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Old 2009-10-05, 04:57 AM   #1
nathan
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Mount Diablo Challenge 2009

The Mount Diablo Challenge is a 10.8 mile road race in Danville, California that climbs 3300'. This year was the 28th annual. It attracts approx 1000 racers, and since 2001 or so, there has always been a unicycle contingent. This race is very open to alternative cycles and they report results for the "unicycle division" as well as tandems, etc. This year the weather was beyond perfect. An absolutely incredible day.

On facebook, Tom B asked about the Uni record so I posted this:

Uni WR is held by Glenn Drummond at 1:13:?? in 2003. Read about it here: http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...threadid=28085 This year he finished in 59:30 - 144th place on two wheels and told me that he and his son (who is a serious road and MTB racer) may switch back to Uni soon. He says 1:10 but Beau says faster is possible, potentially even 1:00 (although that sounds incredible to me). This year the fastest bike was 47:10 @ 13.7mph.

2009 Uni Results:

Beau 1:14:51 - 459th place
Geoff Houghton (Oregon) 1:18:31 - 519th place
Tom 1:21:59 - 571st place
Nathan 1:29:11 - 647th place
Jimbo 1:35:48 - 695th place
Scot 1:47:48 - 757th place

Results are here: http://results.active.com/pages/disp...713&rsID=85335

Geoff was riding a Schlumpf 36 V-frame and I think his time is the 4th fastest ever, behind Glenn, Beau and Gary. He has 2500km on this setup and is very strong. Beau was on ungeared Hunter @125mm, Scot on ungeared Calfee carbon @152mm, me on ungeared Hunter @152mm, Tom and Jim on ungeared 29ers @125mm.

Jim dribbled a basketball approx 25% of the way. I was sure he'd ditch it somewhere, but he crossed the line with it - amazing.

Sorry no photos this year from me but I did find a summit photo of us here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/3321026...7622392693455/ - there are a few others in that set including Beau, Tom and Geoff on the podium and Jim with his basketball.

---Nathan
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Old 2009-10-05, 01:20 PM   #2
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Old 2009-10-05, 02:22 PM   #3
rob.northcott
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Well done people!

Is that one of Pete Perron's V-frames ("Florian Green")?

Rob
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Old 2009-10-05, 02:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob.northcott View Post
Well done people!

Is that one of Pete Perron's V-frames ("Florian Green")?

Rob
Yes, Geoff was riding a green V-frame made by Pete Perron (constructed from two Nimbus frames). He had a square-taper Schlumpf hub (the only Schlumpf on the mountain yesterday).

Glenn Drummond's record was 1:13:08
http://results.active.com/pages/disp...D=3&rsID=19246

That may also be the only unicyclist who has beaten at least half of the finishers.
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Old 2009-10-05, 05:17 PM   #5
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Didn't Beau beat more than half the finishers yesterday? Or do a lot of people not finish?
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Old 2009-10-05, 05:18 PM   #6
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Didn't Beau beat more than half the finishers yesterday? Or do a lot of people not finish? Anyway, awesome times posted, guys! You're gonna kill me next weekend in the MUni Long Course race...
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Old 2009-10-05, 05:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
Didn't Beau beat more than half the finishers yesterday? Or do a lot of people not finish?
Beau was 459/793, so he didn't quite beat half of the finishers. Oh, hmm, that was among the men...he also beat 68/104 women, so overall he was 484/907. Still not quite half.
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Old 2009-10-05, 07:42 PM   #8
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Tom and Jim both did very well with ungeared 29" unicycles. I take it that there is enough uphill riding that 36" does not have much (or any?) real advantage on this course?

The average grade appears to be 6.1%. I guess that is steep enough to keep the 36" cyclists from just riding away from the smaller wheels. In this case a light unicycle might have an advantage.

The average speed for the leader (Beau) was 8.7 mph. For a 29", I believe that pace would require an average cadence of 96 rpm.

For those who have ridden it, what is the optimal unicycle? Would a light weight (geared?) 29" be best?

Scott
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Old 2009-10-05, 08:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by scott ttocs View Post
Tom and Jim both did very well with ungeared 29" unicycles. I take it that there is enough uphill riding that 36" does not have much (or any?) real advantage on this course?

The average grade appears to be 6.1%. I guess that is steep enough to keep the 36" cyclists from just riding away from the smaller wheels. In this case a light unicycle might have an advantage.

The average speed for the leader (Beau) was 8.7 mph. For a 29", I believe that pace would require an average cadence of 96 rpm.

For those who have ridden it, what is the optimal unicycle? Would a light weight (geared?) 29" be best?

Scott
In terms of all the unicycles which have actually attempted this climb, probably the best is Glenn Drummond's "world's lightest Coker."

The 29er with 110s is a pretty good setup for most of it. It definitely helps on the more difficult sections to have two pounds less rotating weight. Last year, one of the Cokers caught me right at the beginning of the longest challenge--8-9% grade for about a mile. I put 2 minutes into him on that section.

There is one section of the climb, about a third of the way up, with a significant flat/slight downhill traverse across the mountain lasting perhaps a mile. I reached that section this year just a few seconds behind Geoff on his Schlumpf 36"; by the end of that section, he was out of sight, probably at least 2 minutes ahead of me. I might try it with my geared 29, even though I really like the uni I was on this year.

