A novice's CA Muni weekend

Hi, I’m the “Jody” part of “Scott & Jody.” Although I’ve been riding 3+ years
and am improving as a unicyclist, I’m a novice with no desire to be an expert.
I’m a busy mother of five who would (usually) rather quilt than unicycle,
especially if it is rainy, icy, or muddy. I uni once or twice a week in the good
weather, and take the crummy weather off (unlike my guys, who ride as much as
possible). However, I did have a lot of fun at the CA Muni Weekend at Lake
Tahoe. I thought maybe other novices might be encouraged to try muni or even
come to a Muni Weekend if someone like me reported on the Weekend. Why would
someone who isn’t very good want to mountain unicycle? Probably for the same
reasons all the good riders
do: challenge, accomplishment, exhilaration, and exercise, plus the chance to
meet interesting people and see gorgeous scenery. It doesn’t matter that
my exhilaration comes from doing “easy” stuff–getting through a bumpy
stretch without falling or successfully free mounting on a slight
uphill–it’s still exhilarating. Of course it is discouraging to have
every one else hop on their unis and ride down the trail while I’m still
trying to free mount. I’m fairly sure that I was the worst rider of those
who were riding. I battle with feeling self-conscious, embarrassed, or
silly. My way to cope is to continually remind myself that 1) I’m a lot
better than I used to be and 2) there’s only a handful of 40-something
women in the world who can ride trails as well as me. This always improves
my attitude, and I have more fun.

     Scott, Luke (17), Thad (11), and I drove the 9 hours from Oregon to
     Lake Tahoe on Friday, so we missed the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Saturday's
     UMX race was fun to watch, but beyond my ability. The three guys all
     did it, though. We rode up the first ski lift and took trails down. My
     guys went with the advanced group, and I tried to find the dirt roads I
     had seen from the ski lift. The map wasn't very clear and I was on my
     own. Someone told me "Meander" was an easy trail, but when I found it,
     it was too narrow and bumpy for me. I should have taken "Valley Run,"
     but didn't realize that was what I was looking for. When Meander
     finally joined Valley Run, I was able to ride down it without too much
     trouble. But I probably spent the first half of the "ride" walking over
     trails that were too hard for me, looking for the dirt roads. That was
     really frustrating and discouraging. So after lunch I took my map to
     the mountain bike shop and found out which trails were dirt roads. I
     found some other riders who didn't want to do the expert ride. We took
     two ski lifts up to the top of the run, and rode between 5 and 6 miles
     down. I fell off a lot and usually brought up the rear, but the other
     riders waited for me so I didn't get left far behind. The ride was just
     challenging enough for me that it was a thrill when I rode fairly long
     sections without falling. Even though I was getting tired, the ride was
     a lot of fun. I rode with Peter Kittle and his son Drew (age 9), and
     with Tony Flusche and Jed Donnelley. Part of the way down Sierra Young
     (age 9) joined us. Drew Kittle was really cute. He was great at
     encouraging me when I was having trouble mounting, or when I'd fall
     off. He'd say, "Jody, here's some good luck for you." But the cutest
     thing was early in the ride when he said, "Oh, I remember *you* from
     last year! You're the person who always needed help." I guess it's nice
     to be remembered. When I got to the bottom of the hill, people were
     riding the Adventureland race course. If I hadn't been so tired I could
     barely walk, I would have tried it. Thad told me that I should be able
     to do most of

dp. Maybe next year I’ll be able to do one of the races (although I would
rather ride than race). We went back to the Lucerne house and had a great
dinner and evening. Jeremy’s juggling and origami were truly amazing. And
it was fun to get most of the group together for the evening. Unicyclists
are such interesting people, and mountain unicyclists seem even more
interesting. I got to talk with many people far different than those who
would ordinarily cross my path. Sunday we drove to Spooner Lake for the
beginning of the Flume Trail Ride. Since it was about 14 miles long, with a
good amount of uphill and narrow track, I knew it was beyond my ability. So
I rode a little in the Spooner Lake area with Sierra Young, Jim Hahn, and
his friend Dillon. We really didn’t find more than short stretches that
weren’t limited to foot traffic. Sierra and I did ride the first part of
the Flume Trail twice, maybe 1/2 mile? It was gentle ups and downs with
some bumpy places, and a few very sandy places which were very interesting.
I was really excited when I rode through those without bailing out. When
the trail started steeply up we turned around and came back. After we ran
out of trails, the four of us walked the footpath around Spooner Lake,
about 2 miles. This was probably easier on my sore muscles than riding, but
I really would rather have been riding. It would have been nice to have a
specific ride planned for the novices. About 3 p.m. we drove to the other
end of the Flume Trail, and met the first riders to finish. I started
shuttling drivers up to Spooner Lake to pick up their cars. About 5 our
family started the drive home, tired and sore but happy. This was my third
CA Muni Weekend. Each was different, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Saturday
afternoon this year was the best ride I’ve ever had, in terms of how well I
did. But my first weekend (1998) was the most fun. Even though I could
barely ride and couldn’t free mount at all, I was able to do much more than
I thought possible. The reasons? Another rider close to my ability (Melanie
Hopkins) to ride with and even hold hands with when the trail was wide
enough. Craig Milo Rogers, who brought up the rear of the novice rides and
helped Melanie and me mount when we fell off. A large (15 or so?) group of
novices, and novice rides which were well-planned, do-able, and easy to
find. It was a super weekend for me.

