2nd official Muni ride!!

Long story…sorry.

Last summer, like now, I was on vacation here in Jackson Hole, WY. The combination of finding the forum, seeing videos by all you amazing riders in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the US, and having these mountains and pathways around me got me thinking that it would be lots of fun to dig in to it. I made plans to increase the unicycle population in my garage and set a goal to be riding here this summer. I’ve got to say now that setting this goal was by no means a guarantee that I would actually do anything about it. I’ve got three daughters and a wonderful wife and getting unicycling up on the priority list was something that I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure if I would be able to. Nevertheless, I set the goal of riding out here this summer and lo and behold, here I am with a Coker and ‘05 KH Muni.

I got on my Coker the first morning that we were here and took the beautifully flat pathway that runs between Teton Village and Wilson. It’s about 8.5miles to a nice little school with a drinking fountain, which became my turnaround point on this ride. The first trip to that point and back home averaged at 10.4mph, which I was happy with given the altitude and the fact that’s about how fast I go on my rides back home with Bill. I gave my butt a break by doing that ride every other day for the first week and a half. Then I tried riding into the Grand Teton National Park for some variety. The park road follows the contour of the base of the mountain range and has a couple of short, but moderately steep hills and some spectacular scenery with the Tetons in the background. I really enjoyed that ride, finding the wash boarded dirt road a fun challenge to sort out by weighing which side of the bumps to ride on to have the smoothest ride and avoid any passing vehicles. There was very little traffic and everybody seemed courteous and some people were very encouraging….especially the vans with a dozen bikes on top going to some guided bike tour clients. The rangers in the park told me I was the first unicyclist they had seen in the park, but I find that hard to believe given all the adventurous sorts there are on this forum! By the time I took this ride into the park my average speed had climbed up to 11.6mph !! And just like I have read on this forum, the increase came about by just riding and accumulating the miles……I’ve clocked about 100 Coker miles so far.

Still, the KH was still in the garage whispering “riiiiiiiide meeeeeee”. The other part of my original goal of riding here this summer was a muni ride on a trail that I had ridden on my mountain bike a few times. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to accomplish this because the first 4.6 or so miles are uphill, and I’ve never done that kind of riding before. I did have the pleasure of taking my new muni for a test drive on a ride with Bill back in July……beautiful state game land trail that rolled along with the shorter sharper hills of SW Pennsylvania. The landscape here is more dramatic and even the smaller mountains allow for great long stretches of uphill and downhill riding. The Cache Creek/Game Creek trail is a favorite local ride and there are a few options for doing it either as a loop (23 miles with 9 miles of road to get back to the starting point) or as an out and back on either the Cache Creek or Game Creek side, or leave a car at the Game Creek side and get dropped off on the Cache Creek side and ride over the divide and not have to deal with the pavement miles. This is what I decided to try and my wife said go ahead (she also said go ahead for a paragliding adventure on my 40th birthday……I wonder if there’s something more to this). The day before this ride, my wife asked me if I minded her coming along on a mountain bike as we had taken a MTB ride a couple days before and she really liked it. I told her that I’d be much slower than her, especially on the downhill side, but she still wanted to come along. I think it was to make sure I’d be okay and not ride off a cliff (there aren’t any on this ride). So we put the girls in a day camp and got our housemates to set up a shuttle and off we went.

The ride starts with a two track fire road that quickly got steeper than anything of significant length that I had ever done on a unicycle. My legs immediately loaded up with lactic acid and I started huffing and puffing and looking for the lowest line possible, even if it took me across rocks that I’d otherwise try to avoid. This made me more tired just trying to keep above the wheel. I saw a fork in the road that was less steep and I took it thinking it would give my legs a break and I could regroup as it reconnected with the trail ahead. Unfortunately it was a dead end for a chuck wagon supper outfit to bring covered wagon-loads of people to the “wilderness” for some cowboy fun. We had to turn around and face the steep part with some extra distance added as a penalty.

