I noticed a lot of people flatting on the Waterman bike course during the race and sure enough, on Smallwood Church Road, I flatted. I stopped to change it but within seconds, two guys from the Setup Events truck stopped and said they could change it for me quickly. I initially declined, saying that I'd be disqualified for outside assistance, but they said that since they were with Setup, it was allowed.
The idea of getting it changed really quick was very appealing, so I agreed. After changing the flat, the guy had a lot of trouble getting the wheel back on the bike and finally got it on after he changed gears and seemed to use a lot of force. As I rode away, I noticed that I could no longer change gears and was stuck in high gear. I finished the bike best that I could in a single gear.
When I got home, I took a look at the bike. The guy bent the crap out of the derailleur. I'm going to take it to the bike shop for repair this week.
Obviously they were just trying to help and didn't intentionally do anything wrong, and they didn't charge me anything (beyond the race fee) so maybe its on me to pay for repairs. OTOH, I could have done it myself but figured that they were "professionals" and must know what they are doing, so maybe its on them to pay.
I definitely don't want to be a dick, so I'm interested in other's opinions. You make the call -- who should pay?
If I were in your shoes, I would chalk it up as a learning experience and pay for the repairs. You would have had a better argument had you brought it to the attention of the RD immediately after the race.
Put yourself in their shoes. There is an athlete who complains that his derailleur was damaged by race staff, but doesn't bring it up to anyone's attention until a day or two after the race is over. How do they know that you didn't damage it during the transport home or during a ride after the race is over? How do they know that it wasn't defective prior to the race? How do they know that another athlete didn't damage it accidentally in transition? How do they know that you didn't have a minor crash after the flat that damaged the derailleur? How do they know that you didn't damage it while trying a flying dismount and fell over?
I doubt that the bike crew can validate what you said or remember what happened. You remember what happened because you only had one incident on race day. The bike crew deals with a lot incidents during the race weekend. They not only deal with a lot of flats and other mechanical issues during the race, but they also deal with a lot of bikes before the race. If they can't confirm what you said, how can the RD validate your story?