We were contacted last year by Christina, who works for AJC Children’s Foundation, an NGO which runs a school in San Francisco de Yojoa, Honduras. Someone gave a unicycle to the kids at the school, and several of them learned to ride and were really excited about it (as they should be!). Christina wanted someone to help her get more unis for the kids.
We worked with the California Unicycle Association, and Unicycle Latinoamérica to donate three new unicycles to the program. And now a bunch of the kids are riding and doing parades! We’re hoping to see them at a future U Games.
A group of us pitched in at the Prescott Circus volunteer day on Friday. Jimbo and I provided some instruction on unicycle maintenance, and Dragon built juggling balls and painted stilts. In the end, Prescott wound up with 12 more working unicycles. Good luck with them, kids!
The newly revived Moab MUniFest is coming up, March 21-23. This has traditionally been the premier mountain unicycling event in the world, drawing over 200 riders the last year it ran. And it’s easy to see why; Moab is a beautiful place, with amazing riding for people of any level. The group will range from expert riders like Kris Holm to people who are just doing their first real MUni ride. It’s a great community event, and there are plenty of outdoor opportunities for friends and family who aren’t part of the uni crowd; some people hike along with the ride or rent bikes, or just go visit the two spectacular national parks outside of town (Arches and Canyonlands).
As anyone who has ridden there can tell you, the trails at Moab are long and strenuous. If you want to do three days of riding, or even two, you’ll need to build up your stamina. With that in mind, I’m running a Moab training ride series, starting this weekend and leading up to the event in March. There will be rides every weekend, sometimes two in one weekend to work on recovery.
We’ll start with easy, non-technical trails to encourage beginners to get out and build up their MUni skills. We’ll work up to longer rides to develop endurance, interspersed with increasingly difficult, technical rides to work on skills. Whether you’re going to Moab or not, this series is a great opportunity to have some fun and improve your riding and fitness.
Here’s the current schedule. All rides will go on regardless of weather, though the location may change on wet days. Dates and locations are subject to change, but there should be at least one ride every weekend until the event. Rides will typically meet at my place at 9:30 AM; make sure you’re on the mailing list to see any updates.
Jan 11 (Sat): Crash the BTCEB Gala Ride at Rockville Hills Park
Jan 12 (Sun): Beginner’s ride in Joaquin Miller
Jan 19 (Sun): Easy ride
Jan 25 (Sat): Longer, non-technical ride in China Camp
Feb 1 (Sat): Intermediate ride with technical features
Feb 9 (Sun): Intermediate ride in Joaquin Miller, focus on technical trails
Feb 15 (Sat): Longer intermediate ride with technical features at Annadel
Feb 23 (Sun): Dimond/Joaquin Miller climb and descent, strenuous
Mar 1 (Sat): Road trip to Soquel Demo Forest, long ride with technical features
Mar 8 (Sat): Short ride in Joaquin Miller focused on fun
Mar 9 (Sun): Rockville Hills technical expedition
Mar 15 (Sat): Mount Tam loop, long, strenuous ride
Mar 21-23: Moab MUniFest
Starting this Tuesday, the Cal Juggling Club has helped us obtain an indoor venue for basketball. We’ll be in the Hearst Gymnasium on the Cal campus, near the tennis courts on Bancroft Avenue. Enter from the side nearest the courts; if the folks at the desk ask you, tell them you’re with the Cal Juggling Club. The gym is upstairs.
No metal pedals, and non-marking tires only.
If you’re interested in basketball, make sure you’re on the hoops mailing list. We won’t be able to get this venue every week (for example, the campus is closed over the holidays), so we’ll send out mail each week about where we’re meeting. We should be able to do most of the rainy season inside, which will be great.
Mike and I are slackers on Friday afternoon, so we’ve been getting some nice bonus MUni rides in while the park is empty. Mike cleaned Chaparral from the top of the rocky section, and I got the furthest I’ve ever gotten on Two Dollar Hill (about one pedal revolution further).
I said I was done with Kinetic Sculpture posts, but we just got the final results, which confirmed what I suspected; Cyclops finished first in overall elapsed time, coming in just one minute faster than the race’s other eye-related sculpture, Private Eyes. Private Eyes aced the course, however, which means they won the speed award. Cyclops finished the three-day stage race in 9:13 (14:13 after 5-hour non-Ace penalty), while Private Eyes came in at 9:14. For comparison, there were 10 sculptures with 35 hours of race time or more, and while #3 in speed was only a few minutes behind at 9:21, #4 was a good ways back at 11:23.
Cyclops also finished in the top 10 in pageantry, with 17 of a possible 25 points, thanks to the efforts of The Other Wheels.
Day 3 starts with another water entry, this time directly off the beach and across the mouth of the Eel River. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the race; I saw several harbor seals out in the water, and on the other end you get to pilot up a narrow slough to the sound of twittering birds. Once again, being in a water craft helped me immensely; the sand bar was pretty high, which led to many sculptures, and the Humboldt County search and rescue boat getting stuck. They wound up closing the water crossing and sending people on roads across Fernbridge; only four sculptures made it across the water. I was first out by at least half an hour.
After the transition back to roads, it was an easy ride to the fairgrounds, where we took some off-clock time for a snack and a bit of pageantry practice. A quick roll into downtown Ferndale to the glorious finish and we were done. We got to take a closer look at the rest of the sculptures; I hadn’t had time to take many pictures while we were out on the course. Really great art this year, I thought.
Day 2 starts with a water entry, which was a bit glorious. The plan was to ride down the ramp holding the kayak on my head, which I’ve managed to do before, but this day there were strong winds. My first attempt I had the kayak balanced wrong and came off immediately; my second attempt I made it sketchily almost all the way down, but eventually the kayak in the wind pulled me too far sideways and I came off just short of the water. I was able to dump the kayak right side up into the water; I heard later that people thought I had planned the whole thing.
Once in the water, I was in fine shape; unlike most of the entries, I have an actual water craft, and I passed probably a dozen struggling sculptures on my way to the take-out. A quick transition back to the road set us out on our 18-mile trek, the longest segment in the race. Weather was fairly nice but breezy; I had some struggles with crosswinds. The Other Wheels tried to break wind for me, but I was taller and had a bigger wind profile than they did, so I mostly just had to deal with it. The Larry tire definitely helped a lot; the Endomorph I’ve ridden previously was terrible at dealing with cambered roads or side winds.
We kept it moving and rolled into camp mid-afternoon, as the second or third sculpture in. The wind died down around dusk, allowing for the usual big party and bonfire that evening.