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  • #91
    Originally posted by LanceB View Post
    I wonder if having preliminary heats and qualifying trials would be useful to narrow the field of finalists. Do they ever do that?
    Yes and no. Some events are built as qualifiers, which works in terms of that. This is the standard way of doing it (now) for Track racing, where everybody competes by age, and then the top 8 (depending on the track) riders later compete head to head for the world title in each event.

    This year the same was done in the Downhill, where everybody who rode the "Advanced" course had a shot at qualifying. The riders with top times later raced again, though not head to head due to the nature of the course. These finals, if scheduled ahead of time, have the potential to be very spectator-friendly events because they are a rare chance to see the very top riders compete against each other.

    But for the most part there's no good way to rank riders before they arrive at Unicon. Some countries might have the infrastructure to do this, but most don't. It has frequently been done for Freestyle and certain other events however, because those take a certain amount of time per competitor and they need a way to keep it within reasonable amounts. Sometimes this is just done by the host country (such as Japan, when Unicon was hosted there), or for all visiting countries. It is up to the country's national organization, if any, to figure out the method for this.

    Originally posted by tholub View Post
    If you look back at the stated purpose of IUF, which includes attempting to make unicycling an Olympic sport, it might make sense for IUF to encourage countries to have qualifying competitions, and make Unicon a real world championship. That would make the event much smaller, and different than what it's been. That's why being clear about what you're trying to accomplish is important; if you don't have a strategy to align to, those kinds of judgement calls will be made based on politics and whimsy.
    Unicon is a real world championship. It also tries to be more. If it were only an elite-level competition, few people would go and it wouldn't be economically feasible. I agree that the goals should be discussed and put into better focus for future events. But I also believe that for the event to work, and draw big numbers of people, it should be a competition for all, as well as a competition for elite riders, as well as a convention of sorts.
    Originally posted by Pinoclean View Post
    My opinion is there needs to be attempts at putting in qualifying times and a push towards more competition and less convention.
    All we had at Unicon 18 was competition, with virtually no convention. Qualifying times were used, but that's also an imperfect system, as it relies on the competitors themselves to provide the data. I believe they are working on using past data for riders that have been to previous events, which would help.

    But I answered honestly when registering: What was your fastest time in this event? Well, I filled in my fastest time ever for that event, which was maybe in 1989. Not realizing the impact, I ended up in the 2nd start group for the 10k. A little embarrassing, as I'm pretty sure nobody from that group was behind me after the first few km. If asking competitors, they should phrase the question a little better.
    Originally posted by Pinoclean
    When UNICON was smaller and got few riders everyone could take part in track races and it would be over quickly. Now that we have great numbers people competing in events who don't take train for them takes up time for volunteers and makes it harder to get volunteers for events where they are needed.
    While it's been a very long time since Unicon was small enough to finish Track races "quickly", Unicon 18 was probably the biggest Unicon yet, with an unprecented number of riders. Someone said it was 1883 registered? Not sure if that includes non-competitors, but why would they need race numbers? So you're right, something's got to give. If not anything else, perhaps limiting the number of events people can enter, at least by event type.
    Originally posted by Pinoclean
    We either need every person attending to volunteer in a similar number of events that they are competing in, or people to only compete in events they actually take seriously.
    I agree we need to focus on getting people to commit to volunteer time slots. This was offered during registration on the first day, but most people hadn't sorted the schedule yet, so didn't know what they could commit to. This was understandable since the schedule on the website, and in the program book, was essentially useless by that point, and had been replaced with a new one included in peoples' registration packets. People hadn't had a chance to look at them yet.

    But I only partially agree on "taking seriously" of events. This can be interpreted in various ways, but some of the fun of these events is the fact that you participated. Like Cyclocross. Aside from trying to fit too many people on the course at the same time, that event was just fun to do. I'd love to see more events like that. Also, until every country has local or national competitions of IUF-style events, Unicon may be the only chance for people from new areas to learn about these events. This could also be solved by setting a limit on how many people per country can enter, but would at the same time raise the question of how to vet people within each country.
    Originally posted by janvanhulzen View Post
    Will Unicycling ever be an Olympic sport? I think it is unlikely. In 2020 climbing as a sport will have a ticket to appear as an additional event in the olympic games. One of the arguments was "It is also the recognition of the tremendous growth of Sport Climbing in recent years.
    Back when the IUF was conceived (1980-84), the Olympics were in more of a "growth mode". But now they are so full of sports it's understandable that they are reluctant to add new ones. In those last 35 years we have come a long way in establishing unicycling as an actual sport, and vastly increased ridership, but we are still quite tiny. Expecting to solicit for Olympic inclusion in any kind of short term is unrealistic.

