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Alla-mucho-mud (aka 24 hours of Allamuchy)

TreeSaw

Mama Monkey
Oct 30, 2003
16,689
472
Dancin' over rocks n' roots!
Well, this past weekend, as unprepared as I was, I decided to compete in the 24 hours of Allamuchy. The race is held at a Boy Scout Camp in Stanhope, NJ & offers riders the chance to test their technical skills out for 24 hours. This year's 10.5 mile course wound through the woods of Mt. Allamuchy & featured rock garden after rock garden interspersed w/log crossing of varying sizes, mud, mud & more mud & a few stream crossings. While the race promoters consider the course to be entirely singletrack, I tend to think the majority of the course is double-track w/a few spots of singletrack. Regardless, the course is tough & just about all of it is in the woods, which is a huge plus in my book. The weather was a huge factor in this year's event (as usual). The heat index was well over 100 on Sat. & it was so hot/humid that it was almost foggy during the day.

Our campsite for the weekend:



Here Mike & I are getting ready to head over to the starting line while his son Jonah gives us some last minute tips.


This race doesn't have a LeMan's style start. Instead, they have an "on the bike" start & everyone starts with their class at a designated time. First off were the 2person teams at 12pm; at 12:01 came the 4person teams; 12:02 the 5person teams; 12:03 the soloists & 12:04 were the corporate teams & any of the 100+ soloists that weren't going out to turn a super fast lap. I went out for my first lap promising Earl to take it easy & drink all of my camelbak so I started at 12:04 with a bunch of other soloists & the corporate teams.

Me at the back of the starting line where the other soloists were starting to arrive.


The start was crazy!!!



There were so many bikers I wasn't sure how it was going to space out enough for the singletrack in less than a mile. I wasn't too worried so I just turned my pace & hit the singletrack in good time. There are several log crossings throughout the course, most of which have "go arounds", but I chose the log lines because few people were using them & it was a great opportunity to have a little fun & get in front of a few riders. I passed quite a few people in the first 2mi. by hitting the logs & being able to ride through the first couple of rockgardens cleanly while they were off their bikes fighting for footing in the mud. As promised, I stopped @ the aid station & drank some cold Heed before finishing out my lap. Earl had warned me about this insane rock garden climb (if any of you have ever ridden Spier Falls, it's very similar to the Mystery Trail & doesn't seem to end). He told me that there would be a climb that would start out climbable & then I would want to cry at the next switchback & finally, at the last switchback I would just laugh because it was that insane of a climb...he wasn't lying & I knew exactly where he meant when I saw it! After that climb there is a very short (WAY too short in my book) & very technical decent w/a tricky drop that Earl didn't warn me about (so I wouldn't get nervous & hit my brakes endo-ing badly). I am actually glad he didn't warn me because I was hauling down the decent when I hit it & panicked in the air, but managed to land a long ways down the transition & get a cheer from the 2 guys riding behind me. After that, there are still 2 more miles that include a long stream crossing (where the photographer was) & a brutal 1/2mi. rock garden that caught my ankles on just about every lap. I finally made it into the campground for the final mile of the course & met with several campers’ cheers into the transition area. I decided to drink plenty of gatorade, rest & eat a PB&J before heading out for a second lap in the heat.

Coming in from lap 1:


Artsy shot of the starting line.


Heading out for Lap 2:


My second lap was a bit slower than my first as I was starting to feel a little tired & my head was starting to ache. Fearing that I was going to bonk, I slowed down, took it easy & upped my fluid intake. There were either fewer riders out on the course now or we were just much more spread out over the course because I rode alone for quite a while & only got passed a couple of times & actually passed a couple of people too. My lap finished & I decided to shower & rest before heading out again in the cooler evening/night. Evening brought little relief from the heat (I think it got down into the 80s) but it did bring in the storms. Around 7:30-8pm the first round of t-storms came through with lots of thunder & lightening, but not too much rain. That all changed ~9pm when round two came through & dumped tons of rain on us, in addition to an impressive lightening display & loud cracks of thunder. This set of storms lasted for about 3 1/2 hours.

Coming in from lap 2:



After 12:30am, it stopped raining & more fog rolled in, but it was time for me to do another lap, so I got dressed and headed out a little after 1am.


This race used electronic chips that you had to wear on your right wrist & scan twice at the start of each lap and again & the finish of your lap. Here I am scanning in for my 3rd lap.


Off I go:


I was one of only 5 or 6 people out on the course at this time. The amazing part was that the majority of the riders out on this lap were women!!! Two guys had gone out at the same time as me & I followed them up the first climb & watched them ride off into the woods, leaving me behind. Laura passed me at about mile 3, she was on the Specialized 2 person co-ed team that won the race, & another woman who was on a 5-person co-ed team passed me just before the aide station. It’s really quiet & dark when you’re the only one in the woods within sight & it’s definitely eerie when you watch the lightening come in, knowing you can’t outrun the storm. It was tough going through the now deeper mud holes & seeing through the fog was another story. To top that off, another round of thunderstorms came through mid-lap (about mile 7) & drenched me while lighting up the woods w/lightening & thunder. I finally made it back to the transition area & to my campsite where Sq-Earl was just finishing preparing me a bowl of oatmeal. He took one look at my bike & me and we decided to wait out the rest of the storm until morning when we could assess the damage to my drivetrain. I ate some oatmeal & drank some Gatorade before showering & bed. I was so glad to have the women's showers right across from our campsite. The cold water felt so good after the hot & steamy day laps & I was surprised that I was actually a little chilly after being caught in the downpour on my lap so I chose a warm shower this time. I really can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to shower & clean off the salty sweat and mud…it really made a huge difference in my desire to go out & do another lap. After showering and eating and hydrating I took a little rest and check out the scoreboard. I was up to 5th place!!!

