My First DNS and Why My Bicycle’s Broken

If you’ve spent any time in the running/tri/racing world, you’ve heard the phrase “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.” Well, tomorrow is my first-ever DNS, which is apparently the worst of all. In that quote, DNS denotes not even trying. Maybe even quitting before getting to the start line. After some wisening up today, I contest that quote. Sometimes it’s okay not to start a race. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control.

Changing Did Not Start and Why My Bike's Broken ... #cycling #bikecrash via Share on X

I got into my first “real” bike crash today on an awesome easy half metric century ride with my dear friend. I’m not talking about the slow tipover that is a rite of passage for all those cyclists with clipless pedals. I’ve been there, and I’m telling you, we all do it and you’re totally normal. 🙂 I’m talking about an epic to me–sweeping, speeding-up, downhill left turn, oooh this is fun and fast, wait, holy crap I’m going way too fast, oh I’m losing control, there’s the edge of the road, I’m going down, tuck and roll, oh crap, oh is anything broken, nope, I’m just pissed, did anyone see, oh I’m bleeding, I’m really fine, stop my Garmin, is my bike okay–kind of a crash.

Ouch! I’m fine…mostly  (


I currently have road rash all over, a big nasty scrape and swelling on and in my knee, and everything hurts and it sucks. But no broken anything or concussion, so I’m counting my blessings–twice. But because of that little (could’ve been bigger) spill, I will not be toeing the line at Bay to Breakers… and I feel completely okay about it. Of course, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to get better as fast as humanly possible so I can at least swim my little (could be a little bigger) bum off while my road rash and knee heal. And also how I’m going to try to do my best to complete my sprint tri that I have in two weeks… (Maybe another DNS?) And PS, my bike needs fixing… Sigh.

But I just want to ride!!! (

So, to all of you who may have, for one reason or another, DNS’d a race, you’re okay in my book. We all have issues that come up, for sure. For 99% of us, DNS happens and we should just move on. What can we do to still feel good about ourselves? What can we do to feel normal? Not a trick question. Just feel good and be good. You’re so human, and so am I. AND THAT’S OKAY.

I’d like to change that quote above: “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start if it was in your control. If it was out of your control, Did Not Start is perfectly acceptable.” I still think we need to try to start our races and give them a good try if at all possible, but sometimes the smartest thing to do is rest, recover, recuperate, and rock on the next time.

Have you ever DNS’d a race?

Author: Whitney

Runner. Cook. Editor. Blogger. French Fry Connoiseur.

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