First a big applause to Rosener and his 4 man team on their 2nd place. Rosener was a beast and kept riding at the beginning so that he could get his laps in and get to work by 2.
Mike and I entered the duo competition and felt very good about our chances. Mike has been jogging a bit and decided he would do the LeMans start. We arrived at Allamuchy around 5:45, checked in, and set up our bootleg hobo tent consisting of a metal frame and tarps that did not quite fit. Upon meeting our neighbors, we were informed that of 12 times the 24 Hours of Allamuchy was ran, it had rained 10 times. Looking at the sky we knew the rain would not deny us today. So over to the start we go. I watch the start and then head back to the "tent" to get ready. The race went off at 7, so people with fast laps would start coming in around 7:30. Hoping for a fast lap from Mike, I went to the transition tent and waited. A few people come through and I hear the promoters saying "Michael Phelan". I assume they are calling the riders a bit further back to help in the transition, so I ask, "Is he coming through?" They ask if I am his teammate and when I tell them I am they tell me he has dislocated his shoulder. So they call the ambulance and send one of the hosts to go find him.
I am not to concerned since Mike dislocates a shoulder every year. In the interest of telling the story and using some good literary effects, I will continue with Mikes story. So some other racers stopped to help him and he decided he had to start walking or he would pass out. Not to mention he had about 1.5 miles to walk until the fire road where the ambulance could get him. So the ambulance arrives to pick up Mike and they help him in with his two dislocated shoulders. When the EMT went to put a sling on his right shoulder it popped back in. The left popped back in thanks to a pot hole. So he continues on to the hospital for X rays. At the hospital he takes of his jersey (did not get cut off) and his red old school see through Rutgers bibs. Well, with red tights on it is hard to notice the blood coming out of you hip. So six stitches later, that is fixed. Assorted other scrapes and some Percaset and Mike wants to get back to the race (if it weren't for the stitches possibly ripping open, he probably would have kept racing). How did this all happen?
Recently I had been telling Mike that he needs to go faster on downhill if he wants to win. On the first lap he was sitting 4th in line at the front with the eventual Solo winner, and the two Spot teams that would tie for first in the duo competition. He tell me he was going close to 25 mph. Whatever speed he was going he hit a small rock hard enough to taco his wheel (the wheel he was borrowing from me, so my broken wheel count is at 2 in 2 races). A tacoed wheel usually ends in a endo and this was no exception. So 3 minutes later, the next racer comes through (maybe not three, but a long time). Mike walks out of the woods with someone kind enough to walk his bike out (his bike with no problems other than the wheel). He tells the promoters via radio that I am to keep racing.
8:04 and they let me start. I go flying through the trail passing many a folk and not realizing that I have 11 more hours of this. The first lap was like riding through a river. The rain started around 7:30 and the trail was flowing with water. I hit the fire road and see the ambulance driving up ahead and start chasing. Not the best race move, but I wanted to wave to Mike, so I caught the ambulance. I'm not sure what team they were racing for, but they had some great blocking tactics. Finally we got to a wider section and the 5 of us stuck behind went around. I do two more unpleasant laps and decide I need food. I went with the Ted special and a bagel (figuring the donut would hit first and then the bagel). I enter lap four and am still feeling good. Unfortunately the rain had stopped and the course dried out slightly. The mud had turned to cyclocross style peanut butter mud and every pedal stroke was an effort. I get to the downhill before the fire road and am stuck behind two people. Looking at them I know they are going to fall. I hit this hill to fast on the second lap and and wiped out into the mud. The first guy goes down and the second guy crashes to the left of him. I somehow manage to float through the gap between them and get to the fire road. I decide to do my fifth lap and the condition were either ridiculous wet or wet and peanut buttery (not sure which).
After lap five, they tell me that Mike is back, so I head to the tent. I take a short break and head out again. Mike decides to make coffee and pasta for us. After lap six my body is done. I stopped for too long and am now trembling with cold. I eat the pasta that has been prepared for me and sit around for a little under an hour wanting to put on warm clothes. But I have to finish and cannot afford myself such luxury. I head back out for a lap around 4PM. Immediately my thighs are being chaffed by the muddy chamois. Eventually I stop feeling it. This is the pain lap. Every pedal stroke hurts, but I am still powering through mud. I have been able to maintain my brake, but have neglect cleaning the mud off my bike since it just keeps appearing. Most of the race my bike had 5 to 10 pounds of mud on it. I stop to shake off some mud and give a push to Tyler (the 12 year old single speed kid) to keep him from falling. I hop back on and at some point am walking up a hill behind Mark Vittori (Fat Marc) and another single speeder. I don't feel so bad since these guys are in the lead and bad ass.
So the pasta must've kicked in because I decide to do another lap. I'm sure Charlie can tell you the amazing power of hot pasta. On lap 8 I am almost at the fire path and my bike is caked in mud. It tears my derailleur back, which in turn grabs a spoke and rips it out of the rim with part of the rim still attached (so the broken wheel count is at 3 in 2 races) I am able to wrap the spoke around another spoke and get the derailleur (which has provided me between 1 and 2 gears on the last 4 laps) back into place. I get to the start/finish with enough time to start and finish another lap, but I am in no position to win and don't feel like trashing another bike so I stop my race.
The final count is 9 laps as a team and 8 done by me. If I had been riding solo and actually in the mindset, I could have squeezed in 3 or 4 more laps (enough for a podium), but oh well. The promoters were very proud of me for my "heroics" and were very impressed with Mikes rapid recovery. They invited us to ride Allamuchy with them, so we will be heading out there once Mikes stitches are out (come join us).