With the doctor telling me to resume normal workouts and such and feeling pretty decent prior to the 909 race, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and give it a go. I didn't know how my top end would be with a full race effort but I wanted to feel normal again and get out there. My plan was to give it what I had and if my body gave me any ill effects I would pull the plug and pedal easy to the finish or DNF if I had to. With that contingency plan and a big wad of extra tape on my seatpost(to keep my thin blood in if I had a bad fall) I decided to line up and lay it down.
I had an amazing day from the start. Once I got to the park I picked up my number and was sitting on the line again all was right in the world. I know it has only been 3 weeks since I was in the hospital for my blood clot but I didn't think I'd see the mtb any more this season. Seeing all my friends out there again was a very good feeling. It was nice just to be there and however the race unfolded was a bonus.
So from the start as we hit the uphill drag race I figured I'd punch it and see how it goes and I rounded the scoring tent in 3rd wheel. As we got through the first singletrack I was 2nd wheel, and by the first really tight and windy singletrack I was 1st wheel. Ok so things weren't going too badly. So I kept a decent pace but soon realized I wasn't 100%. I didn't feel bad but my top end was not there and probably because my lung isn't fully healed. I don't think I was absorbing enough oxygen like I normally do. Anyway, that aside, I start to ease back as John Arias and Ross got Anderson came by and over one of the next ledges my bike ghost shifts like it did the whole first part of the lap(gotta love that) and my chain explodes. Not only did it separate but the pin from the open end was lodged in the other end of the chain. So I had to chase the pins out of both ends and after I dropped the quick links like 5 times I was back on the chase after probably 4 minutes of fixing it(After some research it seems it was over 5 minutes, my GPS recorded 2:18 and my finish time was 2:23 according to scorekeeping). By this time I think I was in dead last or close as EVERYONE passed me.
So now the race started again. It was like a severely penalized slow motion start. I had to stay steady and pick off as many as I could one by one and that's what I did. I wouldn't say I was riding fast but I was riding well, consistent, and felt really comfortable out there. I was climbing hard but really couldn't recover like I normally could. In the past I felt I could give it all I had on a climb and then crest recover and go again. Not so much this time. That was the biggest difference I felt. So I rode to my new limit and I passed when I could and could have used one more lap as I didn't realize the group ahead of me was so close. I chased back up to 9th of 22 starters I believe.
Looking back over the results, and riding how I did should have put me in 5th place or maybe even 4th if my chain had not failed. So that's the most promising bit. If I can get this engine fired up again I'll be in good shape. Plus it doesn't help that after my embolism, my diet has not been the best. I did this race a full 10 lbs heavier than I've been racing regularly. That had an effect as well I'm sure. That's changing as we speak. The diet is on lockdown and the pounds will be shedding ASAP.
All in all a truly amazing day, race, and scene all together. Thanks so much for all the well wishes and everyone for checking up on me to make sure I was ok. I think we even had a little gentlemen's agreement on the line that if anybody saw me die out there they would sprint ahead for help...lol. I knew there was a lot of love in the group.