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Old 2017-01-10, 03:54 AM   #1
Vertigo
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Criterium unicycle race ?

Hey guys and gals,

I've volunteered to help with NAUCC this year and will soon be scouting potential courses. I rode in the 10K and Marathon at Unicon this year but haven't ridden a criterium ... at least not on a unicycle. Any suggestions? How many competitors usually show up for the criterium? Is a half mile course with about six laps ok?

I looked at the rule book and it really doesn't have much info.

I appreciate any useful input.

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Old 2017-01-10, 06:02 AM   #2
johnfoss
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I'm not an expert either, but I've raced in a couple. A Criterium is intended as a multi-lap circuit race, presumably with much passing activity and the challenges of turns and "urban terrain." At least that's my take on the thing. A half-mile lap is perhaps longer than you want, but it depends what you have available to work with. The ones I've been in were more like riding around the block, or a couple of connected blocks. This gives the spectators more opportunity to see the progress of the race. Here are pictures from U Games in 2010. Scroll down to just past the basketball. Those pictures show a couple of 24" age group heats, and the Expert heat, but there were at least one or two others. Scott Wilton won the Expert race, and he's still on of the very top Road racers in the world. I recommend contacting him for advice. He's not on this page, but you can try his sister Patricia.

Since I get to drive to NAUCC this year, I can bring more unicycles. I'll probably enter the Crit!
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Old 2017-01-10, 09:34 AM   #3
lightbulbjim
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I'm a unicycle fan (obviously), but surely the point of a criterium is high speed around a tight course? How well does it work on unis?

Take a look this example of a bike crit. A big draw is the speed: https://youtu.be/J4lItiaNUUM?t=2m15s
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Old 2017-01-10, 12:50 PM   #4
Piece Maker
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I suppose the Horwich Unicycle Road Race could be classed as a Crit - 1-mile loop, 7 laps.

I don't have that much useful info for you besides that sadly, aside from that I've enjoyed it all 3 times We do one race with all 'classes' at once (so there's kids racing at the same time as adults, 24" and 36ers) with prizes at the end for each class.

Vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRP0OIRYz00
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Old 2017-01-10, 04:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Piece Maker View Post
We do one race with all 'classes' at once (so there's kids racing at the same time as adults, 24" and 36ers) with prizes at the end for each class.
That would be my concern at a big event like NAUCC, the speed differences in unicycling tend to be big, so to prevent fast riders being held up, you would have to have classes with different starting times. I wouldn't think a criterium is a great alternative to the current long distance format of one big course and starting in waves/mass start. There is usually a big amount of people signing up for these kinds of events that aren't "racing-unicyclists", people that enter for fun mostly even though they don't have any chance of winning. (I think that's great, but it means you have to plan your race with slower riders in mind)
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Old 2017-01-10, 06:56 PM   #6
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Thanks for volunteering, Vertigo. I hope the organizers and racers will thank you, too.

I rode in the NAUCC crit in Minnesota in 2014 and Wisconsin in 2015. Both years they had multiple classes by wheel size and expected speed. The Minnesota course was in a large parking lot; maybe an eighth of a mile loop. The Wisconsin course was around a three lumpy city blocks; less than a quarter mile, I think. I don't remember how many laps they were. I'll guess four. MN was laid out with orange cones and ribbons and was somewhat maze-like. WI was somewhat twisty through a residential neighborhood. Lots of neighbors watched from their front lawns, which was fun. I hope they didn't mind that their street was closed for a few hours. That course had speed bumps, which were awful. Please don't have a course with speed bumps.
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Old 2017-01-11, 04:12 AM   #7
Vertigo
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Thanks so much for the input.

This weekend I'll start scouting for a course on the Eastside not to far from the muni venue.

We have speed bumps on the greenways here in the city and I don't really like them. Especially the two streets with bumps just at the top of the hills. So no speed bumps if I can help it.

I'm also going to propose a city ride within Seattle. We have one scenic loop that's about 13.5 miles with 330 feet of elevation gain (one steep hill). Not sure if that's too much. There's a couple of other options.

Last edited by Vertigo; 2017-01-11 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 2017-01-11, 04:41 AM   #8
johnfoss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finnspin View Post
I wouldn't think a criterium is a great alternative to the current long distance format of one big course and starting in waves/mass start. There is usually a big amount of people signing up for these kinds of events that aren't "racing-unicyclists", people that enter for fun mostly even though they don't have any chance of winning. (I think that's great, but it means you have to plan your race with slower riders in mind)
What he said. It wouldn't be an alternative to the 10k and other "straight" races, unless it's impossible to organize those. The Unicon 11 10k went from Mt. Si High School out on a back road to a sawmill or something, and then back, finishing with a lap around the track.