     If you've been wondering if you have to buy an expensive mountain
     unicycle to ride on trails, I ride a 24" Miyata with 170 mm cranks and
     a slightly knobby tire. (Also an air and gel seat.) Scott put the
     cranks on my uni about a month ago. They've been hard to get used to,
     but really help me in going up and down hills. I'd really recommend
     long cranks. I'm not sure the knobby tire helps me very much. I almost
     never have traction problems because my strength and balance usually
     give out before I lose traction. I know I would have less problems
     going over bumps with a 26" muni with a fat tire, but I don't know if I
     could ever free mount it. I'm only 5'1", and it would really be high
     for me. So I'm pretty happy with my Miyata. How much do I ride? I've
     been practicing for the Muni weekend for the past 6 weeks or so, riding
     for 1-1/2 to 2 hours each Sunday afternoon. We ride a mountain bike
     trail in Eugene (off Fox Hollow Road, in case any local people are
     reading this), and I ride the first third or half of the trail several
     times while the guys go all the way to the end and back. It's not
     technical at all, but there are some small hills and dips and some
     pretty rutted places, along with the occasional root or rock to
     maneuver around. I really think my unicycling skills improve a lot more
     from trail riding than street riding, because it is like intensive
     practice of basic skills. Each time I start out really awkward and want
     to give up after 15 minutes. But if I keep riding, my second hour is
     always better than my first. The automatic reactions start kicking in,
     and I can relax and not think so much. After each Muni Weekend I've
     noticed a huge improvement in my riding, which is really great. But in
     general, my improvement comes in small spurts and isn't real
     noticeable. In fact, I often feel I'm riding worse right before I make
     a gain. It's kind of weird, but important for me to remember. So if you
     are a novice and want to try Muni, just remember to enjoy your
     accomplishments and victories and not compare yourself to the experts.
     I muni for the fun of it, and it really is a kick! Maybe I'll ride with
     you next year?

jody

–Scott, Jody, Vjera, Luke, Hope, Thad, and Simon Arnold

                    o o o o o o The only one-wheeled
          /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ o homeschooling family

|\ |\ |\ |\ |\ |\ /[]\ in Springfield, OR
O O O O O O o http://www.efn.org/~jodya/jodya.html

RE: A novice’s CA Muni weekend

Hi Jody, I really enjoyed your account of this years Muni week-end. I don’t know
if you remember me but I was there also in 1998 and really had a blast. I
couldn’t make it last year and this year opted out since it really looked like
the skill level required was far above my abilities.

Maybe next year… (wistful sigh.)

-----Original Message----- From: Scott & Jody Arnold & family
[mailto:jodya@efn.org] Sent: Monday, October 09, 2000 10:05 AM To:
unicycling@winternet.com Subject: A novice’s CA Muni weekend

Hi, I’m the “Jody” part of “Scott & Jody.” Although I’ve been riding 3+ years
and am improving as a unicyclist, I’m a novice with no desire to be an expert.
I’m a busy mother of five who would (usually) rather quilt than unicycle,
especially if it is rainy, icy, or muddy. I uni once or twice a week in the good
weather, and take the crummy weather off (unlike my guys, who ride as much as
possible). However, I did have a lot of fun at the CA Muni Weekend at Lake
Tahoe. I thought maybe other novices might be encouraged to try muni or even
come to a Muni Weekend if someone like me reported on the Weekend. Why would
someone who isn’t very good want to mountain unicycle? Probably for the same
reasons all the good riders
do: challenge, accomplishment, exhilaration, and exercise, plus the chance to
meet interesting people and see gorgeous scenery. It doesn’t matter that
my exhilaration comes from doing “easy” stuff–getting through a bumpy
stretch without falling or successfully free mounting on a slight
uphill–it’s still exhilarating. Of course it is discouraging to have
every one else hop on their unis and ride down the trail while I’m still
trying to free mount. I’m fairly sure that I was the worst rider of those
who were riding. I battle with feeling self-conscious, embarrassed, or
silly. My way to cope is to continually remind myself that 1) I’m a lot
better than I used to be and 2) there’s only a handful of 40-something
women in the world who can ride trails as well as me. This always improves
my attitude, and I have more fun.

