ONE MAJOR KEY TO SUCCESS IN AN ULTRA is to simply keep moving. Stopped time is generally wasted time unless it has a specific purpose that will keep you moving: restocking food and water, sleeping, fixing a mechanical. Therefore stopping to contemplate a decision or rehashing a choice over and over again in your head is wasted time and wasted energy. Making a decision and committing to it will keep you moving.
But take note of the first word: sometimes.
On our third night, knowing we wouldn't make the final checkpoint the following day by the timecut and fully depleted of sleep, we decided to quit, and we committed fast to that choice. We slept past our 4 a.m. alarm the following morning. Once we had cell service, we called friends asking for a pickup in the next town. Atop the next mountain, we spent an hour taking photos and wandering through caves and trenches, later enjoying a pastry and cappuccino at the mountain-top Refugio Archille Papa.
Then, after a long descent (photo above), our choice to quit just didn't feel right—I wasn't ready to be done riding, and I could tell by the cadence of Rachel's pedal-stroke that she wasn't either.
We arrived at the third and final checkpoint believing we were an hour late, only to find we were an hour within the cutoff. We ate and restocked food. We helped another rider fix his derailleur. We wordlessly decided to reverse our choice before quietly confirming with one another that we wanted to continue. Then we carried on to the finish.