Wow Jon, That is a sad story. The tires are an easy miss , I am a total sucker for the Grifos. They are either spot on or totally off. The Dugasts Rhino is probably the gold standard cross tire, but if the course is frozen hard you may shred one. Would like to see your backup bike.I always have a set of Tufos setup for when the course is really ugly. They aren't as nice of ride as others but probably 200% tougher.
I have bounced chains off SS, 10 speed single cog rigs and doubles. The old Campy two ring guards with the chain in the middle is the only rig I never bounced a chain off. But those were the 6-7 speed days and didn't take much to cross chain issues.
You are my hero for having a positive attitude about a tough loss. Those Stars and Stripes are pretty hard to come by unless your name is Ned, Tilley, or Paul C. The really bad news is when you get 60 like me the same guys that beat you at 25 still beat you at 55. Life is hard, Great job riding for the brand. Keep up the great stories and tech updates. Greg