What does Failure look like? Part II

I think when Pfunk titled the last post “What does failure look like” he meant it as a rhetorical question, but our readers being who they are, they chose to answer with two photos that capture some notable, public failures from my life. This gave me a great opportunity to reflect on the disappointment I’ve been to friends, family, sponsors, and really all the people who have helped or believed in me over the years.
Thanks for the journey through memory lane, Anonymous.

This photo is just a sampling of my total and soul-crushing failure at the ProGRT in Port Angeles last year. Last year they had just built the new step down at the end of Chunderdome, and for whatever reason I was terrified of it. Every time I hit it I took a foot off right before I massively cased it. I rode out of it about 50% of the time, the other 50% of the time I blew up and tumbled off course in front of everyone. Kyle’s wife Ruth stood on the side of the track and told me how lame I was riding every time I crashed. It was a good weekend for me.

My total and soul-crushing failure in Leogang in 2011. A lot of people don’t realize that my race implosion in Leogang was not an isolated incident. No, it capped off a $3000, 6-week transcontinental odyssey of failure and pain. Leogang was the crown jewel of my disappointing races from that trip, but there were so many other noteworthy and hilarious mediocre results. Ranchstyle. Highland. Plattekill. The U.S Open. Enough discouragement to last a lifetime.

The flight home from Leogang was one of those times when I realized that the only constant in all of my failed race runs wasn’t rain or roots or dehydration or not enough practice or being tired. The only constant in all my shameful defeats was me.

When I saw those photos and relived my those memories again, my first instinct was jump to my defense and rebut Mr. Anonymous with this timeless and heartfelt quote from the definition of manliness, Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Teddy Roosevelt

But, reflecting on my cycling career, I thought another quote better captured the essence of my riding:

“Quitters never win, and winners never quit, but those who never win and never quit are idiots.”

-Larry Kersten

I’ll see you guys in Port Angeles.

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