To help you fully appreciate my recent DNF at Tatanka100 (or Tatanka75ish to be more precise), I need to supply a timeline of the month or so prior to the race.
Saturday/Sunday, June 13-14- Race 25 Hours of Hellside to culminate the DirtWirx bike week. Sleep 0 hours from about 7am Saturday to 10pm Sunday (except for some sort of nap Big E says I took in the car on the way home.
Tuesday, June 16- Ride for an hour with legs so swollen I could barely bend my knees. Get a massage. Eat. Work. Come home from work so grouchy all I could do was drink whiskey.
Thursday June 18- Eat. Drive 9 hours to MI with compression tights on, eating all the way. Stay awake all day, thankfully. Ride for an hour and actually feel good. Nearly fall asleep at the table while out with friends.
Saturday, June 20. Race Lumberjack 100. Drink whiskey and eat 1/2 a bag of chips.
Sunday, June 21. Eat the largest breakfast of my life. Drive 9 hours home. Search every gas station in the UP for more of the chips from the night before.
Monday, June 22- Friday June 26. Eat. Sleep. Work. Maybe ride a couple times. Maybe?
Saturday, June 27- Attempt to show off for Big E while riding and launch myself over my handlebars.
Sunday, June 28- Whine all day about my sore arm.
Monday, June 29- Ride on the road with my shock unlocked because bumps hurt my arm.
Tuesday, June 30- Panic about what gear to ride at Tatanka. Stalk Ben from Mountain Bike Radio on Facebook and ask for advice. 32-21 it is.
Ride the rest of the week with 34-20 on my bike....on the road with my shock open.
Saturday, July 4- Tape up my arm and brave the trails, still with 34-20 on my bike.
Sunday, July 5- Decide I should probably actually ride with 32-21 on my bike for a few days.
Stress about the race for the next few days.
Wednesday, July 8- Panic about the water crossings on the course and email the race director. Receive confirmation that I likely won't die in waist-deep moving water.
Thursday, July 9- Find 20 other reasons to panic. Swap my tires from Thunder Burts to Rocket Rons (that extra few millimeters might help) to calm my nerves. In the process, discover I hadn't put my rear cog on tight. Pinch flat my front. Beg Big E to give my bike an inspection before I leave.
Friday, July 10- Drive 9 1/2 hours to South Dakota with high blood pressure from anxiety. Ride for 30 minutes and panic about my crappy new front brake pads. Search for the packet pick-up. Hear one word and one word only during the pre-race meeting- "enduro-style". Ask someone to explain what this enduro-style stuff is. Panic about the answer. Consider not starting.
Saturday, July 11- Start, but only because the awesome Doc Whitney, who saved me from dehydration at Hellside, dropped us at the start and promised she would pick me up if I panicked about the "enduro-style" downhill, my brakes or the water crossing. Arrive at the trailhead, after 3 miles of downhill on the road, in last place, with my own police escort. Carry my bike for 1/2 of the first 11 miles. (Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating...) Come across a guy on flat #4, give him my spare because I'm pretty sure I won't make it past the first cutoff and attempt to help him put a tire on a deep rim, which really just leads to me humping his wheel. Arrive at aid station #1, 15 miles in, in over 3 hours, to a volunteer who made it clear she needed to leave so she could go do the timing. Get pissed off, ride a few miles down the road and call Whitney.
There you have it- the mindset of a DNF due to crabbiness. I'll admit, I tried to blame it on the race at the time, but in hindsight it's clear I pretty much DNF'd before I left home. I was tired and burnt out and spent only a few hours on actual single track in the 3 weeks before the race. Not a good lead-up to a 100 miler that turned out to be 75 miles of the most technical singletrack I've ever seen. Perhaps I should space my races out a little more? Or quit showing off for Big E? Or suck it up and learn to ride more technical terrain? Or ride a little with the gear and tires I plan to use in the race? Or deal with my pre-race anxiety?
Or I could just eat more ice cream and drink buckets of margaritas at Kenny Chesney concerts.