Race mishaps, goofs, and facepalms

Sorry @Nate_Pearson, but you’ve inspired me. Was listening to some of the old podcasts and Nate told the story of driving 4 hours to a race, then couldn’t find his thru axle, only to drive 4 hours back home and found it in his shoe. And then we have the classic TT story of not tightening bolts. Stories like these are the inspiration of the post. What are your moments of regret, brain farts, or otherwise memories you’d like to forget because you did something dumb?

Here’s mine. Little backstory. My wife works in medicine and occasionally has to travel to other hospitals for little stints. At this time she was working at a hospital about an hour away. So I signed up for a race and was super excited. Had everything ready to go the night before, bike on the rack, bag packed with nutrition and gear. We decided to go out for dinner and took my wife’s car because mine had my bike on it. Fast forward to the next morning and I can’t find my car keys. I only have one set and for the life of me cannot find them. It’s getting later and later and I’m in danger of being too late for the race. Then the glass shatters. I, for some unknown reason, pulled them out of my pocket and dropped them in the center console of my wife’s car the night before when we went out. And she’s an hour away at work. Bike ready, registration paid, but no car. I was so mad at myself. I’ve since bought a second key fob (not cheap) to always have a backup.


“The glass shatters” is the perfect way to describe that feeling :joy::joy:


I was doing a Tuesday night race series and to hang onto my placing in the series I really needed to be hitting all the events. It is after work and about a 40 minute drive, so the drill is get home from work, toss the bike and gear in the trink and head out. One evening I pull in to the parking lot, hop out, open the trunk and realize I forgot to toss the bike in.

Another decent one is: I am doing a stage race and on the 2nd or 3rd day I head over to registration to sign on. Low and behond there is one of my bike shoes sitting on the registration table. Obviously it fell out of the car and I drove off with one shoe sitting in the middle of the parking lot after the previous stage. Thank godness some kind soul picked it up and gave it to the rae organizer.


Race enough and stuff happens. Showed up Sunday for a Saturday race once. Arrived at the airport a day early to go to a race once too. Finally, showed up at the wrong ski resort for a ski race.

But usually things work out fine.


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Racing in a pretty big crit, came around the final corner in great position. Heard the bell ringing. Wasn’t feeling confident in my sprint and right after the start/finish line there was a punchy hill. Great for me. Attacked, opened up a huge gap. Totally blown. Roll around the final corner still with a nice gap.

Heard the (big) bell ringing… With 2 to go, I had heard a spectator’s bell and thought that it was the last lap bell. Tried to keep it going but got caught with half a lap to go. Whoops.


Arrived to a local XC race (1-hr from house), was running late, and parked about 20 minutes before the race start time wearing casual clothes. After kitting up in a hurry and pulling my bike off the rack, I noticed I did not pack my shoes and was wearing flip flops…XC bike has SPD pedals. No bueno.

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Never had a major raceday FUBAR (touch wood), but I have done the typical “leave your GPS on the roof of the car while loading up the bike, then screech to a halt seconds after it skated off onto the road”. Thankfully it was fine with only a couple of dings.

Also while on holiday once, my brother-in-law rode out 60-odd miles to meet the rest of us at some castle or something for a day trip, only to realise he hadn’t put any normal shoes or clothes in the car before he left. So he was clip-clopping around in lycra for half a day, surround by bemused tourists.


My first-ever road race - a complete noob to bike racing, and I’d been on a road bike for about 6 months prior to deciding I wanted to race. Miserable weather - 40 degrees F and raining. I got dropped hard on the first hill and rode in tandem with another dropped rider for about 50 miles. Having no idea where the finish line was, and assuming it was the same as the start, (at the bottom of the somewhat steep, winding hill), I hammered the wet, sketchy descent to “drop” my riding companion for that extra off-the-back placing position. It’s a wonder I did not meet the tarmac with my poor handling and wet conditions. But, hey… he was nowhere in sight. It must have been an epic descent by me.

I got to where the start line was, and bumped into a local cyclist, who asked me how things went? He also commented on my “interesting” cool down decision to hammer the descent. Meanwhile, me, very confused why there was no finish-line looking area and why he was asking about the finish…

… the finish line was at the top of said hill and the race had been over for a while. :man_facepalming:

Every time I see this fella, he reminds me of this race finish.


My first crit I thought the race ended one lap later than it actually did. I had been off the back essentially riding my own TT. Suddenly I was catching a whole bunch of ppl that had dropped me earlier. Didn’t realize my mistake until I crossed the finish line (the second time) and immediately started coasting and noodling along and went ‘ohhh’.

Couple other embarrassing moments, getting to a race only to realize I’d left my helmet at home. Luckily was able to borrow my teammate’s. She was racing later in the day, it fit, and she didn’t mind me using it so I got really lucky there. Another time I just missed a turn in a 40k TT, felt sheepish and annoyed, would have ridden under 58 without that.


My first time doing Seattle to Portland, I was doing it in 1 day. It’s 200 miles and about 10,000 people.

In the first minute, I went to press “start” on my bike computer, but instead flipped it off of the mount and into the sea of 10k people. :man_facepalming: Okay fine, I’ll stick with a group and pace on feel.