    So I don't know if the IUF should redo its mission statement, or just clarify that it's a long-term goal, and not something we're expecting in the next few years (or Unicons). Back when we started, I had hopes of competing in the Olympics. Now I'm 54, and I'm beginning to think I may have missed the boat.
    Originally posted by janvanhulzen
    The reason is financial. I wonder how many people would be willing to travel all the way around the world and pay for an event if they are not allowed to compete, not even in a beginner competition.
    Yup. If people can't play, they won't come. This doesn't mean we have to stick with the exact format we have now, just that people expect to participate. There is room to improve things there.

    One of my favorite Unicon events ever was a non-competitive group Muni ride in Switzerland during Unicon XIII. It was a great group of people, spectacular scenery, overcoming adversity (they wouldn't let us on the train to get up the mountain!) and just a fun outcome for all. One or two busses had been arranged to get us to and from the ends of the ride, and it was an experience I've yet to repeat. I would pay, and travel to Unicon, to do more rides like that.

    Also, we could consider treating the elite-level competitons separately from the everybody-else competitions. While some would require crossover in terms of determining who the finalists would be, others could be treated as standalone events if you already had a group of experts to work with. These events could be scheduled separately, and set up as spectator events. This was done at Unicon 18, to a larger degree and most or all previous Unicons, but not with the separation I'm thinking of. Those events would be less complex to run, because we wouldn't necessarily need to collect such extensive data.
    Originally posted by GizmoDuck View Post
    There was almost no convention at this Unicon.
    Yes, this made me very sad. Several times over the last two years I inquired about workshops and fun rides, including offers to organize things. My response was dead air, so I assumed it was being handled. That's what one gets for assuming. After seeing things in motion, I rather get the impression that the organizing crew were so overwhelmed with setting up all the "required" competition events, venues, schedules and all of that, they knew they didn't have any remaining capacity for "that other stuff" so they didn't even bother. That may be a harsh assessment, but since very little information was coming from the organizing team before we arrived in Donostia, I don't know otherwise. For Unicon 19 I will again offer to help coordinate Workshops and fun rides (anyone who wants to help me would be welcome!).
    Originally posted by tholub View Post
    Since you brought up Unicon XV, I will note that that event had virtually nothing for general public spectators, a roundly derided downhill MUni course that David Weichenberger rode on a 20" gym uni with 89mm cranks, probably the least popular marathon race in Unicon history, and a basketball venue that had switch plate covers in the middle of the floor that would cause the ball to ricochet unpredictably if you hit one. Just to name a few issues that I personally observed.
    Waaaah. If I may rebut, I think Unicon XV was possibly the most spectator-friendly Unicon EVER. Freestyle was set up for actual admission-paying spectators (a first?), the 10k was super-public, but without the traffic problems of this most recent one, and there were many other events held right there in the middle of Wellington that were open to the public, and the press. I didn't notice much press at Unicon 18, though it was such a huge venture, I'm sure I mostly missed them (I did get interviewed for TV at the Marathon, but they didn't ask anything about me; just my impressions of the event).

    XV Downhill course: I remember a big protest against changes made to the course. I thought the final one was still sufficiently challenging. Though I don't know why Tony Melton's original course was not used, there may have been a necessary reason. And yes, I know I'm a wuss when it comes to extreme downhill riding; I'm not basing it on my personal tastes!

    XV Marathon: I never heard people complain about the course, other than that it was hard. There have been six Unicon full marathons, starting with Unicon XIII. I rode in the first four. The one I remember most was Unicon XV. In my case, I was very happy to finish. Did you get bitch-slapped off your unicycle by the wind, or was that just me? It must have happened to at least one or two of the other racers...

