Wheels of Thunder 35+

I had a similar goal in the 35+ race as the P12.  Stay chill and hope it sticks together.  This race actually started out very hard and I was feeling the previous race.  The attacks on the hill every lap were violently hard.  I was nearly the last guy in the pack just hanging out and didn’t realize a break got away fairly early since a number of riders would get gaps and then get bought back.  The break of 6 guys were off the front when I flatted my front.  (3rd flat in 6 days, 2 in races.  I must be gaining weight?)  I flatted on the hill after the finish line, so I had a long ride back to the pits.  I calmly got back and swapped out my front wheel with about 6 laps to go in the race.  The pit ref got me upright and I just faced forward waiting for him to release me.  He told me to that the pack had split and to go.  I saw 6 riders roll by and he let me go mid way between the 6 riders and the pack that was about 5-10 seconds back.  I chased hard and caught the riders in front of me going into the hill.  After sitting on the group, a few racers told me that this was the break.   At this point I didn’t know what to do.  What is the etiquette or rules if the break just escaped on the lap you were out and the ref released you into the race in a position to chase onto the break?  I decided that I would just race the race and let the pins fall afterward.  So I pulled in the group and ended up sprinting to get 2nd in the race.  Afterward the racers in the break pointed out that I had been put back in the race in the wrong spot.  It was a bit of a debacle, but I told the ref to place me wherever it was appropriate and the pit ref was good about telling the head ref that he was the one who told me to go and that he thought the race was splitting as he released me.   I appreciated his honesty.  The head ref was pretty cool about it, but felt the need to place me off the break.  I think they eventually put me 20th or so, I am not sure why exactly, but I don’t care too much.   

I can’t find anything in the rule book for racers about what to do when you are put back in a race after a flat.  I did find something in the officials rules that state that the rider is to be placed in the back of the group he was last in.  It clearly states that it is the official’s responsibility and it even says the rider will race to the best position he can when released (duh).  I guess in retrospect, I should have drifted back to the pack.  In the heat of the moment I was just concentrating on racing the best race I could from the position I was in.  Official directions from the Officials Manual below:

How do you return the rider into the race?

o Valid mechanical

􀂉 Stand in front of the rider, step aside to let him go back in

􀂉 He goes into the back of the group that he was in prior to the incident.

􀂉 If you let the rider go in too soon, or too late, adjust your “timing”. If the field is moving slowly (all bunched tightly together) you will let him to go when 2/3 of the riders have passed. If the field is going very fast (a long line of riders), you may need to let the rider go in a bit sooner. If the rider was in a small group of riders, you will have to let him go before the riders reach you, to make sure he contacts the back of the group.

􀂉 Don’t expect the rider to go to the back of the field, he isn’t going to do it! (I guess this is correct based on my behavior!)

Thanks to Bob Dahl, Byron Nix and Aaron Bouplon for taking the time to talk to me after the race.  They were very cool about the mix up and raced a great race.


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