Stage 4 of @transsylvania. I was happy with my start and was pacing well. Around mile 5, the start of what would be a catastrophic failure began. I tried to work with what I had, and by the last 3rd of the race, my bike failed completely and was no longer rideable. That meant I was out of the race. I walked my bike for a long way hoping it'd pop out on a road and I'd at least be able to borrow a bike and finish. It would have been easy to quit; all hope of winning the race were long gone. Instead, I asked if any of the volunteers had a bike I could borrow. A nice lady named Mandy leant me her Plus bike hardtail with flat pedals and I was able to ride it and finish the stage. There's also a time penalty for changing bikes, so I'm pretty sure I'm now dead last in the results. I went from the leader's jersey for most of the race to just trying not to DNF. This is the moment where I had a choice. I'm hugely disappointed that this happened, but our race results are not what define us. I race because I love experiences. It's what we do in situations like these that matter most. I started the race with crazy travel issues getting here and I was badly burned with 2nd degree burns and huge blisters on numerous parts of my body from a blender exploding boiling sauce all over me. I left it behind me and showed up ready to go. Being able to make the best of what happens to us is the most important thing I've learned from bike racing. In a situation like this, I could be negative, feel sorry for myself, etc. But I don't feel sorry for myself. I feel sad, but I also feel happy. I feel happy that I got some amazing days of racing in, proved that despite non-ideal preparation that I could show up and perform. I feel happy that I've worked really hard on my technical skills the last several years and turned what used to be a weakness into a huge strength and it showed here. I feel lucky I was able to finish and not have a DNF next to my name. I feel happy that I could overcome bad things happening to me and painful injuries right before the race, and that I showed up guns-a-blazing without any excuses. I'm happy I can ride another day!