Sometimes photos don’t tell the whole story…
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
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.