|Spot one difference.|
An old humorous story by Ander z Košíc has him buy his wife a prohibitively expensive fur coat, only for her to start complaining that the fur coat "bites" after they leave the store. After they return to the store and make a proper scene, it is discovered that the woman had put the coat on herself with the hanger.
Too hilarious to even sound true, right? Yet, this is exactly what happened to me. I packed my new poles with the protective covers for the tips and somewhat forgot about their existence. After the race, they looked like the pole on the top. (The bulky stuff is dirt packed inside the perforated protective cap.) The bottom pole is a "near-mint" state – washed and without the cap. Of course, the presence of the caps during the race explains why I felt the poles slip unexpectedly a few times!
Laugh, o my heart. And test your equipment before the race next time.