Moab MUniFest training series

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

Hope to see y’all there!

Mike on Moab Rim

Winter MUni

Another winter day in the Bay Area. Ricardo and I did one of the most epic MUni rides done in Oakland, starting down at Dimond Park, riding all the way up (with a lot of uphill challenges), doing some extra loops to try chutes at the meadow (extremely slippery because of leaf litter, lots of fun slideouts), and then challenging each other to get down the trails with as few dismounts as possible. (Six for me, seven for Ricardo to the bottom).

We’d been tied for Best Biff, but Ricardo took the title on the stairs in Dimond Canyon. I hate stairs.

Dimond/Joaquin Miller loop

Dimond/Joaquin Miller loop

Full set of pics

Back to Joaquin Miller

On a gorgeous December day we were back in Joaquin Miller, showing around our new friend Pete, who’s ridden south from Seattle, unsupported, and is planning to go all the way to South America once his unicycle frame gets fixed. He came out on his first-ever MUni ride and kicked butt out there, riding an amazing amount of stuff and finishing with Best Biff (and second and third best biff, for that matter). We ran into old friend Sam, who’s now coaching the Oakland composite high school mountain biking team.

We rode the new Cinderella alignment (boring on the way down, climbable on the way up), hooked it up with the bottom of Castle Park (loose but a little easier than it used to be), Chaparral, Sunset, and Big Trees. Classic big day in Oaktown.

Josh on Castle Park

Joaquin Miller MUni

Joaquin Miller MUni

Marc on Big Trees

Full set of pics


Ice MUni at Rockville

On a chilly Sunday morning, Josh suggested we head up to Rockville Hills Park. For future reference, the fact that it’s hotter there in the summer doesn’t mean it’s hotter in the winter. We saw a lot of frost and some trail sections which were well frozen, even in the afternoon.

Of course, it’s impossible to be cold riding MUni, so after we cranked up the main trail, we shucked the jackets and rode the rest of the day plenty warm, beautiful riding weather, really. I won Best Biff on a slip-and-slide down an icy granite face on Cave Trail. (Ricardo tried to top me on Cascade Trail but the judges leaned my way because they’re tired of giving it to him.)

On the way in, Josh cleaned Rock Gardens top to bottom, making him likely the first person to accomplish that feat. I made it most of the way but there are a couple of ups near the end which seem implausible without hopping.

Josh on the skinny

The rock chute

Frost on Cave Trail

Coming down Rock Gardens

Full set of pics

Basketball location change: Hearst Gym

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.

Back to Napa

We had so much fun at MUni Weekend that we went up to do it again. It was a gorgeous autumnal two-sport day. We hit the rock gardens on Lower Skyline on the way up, Manzanita on the way down, and then did most of the disc golf course as the sun started down. It was fun and relatively uneventful; we’d have to stretch to come up with a Best Biff, and at disc golf we had just one disk hunt. Glad to get out there before the rains come, not that the rains will stop us from doing MUni.

Josh playing in the rock garden

Autumnal MUni

Descending through the leaves

California MUni Weekend

We had a beautiful weekend up in the wine country, with great people, great riding, great disc golf, and a great party. Riders spanned from Michael, on his first-ever MUni ride (and his second and third), to Mike and John who were at the first CA MUni Weekend in 1996. No real injuries (though Kevin got a cut on his chin doing a superman faceplant, Best Biff for the weekend), no major mechanicals, just a lot of fun riding.

Friday (Napa Skyline Wilderness Park)

Buckeye Trail

Water feature on Lake Marie Road

Manzanita Trail

Disc golf

Saturday (Rockville Hills Park)

Upper Tilley Trail

Cascade Trail

Rock Gardens chute

Sunday (Annadel State Park)

North Burma trail

Rock Gardens trail

Rock Gardens trail

Thanks to everyone who showed up, it was a blast!

Full set of pics




Final MUni Weekend pre-ride

We went up to Annadel for our last scouting ride for California MUni Weekend (next weekend! Registration $10 in advance, $20 on site, get signed up now!). Finding: It rocks! And it has rocks, tons of them, all the way up, all the way along the ridge, and all the way down. Should be a really fun ride and a great way to end the weekend (well, not counting the pool party afterwards).

I won Best Biff trying to get up and over a boulder (chest-plant), though Josh tried to beat me by Supermanning over the last rock on the trail.

It should be a great weekend; hope y’all can make it, and thanks to Chris and Josh for helping scout.

Chris in the rocks

Josh dancing

Josh one-footing the skinny

Chris is not impressed

Josh in the wash

Full set of pics

MUni Weekend scouting expedition

Ricardo and I (along with Nancy and Rich hiking) went up to scout the main venue for California MUni Weekend (October 11-13, be there!). We’ve ridden at Napa Skyline Park a few times, but we still have a lot to explore. On this trip we discovered that:

  • Buckeye is a nice, challenging climb which would be a fun downhill for intermediate riders
  • Lower Skyline is not quite as technical as Upper Skyline, but has one really tough rock garden section and the whole thing looks good
  • Manzanita Trail is really, really fun

We’re putting a climb on Buckeye and a climb/descent on Manzanita on the route for CMW.

After Ricardo won Best Biff again, we learned a new dance where you alternately grab all of the injuries you’ve had over the past month (side, butt, hip, shoulder). Hey, Macarena!

Ricardo on Upper Skyline

Ricardo on Manzanita

Ricardo on Manzanita

Full set of pics