Black Fly Challenge - race write-up

In case you’re interested in the write-up, but may not be following the old thread, I unicycled in a MTB race called the Black Fly Challenge this weekend. My write-up is here.

Congratulations steveyo! What a wonderful challenge; great writeup! I’m very envious! I’m toying with either taking on another MTB event on my GUni this Fall else attempting a two day, 70 mile “uni-pack” of some fantastic single/double track trail in my area… Anyhow great job, would love to know more about how much time you spent in high vs. low gear, do you think your set up worked pretty well for the most part?


I used low gear on all the steeper uphills, and the 137s were long enough that I could remain seated, and almost never had to stand on the pedals. When I felt fresh, I was climbing the easier uphills in high gear, and, during more tired periods, I climbed those gentler grades in a fast-spinning low gear. Again, while the 137s were decent for steeper climbing leverage, they were short enough to go Ken Looi mode and spin fast.

The rest of the race I was geared-up - probably 70% of the time. Sure, I could have used a geared-up 36er some of the time, but a 36er would have be too much wheel (for me) on all the long uphills.

For this type of race, my setup couldn’t have been better for me. It seemed perfect.

Great work, Steve. I’m impressed that you made all the hills! Entertaining write up as well.

Congrats steveyo- nice write up on what seemed to be a pretty tough outing!
I’m looking forward to completing my own first mtb race on my GMuni in about a month. The course is a 50km (3/4 of it singletrack) race through a state forest- I will be running a 24x3 with 125mm cranks. How did you find your energy situation using the gels during the event? Also did you have something to replace your salts and stop cramping?
Great writeup- i wish there were more of these types of ride reports on the forums.


Great write-up steveyo, and awsome achievement.

Thanks, Mark., and good luck w/you 50km ride. With 3/4 singletrack, it sounds like a tough race.

The gels have all the salts (like gatorade) to replace what you sweat out, and potassium for cramp-prevention. What they’re missing is protein, which you also want on a long ride. For that I brought some nuts, cheese, and a PB&J sandwich. I sometimes have trouble with indigestion after hours of exercise, and the gels go down nice and easy. In the race I only had a few bites of the PB&J, but probably 6 or 7 gel packs, and LOTS of water. It seemed to do the trick.

Nice job Steveyo, what a great course too. The 29er GUni was the perfect setup. Looked like there was about 2,300’ of climbing in the 38 miles. Way to represent. Whats next?

Wow steveyo, that was a great writeup and a great adventure.

I wish I could see some pictures or video of the trails. Got any?
Maybe I can find some on the net somewhere.

I’m trying to imagine what it would be like if I trained on my local trails, built up my endurance to ride 40 miles, and then entered a race like this.
Like you, I’d have butterflies and pterodactyls wondering if I’d actually be able to do it.

Could you imagine doing this race with a 24" guni?
I’d imagine it’d take longer, but would it be any more or less difficult?

Remember, it wasn’t trails, but mostly dirt/sandy roads. A 24 guni would be slower. You could climb the hills just fine, but you couldn’t descend as fast as with a bigger (virtual) wheel. If my guni was a 24, then I think would have just Coker’ed it with 150 cranks.

Edit: so far there are pics from the race here (3 pics of me), and I’m on page 5 of each album. BLF 258, 259, & 561

Here’s the proof of the best one:


Cheers! You earned that beer. Congratulations on a unicycling first. Don’t you just love passing bicyclists, even if they pass you right back? Great write up.


Thanks! And, yes. Yes, I do.

Super write-up and adventure. Thanks for the inspiration!

I think it’s safe to say you also now have one of the more thoroughly tested Shadow handles out there. Will you be giving us an updated post in the “Nimbus Shadow Handle first impressions” thread? Nimbus Shadow Handle first impressions

Congrats Steve! That’s a great story. It’s cool you took the time to write it up.



Awesome write up Steveyo. You have a great writing skills. Thanks for taking the time to write about your adventure it’s almost like being there with you! Congrats on finishing it must have felt great!

Thank you for the compliments. I just write em as I see em. It was hard, but it did feel great to accomplish it.

Black fly 2011 - 1 week away

The race is on again this year, a week from Saturday, I just signed up, anyone else going?

Steveyo the “Serious Adventurist”

From the 2011 race FAQ page:

What kind of race is the Black Fly?
The Black Fly Challenge is a 40-mile destination race (one-way) that takes place every year on the second Saturday in June. A legendary Adirondack mountain bike race, the BFC traverses the wild & scenic Moose River Plains and changes direction each year, with Inlet and Indian Lake alternating as the start/finish points. The race attracts a variety of bikes and everything from serious racers to recreational riders. It also attracts some serious adventurists – among the 2010 entries were a unicyclist and a 3-seat bike.


I’d love to join you guys. Only two minor problems: 1) I can’t get there (the excuse), and 2) it would kill me (the real reason).

Way to go bud! Hoping to join you in the future. Keep on rolling!

Join NOW
Don’t postpone joy (mixed with a bit of pain in this case)