     Scott, Luke (17), Thad (11), and I drove the 9 hours from Oregon to
     Lake Tahoe on Friday, so we missed the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Saturday's
     UMX race was fun to watch, but beyond my ability. The three guys all
     did it, though. We rode up the first ski lift and took trails down. My
     guys went with the advanced group, and I tried to find the dirt roads I
     had seen from the ski lift. The map wasn't very clear and I was on my
     own. Someone told me "Meander" was an easy trail, but when I found it,
     it was too narrow and bumpy for me. I should have taken "Valley Run,"
     but didn't realize that was what I was looking for. When Meander
     finally joined Valley Run, I was able to ride down it without too much
     trouble. But I probably spent the first half of the "ride" walking over
     trails that were too hard for me, looking for the dirt roads. That was
     really frustrating and discouraging. So after lunch I took my map to
     the mountain bike shop and found out which trails were dirt roads. I
     found some other riders who didn't want to do the expert ride. We took
     two ski lifts up to the top of the run, and rode between 5 and 6 miles
     down. I fell off a lot and usually brought up the rear, but the other
     riders waited for me so I didn't get left far behind. The ride was just
     challenging enough for me that it was a thrill when I rode fairly long
     sections without falling. Even though I was getting tired, the ride was
     a lot of fun. I rode with Peter Kittle and his son Drew (age 9), and
     with Tony Flusche and Jed Donnelley. Part of the way down Sierra Young
     (age 9) joined us. Drew Kittle was really cute. He was great at
     encouraging me when I was having trouble mounting, or when I'd fall
     off. He'd say, "Jody, here's some good luck for you." But the cutest
     thing was early in the ride when he said, "Oh, I remember *you* from
     last year! You're the person who always needed help." I guess it's nice
     to be remembered. When I got to the bottom of the hill, people were
     riding the Adventureland race course. If I hadn't been so tired I could
     barely walk, I would have tried it. Thad told me that I should be able
     to do most of

dp. Maybe next year I’ll be able to do one of the races (although I would
rather ride than race). We went back to the Lucerne house and had a great
dinner and evening. Jeremy’s juggling and origami were truly amazing. And
it was fun to get most of the group together for the evening. Unicyclists
are such interesting people, and mountain unicyclists seem even more
interesting. I got to talk with many people far different than those who
would ordinarily cross my path. Sunday we drove to Spooner Lake for the
beginning of the Flume Trail Ride. Since it was about 14 miles long, with a
good amount of uphill and narrow track, I knew it was beyond my ability. So
I rode a little in the Spooner Lake area with Sierra Young, Jim Hahn, and
his friend Dillon. We really didn’t find more than short stretches that
weren’t limited to foot traffic. Sierra and I did ride the first part of
the Flume Trail twice, maybe 1/2 mile? It was gentle ups and downs with
some bumpy places, and a few very sandy places which were very interesting.
I was really excited when I rode through those without bailing out. When
the trail started steeply up we turned around and came back. After we ran
out of trails, the four of us walked the footpath around Spooner Lake,
about 2 miles. This was probably easier on my sore muscles than riding, but
I really would rather have been riding. It would have been nice to have a
specific ride planned for the novices. About 3 p.m. we drove to the other
end of the Flume Trail, and met the first riders to finish. I started
shuttling drivers up to Spooner Lake to pick up their cars. About 5 our
family started the drive home, tired and sore but happy. This was my third
CA Muni Weekend. Each was different, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Saturday
afternoon this year was the best ride I’ve ever had, in terms of how well I
did. But my first weekend (1998) was the most fun. Even though I could
barely ride and couldn’t free mount at all, I was able to do much more than
I thought possible. The reasons? Another rider close to my ability (Melanie
Hopkins) to ride with and even hold hands with when the trail was wide
enough. Craig Milo Rogers, who brought up the rear of the novice rides and
helped Melanie and me mount when we fell off. A large (15 or so?) group of
novices, and novice rides which were well-planned, do-able, and easy to
find. It was a super weekend for me.

