This was an absolute shit show. The further I get away from this race the more comical it becomes and I can't believe how bad it was.
I picked up my battered bike and fixed the hoods. Both were bent inward. After I got them straightened out I had to straighten my bars as they were knocked crooked and I couldn't race like that. Then once that was done I had to put my chain back on. Yes really. So with all of this I had a minute plus gap to cover right from the start. I refused to get frustrated and stayed composed and just rode.
Lap by lap I passed one, then another, then another. I was doing good but taking my time to get through the field. With 25+ riders it would take a bit and I'd have to plan my moves carefully. I rode steady and soon found myself 4 laps or so in sitting in 11th position. I was riding very well and I had some good motivation and my sights set on those other riders close ahead.
Well it wasn't to be. On lap 5 I came through one of the mud pits and caught something sharp as it sliced my tubular open and wouldn't seal. Later I found that it was a 3/8" slice that was too big to seal. So I rode the flat carefully to the pit and swapped bikes. I lost a position in the change and rode hard to get it back. So during the next lap I just get the position back and start charging hard to get the gap opened to go after those ahead. Well after 1/2 a lap and the gap opening I start to hear a noise with each revolution of the rear wheel. I tap my brakes behind me to fix the calipers as I figured I'd hit them and they were just rubbing the wheel...nope. The tire was actually coming off the rim. Around the next turn the tube blows out and unseats the tire and tube. Really? Are you serious???
Yup. I was now almost to the finish for the bell lap and I had no bike to ride that actually worked and I wasn't even near the pit anyway. A DNF never entered my mind. I did look around the course for a sec to see if the leader was near to sit up and let him pass so I could finish quicker but he was nowhere in sight. The choice was clear. I wrapped the tube and tire on my chest and ran the lap and a 1/4 to get to the finish line. It was rough and hard but I wouldn't give up. I actually rode a lot of the grass with no tire as it kinda worked but every time I got to the gravel or pavement I picked it up and ran. Yea it was that kind of day.
In the end I got to the finish with my bike on my shoulder and the applause of the C race that was starting after mine. It was hard and very unlucky but I wouldn't give up. One way or another I was going to finish this damn race. Like I said laughable. The official results said 24 of 24 but I think there was at least one that had a mechanical and DNF'd so either way it was a victory. How bad can a race go? It can go this badly! Hopefully all of my mechanicals for the season are done with.