I developed an idea that a good setup might be a geared 29 with long cranks; at 125mm, the hill is too steep to productively ride in the high gear, but it might be possible at 170mm, or maybe even 150mm.
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Old 2009-10-05, 08:22 PM   #10
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Nice work boys, glad to see you cranking up those mountains; real hillclimbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan View Post
The Mount Diablo Challenge is a 10.8 mile road race in Danville, California that climbs 3300'. This year was the 28th annual. It attracts approx 1000 racers, and since 2001 or so, there has always been a unicycle contingent. This race is very open to alternative cycles and they report results for the "unicycle division" as well as tandems, etc. This year the weather was beyond perfect. An absolutely incredible day.

On facebook, Tom B asked about the Uni record so I posted this:

Uni WR is held by Glenn Drummond at 1:13:?? in 2003. Read about it here: http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...threadid=28085 This year he finished in 59:30 - 144th place on two wheels and told me that he and his son (who is a serious road and MTB racer) may switch back to Uni soon. He says 1:10 but Beau says faster is possible, potentially even 1:00 (although that sounds incredible to me). This year the fastest bike was 47:10 @ 13.7mph.

2009 Uni Results:

Beau 1:14:51 - 459th place
Geoff Houghton (Oregon) 1:18:31 - 519th place
Tom 1:21:59 - 571st place
Nathan 1:29:11 - 647th place
Jimbo 1:35:48 - 695th place
Scot 1:47:48 - 757th place


---Nathan
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Old 2009-10-05, 08:57 PM   #11
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I'm not sure there actually is a single ideal cycle. I think it varies with riding style, personal preference and experience.
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Old 2009-10-06, 06:18 AM   #12
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Rob, Yes that's the "Florian Green" by Pete Perron. (That was the best-spent chunk of change that I ever diverted from my children's college fund.) Cranks are 165 mm and it has an internally drilled rim. The last quarter mile is super steep, I don't think I could have ridden on cranks much shorter than that. Keep in mind that Beau beat me by 3 & 1/2 minutes with 125 mm cranks.

So I agree with Nathan that different people with different riding styles have different ideal unis. I love my 36" guni with long cranks. But I could see Tom riding that fast with a skinny 29" guni with long cranks. The steeper the hill, the less advantage the 36" has over the 29". But I think on this course the 36" still has the advantage, so far....

I won't hazard a guess on breaking the one hour mark but I will say that when the day comes that skinny and light 36" tires are available we'll see a big drop in times. Although the technology has leaped forward with the Schlumpf, distance unicycling is still in it's adolescence. We need to make our wheels start to resemble bicycle wheels. Just bigger in diameter. The technology is there, the only thing holding us back is market force. An order of 500 to 1000 would be enough profit to spur development of skinny 36" tires. Someday soon we'll look back at this summit shot with our proud faces and fat and heavy tires just like we look at pictures of skiers from a hundred years ago with their 8 foot wooden skis. "Egads! Look at the size of those things!"


Tech talk aside, it was a fabulous day. Perfect weather. Great riders. Wonderful people all around. Beau rode an excellent race. He rode like the wind. I caught just a few glimpses of him from a mile back on the switch backs. He made it look effortless and he probably didn't sound half as ugly as I did as I was grunting my way up the last steep section. Congratulations Beau. Thanks to all the riders for making this a memorable day.

Pictured in the summit shot here are: Jim Sowers, Tom Holub, Nathan Hoover, Beau Hoover, Scot Cooper, Geoff Houghton
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Old 2009-10-06, 06:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturequack View Post
I won't hazard a guess on breaking the one hour mark but I will say that when the day comes that skinny and light 36" tires are available we'll see a big drop in times. Although the technology has leaped forward with the Schlumpf, distance unicycling is still in it's adolescence. We need to make our wheels start to resemble bicycle wheels. Just bigger in diameter. The technology is there, the only thing holding us back is market force. An order of 500 to 1000 would be enough profit to spur development of skinny 36" tires. Someday soon we'll look back at this summit shot with our proud faces and fat and heavy tires just like we look at pictures of skiers from a hundred years ago with their 8 foot wooden skis. "Egads! Look at the size of those things!"
I think it's a lot more likely that we'll wind up with bike-sized wheels, with higher gearing than we currently have, than that we'll wind up with lightweight 36" wheels.
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Old 2012-10-22, 08:56 PM   #14
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Hey all,

I'm going to be in the area for Thanksgiving week, and am considering riding up Diablo just as a fun ride by myself or with other local riders if I can find someone interested. Probably on my 29er.

However, I'm totally out of shape. I really didn't ride much this year, after breaking my leg in January, then having pretty extreme forest fire smoke in my area much of the summer, and finally spraining my ankle three weeks ago.

Is this ride doable (even if not totally ) as a fun casual challenge ride, with a reasonable pace and rest stops as needed? Or would I be better off just riding flats and come back to Diablo another time?

-James
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Old 2012-10-22, 09:05 PM   #15
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Or are there decent xc trails on Mt. Diablo? My concept here is to do some riding while I send wife and kids to play on rocks.
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