For a NAUCC-sized group, you would have to break it into a few separate races because # of riders, and to separate beginner-type riders from the 25+ mph experts. NAUCC (and Unicon, though not as much anymore) is designed for nearly anyone to be able to enter events, and compete with people of similar age if not top riders. The top riders can take it very seriously, while the more casual ones can have fun doing it without stressing as much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTheLake View Post
That course had speed bumps, which were awful. Please don't have a course with speed bumps.
That's an example of what I meant by "urban terrain". No course is perfect. There may be potholes cracks, etc., which are part of the course.
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We have one scenic loop that's about 13.5 miles with 330 feet of elevation gain (one steep hill). Not sure if that's too much.
Definitely not too much for a group of Roadies. If possible, you could also have a shorter ride for more casual riders, or people with smaller wheels. Or if you have the leaders, have them start together and go at different paces.

Feel free to consult me if I can help I've been to at least 25 of the USA conventions, 18 Unicons and various smaller uni events in various states & countries.
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Old 2017-01-11, 09:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Hey guys and gals,

I've volunteered to help with NAUCC this year and will soon be scouting potential courses. I rode in the 10K and Marathon at Unicon this year but haven't ridden a criterium ... at least not on a unicycle. Any suggestions? How many competitors usually show up for the criterium? Is a half mile course with about six laps ok?

I looked at the rule book and it really doesn't have much info.

I appreciate any useful input.

Hi Vertigo!

My name is Dave Krack. I've been heavily involved with planning NAUCC Crits since 2012. That was the first time it turned both left and right. That course was the result of several heads coming together and making the course happen when the initial course approval fell through (at the last minute.) I organized ALL of the Road Racing and Muni in 2013, and was Road Racing Director at the SD NAUCC in 2016 as well. I'm on Aaron's planning list for this year as well.



A good Uni Crit course is 1/2 to 3/4 of a mi in length depending on the layout. Shorter than that makes lapping a problem for the faster riders. Like the 10k, there are Standard (24") and Unlimited heats, often with slow and fast heats within each of those. The Standard typically does about 1/2 the laps of the Unlimited.


Being that this year it's on the schedule the same day as Muni, a bit shorter of a race isn't a problem. Probably 3-4 mi total for the Unlimited. So your 1/2 mi course with 6 laps may be good. It really depends on the layout. The lap number can be tweaked closer to the event once the course is picked.

As far as the number of competitors, don't worry about it. Multiple heats will fix that. Typically most everyone who does the 10k does the Crit. It's a fun race to ride and a course should be selected so it's fun to watch. Michigan (2012) used parking lots at the main venue. In PA, we used parking lots and streets in a residential neighborhood with spectators nearby in 2013. In MN in 2014, it was scheduled close to a big festival. In 2015 in Madison, WI they used the neighborhood that a bulk of hosting club, MadUni, lives in. In 2016 we used a tiered parking lot at the college where the Track racing had been held. It had some great vantage points that overlooked the entire course so watching the race unfold was exciting.



Crit Racing isn't in the IUF Rulebook as it probably would be a real pain to make it happen with so many competitors. Overall, it's been primarily an NAUCC (and U-Games, the 2010 version of NAUCC) event. It's not a mandatory event for hosts to have either, but it's caught on as it's arguably one of the most spectator-friendly uni racing events to watch. Cyclocross is definitely the other.



I'm more than willing to help with planning and course selection. I'm sending a pm with my contact info.
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Old 2017-01-12, 04:16 AM   #10
Vertigo
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I'm more than willing to help with planning and course selection. I'm sending a pm with my contact info.
Hi Dave, thanks for chiming in. Your help is greatly appreciated. I'll respond to your PM.

Thanks everyone for the input.

John, it's good to hear about what happened here last time. I don't think those folks are involved this time.

I'll give some updates as I get more info and try to create some videos of the course and the city tour.
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Old 2017-01-12, 03:50 PM   #11
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Great replies! Thanks to John and Dave for being such amazing resources.

I was road race director at NAUCC 2015 in Madison.

From my perspective, the criterium is one of a few events at NAUCC which can be a great way to showcase uni road racing (and unicycling, generally) to the general public. That should be an important consideration in addition to all the rest! If the course is aesthetic (ok, slightly subjective!), it will usually be fun racing. I liked the course very much last year (thanks Dave!), but would ideally like something more visible to the public. Of course, that presents additional challenge and event planning.

Needless to say, the course needs to be closed (and free of parked cars), so you'll have to work with your municipality to get approval (a permit). It's likely you'll need to think through a safety plan for that process, which gets you thinking about contingencies..

Good luck and see you soon! David Panofsky, from MadUni

ps - Happy to help you with any logistics, including copies of documents I used in 2015.
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