Is it ok to drop out of a race if I'm having a bad day?

Here is something I was asked the other day.  “If I am having a difficult race when is it OK to drop out?  Is it better to pull out and save my energy or is it bad to give up once I have started a race?”

The answer to this question is easy.  You never want to drop out of a race unless you have one of the following excuses:

1.    Your bike is broken and is no longer rideable

2.    You are deathly ill, throwing up, or running a fever

3.    You’ve crashed and there is blood everywhere or you’ve broken a bone

If you’re just having a bad day, then grit your teeth and tough it out.  You will have a lot more respect for yourself if you finish then if you drop out.  Once you drop out of a race, it becomes easier to drop out of another.  It is easy to race hard when you feel good.  What makes a true champion is someone that finishes the race despite having the “worst day of his life”.  Bike racing is incredibly difficult.  Don’t give up on yourself because you think you’re having a bad day.  The legs might come around and you might surprise yourself on the next lap.  If you quit you’ll never know what might have happened.

Happy trails!