City Creek Challenge Race Report

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here. The truth is that I have a new mountain bike and have been riding it exclusively for the last two or three months. I haven’t done anything with unicycles (riding or building) so I haven’t had anything to say about them until today.

There are now 5 people (including me) that I know of around here that ride MUni. One of them is a young guy named Kyle. He called me Friday to tell me that he was going to ride in a local mountain bike race – The City Creek Challenge – and wanted to know if I was interested in racing my MUni too. I explained to him that I haven’t been riding MUni and didn’t think I’d do it. If I raced at all it would be on my mountain bike.

This morning I woke up (Saturday … race day) to perfect riding conditions – cooler than it’s been and a perfect cloudless sky – so I decided to do the race on my mountain bike. After all, the start line was only about 3 miles from my house and it seemed like waste not to. As I was messing around getting ready I kept thinking about Kyle racing on his MUni. Then I read a little article in the morning paper about the upcoming race. The promoter was quoted as saying “There’s even a couple of people racing on unicycles this year”. I told my wife that I felt kind of like a sell-out racing on my mountain bike to which she replied “so ride your unicycle dummy!”

I decided to take BOTH the mountain bike and MUni, then decide which one to ride after I got a feel of the “vibe” at the registration/start area. As soon as I arrived I saw Kyle riding around the parking lot warming up and I KNEW I would ride the MUni! I’m sure I’m the first one to ride MUni on the City Creek Trail so I couldn’t let someone else be the first to race MUni on it.

The City Creek trail system is a vast network that I’m extremely familiar with … I’ve ridden it either on my mountain bike or MUni literally hundreds of times. The trails are perfect for X country MUni. The race course was more or less a figure 8 with each loop about six miles for a total of 12 miles. Beginner mountain bikers would do one figure 8, sport riders would do the figure 8, then half of it again and expert riders would do two figure 8’s. There’s about 900 feet of climbing on the first part of the figure 8 and 600 feet on the second part. Kyle was intent on doing the full 12 mile loop but I decided I’d do the first half of the figure 8, then bail. That would be 6 miles and 900 feet of climbing which seemed like plenty of riding for me today.

The race started in the parking lot, crossed a paved road, went up a gravel road a couple hundred feet then onto sweet single track. The first mile or so is pretty steep and rocky but ridable. Usually I just “go till you blow” then stop and let my heart rate drop to a non-fatal rate then “go till you blow” again. I usually “blow” twice in this first mile. Today however, my strategy was to “go until I felt like I was fixin’ to blow” then jump off and walk to recover. I reasoned that I would actually cover ground faster that way. I walked quite a bit today and was passed my many bikers. The next part of the trail is less steep but still pretty rocky. That lasts for about a mile until the single track dumps out onto a double track that’s nice and smooth but still uphill. I found a rhythm on this double track and chugged along pretty well, with my pedal strokes in time with a song that was playing in my head – “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots. Eventually, another single track takes off from the double track and that’s where the downhill begins. It’s a great trail with big sweeping corners and a couple technical, rocky bits thrown in. It’s on this downhill that the slowest biker finally passed me leaving me in dead last position. There was a water station at the intersecting point of the figure 8 and that’s where I decided to call it a day and head for the finish line. From that point the trail is all downhill and really nice. It crosses City Creek several times, is very twisty and just generally a blast to ride. I waited at the intersection for the “expert/pro” mountain bikers to go by (they were getting to the intersection for the second time) so they wouldn’t be coming up behind me on the trail. On my way down, a few of the faster “sport” riders caught me but I could always hear them coming and get off the trail before I got ironed by them.

Turns out that Kyle is an animal. He’s been riding with clipless pedals lately (!!!) and just tore it up. He rode the entire 12 miles and beat several bikers. Because I took the short loop, I was at the finish line when he crossed and let me tell you, he was moving … just spinning like crazy on the downhill finish!

It was a lot of fun but as I expected, I’m not in very good MUni shape even though I’ve been doing a fair amount of mountain biking. Even so, I won my division! That would be “Beginner Unicycle Age 40+”.



Thanks for the nice write-up. Good to see a post from you again, and even better to see you made the “right” decision on what to ride for the race :).

And speaking of riding events, don’t forget: Sunday the 28th is I.H.D on the I.H.T. As one of last year’s inaugural riders, don’t forget you have a Lifetime Invite.




i thought you might have dround in that apple fritter machine or what-ever you wrote about in an email last year.

nice write up. make sure and have a camera ready when you ride with that guy again. using SPD’s on a uni results in mavolous faceplants.

take care Steve.