I decided I would rather not risk running out of lights on another night lap & would go out again in the morning. I got up, got into my clothes and found Sq-Earl had already cleaned up my bike, lubed my chain and after some breakfast & coffee, I headed out on what I knew would be my last lap.



I knew I didn’t have another lap in me so I took my time & tried to clean the entire course. I worked hard to make it through the muddy rock gardens & managed to crash a couple of times. At one point, my rear wheel completely stopped spinning & I thought I had broken something. Upon further inspection, I realized that the space between my rear wheel & the rear triangle of my bike (from the chainstays to my seatstays) was packed solid w/mud & that’s why my wheel wouldn’t spin. So, I dug the mud out & continued to spin along the course. After a couple more mud cleaning stops, I finally made it to the top of the ridiculous hill & knew that the worst was over. Well, I thought I knew. Near the end of the course, there is a really large mudhole (w/a swamp along the left hand side). Well, that mud hole had gotten deep….scary deep. The mud was just above the hubs on my bike when I got into it so I stood up and gave every pedal my all! The down-stroke of my pedals left my feet under the water/mud too!!! I was so amazed that I made it through without stopping. I can’t even imagine how deep it would have been if I had to step off my bike…I may have been swallowed up for good. The next stream crossing was a relief and helped to clean some of the amazing amounts of mud off of my bike so that I could finish the next mile & a half. While I was out on my final lap, Sq-Earl packed up the entire campsite & was waiting for me in the campground just before the finish line to take my picture and bring me in…he really is awesome!!!


After finishing my lap, I realized that none of the other women had gone out to do any more laps after my late night lap so I had moved up a position into 4th. Overall, I am pleased w/my performance. I believe that I can do better with training, but I’m having way too much fun playing w/Syd to really train at an elite level. Instead, I will continue to push myself to do better little by little & keep on riding so long as I am having fun.
 

TreeSaw

Mama Monkey
Oct 30, 2003
16,689
472
Dancin' over rocks n' roots!
I forgot to mention in my report…while all the racers were out on lap 1, the race photographer was making his way out to a nice stream crossing to get some shots of racers coming through at about mile 8.5. Well, on his way out there, walking down the trail he spooked a 300+ pound black bear! And, instead of panicking, he decided to take it’s picture!!! Thankfully, I didn’t have the opportunity to introduce myself to any bears along the course this year.

If you’re interested in checking out the race photographer’s pictures, they can be found here: ImageExtreme Link


The Aftermath of the final lap…my bike just before it’s bath at home.


 

TreeSaw

Mama Monkey
Oct 30, 2003
16,689
472
Dancin' over rocks n' roots!
Nice job T ! about how long time wise was each lap taking ? and did the suspend the race during Lightining ?
Well, Wiley turned at 1:07 or something like that, but most of the normal day laps times were about an hour and a half after the rains, they slowed down even more though as the mud got deeper. No stopping the race due to the storms, bear or heat or anything.
 

NJ Jess

Monkey
Sep 23, 2006
129
0
mtbnj.com
Hi Treesaw,...I thought that was you. I recognized the Luna chix uniform on your last lap. You road past our camp site 5 across from the mens shower. I cheered for you, but you were pretty well focused on pedaling. It was a very tough race. The rain was awful. Some of the women on the trail during the nights thunderstorm were our Teambulldog/Campmor 5 women team. We were having so much fun in the mud,...we were doing doubles. Crazy,..but fun. We ended up with 3rd place in the 5 person cad,...with all the teams consisting of 4 men and 1 women. We love our dirty jersey rocks and mud, but then we also do a lot of Trail Maintenance too. I do hope we can actually ride together some time. I know what you mean about training for "elite" riding. I just moved up to Expert and did my first expert race at Blue Mt wmba.org. It took me 5 hours to do 28 miles,...auuughhhh. I'm still recovering, but now we have beautiful Autumn weather riding,....the Best!
 

TreeSaw

Mama Monkey
Oct 30, 2003
16,689
472
Dancin' over rocks n' roots!
Hi Treesaw,...I thought that was you. I recognized the Luna chix uniform on your last lap. You road past our camp site 5 across from the mens shower. I cheered for you, but you were pretty well focused on pedaling. It was a very tough race. The rain was awful. Some of the women on the trail during the nights thunderstorm were our Teambulldog/Campmor 5 women team. We were having so much fun in the mud,...we were doing doubles. Crazy,..but fun. We ended up with 3rd place in the 5 person cad,...with all the teams consisting of 4 men and 1 women. We love our dirty jersey rocks and mud, but then we also do a lot of Trail Maintenance too. I do hope we can actually ride together some time. I know what you mean about training for "elite" riding. I just moved up to Expert and did my first expert race at Blue Mt wmba.org. It took me 5 hours to do 28 miles,...auuughhhh. I'm still recovering, but now we have beautiful Autumn weather riding,....the Best!
Hey there. I was looking for you out on the course and cheered for you ladies (finishing 3rd in a male-dominated category) :) I'd love to try to get together and ride too...my schedule's crazy, but maybe we can work it out.