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1st time with muni on off-road trails

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  • 1st time with muni on off-road trails

    For the first time since I got my Nimbus 24" muni, they opened the bike trails at a park near me, and I decided it was time to try it out on some "real" trails. I've been riding unis off and on for the better part of three decades, but never on off-road trails.

    When I first thought about it, it seemed insane, but after riding off-road on the grass and down some hills a bit in the parks in my neighborhood, I got to thinking it might not be so bad. Well, I was wrong. It turned out to be just as hard and insane as I first thought it might be, but I loved it! Even though it's pretty obvious to most how insane and hard it could be, it gave me a real appreciation for the reality of the challenge.

    When I got to the start of the designated off-road bike trails, there was a large sign that said the IMBA deemed it "intermediate" for mountain biking, and "not recommended for beginners". I'm OK on a mountain bike, and I used to be pretty good, so that probably wouldn't have phased me if I'd been there on a bike, but for a newbie muni rider, it alarmed me a bit, but I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to try. Yesterday was gorgeous! 73 degrees, party cloudy with a gentle breeze, the trails were dry, and there was hardly anyone on the trails. Possible chances of rain on Sunday, and the trails could be closed again for 2-3 weeks if it does. (This place takes forever to dry out.) Couldn't waste this chance!

    When I first hit the trail, it was gravely, rocky and unstable. It felt a bit like the gravel was rolling under me. That was fun! I made it past that and then UPDed pretty good. Got up, went down again. I made it a little further and then ran into some pretty steep and narrow parts with bad rocks, roots and ruts. I was beginning to think that this whole thing was a really bad idea, but I kept going.

    I was pleasantly surprised after a while that I didn't have to walk too much of it, and after a bit, I got a lot better. I'm glad I had some leg strength built up and have been riding this new muni a lot in the past week and a half. I can't imagine a newbie unicycle rider trying this, and for those that are, I give them a lot of credit.

    I was at a spot that I knew I wouldn't be able to ride up (at least for now). It was extremely steep with roots creating large stair steps, but I thought I might just walk up it and try to ride down. When I got to the top, I met a girl hiking in the opposite direction, and she just smiled and said, "Man, are you brave!" I said back to her, "either that or stupid," and at that point, I wasn't sure if I meant it or if I was joking. Maybe a little of both?

    On my first attempt down that bit of the trail, I made it a few feet and bit it pretty good. Drew some blood. It was cool. Got back up, started over, went a little further. Next attempt, made it all the way down with the help of some trees to steady against, and then finally, I made it all the way down (without the help of the trees) and then did it again. THAT TOTALLY ROCKED! At that point, I knew it was gonna be a good day. I was pretty scared the first time I looked down that path, and when I was able to conquer it, it was pretty exhilarating!

    One thing that I ran into (literally) was a biker that kept trying to kill me on the trail. He was riding fast and didn't seem to have any patience for me being there, even though this trail is shared with hikers going about my speed. At first, I met him on the trail and jumped off and yielded to him. He did say, "sorry", so that was cool, but later, we almost collided. He was haulin' butt down a hill around a tight curve, and I was going uphill on the same path, climbing as hard as I could and had just hit a really good stride. I had finally found my legs, and they were working well. I looked up, and he was on top of me shouting "SH!T!" at the top of his lungs. I threw myself to the right and avoided a bad collision, but it was very close to being really bad for both of us. My saddle hit pretty hard and turned sideways. I got the feeling that he was being kind of reckless. While this was my first time on a bike trail on a muni, I've been riding bike trails on bikes on and off for 20 years and never quite run into anyone like that before. Having bikes trying to run over me repeatedly on a mulit-use trail was something I hadn't expected.

    I also had a special audience today. The park has water fountains near bathrooms and a picnic pavilion that's really nice a little ways off from the bike trails. When I went to the water fountains to get a drink, there was a group of special needs kids on a field trip picnicking at the pavilion, and when they saw me, they went nuts! I don't know a lot of tricks, but I did what I could, and got a lot of clapping and cheers. One lady brought out what a DSLR and started photographing me. It was cool. I came back later for more water and to rest, and the group had finished lunch and all walked past me. You would have thought I was Superman or Santa Clause or something. Those kids really warmed my heart. I got a lot of nice comments, thumbs up, big smiles, lots of questions and the works. That really made my day!

    One thing I did notice was about fatigue. I'm sure everyone would expect to get tired at some point, but as Sukie47 wrote about in other thread, it can be dangerous. Once my legs fatigued, I did not have the control I needed to get up, down, or around obstacles. I had to really pay attention to when I needed to rest, and at some point, my legs were just gone for the day, and no amount of resting would help. I tried anyways after some rest and almost got myself into trouble. This was the first time my legs gave out before my crotch!

