Earlier last week (January 8th), I received a few messages from some of my friends telling me I needed to take a look at a photograph circulating around mountain bike social media. The photograph was of a downhill rider in a rather odd predicament. The rider, in mid-air, is looking down at his his front wheel where the tire is flailing around no longer on the rim. That image was shared by a few different pages on Facebook, Tumblr, and Google +. A rough estimation is that the photograph received close to 10k likes* and 4k shares on Facebook alone. To my surprise, I was the rider in the photograph that was gathering so much attention.
*6,000 alone from Chain Reaction Cycle’s Facebook page
|Photo Credit: Subi Saps|
The photo was originally taken in 2011 at Mt. Snow for the 8th stop of the Eastern States Cup downhill race series. During the race run I hit a hidden rock puncturing my inner tube and consequently lead to my front tire blowing off the rim. My race run was now over, but on the bright side I had no visible signs of injury. I evaluated my options; a 40 minute hike back up to the top, 40 minute walk down to the bottom, or 4 minute ride to the bottom. At that moment, riding down sounded like the best option. I stubbornly rode the entire course partially out of frustration and partially out of curiosity. I was truly amazed at how much traction I had. As I approached the finish line jump, I spotted a few spectators making their way down. It was impossible for me to let a crowd pleaser like this go to waste, and without much more thought I went for the jump. Luckily the photographer hadn’t packed up his gear, and was able to get this photograph.
I’m not going to lie, it was a little bizarre knowing that for a day or two I was (for lack of better term) an internet-celebrity of sorts. With that said, there are a few things I wanted to clarify. Firstly, despite the beliefs of a few commenters, the tire had been off the rim long before the jump. Secondly, I was not running tubeless. You can see my tube was still wrapped around the hub. Thirdly, I did not faceplant (sorry to disappoint), in fact I was able to ride to the finish without much trouble. Lastly, even though the rim had seen better days, after a little filing I was able to keep it as a backup for the majority of the 2012 season.
If you have any questions about the photo in question, please feel free to ask away.