Then it got bad. I was having a lot of trouble breathing and the sand was just ridiculous. I was struggling up the hills and felt really dizzy at one point and somehow managed to completely loose contact with the map. Not good!
Because I am stubborn, I got all the way out to #9 which is on the very far corner of the map, about as far from the finish as you could get, before deciding I couldn't continue. Of course, I still had to ride back which was a mission. Yeah, I could have finished but I really couldn't face the sand and fairly epic hills that looked like dominating the last section of the course and my breathing was starting to really hurt so it was my first ever DNF. I thought I'd feel bad about it or something but I kind of felt relieved that I'd been able to stop.