29'er ride, GPS and self portrait

I’m very lucky to live in a place where there’s lots of riding close by. For instance, this evening I rode my 29’er at a place called “Blackrock Canyon” – about 6 miles from home.

I haven’t been to Blackrock Canyon for many years. It used to be kind of a nasty place where people would target shoot - among other things. You’d be amazed at what was hauled up there and dumped, then shot full of holes. Stuff like refrigerators, stoves, couches, cars. As I remember it was an ugly mess. A few years ago it was cleaned up and a parking area, covered picnic tables and rest rooms installed. The area is really quite nice now with many miles of double track to explore open to all. A friend rides her bike there often and told me I should check it out.

This evening was another perfect one: temperature about 80F with light clouds and no wind. This time of year Blackrock Canyon is VERY dry (like everywhere else around here) but, in my opinion, beautiful. I followed the gravel road to the parking area and … there was no one there! It was an absolutely gorgeous evening in a beautiful place and I had it all to myself.

I like using my mapping GPS unit when I ride. It’s kind of cool to look at the track that’s stored at the end of a ride as well as total distance traveled, average speed, top speed, etc. I wish it had altimeter functions other than just the current elevation though. I store a “waypoint” at the start of a ride and another at the highest point so I can get an idea of how much climbing I did. On any ride there’s an accumulation of elevation gains due to the ups and downs between the lowest point and the highest point. The more expensive GPS units will track the accumulated elevation gains for you – that would be nice. Mine is a Garmin Legend but if I were to buy another one I would get one with the advanced altimeter functions like the Garmin Vista. I’m thinking about an altimeter wrist watch that does all that stuff too as an option …

This evening I brought along my camera and a small tripod. I always ride alone (not by choice – just no other MUni’ers around here) so there’s no one along to take my picture. As nice as it was to see where Mikefule rides, I think that a guy on a unicycle always improves a picture so this evening I decided to try taking a picture of where I ride … and me riding. The attached photo was taken towards the highest point of the ride – about 3.5 miles and 1000 feet of climbing. The camera’s timer counts down 9 seconds after the button is pushed so here’s how it went: set the camera up and aim it in a scenic direction - put on CamelBak after taking it off to get the camera and tripod (got to look realistic you know), get uni in hand, push the button and, in 9 seconds, run down the road, mount the uni and ride toward the camera looking like I know what I’m doing. It took a couple tries but I think it worked out OK. I’m glad that I was alone … I must have looked like an idiot running around like that.

I’ve been riding mostly my 29’er lately and loving it. It’s a sweet ride: aluminum frame, carbon fiber based air saddle, Sun Rhynolite rim, IRC Notos 2.1 tire, home made Profile splined hub and Profile 170mm cranks. It’s very light weight and has been super reliable. The hub is one I made a while back and was lucky enough to get a good fit on the splines. It’s quiet, tight and trouble free. The cranks might seem too long for a 29’er but I only ride off-road and it seems like all the trails eventually end up too steep to ride. My goal is always to ride as much of the trail as possible (as opposed to walking) and the long cranks help.

I’ve yet to do any kind of “epic” ride … or anything close to it. Mostly I ride in the evenings for a couple hours and go anywhere from 5 to 10 miles but I’m working up to a big off-road 29’er ride of some kind. One of my favorite 29’er rides is a 9 mile loop that starts with a steep climb up a paved road for about a mile. I think about Aspen Mike riding towards a 12,000 foot mountain pass 25 miles away and what that must be like. I’ve had enough after 1 mile! I doubt that I’ll ever do any riding as impressive as that but I’m due for something “big”.


Sweet…looks like a really nice riding location.

Nice idea on the self-photo as well. I think my tripod might be a little too heavy to carry for that. Maybe I can exploit child labor and pay my son low wages to be “Tripod Boy” and carry it along for me.


The Garmin 76s is a great device… take it home, download your data and have it plotted 3D on topo maps.

The E-trex is much less costly bare bones GPS that can also save track data for download.

Flytec makes a servicable altimeter-watch, and some small device that includes wind and berimetric pressure info.


Obviously, you need to replace your tripod.:wink: How usefull is it if you can’t carry on a unicycle?:smiley: Not to mention child labor laws. . . :astonished: