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Old 2019-03-25, 02:21 PM   #1
Setonix
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Unicycle Championship 10km Unlimited

I decided to participate in the NKE, Dutch Uni Championship this year, doing the 10km run, where I can use any wheel size. I figured I'd use my 32", because just in case I UPD, it is easily mounted again. Especially when Im tired, mounting the 36" is horrible for me. The downside is that currently I ride a little over 14kph on my 32", whereas with a 36" I can do 17+ kph.
Also I ride with 150mm cranks. With smaller cranks I can definitely not mount the 36" and mounting the 32" also becomes more problematic then.

The winner last year rode the 10km in 22minutes. Currently Im at 41minutes with my 32". Can yous give me tips of getting more speed out of my setup, other than bigger wheel, shorter cranks.

My aim is not to be last
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Old 2019-03-25, 03:02 PM   #2
finnspin
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Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
Can yous give me tips of getting more speed out of my setup, other than bigger wheel, shorter cranks.
Pedal faster. Aside from that: high tire pressure helps a bit. No setup tricks will do much at your level, it's mostly a case of getting comfortable at high cadence, and getting better at mounting, to be able to run shorter cranks and be able to pedal faster.
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Old 2019-03-25, 03:33 PM   #3
JimT
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If you have any time before the race concentrate on getting better at free mounting the 36" with shorter cranks. I use a rolling mount with 2 or 3 steps before stepping up. For me it seems to require the lowest energy to mount a 36" and makes little difference if I'm tired or not.
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Old 2019-03-25, 03:59 PM   #4
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I know you said, don't say “shorter cranks”… but 150mm? Are you sure you don't want shorter cranks? Even on my 36", with relatively hilly terrain I run 140mm. I would/should go lower but losing control downhill scares me a little (no brakes).

It is interesting that you find it harder to mount with shorter cranks. For me, I generally find the opposite. With shorter cranks I find that I can put more weight down as step onto the back crank because the higher gearing means it is less likely (or slower) to roll backwards.

As for speed, I honestly think you could go faster with shorter cranks (once you get used to them). By way of comparison, my daily commute is 5.7km long and last time I timed myself I did it in 21.5 mins, which means I averaged 15.9km/h. This is with a 26" wheel, with a spiked winter tyre and it was by no means my absolute pace since my route involves crossing roads, waiting for traffic lights and one area where I must negotiate pedestrians. I have no doubt I could maintain this speed (or faster) for another 4.3km.

The single biggest speed up for me on this relatively small wheeled uni was dropping down crank sizes. That day, I was running 89mm (though 100mm would have probably been just as quick). Obviously for a 32", for someone who generally runs longer cranks, that would be too extreme but I honestly think dropping a size or two should remain a consideration.

That all said, what about handlebars? Do you use them. I don't myself but I recall others here saying they decreased their wobble (and hence maintained better speed) once they got used to them.


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My aim is not to be last
Ha… then, I have faith in you! Like most things in life, while there is almost always someone better than you, there is also almost always someone worse.
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Old 2019-03-25, 04:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ruari View Post
I know you said, don't say “shorter cranks”… but 150mm? Are you sure you don't want shorter cranks?
+1
Short cranks are the quick fix!
For road uni, you don't want longer than 125's. You can spin faster and there is less chafe because your legs aren't traveling as far.

I love my 32! I consider myself a solid rider, not competitive. With 114's I can average 16.5kph.
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Old 2019-03-25, 05:10 PM   #6
Canoeheadted
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Finnspin nailed it.

Put all the other unis away for a while and get better at one.
Jack of all trades here isn't working for you.

... and what's wrong with last?
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Old 2019-03-25, 06:25 PM   #7
Setonix
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Originally Posted by Canoeheadted View Post
Put all the other unis away for a while and get better at one.

... and what's wrong with last?
Yes until the race, I will only ride my 32". Some months ago I did buy 140mm cranks and on the 29" uni it didn't feel much different. Mostly when riding uphill, did I notice it in my legs and well, since I have to spin more anyways I might be able to grow muscle faster that way.

A higher tire pressure might also work. This weekend I rode with 35 psi, which I use for most unis, all around 30 psi. Even though the tire should be able to handle 65 I believe, especially when riding the cycle paths in the forest here, there are some protruding roots and it is nice when the tire can absorb some of those bumps. I already had once when my foot came off the pedal because of the bounce. Luckily I could get control back and didn't UPD.

What is wrong with last is that I should have a goal with participating right. Going for last, means I don't have to put in any effort.

Thanks for all your input. There is still time to practice more and I can find out what works for me and what doesn't.
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Old 2019-03-25, 08:14 PM   #8
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125mm is a great size on the 32". I can mount it anywhere in town, tired or not, and using many mounts - on the 36", only the running mount works.
How about handlebars? As said above, they do make a big difference.
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Old 2019-03-25, 11:04 PM   #9
Canoeheadted
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I should have said that there's nothing wrong if you try your hardest and end up last.

I hope you meet your goal.
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Old 2019-03-26, 02:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
Can yous give me tips of getting more speed out of my setup, other than bigger wheel, shorter cranks.
I don't know what level your road riding is at now, but something that helped my average speed a lot was trying to pedal as if I had a freewheel hub and I had to keep it from freewheeling--controlling front-to-back balance only by putting more or less force on the pedal in front, never by "checking up" and putting force on the rear pedal, which wastes a lot of energy. It made me focus on being smooth, making small balance corrections early and not overcorrecting. The average pedal load is higher while going up a gentle climb than on level ground so practicing it there was easier at first.
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Old 2019-03-26, 07:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoeheadted View Post
Finnspin nailed it.

Put all the other unis away for a while and get better at one.
Jack of all trades here isn't working for you.

... and what's wrong with last?
Yeah he did. I also seem to recall a discussion on here once between Roger Davies and Jon Foss where they both agreed that you should lock in your setup a good time before and focus only on that. What you are used to is what you will be fastest on.

I could find the thread I had in mind but I did find this little comment along the way, which might be useful

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
Other ways to increase speed/spin are to do intervals, where you ride for a minute as fast as you can, then several minutes slower, to recover. Repeat.
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Old 2019-03-26, 08:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
I figured I'd use my 32", because just in case I UPD, it is easily mounted again. Especially when Im tired, mounting the 36" is horrible for me. The downside is that currently I ride a little over 14kph on my 32", whereas with a 36" I can do 17+ kph.
Wait a sec, at that level of speed difference you should be more than 8 minutes faster on the 36". Even if you do UPD, you aren't going to speed 8 minutes remounting are you? With that much time you could probably even find a lamp post or a tree, if you are getting desperate.

So even though you also said not to suggest a bigger wheel size. I'm gonna suggest a bigger wheel size. Take the 36"

Last edited by ruari; 2019-03-26 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 2019-03-26, 08:43 AM   #13
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My aim is not to be last
I understand : I also registered for a long distance competition ... and I am not able to really "compete".
Mounting the auld Coker frightens me and so I fear the challenge
now if I just succeed of being the last one I will be proud (I succeeded be the last one on the 10km in switzerland unicon )
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Old 2019-03-26, 09:10 AM   #14
fetzenschorsch
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My aim is not to be last
quote from backofthepackracing.com:

"Dead Last doesn't Mean Loser"
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Old 2019-03-26, 10:03 AM   #15
OneTrackMind
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A big wheel can lead to slogging and losing cadence.

I have a 20 with 100 mm cranks that I ride down moderate hills as fast as possible to get my legs used to moving fast.

Then something in between, a 26 with 114 cranks.
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