As racers we never want a mechanical DNF from bad equipment or bad luck to take us out of a race. It will happen eventually, but the odds are good that it won't happen often if luck is on your side. The damage from the stick that went into my rear wheel/derailleur happened within sight of aid station #1. At first I thought my chain had just derailed after hearing the grinding from the stick that had been kicked up off the trail and into my rear wheel. After a closer look, I realized that putting the chain back on the front ring didn't matter as the rear derailleur cage had snapped. With only 18 miles covered it was a "you gotta to be f@%*king kidding" moment! After surveying the damage, I concluded that the single speed plan wasn't going to work in race conditions after seeing how bent and twisted the chain was. Eventually I cobbled the chain back together trying to find a gear combo that would keep the chain on. Heading backwards on the course my first try resulted in the drivetrain locking up all together when the chain climbed up the rear cassette to a bigger cog. Finally after another 30 min fix, I just walked and soft pedaled slowly back to the start/finish area. Not the way I wanted to see the finish banner, but very glad to get out of the woods in one piece. At the point of derailleur detonation, I was feeling like it could have been a good day with the way the race had started. The Cohutta 100 was my first race on the 2011 Specialized S-Works Epic 29er and I was feeling very comfortable on it. The bike is amazing and and after a few new parts I'm looking forward to riding more than just 18 miles on our local trails before NUE #2 in Arkansas.
Big congratulations to A212/Specialized boss Chris Peariso for getting on the Cohutta 100 podium again with a 5th place overall finish in a tough pro field and my brother Mark for placing 14th in the open category of the Big Frog 65!
Last, but not forgotten...congratulations to the rest of my A212 teammates for an amazing weekend of racing and lots of podiums at the WORS series opener at Iola!!!