     If you've been wondering if you have to buy an expensive mountain
     unicycle to ride on trails, I ride a 24" Miyata with 170 mm cranks and
     a slightly knobby tire. (Also an air and gel seat.) Scott put the
     cranks on my uni about a month ago. They've been hard to get used to,
     but really help me in going up and down hills. I'd really recommend
     long cranks. I'm not sure the knobby tire helps me very much. I almost
     never have traction problems because my strength and balance usually
     give out before I lose traction. I know I would have less problems
     going over bumps with a 26" muni with a fat tire, but I don't know if I
     could ever free mount it. I'm only 5'1", and it would really be high
     for me. So I'm pretty happy with my Miyata. How much do I ride? I've
     been practicing for the Muni weekend for the past 6 weeks or so, riding
     for 1-1/2 to 2 hours each Sunday afternoon. We ride a mountain bike
     trail in Eugene (off Fox Hollow Road, in case any local people are
     reading this), and I ride the first third or half of the trail several
     times while the guys go all the way to the end and back. It's not
     technical at all, but there are some small hills and dips and some
     pretty rutted places, along with the occasional root or rock to
     maneuver around. I really think my unicycling skills improve a lot more
     from trail riding than street riding, because it is like intensive
     practice of basic skills. Each time I start out really awkward and want
     to give up after 15 minutes. But if I keep riding, my second hour is
     always better than my first. The automatic reactions start kicking in,
     and I can relax and not think so much. After each Muni Weekend I've
     noticed a huge improvement in my riding, which is really great. But in
     general, my improvement comes in small spurts and isn't real
     noticeable. In fact, I often feel I'm riding worse right before I make
     a gain. It's kind of weird, but important for me to remember. So if you
     are a novice and want to try Muni, just remember to enjoy your
     accomplishments and victories and not compare yourself to the experts.
     I muni for the fun of it, and it really is a kick! Maybe I'll ride with
     you next year?

jody

–Scott, Jody, Vjera, Luke, Hope, Thad, and Simon Arnold

                    o o o o o o The only one-wheeled
          /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ /[]\ o homeschooling family

|\ |\ |\ |\ |\ |\ /[]\ in Springfield, OR
O O O O O O o
http://www.efn.org/~jodya/jodya.html

Re: A novice’s CA Muni weekend

Dear Jody, That was a great writeup on Muni weekend - thanks for posting. Also,
THANKS again for the wonderful pies that powered Beau and me up the Flume trail.
And a third thanks for the ride to my car afterwards! And you’re exactly right
about the number of 40-something women who can do what you do.

—Nathan

“Scott & Jody Arnold & family” <jodya@efn.org> wrote in message
news:4.3.2.7.2.20001002141707.00b58280@pop.efn.org
> Hi, I’m the “Jody” part of “Scott & Jody.” Although I’ve been riding 3+ years
> and am improving as a unicyclist, I’m a novice with no desire to be an expert.
> I’m a busy mother of five who would (usually) rather quilt than unicycle,
> especially if it is rainy, icy, or muddy. I uni once or twice a week in the
> good weather, and take the crummy weather off (unlike my guys, who ride as
> much as possible).
[long good post snipped]

Re: A novice’s CA Muni weekend

Scott & Jody Arnold & family <jodya@efn.org> wrote:
> However, I did have a lot of fun at the CA Muni Weekend at Lake
> Tahoe. I thought maybe other novices might be encouraged to try muni
> or even come to a Muni Weekend if someone like me reported on the
> Weekend.
BIG snip
> It would have been nice to have a specific ride planned for the novices.

Nice trip report Jody. I’ll agree that its good to have an entry level ride at
Muni weekends, we try to run two rides at BMW and BUC , this year at BUC we
managed to run three muni rides, an entry level dirt track ride on the saturday
with a mid level 6 mile hilly ride and a harder 8 mile hilly, technical ride on
the sunday.

The idea being that those who found the entry level ride easy will enjoy the
other two, some of the newbies will be up the mid level ride as well having
found muni not as hard as they thought it was and some will realise from the
entry level ride that they will struggle on the mid level ride this year so
don’t come out to the hills on sunday. This was mainly the younger new
riders who still needed mun/dad to help them mount and mum/dad didn’t want
to walk 6 miles.

I would encorage anybody organiseing group rides to consider the novice
munier, if its not practical to run two groups, how about looking for
shortcuts so that some riders can cut short if they wish. Also finding waiting
points where you can re-group, we had a great re-group point at the BMW with a
drop zone to play in.

I’ll be looking for two or three muni routes for Euro-cycle next year in
Plymouth ( SW UK) so any locals down there who have fav rides, Please let me
know, I’m interested.

sarah