    Switch plate covers: That kind of sucks. Not the kind of thing even I might have noticed when determining facilities, though a basketball specialist probably would have. But wouldn't that be the same as having a hole in the floor? Same detriment for both teams, but yes, a safety issue.
    Originally posted by tholub
    You can't just say "our goal is to do everything!" and call that your mission. You have to prioritize and decide what's doable within your resources.
    I absolutely agree. Then it all comes down to execution, and/or the possibility of biting off more than you can chew. What's the "smart" way to organize unicycle competitions/games/events/workshops/fun rides for 1500+ people?
    Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
    IMHO, Unicon probably needs some participates like me. My husband and I paid the fees. I competed in two events, volunteered for one and watch a few I'd never seen before. I wouldn't have shown up if I knew I couldn't participate in an event (or if I thought the marathon would be cut short).
    Absolutely you are what Unicon needs. Sorry about what happened to your Marathon experience; that venue was unprecented in Unicon history, in a very difficult situation due to the amount of people that needed to get across the course, constantly, while the event wound down. It is unlikely to happen like that again. Usually they are held in much, much quieter areas!
    Last edited by johnfoss; 2016-08-12, 07:36 PM.
    John Foss
    www.unicycling.com

    "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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    • #92
      Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
      If I may rebut, I think Unicon XV was possibly the most spectator-friendly Unicon EVER. Freestyle was set up for actual admission-paying spectators (a first?), the 10k was super-public, but without the traffic problems of this most recent one, and there were many other events held right there in the middle of Wellington that were open to the public, and the press.
      There were events with spectators; that's not the same as spectator events. I think the best spectator event we've done was flatland in Montreal, with Christian announcing tricks. It was in a public, visible place, it was free, and you didn't have to be an insider to get what was going on. In most cases we make the assumption that everyone there already knows the sport, or, that we don't care about anyone who doesn't.

      They were charging admission (5 Euro) to the trials comp at Unicon 18, and frankly I think we should be embarrassed. The crowd was miles away from the action, there was no lighting on the participants, and no information about who was who or what was going on. A member of the general public going to that event would come away with the impression that we hate members of the general public. And that's true of most of our competitions.

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      • #93
        Originally posted by tholub View Post
        There were events with spectators; that's not the same as spectator events. I think the best spectator event we've done was flatland in Montreal, with Christian announcing tricks. It was in a public, visible place, it was free, and you didn't have to be an insider to get what was going on. In most cases we make the assumption that everyone there already knows the sport, or, that we don't care about anyone who doesn't.

        They were charging admission (5 Euro) to the trials comp at Unicon 18, and frankly I think we should be embarrassed. The crowd was miles away from the action, there was no lighting on the participants, and no information about who was who or what was going on. A member of the general public going to that event would come away with the impression that we hate members of the general public. And that's true of most of our competitions.
        I feel like the number of public spectators was so few that charging an entry fee wouldn't actually help fund anything, and would only discourage locals from coming in, but what do I know.

        I agree that flatland comps are the most watchable. The battles really help with hype, there are lots of different tricks, and (hopefully) not much down time between battles, all of which I think makes it easier to enjoy for the public and riders alike. It is much more like track sprinting than the Tour de France (the trials comp). With track sprinting only two guys are racing, it's short and easy to tell what is happening. With the Tour, much of it is long and boring, and incomprehensable to those without some basic understanding of it, particularly if the commentators are bad. Hopefully that all makes sense.
        ... and nipples, never forget the nipples.
        Saskatchewanian

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        • #94
          Originally posted by tholub View Post
          They were charging admission (5 Euro) to the trials comp at Unicon 18, and frankly I think we should be embarrassed. The crowd was miles away from the action, there was no lighting on the participants, and no information about who was who or what was going on. A member of the general public going to that event would come away with the impression that we hate members of the general public. And that's true of most of our competitions.
          Unfortunately I missed the Flatland in Montreal, I heard good things about it. And I absoultely agree with you that we don't put any effort into educating the "audience" (whether it be general public or unicyclists) about what they are watching. In X-Style they weren't even saying the country of the competitors. I asked Gossi why not, and he said they weren't on the list he was reading from. I said just ask the audience. That would have worked and gotten them involved. I don't think he understood what I was suggesting.

          Each time you have a large group of spectators in place, it should be seen as an opportunity to educate everyone a little more about unicycling. Or just entertain them, as with the (too-) long gaps between Freestyle performances. For that, it would be nice to have people to do bits of riding in between, just to fill those gaps. Or tell more bout the competitors, if such information can be collected in time.

