My day started at 2:30 am with a nice alarm and a restless night's sleep. By 3 my pancakes were made and by 3:15 the car was loaded. By 4 I met up with my teammate and his girl and we were off to worlds. Our race was at 8 am and we needed to get there to pick up our numbers and transponders and warm up to take the line. We arrived at 6 with plenty of time to do all of the above but somehow things took longer than anticipated and the warmup suffered. Ok not such a big deal. We had 4 - 3.5 mile laps and a field of around 50 or so. I figured that the first lap would be hot but I'd warm up through the race and things would heat up later.
The start comes and we're off. My legs weren't ready so I took a nice consistent pace and settled into the first climb in 15th. I wasn't worried as there was lots of climbing and I'd knew I'd get a bunch more spots on the steep ups. The plan was working nicely. By the end of lap one I was 9th and gaining ground as those that went out too fast faded. A few passed and I got a few back and now I was sitting about 7th with the lead group not far off. I figure I'd stay strong and pick more off when I could and I was feeling alright. Signs were good for a great race. The downhill came on the 2nd lap and something didn't agree with my rear tire. I had just made a great pass to get that 7th spot and drilled the downhill. I had a big gap for the next climb where I was hoping to get some more spots but that was not to be today. My tire was flat. It still had some pressure as I took the wheel off so I blasted it with co2 and put it back on for it to make it 200 feet further before it was down again.
So now I throw a tube in there and fill the tire. Great, now it wouldn't go back on easily. I fiddle and curse at the tire a bit and it finally goes in. So I jump back in and start lap 3 WAAAAAAAAAAAY behind. I was now probably last or close to it. I lost a ton of time with both wheel fixes. Whatever. I set my mind to it and ramp it up and get back out there. I pick off a bunch of riders in my group as well as others and start making a nice pace just to save face. It was nowhere near the ride I had been throwing down earlier but at least I'd finish and save face and maybe beat a few people. That worked well until the downhill of lap 3. Flat #3 Mother F'R!!! I was really pissed this time and audibly yelling in the woods. So once again I took a few more minutes to fix my tire and got rolling again. The tire was at about 50 psi this time so I figured it wouldn't blow. If it did I was running.
So I get to the start of lap 4 and I knew my teammate Lucky passed me as I had the flat so my new goal was to gap up to him and finish this dreaded race. On the first climb I hit it hard and no Lucky. Second climb - no Lucky. Damn he was riding well. Third climb - no lucky - 4th no lucky. The final climb to the top. There's my bitch :-) I saw him and laid it down. Closed it down on the climb and there was no one around us. At this point we both just wanted to finish so we rode smooth through the remaining course and went on to finish this dreaded race. He was having a blast and I had a miserable day so we rolled to the line him a length ahead of me. 35th and 36th of 42 finishers reportedly. So at least I wasn't DFL.
I was disappointed on one hand but excited on the other. My lung felt a whole lot better today and I was climbing well. My recovery felt better than the 909 race and that should set me up nicely for the Blue Mtn race. Race efforts have been the only time I've felt the effects of the embolism and they seem to be dwindling. I've got some gas in store and some pent up frustration to let out at Blue. It's going to be throw down time. 2 more weeks of recovery and efforts will set up nice for the remainder of the H2H season.