When is it smart to quit a race, century or even a tough training ride? When is it okay to battle on? Here are some questions to ask yourself when Mr. DNF is calling your name.
—How important is this event? If it’s the Tour de France and your team depends on you continuing, you can justify trying to push on. If it’s the local weekend group ride and you’re risking three weeks off the bike because a knee is killing you, turn around and pedal home (gently).
—Am I feeling discomfort or real pain? Learn to tell the difference. Burning muscles aren’t the same as injured muscles.
—Can I ride through this problem? What’s your history? If you’re susceptible to knee tendinitis and you begin feeling telltale pain, better pack it in. But if your knees are sound and you feel a twinge, you may be able to ride through it. Gear down, stand for a bit or hop off to stretch and walk for a minute.
—Am I compromising my general health? If it’s dangerous to continue — due to high heat or humidity, for instance — be smart and live to ride another day.
It’s better to stop and preserve the season than risk making an injury worse.