Saturday, October 22, 2005

All-A-Muchy 50k

30miles through Allamuchy NJ. It was fun, painful and downright death at times. Picture a 30mile race through Case Mt. in CT or Mount A. in ME without ever doubling back on itself. That is what Allamuchy was like. Rock gardens galore coupled with 12 straight days of rain equals one tough race. I'm sure once things dry the place begs for a nice epic all day ride.

I decided to subject myself to a lot of pain and race my singlespeed (besides, I broke a few things on the Scapel last weekend at Ringwood). The race began with a Le-Mans start running about 40yards up a grassy knoll. Tim and I got to our bikes together. We then joined everyone else in a nice line as we flew down the gravel/dirt road past our cars and the registration table. Tim, his Cannondale teammate Brandon, 'Fast Eddie' (local NJ pro) lead the group and I was back in 8th or 10th. About a mile in we hung a left and began the long arduous climb up the mountain. It was a good couple miles before we got to the top. Eddie, Brandon and Tim put the hammer down and took off. I just tried to survive with my steep gear ratio (32x16) and lower back in throbbing pain. Three quarters up I lost traction and had to run a bit. This other singlespeeder passed me and I never saw him again until the finish. I should have had his 33x18 gear ratio.

Got to the top and kept chugging along. The first 15 miles felt like forever and I was riding like a pussy. The rock gardens ate me alive and I had no traction through the mud. I kept sliding as I went over the down trees and lost my bike on two slippery rock faces. My low gear ratio made it difficult to pedal through the puddles and the ground was so wet it felt like glue. I was cursing everything; the trail, the bike, the water, the rocks. I didn't want to be there. Somehow, after about two hours of hell, I got to the aide station at mile 15. Had some soda and m&ms. Spent probably about a minute or two there. The volunteers kept saying "The next 15 are even tougher". I looked at my chain and lack of derailleurs and thought "Fuck. I'm going to die."

The next five miles were mostly up hill and chock full of... yup, you guessed it... rocks. That destroyed my momentum and I wound up running a lot. It took me nearly an hour. Somewhere in there I came across this one rider with a Santa Cruz SuperLight. He was cheering me on as I muscled up this short climb and then he realized I was on a singlespeed. "Way to go. Way to go. God Damn. A Fucking singlespeed?" It was pretty funny. That was the reaction I got from just about everyone, riders and spectators/volunteers.

By mile 20 things started clicking and I was actually riding smart, and fast. Kept sipping the Camelbag and was popping an energy gel about every 30mins or so. The trail also got a bit easier. Less rocks and more trail to actually pedal through. I was around 13th or 14th place overall by then. Where I could, I pedaled hard and actually started to have fun. I think it also helped that I had ten miles to go. No one passed me again. As the finish line approached we wound up coming down the switchbacks and the climb from the beginning of the race. I passed a guy on the side of the trail screaming in pain as his legs were cramping. My biceps were cramping but I somehow was able to alleviate any issues with my last few energy gels. My legs felt great.

The last few miles were such a tease 'cause you could see and hear the road we parked near but we still had to go back and forth two times along the road before we got to the finish. I came around one turn into some mud and my front tire just stopped short and somehow I saved myself from going over the 'bars.. The wheel was in mud up to the hub. I was cursing.. Knew I was so close yet I'm still encountering mud and now my disc brakes didn't work anymore thanks to rapid wear with the sludge (alleviated once I re-adjust the cables).

Agh ha! Finish line in sight and after some high cadence pedaling I was done! I quickly got out of the disgusting wet shorts and put some dry warm clothes on. In the end Eddie took 1st (around 3hrs 15mins), Tim 2nd, Brandon 3rd and I finished 12th (4hrs 7mins) out of 100 or so racers. I'm stoked. It was tough but I did well and didn't have any mechanicals!

So that marks the end of my racing season. I still can't believe how it turned out. First year racing Expert and I've been on the podium a few times. I'm excited and eager for next season. Now that I've spent about a week off the bike I think I'm going to go for a ride tomorrow and kick myself to go to the gym two nights a week and slowly ramp up the base miles throughout the winter. Oh yea, Gotta go snowboarding too.


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