At this point I was thinking that I’d send my wife ahead so she could make it to the minivan in time to pick up our girls from camp……they could come pick up my shriveled carcass at a later time. Then we passed the heartbreaking “mile 1” sign. I said to my wife, “I don’t know if this is a good idea”, thinking that we should have just been dropped off and set up a pick-up place when we called on a cell phone, which would have made it easier to bail out.

Luckily endorphins kicked in and the riding became more about having fun choosing the right track to ride in and less about just getting through the next pedal stroke. Before I knew it “mile 2” came up and we both felt better than the mile before. The next mile and a half chugged along with me actually developing a quicker pace on the steeper sections than my wife, and her blowing by me on the short little downhill parts on the way up Cache Creek. Then the real turning point came….the crossing over Cache Creek that signified the arrival of a short, very steep section that I’ve never ridden before…even on a bike. We both walked up it and I was completely jazzed because I knew that with another .8 of a mile or so, we would be at the top of the divide and poised for some gorgeous extended downhill single track. The only problem with this was I was nervous that I had no leg strength for downhill after all the beating my inexperienced legs took on the way up. Mikefule’s pacing warnings were echoing loudly in my head.

We stopped for drinks and Clif bars and took some pictures at the top. Adrenaline was giving me nice boost and we started down the first and steepest part of Game Creek. I was happy with the quick transition from nervousness at looking at rocky downhill switchback to “yippee” at the feeling of actually smoothly anticipating the next challenge. I also noticed that I had an entire group of muscles to use for downhill that I hadn’t yet trashed! This was really fun, all the postings about great muni rides were coming to life around me. The trail does some tight switchbacks before it goes past my favorite part where there are rock outcroppings that remind me of the heads on Easter Island. I had to make my wife take some pictures. The next section of trail was one that I had some worry about due to its depth. I anticipated that I might have to walk through some of it because I’d catch my pedals on the side of the trough, but the width was enough to allow clearance, although I did have two “WHOA!” moments when my pedal did catch the edge and I popped off the uni (both times on my feet). The next section of trail moves from a slightly higher tree level to the creek level and back up a few times……nice opportunities to take some runs at little short steep stuff with enough momentum to carry me up. Then there was a smooth section of trail that made me realize that I hadn’t taken a seat break in several miles because I had been using my legs as pseudo-suspension. Once I had been on the seat with my full weight for a while, I needed a break……a couple more pictures of me trying to demonstrate the need for those noodles at the top of the ‘05 KH fork……my brilliant idea to try to get a picture of me one-footing resulted in a nebulous shot of me transitioning into one-foot and the next clear shot of me about to bail!!! So much for unicycle humor. Just unicycle humility for me.

There were several riders who passed us coming down Game Creek. One guy asked if he had seen me on TV riding down cliffs and stuff. I told him that that was the guy who designed the uni I was riding. Then he said they had seen a few unicyclists on a ride at Lake Tahoe and I said I read postings by those guys on a regular basis. Then my favorite comment came from a very buff young lady who said, “That’s pretty hardcore, dude!”, as she zoomed by.

We came finally to the last section of the ride which continued on fire road to the Game Creek trailhead where our minivan was parked next to a van with Utah plates on it. The couple asked what part of PA we were from and when I told them Pittsburgh, I learned that the husband of this couple grew up a few minutes from my house, and his wife has a Montgomery Wards unicycle that she used to ride to and from ballet class!! Once again, I didn’t have the ability to get my seat low enough for someone to try! What a small world. My wife absolutely loves mountain biking (she had never done it before this trip to JH), so I believe that I’ll be doing more muni very soon! (and I have a great idea for her next birthday) Cheers!


P.S. We went to pick up our daughters at camp in plenty of time for them to show their fellow campers how they can ride their unicycles!!

P.P.S. I’ll find out the elevation gain, but the ride length was: approx. 5 miles uphill, and 9 miles downhill for a total of approximately 14 miles.


another picture

another picture…


the finish of the ride with my wife!


excellent read, excellent photos, excellent excellent excellent :slight_smile:
i can’t wait for my tendons to heal so i can get back into the hills.

thanks, norry…I appreciate you slogging through the posting, very long. Now that I’m back in Pittsburgh I’m hungry to find more muni riding here. How’re the tendons coming?