The cycling "crazies" - video ("Crashing" in lieu of Quitting)

I saw this video and I found myself being incredibly empathetic – have you ever wanted to “crash out” of a race on purpose?

My last race – which was a gravel event in late October – my entire goal was to stay with the “A” selection for the entire race. It was a relatively flat gravel race with the lone exception of a 12% hill about 1/2 mile long right in the first 3 miles…

Well, I achieved my goal of making it with the “A” selection – but I had to smash myself sooooo hard to stay with the group up the hill, and there were so many 90-degree turns in the first 5 miles that the elastic almost kept snapping off the back for the group, and I had to bury myself to stay on. I found myself 7 miles into a 40 mile race staring at the rolled hay in the farm fields, and the long grass by the side of the road thinking that I wanted to crash my bike so I didn’t have to race anymore. Then I started cursing myself for all of the expensive bikes and kit I’d bought over the years, because I hated riding bikes and never wanted to race again :metal:

I also read about a track rider recently (can’t remember the publication) who thought he’d do a gravel event for “fun” and found himself 20 miles into the race trying to figure out how to break his bike so he didn’t have to keep going.

Sometimes I think similar things on the trainer (generally, obviously during Vo2 work) where I think I should try and make myself vomit so I can stop the pain.

There is no logic whatsoever to any of this, I realize. I’m only on the trainer for myself. I’m only racing for myself. I have no obligation to anyone but myself to keep going - and yet I feel the only way to get out of it is to somehow have physical harm inflicted on me so I can justify bailing out :flushed:

I call it the cycling “crazies” – where the most illogical thoughts in the world come into your head under the duress of physical pain.

Similarly, have you ever gotten back from a long ride and were barely able to form a coherent sentence? Or finish a complete thought? I call that having a “case of the stupids” – total depletion that makes it impossible to think.

Anyway – this video made me chuckle. Because if there was a crash in front of me in that first 7 miles on my last race, I may have just tipped myself over and done the same thing. Instead, I finished the race on mushy, rubbery legs – knowing that there is a little bit of a coward hiding inside of me that this guy totally gave into.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has these thoughts…


I’ve had some bad days in the saddle. Never looked to crash but definitely had some races where a crash or a flat ended my day and I was more than happy with that.

My last mountain bike race as a junior I let all the air out of my rear tire and walked out of the woods. Wasn’t even having a bad race. Just didn’t realize that I had been burning myself out for a long time until suddenly I couldn’t stand the thought of going on. It’s a local trail and I remember exactly where I pulled over, makes me chuckle when I pass it now. Didn’t toe the line of a mountain bike race for about 8 years I think.

This past year in the washing machine that is the start of a SS cyclocross race I did say “man, I could be at home making pancakes right now” and the guy beside me laughed, but that race ended up being a lot of fun.

Nobody wants to quit and surely nobody wants to be viewed as a quitter even when there may be a very legitimate reason to quit. However, crashing or a mechanical is viewed completely differently and can almost garner you some pity from other racers, family and friends. It’s completely “acceptable” to crash out of a race and you were just “unlucky” that day. That is a HELL of a lot easier of a discussion to have then answering; “So you just quit then huh?.. Well if that’s what you feel like you had to do.” Nobody wants to have that conversation with anyone.

Not to mention what “quitting” does to your mental game going forward. So you may be trying to convince your “inner chimp” that you’re not a quitter as much as you are anyone else. “I didn’t quit, my bike/gear quit on me!!!”

I’ve had those thoughts creep in as well, I think we all do at some point, just of varying degrees. Never of crashing out, but I’ve been mid-lap and told myself I was going to just roll out of the race next time I passed the start/finish… soon enough I found myself on the next lap continuing on.

Once I considered stopping and letting the air out of my tire in an XC race like mentioned above. Then as that thought sunk in a bit, I realized how ridiculous that was and no matter how much I was hurting I wasn’t going to quit. I’d dial it way down and turn it into a trail ride before I actually quit.
When you quit once, it only gets easier.

Not cycling, but running. Mile 20 of the Chicago Marathon the wind kicked up as a headwind and temps climbed into the high 70’s. I kept thinking how much better it would feel to just step on a crack in the road wrong and break my ankle…

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