          Originally posted by Superbant View Post
          With the Tour, much of it is long and boring, and incomprehensable to those without some basic understanding of it, particularly if the commentators are bad. Hopefully that all makes sense.
          ...Like having it in German (not sure why; watching it on TV late at night in Spain), when you don't speak German. Or Spanish.
          John Foss
          www.unicycling.com

          "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

          Comment


          • #95
            Originally posted by Superbant View Post
            I agree that flatland comps are the most watchable. The battles really help with hype, there are lots of different tricks, and (hopefully) not much down time between battles, all of which I think makes it easier to enjoy for the public and riders alike. It is much more like track sprinting than the Tour de France (the trials comp). With track sprinting only two guys are racing, it's short and easy to tell what is happening. With the Tour, much of it is long and boring, and incomprehensable to those without some basic understanding of it, particularly if the commentators are bad. Hopefully that all makes sense.
            Flat also has more of a culture of showing off, while trials is more individual, which is why the competitions have evolved differently. Still, even a bad commentator would make trials way more watchable. "Max is now trying obstacle #4, no one's gotten this one yet!" It's not super-complicated, but you have to be willing to put effort into it.

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            • #96
              Originally posted by tholub View Post
              Flat also has more of a culture of showing off, while trials is more individual, which is why the competitions have evolved differently. Still, even a bad commentator would make trials way more watchable. "Max is now trying obstacle #4, no one's gotten this one yet!" It's not super-complicated, but you have to be willing to put effort into it.
              The high jump was like this. The announcer was talking about the riders and their previous records. Of course it's not too hard to understand that competition.

              I stopped by Men's Freestyle for an hour or so. Not sure what level they were but IMHO the routines weren't that interesting. I admire their skills but only one of the handful I saw really stood out. Many of them had UPDs which I think would have surprised an audience member that was there to see world champions. I'd expect performances like I see on TV with ice skating. I don't mean to knock them cause I really do appreciate their efforts.

              The last basketball game was fun. Some French spectators entertained the crowd during long breaks. Too bad SLO was shut down. Florian from the French team was amazing.

              Long bicycle races aren't that interesting unless watched on TV. We went to the start of the Clasica on Saturday. Just a bunch of guys in Lycra and their fans milling around for the sign in. I didn't stay for the finish which was 5 hours later. I've had similar experiences when I've seen the Tour in person.

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              • #97
                They could get the next track race group ready as one race group leaves, like jets line up for take off.

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                  Yes, this made me very sad. Several times over the last two years I inquired about workshops and fun rides, including offers to organize things. My response was dead air, so I assumed it was being handled. That's what one gets for assuming. After seeing things in motion, I rather get the impression that the organizing crew were so overwhelmed with setting up all the "required" competition events, venues, schedules and all of that, they knew they didn't have any remaining capacity for "that other stuff" so they didn't even bother. That may be a harsh assessment, but since very little information was coming from the organizing team before we arrived in Donostia, I don't know otherwise. For Unicon 19 I will again offer to help coordinate Workshops and fun rides (anyone who wants to help me would be welcome!).
                  I too sent some emails before Unicon asking how I signup to organize workshops but got no reply. But I did end up hosting the Beer Pong Championship workshop which was by far the most popular with 96 teams registering!
                  http://www.uniproshow.com

                  One Love Unicycle Club (Coming to Denver soon...)

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                    Each time you have a large group of spectators in place, it should be seen as an opportunity to educate everyone a little more about unicycling. Or just entertain them, as with the (too-) long gaps between Freestyle performances. For that, it would be nice to have people to do bits of riding in between, just to fill those gaps. Or tell more bout the competitors, if such information can be collected in time.

                    ...Like having it in German (not sure why; watching it on TV late at night in Spain), when you don't speak German. Or Spanish.
                    Sounds like they need a MC for the freestyle...I nominate you Foss!
                    http://www.uniproshow.com

                    One Love Unicycle Club (Coming to Denver soon...)

