Nobody likes to see ‘DNS – Did Not Start’ next to their name. Or, indeed, ‘DNF – Did Not Finish’ - but it happens to most of us at some point along the line.
The possible reasons for a DNS or DNF are endless – injury, illness, mechanical, “BIRD ATTACK" (I’m not even joking, I’ve seen it on a results sheet), you might even have just decided you didn’t fancy it.
If the circumstances were less favourable, we're here to help. Here are just a few ways you can turn a negative into a positive, or in other words, turn that frown upside-down (see, we got you smiling already!):
1) Take a step back and look at the event with rational eyes
If the event you’ve had to pull out of was a big goal for you, you might have built it up to be an irreplaceable challenge. The likelihood it was not – there are events all year long
2) Plan for an event you will be able to do
If you’ve picked up an injury or an illness that is going to see you off the bike for a little while, make sure there is a good amount of time before your new goal– even if that's a year. You don’t want to create an unreasonable deadline for yourself. Put it in your calendar and start planning your preparation.
3) Work on what went wrong
It can be easy to dwell on your reason for not completing the event, but you’ll have a much brighter outlook if you focus on what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If it was injury, it's time to see a physio and sort out a strength training plan. If it was a mechanical, get yourself on a maintenance course! Write yourself an action plan and see the experience as a way you can improve, not a failure.
4) Spend some time with friends
It's very easy to feel disheartened, and sit around and mope - but this just won't help you. It's surprising how many people suffer set-backs during a summer of riding, organise a social with your cycling friends and you might even find a few buddies in a similar position. Better still, spend time with your non-riding buddies and remind yourself what you used to do before you got into cycling!
5) Make time for your other hobbies
If injury or illness has you off the bike, then there's plenty more to life: paint a picture, write a poem, start a scrap-book, or have a Buffy marathon. A little time away from the bike isn't going to set you back, so chill out and enjoy doing something different.
Check out Katie Archibald's arm artwork for some inspiration...
6. Read an inspiring autobiography
Even pro cyclists suffer set-backs. Check out Nicole Cooke's autobiography 'The Breakaway' or Chrissie Wellington's 'A Life Without Limits'.
7. Try yoga
No, really. It might sound a bit 'head in the sky' to some of you, but yoga is fantastic for helping you stretch out achy muscles, building strength, and clearing your mind. A good yoga class can remind you that your body is for living, not just for cycling, and there is much, much more to life. Do it!
Have you got any other tips for riders suffering Post-DNS disorder? Share them in the comments!