    This wasn't my first rodeo with outdoor sports, and I'm usually pretty aware of when I need to call it quits, but I guess I went a little further than I should have. Even though I felt OK, my brain wasn't really working that well either. I texted my wife and a couple of friends, and there were some pretty bad typos in those texts when I went back and looked later. I'm a dork, so I proof read each one before I sent them, and they still were pretty bad. My brain was fried, and the scary part was that I didn't really feel fried. I felt OK. I'm just glad I took it really easy and slow driving home and stayed off the highways. It bothers me to think that I drove when my brain wasn't working right. I think the takeaway is to chill a little and maybe not push so hard until I have a lot more experience and understand how this effects my body and my ability to think clearly.

    Before I left the park, I decide to go for a cool down ride on the concrete trails. It's easy and took me through much more of the park than the bike trails did, and it's a very pretty park. The funny thing is, that's when I got the worst injury of the day. I wasn't even riding. My crotch did finally give out, and I had to dismount. I was walking and holding the saddle, and when I tried to shift the saddle to a different hand, I dropped my muni on my right knee with the fork. It hurt like hell, and I started limping bad. I fell and rolled a lot yesterday and even cut my knee pretty good, but none of that hurt like this! I just couldn't believe it! Thankfully, it didn't last too long, but it lasted long enough to make me feel a little silly. I think that was when I started to realize I was a lot more fatigued than I felt like I was.

    All in all, it was a fantastic experience. It totally kicked my butt, but while I was there, I felt I improved 1000%. When I rode the trails for the last time yesterday, it was totally different than the first time. I doubt I can expect that much improvement each time, but as long as I can see marked improvement and have fun with it, I think I'll keep at it!
    I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

  • #2
    Sounds like you had a good day of riding!

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    • #3
      Wow, sounds like a really good experience. You've helped me not be so nervous about going out tomorrow on the trails.

      One thing I am learning is that it is really important to eat enough and to stay hydrated while riding. I have ridden road and mtn bikes all of my adult life, and nothing has kicked my butt like this unicycle. Feels good, doesn't it?

      Thanks for the report. I'll give one tomorrow. Hope it's as good
      "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes" Henry David Thoreau

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sukie47 View Post
        Wow, sounds like a really good experience. You've helped me not be so nervous about going out tomorrow on the trails.

        One thing I am learning is that it is really important to eat enough and to stay hydrated while riding. I have ridden road and mtn bikes all of my adult life, and nothing has kicked my butt like this unicycle. Feels good, doesn't it?

        Thanks for the report. I'll give one tomorrow. Hope it's as good
        Yes, it does feel good! I'm in the best shape I've probably been in since my early 20's, and I'm 42 now. My stamina has and gotten tons better, and the muscle definition in my calves is crazy, especially given how fast it developed. I didn't even realize it until I made that silly GoPro video I posted in the video forums. While I was editing it, I saw my calves and was shocked!

        I've been following your posts about your experiences, and I'm pretty impressed, especially given that you haven't been riding all that long. That takes some guts and willpower! Keep it up! Looking forward to hearing about your progress. It's cool to see someone else on a similar path, no pun intended!
        I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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        • #5
          Sounds like you are hitting the ground running. Congrats on the transition from unicyclist to Municyclist, it's a fun challenge and as you progress more of the world will stare at you in awe like the fabled supersanta.

          I am hoping the biker was is an anomaly on the trail. Sounds like a pedestrian could have been in just as much danger as you were.

          Fatigue is an interesting thing, Most of my more spectacular falls have been on easy sections after a long ride.

          Thanks for the report and keep up the good work!
          My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

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          • #6
            Originally posted by saskatchewanian View Post
            Sounds like you are hitting the ground running. Congrats on the transition from unicyclist to Municyclist, it's a fun challenge and as you progress more of the world will stare at you in awe like the fabled supersanta.

            I am hoping the biker was is an anomaly on the trail. Sounds like a pedestrian could have been in just as much danger as you were.

            Fatigue is an interesting thing, Most of my more spectacular falls have been on easy sections after a long ride.

            Thanks for the report and keep up the good work!
            Thanks! Yeah, I hit the ground running a few times for sure (as my muni bounced along behind me!). I think a healthy balance of insanity is key for this. Enough to get you going, but not so much as to get you in too much trouble.

            I'm still not sure what to think about that biker. He was certainly as much of a threat to hikers as he was to me, and while he wasn't overtly rude, I did have to jump out of his way twice to avoid a collision. As I ride more there, I'll get a feel for the culture. Hopefully, it was just a fluke. I'd like to keep riding there as it's really close to me and more than challenging enough to keep me busy for a while!
            I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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            • #7
              42 (and 47) going on...8. At least that's how I feel. I told a friend that I feel like discovering unicycling is like stumbling upon the fountain of youth. Loving it
              "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes" Henry David Thoreau

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sukie47 View Post
                42 (and 47) going on...8. At least that's how I feel. I told a friend that I feel like discovering unicycling is like stumbling upon the fountain of youth. Loving it
                Hell yeah! I'm lovin' it too!
                I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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