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                    • Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
                      I stopped by Men's Freestyle for an hour or so. Not sure what level they were but IMHO the routines weren't that interesting. I admire their skills but only one of the handful I saw really stood out. Many of them had UPDs which I think would have surprised an audience member that was there to see world champions. I'd expect performances like I see on TV with ice skating. I don't mean to knock them cause I really do appreciate their efforts.
                      Yes, the men's freestyle wasn't very good this year with many weird and artsy routines with little riding/tricks and lots of falls. The females were better but they all still had falls. I know they get penalized for falls but imho they should be penalized more. So much better watching a routine with no falls that might not be very technical than one with lots of falls that is very technical. That's what xstyle is for.
                      http://www.uniproshow.com

                      One Love Unicycle Club (Coming to Denver soon...)

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                      • Originally posted by tholub View Post
                        You can't do them all at the same time, not with the resources we have.
                        I disagree and think you can have all three! Unicon 17 in Montreal was a perfect example of this....good spectator stuff, fun workshops and elite races and competitions. I really can't think of one complaint from that Unicon.
                        http://www.uniproshow.com

                        One Love Unicycle Club (Coming to Denver soon...)

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                        • Originally posted by tholub View Post
                          There were events with spectators; that's not the same as spectator events.
                          That reminded me of the lack of a public show. This has been a staple of all (or most?) Unicons since the beginning. They didn't have one in Montreal, and again in San Sebastian, possibly due to not having a big enough venue to fit everyone for a single show. Normally in such a situation you would do two shows. The Unicon tent area is great for the competitions that were in there, but really only a few hundred people can see what's going on.

                          But a public show is great because it can focus many things, and allows an outlet for creative stuff that doesn't necessarily belong in the competitions, such as David Weichenberger's 'Loser' performance, or maybe even No Freestyle in Flat (though it was not inappropriate in the Freestyle comp).
                          Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
                          I stopped by Men's Freestyle for an hour or so. Not sure what level they were but IMHO the routines weren't that interesting. I admire their skills but only one of the handful I saw really stood out. Many of them had UPDs which I think would have surprised an audience member that was there to see world champions.
                          When you watch skating on TV, you're only seeing the top athletes. Some of them still fall (but not most). We still have falls in Expert Freestyle, but not everybody. It's a whole different level than age groups, so if you only saw age groups, you really missed out (many videos already posted though). That's why I don't watch the age groups much anymore; after 35 years it gets pretty repetitive.

                          All of the Freestyle is harder to watch these days though, due to the extra long gaps between riders. If enough judges can be found (a common problem), this could be eliminated by alternating two groups at once. If you had high and low-level groups alternating, you could have your veteran judges on one side, and newer, less-experienced judges watching the other.
                          Originally posted by William393 View Post
                          They could get the next track race group ready as one race group leaves, like jets line up for take off.
                          That's how it's usually done. I didn't see the setup at Unicon 18, but in the past they have had several rows of riders positioned in their lanes, and pretty short gaps between races. At Unicon III, way back in 1987, they even ran overlapping 400m races! Riders would start in the usual staggered positions, but then the finish line would be on the straight part of the track that sticks out after the curve. You could line up the next set of riders while the previous ones were still on the track!
                          John Foss
                          www.unicycling.com

                          "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                          • Originally posted by unicycle6869 View Post
                            I too sent some emails before Unicon asking how I signup to organize workshops but got no reply. But I did end up hosting the Beer Pong Championship workshop which was by far the most popular with 96 teams registering!
                            That was huge. I had planned to do a Sumo tournament (informal, of course), but with the loss of my one viable unicycle for this, and lack of online posting of schedule additions, I never got it together. Next time!
                            Originally posted by unicycle6869 View Post
                            Sounds like they need a MC for the freestyle...I nominate you Foss!
                            You're very kind. Might get me off the floor and away from the camera for a few hours! But better than talk, little fun shows between the competitors would be more fun, and a possible replacement for a proper public show if none can be arranged. Were you at Unicon 9? They had me host the public show there, and it turned out pretty well. I added a "Unicon Legs" contest, where people voted for the riders with the nastiest leg marks or injuries.
                            Originally posted by unicycle6869 View Post
                            Yes, the men's freestyle wasn't very good this year with many weird and artsy routines with little riding/tricks and lots of falls. The females were better but they all still had falls. I know they get penalized for falls but imho they should be penalized more. So much better watching a routine with no falls that might not be very technical than one with lots of falls that is very technical. That's what xstyle is for.
                            I agree on all of that, though I resist getting into judging details, since nobody seems to like any of my ideas. They are using hard scoring of dismounts, which means you count them. Nothing wrong with that, unless you are counting all of them equally, which I think they are. Dismounts are not equal, and everyone in the audience knows this.

