Nobody ever wants to detail a bad experience for them, but it helps to learn and grow from those times. The Dallas continental cup was certainly one of those experiences for me. I arrived to the race Thursday before the Saturday race. After a few flight delays, I got into Dallas around 11 pm and found a cab to my hotel with three Canadian athletes I knew from other races. I did not assemble my bike until the next day, and all seemed fine. I did my standard pre race routine of short swim, bike, and runs and plenty of sitting down and hydrating. All seemed okay, albeit feeling a little sluggish.
Come race morning (after splitting a pull out bed with Andrew Bysice), Andrew, Aaron Thomas and myself went to ride to the course and my bike was making a pretty terrible grinding sound. I got to the race and an official threatened to disqualify all of us for "riding on the girls' run course." The funny thing was, we were not on the girls course at all. After explaining this to an ITU official, the initial race official walked away with no other words and we were cleared to start.
On the way over, my deraileur was not working unless I was in the little ring. Definitely not good for a pancake flat ITU course. I brought it over to the race mechanic, and he eventually said he would take a look at it. I honestly have flown with my bike many times, and take good care of it, so I do not feel as though this was at my own fault. I always take the deraileur off to fly, but anyway this mechanic did not seem too happy to help. Regardless, he found out that part of my deraileur must have been "dinged" and although I did not feel it the day before, it was slowly getting worse by riding. He tried to bend it back to the best of his abilities but I realistically only had 2-3 gears in the big ring. Those were the 12 and 13 cog in the back. After this adrenaline surge of trying to fix my bike, the officials moved the start up 20 minutes to hope to avoid the bad weather. I was pretty frazzled and tried to keep my cool.
The race start went pretty well and I exited the water at the back of the second group (15:44- swim was short by a good bit). We were told we were 50 second down to the leaders, and I was pretty excited to be in such a large group with some solid cyclists in it. Then I was quickly reminded of my deraileur problems. Every acceleration, I could not match as I was grinding in a big gear. After desperately trying to maintain contact with the group, My deraileur completely snapped into the little ring. I do not know the mechanism for how this happened, but I could not get it back into the big ring. At this point, I was forced to call it quits as the group I was in rode up and away and I was in a small third pack for a bit but with no shifting, it did not help me and I eventually pulled off. That group was eventually lapped out anyway, and I know I could not have continued to ride in the little ring. Certainly not the outcome I had hoped for, but only a learning experience and I have to accept that it's part of the sport. Next up, Philly Triathlon!