I quit a race today for the first time.

It was a hard decision, and an easy one - an XC MTB race where I was struggling on all the technical sections. I crashed on a downhill section and went OTB, after that, I just slowly rolled in to the finish line and called it quits after 3 laps out of 5.

About 4 weeks ago I’d crashed in a cross race and landed on my head, and this seems to have affected my confidence on technical sections more than I’d thought. Every time I came to one today, I tensed - it was just a matter of time before a crash happened.

I know quitting is not a SUF thing to do, but is there a point where you stop and walk away? Either in training or racing.


Of course there is… But it doesn’t need to be permanent.

I played a reasonable standard of football. Played for a lot of years with no injury more than a scrape, then in a training match went into a tackle badly and tore out both anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments completely.
I had to wait for an operation and the doctor thought that my muscle structure was sufficient I could probably carry on without a repair anyway.
I played much of the rest of the season prior to the op, dislocating my knee fairly regularly but it didn’t bother me (I’m an idiot).

Anyway, I got my knee fixed in the summer and did the rehab…

Despite having previously been happy to carry on playing with a knackered knee, once it was fixed I found I had lost my entire feeling of invulnerability on a football pitch and I was suddenly nervous.
You can’t play nervous, you’ll half-ass a tackle and that’s when you get injured again.

I had to go back to playing 5-a-side and friendly knock-arounds, going out running and just doing everything possible to simply enjoy running and kicking a football without the competitive element until I felt a bit more confident, then just throw myself back in again.

It might be time to just get to riding trails with friends or solo, just for fun and nothing more and slowly build back into it. You’ll get there, but remember that above everything we do these things to enjoy them.


@RichardK No, Sufferlandrians don’t quit but they do look after themselves and take time to reflect and recover (physically and mentally). Now may be a good time for you to listen to the Cycling Podcast’s Life in the Peleton with Mitch Docker as he journals his last week of pro racing and last race - Paris-Roubaix 2021.

Take care and don’t be too harsh on yourself - one only needs to watch pro racing to see that, as a human, you will have times when you’re flying and times when you’re not. You’ll fly again.


There is a difference between quitting, and a strategic or tactical retreat so that you can fight again another day.

I do think as @Jon says you should go to a level when you can gain your confidence back. When I broke my collarbone, I went back to riding as soon as I could, I did not want that fear to creep in. Nonetheless, even though it happened 8 years ago, I still get some body tension whenever I ride on the street where it happened.


Nothing wrong with that. Pulling back after crashing hard (and landing on your head!) is perfectly normal. Please do take it easy - landing on your head can also impact your neck and spine. Been there.


Didn’t sound like you quit. Sounds like you made the right decision to look after yourself. If you haven’t yet, try the ‘Overcoming Obstacles’ module in the Mental Training Programme. Some useful stuff in there for situations like this.


There’s always a point when any given individual stops.
Risk vs reward. And with MTB’ing the risk is real, so why the hell continue if you’re not feeling it.
Stopping one event, where you’ve had a proper crash is pretty sensible.

Only have to wander through the long lists who don’t finish events every weekend to see it’s normal.

By sounds of it Risk Vs Reward wasn’t there anymore.

And if MTB’ing is your thing, you can spend some time doing what you enjoy again outside an event scenario … riding the kind of stuff with a ‘practice practice’ mindset rather than a fast mindset and it’ll come good.

For all the talk about pushing through stuff, sometimes that’s not the right choice. And the choice you made was the right one.


Thank you all for your replies. You are of course right in that a difficult short term decison is the right one for the long term. I’m going to pause racing for a while, take a break, and then get a couple of training blocks in over winter.

I’ve completed MTP before, but I’ll go and re-visit the entire program to understand what my goals are going to be for next year and how to overcome obstacles. And after watching the speed that some of the riders were hitting the A lines yesterday, I’m going to sign up for some coaching - I’ve always thought of myself as a good technical rider but that terrain was beyond my confidence levels.


You’re totally doing the right thing @RichardK . The thing that has always struck me about pro ahtletes is how they manage to look after themselves. Regardless of sport, the truly successful ones, mainly in terms of longevity but also absolute performance (with perhaps occasional exceptions where the body is able to hold itself together to allow some exctraordinary talent to flourish, but the longevity generally doesn’t match), are notably the ones that manage to keep themselves in good shape and manage whatever situation that they come up against. Cycling is a great example in mymind because of the high injury rate. LeMond came back after being shot, of all things, but even his career was arguably curtailed by things out of his control.

To the points made by others, you are not quitting. You are adjusting, mending, and it’s already clear that your intention is to come back better. THAT is the strong approach. And just imagine how proud Grunter will be when you come back physically and mentalling stronger than before and crush everything before you.

Just see it as another training plan, and reap the rewards.


As Sir David said, it sounds like you made the right decision and listened to your body!

I know this isn’t exactly related as it is more to do with training instead of events but still a good read:


In the bigger picture you didn’t Quit, you took a step towards recovering and carrying on whichever path you take afterwards. If you build up confidence slowly and return to XC MTB in your own time, that isn’t quitting. If you decide it isn’t for you and find other pursuits in life, that still isn’t quitting.

I retired from professional road racing around this time last season due to stress and mental health. The feeling of quitting made me feel awful and didn’t help the matter, but I realised in the bigger picture I wasn’t quitting, I was just forging a different path to the same overall goal, being happy and healthy.


Thanks for the timely reply @Coach.Andy.T - I was back to racing last night!

First of a series of local races, so an ideal opportunity to get re-acquainted with outdoor suffering.

The good?
Threshold heart rate through almost the whole race (98% intensity according to intervals.icu) so I know I gave it everything.
Took all the a-lines every lap. No crashes :grin:

The bad?
So nervous I couldn’t eat before hand and faded in the last 2 laps (rookie error, easily fixed)
Rubbish result - lots of life going on currently, so I haven’t been training as much as I’d like (see good point above though, gave everything I had)


I’d say the good far outweigh the bad. Congrats!

And welcome back at it.


Ive pulled the trigger on several rides lately. Why? Because I felt like I belonged in a rubbish bin. Many things going on and my feed/sleep patterns are way out of whack. I’m getting better as allergy season is mostly over. Next few weeks I will be increasing distance for the Century sportive in the late Fall. I’ve not really ridden any long rides and it shows.

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