 2nd pack didn’t wait for me. I was now riding in the third pack and frustrated with the bad luck and my chances of a top finish as I would be starting the run well out of contention after losing about 7 minutes with my wheel stops. I pulled out of the race on the run; it was the first time that I have voluntarily pulled out of a race and I hope to never do it again. I think in retrospect it would have been better to finish but at the time I was too defeated and mentally out of the game after my unlucky day.