                            Anyway, all of this discussion is for nothing if we don't make sure it gets to the right people. Unicon 19 would benefit from a "Suggestions and Ideas" resource, like they had on Facebook for Unicon 18. It's important that we open a dialog with the folks in Korea to let them know they have our support, and we can suggest lots of ways to avoid common problems.
                            Last edited by johnfoss; 2016-08-13, 06:52 PM.
                            John Foss
                            www.unicycling.com

                            "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                              Yes, the XC had two big problems. First one was in the Advanced/Elite/lotta climbing race. Apparently there was one spot where it was possible for racers to make a wrong choice and some of the elite riders went the wrong way, which messed up their times. After much discussion, it was determined there was no way to fix this without re-running the race (which the riders wanted), because there was no time. We had to be finished with the park at noon.

                              Second problem was with the "Beginner" race. That race used one of the two loops of the Advanced/Elite race, but was still the one that included part of the famous Camino Del Norte, a very popular hiking trail that runs along the northern coast of spain. Apparently one or more hikers got fed up with a unicycle race being on "their" trail, and took down some of the course marking tapes. This sent riders into a highly technical downhill section (slippery rocks), and otherwise off the course with no way to tell which way to go. Again, due to the time factor there was no way to fix it because they had to re-open the trails
                              within an hour or so. So very sad for the riders and organizers alike.
                              (

                              Well said John. I think the biggest problem was the that we where only allowed to prepare everything on the evening before. It leadet to the problems with not perfect markings. But even if everybody found the track I think its to dangerous on a XC or DH race to let the riders race in tracks the can not check out completly before. Btw. the riders who finished on the right track (90-95%) didnt want to to it again so even it we could do it always some riders would feel bad.

                              After the Elite race I got retired as a muni director and somebody else did the marking on the beginner race. Its still makes me sad that it was so chaotic but I am sure everybody learned from the problems.

                              I think you need a local director on races like XC, 10k or DH together with a director from abroad. The foreign director can only deal with the sport aspec of the race if he doesnt travel to the city many times before the events start. I was told I get one in Donostia but it didnt happen.

                              All the director from the last unicons should set up something like a FAQ for each diszipline to avoid common mistakes I will talk to some IUF members to see if it is possible.
                              lutzeichholz.de

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                              • Re-doing the race was clearly not feasible. Staying on course is part of the sport. But, that is one of the reasons MUni is challenging logistically; the riders are working hard and have to make split-second decisions about which way to go, and if there aren't volunteers at every turn it's easy to get lost. And marking the trail is always hard, because if you do it too early the markings will likely get messed up anyway.

                                My advice to organizers would be:

                                Keep it simple: The more complex the course is, the harder it is to lay out. A figure 8 is harder than a loop. Just the first loop of the Donostia course, done two or three times, would have been easier to manage than the figure 8.

                                Keep it rideable: XC as an event is about flow and endurance. Championship-level mountain bike XC races are mostly long sections of flowy trail, with occasional rock and root sections. Drops are rare. MUni XC race organizers should look for courses which are predominantly rideable, in flow, by good MUni riders who are in the middle of a race. This is an important point. MUni racing is not the same as MUni riding; the course shouldn't be chosen based on the kind of trail that's fun when you're not racing. Because we use natural terrain, it may be necessary to include sections which aren't rideable, but those should be minimized. In particular, steep uphills which may be rideable with effort during a normal MUni ride are generally unrideable when racing. It's not a good test of unicycle racing skill, and also not fun, to have long sections where almost everyone has to walk.

                                Less is more: The disparity in strength and skill within our field is enormous. Even at the top levels there tend to be big gaps between riders. The Unicon 18 results are skewed by the course issues, but looking at the Unicon 17 results, Martin beat Florian by over 30 seconds, and third place (Maksym) was two minutes further back. The top 10 riders were spread out over 9 minutes. A shorter race, something like 30-35 minutes instead of 45-50 minutes for the top riders, would have been just as good for sorting out the best. And more fun, because towards the end of the race you just don't tend to see anyone anymore. At Unicon 17 I was over a minute behind the rider ahead of me, and the rider behind me was almost 5 minutes back.

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