28psi + 4psi on 29r = multiple crashes

I took the Niner out to ride the Tour d’Wolf yesterday, like I’ve don’t 1000 times. (The Wolfpack Triathlon is coming up in mid September). Mostly crosscountry with a few tougher zones. I can smoothly ride this course of 6.9 miles without a serious crash. I either dismount gracefully with the unicycle in front, or I might have 10 or so UPDs of no consequence.

Rig: Yuni 29er. Nanoraptor. 150mm cranks.

Before taking off, I added about 4 psi bringing the pressure to about 32. I did this because, at 28 psi, the Nanoraptor tends to fold when I hop over logs or ride off an 6" - 8" drop. I did improve that issue.

I was able to climb the smooth, hardpack, single-track hills without much difficulty. Soon I was crossing an open area and POW, I crashed hard. I had to look back to see what got me. A little bump. But the uni reacted violently!! I skinned my knee as bad as I ever have (on a uni).

Before it was over, I had crashed (Crash = gone all the way down and hit a should or belly to the ground) at least 5 times. I skinned my knee, scraped my arm, bruised my hip, bruised my shoulder, and jammed my left big toe. Most of the trail is off in the woods or distant fields so I crashed in seclusion, but it does pass the Visitor’s Center. My loudest crash (loud from my body hitting the ground with a thud, the uni hitting a rock with a clankity scrape, and my vocal chords emitting a ridiculous 1/2 shout 1/2 squeal) was at the the Visitor’s Center in front of 3 cute college girls. My pride was bruised in that one, and my shoulder. I’ve zipped across that same spot dozens of times…But upon inspection, there is a sizeable hole hidden in the grass. I backed up 15 feet and rode over the spot with skill and grace (with an imperceptible wiggle so as to avoid the %#@$%^#* hole) and kareened up the hill, to the applause of the girls, and restoring a modicum of my pride.

Lessons learned:

  1. Nanoraptor is a b*cycle tire. It wants more air. It was not designed for MUnicycling. It has a thin sidewall which reduces weight, but makes it weak and it will fold at the lower pressures we use in MUni.
  2. More pressure fixes tire folding but increases springyness and therefore crashes. Tire will shoot out from under this rider.
  3. Crashing while alone in distant places is a learning experience. One might get up and analyze and may try the manouvre again. Crashing in front of the people surrounding the Visitor’s Center is… Well, I’d rather crash in seclusion. But it is possible to leave the scene with head held high.
  4. I’m reducing the air a couple of pounds. I think its better to learn to deal with tire folding than tire springyness.

I’m limping a little because of left knee and left big toe. But my head, which took a hit or two, is ok (helmeted) and my wrists, which were violently involved in most all of the crashes, are ok (wrist guarded).

Man I hate it when that happens.