Race Report: Derby City Cup christening of the orange helmet.
Just past the starting line, first this happened. (Thanks @rjluikart). Look for the orange helmet in the middle.
All I could do was pick myself up, smile after that.... (Thanks @thepenultimatestage).
....and run my broken bike into the pits. (Again, thanks @rjluikart).
Instagram #DerbyCityCup for more images of the wonder that was "The Pit".
So, covered in mud, with a popped tire, handlebars askew, and my helmet caked with 5 pounds of mud, I ran the quarter mile into the pits. The toughest part was running down the Green Monster (flyover). I was quite the site by the time I exchanged bikes with Doug and JP, and far behind the leaders, DFL possibly. But, a race is a race. I asked them to grab my spare helmet out of the car for the next time I came around and through my filthy leg over a clean bike.
Virtually alone on the course, I got to ride all the best lines that first lap. And when I came back around in the pits, some people got to witness their first ever helemt exchange. Doug didn't know why I needed to switch until he took my muddy one from me. I found out later it would be passed around among the mechanics in the pit because of its shear weight... the same weight that was throwing off my balance in every corner up to that point.
With a new helmet, I started gaining ground in the race, amazingly. All of my concentration focused on mastering the lines for tomorrow's race which would be contested on the same course. Also, I had to acknowledge that I had been a bit pretzeled on the course, and there were bound to be a few bruises, cuts, and soreness under all that mud.
The mud "Pit" wasn't done with me yet. Each lap I tried a different line into it at high speed, and one other time, I was flipped off the bike. Not taking that line the next day. I also had to pull of my gloves (using my teeth) because they were so caked with mud it was making shifting and braking difficult. And, I probably ate a little, too. Yummy. So, one more bike exchange, for half a lap and then I was pulled. I think I ended up somewhere around 30th, but I didn't look.
I headed to the pits for a hose down, and to check with my heroic pit crew, Doug and JP.
Thanks to all the folks on instagram for posting pics that I could share here (copy and paste style until Wix builds the embed html functionality into their site), Big Shark Bicycle Company and the Mich Ultra Racing Team for the support. Giant, SRAM, and Zipp for making such fantastic products that they could stand up to mud like that. And Kuat Racks (Springfield, MO) for supporting a good group of people that have been there to help me at every race this year.