I ended up at the front with a good group of people, and we just kept the paceline rolling. I ended up being the 5th rider out of 10,000 to finish. But I had no expectations going in and didn’t pay the extra 15 minutes for the timing chip, so I wasn’t in the timed results. :man_facepalming:

I’ve tried a few times since and paid for the timing chip, but it’s a totally different ride with sky high expectations now. I’ve come close, but haven’t repeated the 5th place despite better fitness.

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I did a Crit last weekend, saw someone about a quarter lap off the front so I attacked, bridged up to him to get a 2 man break going.

Caught up to him and discovered he was out the back not off the front.



Showed up to a triathlon maybe an hour drive from my house. Forgot my bike shoes. Thought I wasn’t going to be able to race. But did a warmup on the bike to see what it would feel like wearing squishy soled running sneakers and pushing down on spd-sl pedals. Warmup ride felt safe enough and it was a sprint triathlon with just a 12 mile bike leg so went ahead and raced.


My most most annoying gaff was on the Tring by pass TT. Before the race it looked like being my fastest 10miler (largely due to its profile).

With the fastest bit of the course to come I was flying and in relatively no time I was approaching a slip. “It’s too soon and unsigned”, I thought and carried on a few seconds later I looked down and saw a marshal on a roundabout below, “Doh, it was that one”. Given the nature of the road my first instinct was to carry on to the next slip, but my race instinct got the better of me. Cue pulling off into the hard shoulder and running back along the verge to the slip. Even with the faffing about moving speedwise I was only 80s down on my pb (2mins down including stops), so I think without the Faff I could have beat it. I’m not sure if I’ll get on that course again or if I’d have the courage to. The only consolation when I got back to the HQ I found a couple of other had made that mistake too.

Oh if I had carried onto the next slip it would have been a 9.8 miles diversion on a less flat section of the bypass; in the busy traffic it would have been a nightmare.

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I live in HK so space is at a premium. No car as a parking space would cost more than my house in the UK.

I paid for a van to pick me up and take me to DH nationals once. Front wheel had to come off to fit the DH rig into the back. You can guess where this is going…

After an hour driving from the city to the hills, I unloaded the bike and went to refit the front wheel. Which was still outside my building.

Luckily someone had decided not to race due to the adverse weather conditions and I got to lend a battered wheel.

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That reminds me of a club TT. I’d built my Sportive bike into a TT bike (TT bars, Forward Facing Seat Post and Disc Cover/ Deep section Front). I hadn’t had had a problem the season before.

Got to the 1st club TT of the new season and the front wheel just jammed, there wasn’t clearance for the 25mm tyre it had fitted. I did a swapsie with some one shallower/ narrower rim with 23mm tyres. IIRC he won the race with my deeper/wider wheel. Im sure that made the difference :roll_eyes:

Whatever changes I made saw it good for that season.

I did eventually replace it with a dedicated tt bike at first as the disc cover wouldn’t fit it was only marginally faster until I got a disk wheel.

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Probably several but two that come to mind.

half ironman distance on my new TT bike - had to drop the seat post to put it in the car, repositioned it before racking but clearly didn’t tighten it enough and I ride it almost as high as it goes.

Slipped down inside the first 3 km - go to fix it with my multi tool and discover that my multi tool doesn’t have an Allen key that fits (doh). Twice I got help from random passers by and tightened it only for it to slip later - it was only at the end of the first lap (half way) I managed to flag down one of the mobile mechanics with a better tool and locked it down to past the recommended and if held.

Same race a year later - not an A race and was focussing on the bike split and wanted to pb the distance. Was on target to go under a time that was a 15 minute PB but cutting it fine. Came in towards the finish fast and a spectator walked out in front of me - slammed the brakes too hard and front flipped. Landed on my back with the bike still clipped in. Finished the run but with a separated shoulder which wrote off most of the season - I could bike and ru after a month or so but swimming not so much.


I get exorbitant race nerves so I’m prone to doing some absolutely idiotic stuff because I’m not thinking straight. Here are some highlights;

  • Made a snap decision to ride my road bike for a half IM after my TT got hit, stored my nutrition in a top tube bag as a ‘quick and dirty’ solution. Didn’t velcro it properly to the headstem, dropped my stuff when it flipped upside down and when I realised I grabbed a bottle of plain water from the aid station thinking It was gatorade. It was one of my first ‘big’ races and I wasn’t very confident using aid stations or eating during the first 30km, so by this time It was way too late and I spent the entire run leg in a state of slow depletion, GI distress and abject regret.
  • Decided to swap out my pedals to flats to speed up transitions for a SC duathlon. Found out my crank bolt had been stripped sometime prior (not by me, in my defence) and then I had no pedals.
  • Missed a lap. I thought I had another lap to go, but the course marshall pointed me to the finish chute and told me I was done and I assumed I didn’t know what I was doing. (I was not wrong.)
  • Invited a nice photographer boy from tinder along, because he wanted to try race photography and what better way to look cool than inviting your date to an a-race that you’ve got a fairly good chance of winning? This went suspiciously well until I threw up and passed out at the finish line, and woke up In a med tent some undisclosed amount of time later.

Only one real mishap, and it was for a gran Fondo.

Rolled up, went to shift into my starting gear and… nada. My cat chewed through my di2 wire and caused a short that completely drained the battery. I might have tried single speed but it was stuck in the small ring up front and a big cog in the back.

I raced a TT the day before… So the damn cat did it overnight.

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