I spent the Thanksgiving weekend up in the mountains east of Seattle. It was
cold, ranging between 20 and 35 degrees each day. I tried some trails that are
usually too deep in sand for me to handle. This time the sand was frozen enough
to let me float on top–most of the time.
I also tried some singletrack along an old flume above Icicle Canyon. It was in
the middle of a Ponderosa forest that burnt 5 years ago. I’d go in and out of
the burn zone–from 50-foot charred snags (widow makers they call them–because
they fall down unpredictably) to 200 year old yellowback Ponderosa pines. The
trail went along the flume–full of water–and had that gradual downhill slope
that we all know and love. But this riding isn’t what I wanted to share.
The place I where was staying had a Precor Eliptical Trainer in its fitness
room. It was as close to unicycling as I’ve come on a fitness machine. The
reason is that it is “direct drive”–you can pedal either forwards or backwards,
and you have to overcome considerable momentum when you shift. If you don’t hold
onto the handrails, and shift from forwards to backwards fairly frequently, you
feel as if you are on a uni–or even an ultimate wheel. Lots of fun.
Anyone else had this experience on an Eliptical Trainer?
One more note: Two weeks ago I tried out the toughest paved hill on our
Island–Toe Jam Hill Road. It is an amazingly steep one-lane road. I fell 3
times, but was able to remount each time. I made it! It will be good practice
for when the off-road trails are too muddy.
An eliptical would of course be much better for cross training than the bike I bought (we already had an eliptical). I got a Greg LeMond spin bike, with a 43-pound flywheel instead of a “fake” bike wheel. Direct drive and adjustable resistance. Great for spin training, but unfortunately I never used it much…
Okay, somebody revive this thread again in 2018 please…
My theory for X training is to use some different muscles to prevent muscle imbalances. Also allows you to try new things. If theres snow, how about snowboarding, or skating at a rink or rock climbing in a gym? Those sound more fun then gym equipment lol. but if you can convince me a gym is fun, do it! Please… I cant uni for 10 more days.
Running up stairs seems to be a really effective way to cross train for the more extreme unicycling stuff, by building up your cardio/stamina. Been doing this mainly to see if it will help me to hop up at least 100 stairs on my Uni. Previous best time running up this 142 stair set was 34 seconds, so there seems to be a definite improvement, and also recovered faster. Should be ready to try hopping up this set again soon! (y) PS: Might have had even faster time if I wasn’t also holding a gopro attached to a tripod while running up!
your different riding styles prepare your body for very long effort (long distance on the 36er) and moderately long one but more intense (muni/guni).
I presume running up those stairs in 34 seconds will get you used to manage a pretty hard and intense short effort, but maybe you should try to endure an high effort that is supposed to last the same duration as the one of your goal : hoping 100 stairs.
I guess there are some techniques to increase this special type of stamina, but you could also just train to hop more and more stairs week after week.
your body will just adapt and get better at that.
I found a very simple and convenient way to closely simulate hopping up stairs at home. You basically just hop up (and down) the same step you might have on a porch, as many times as possible. So if I hopped up 142 times, I would also have to hop the same amount back down, which would no doubt contribute to the overall fatigue but at the same time build stamina for that specific task.
I have a mini-gym with free weights, cable/pulley system, etc. I’ve recently used it along with unicycling for a more interesting workout. I move from one activity to the other with little downtime so that my heart rate stays up. Of course, this keeps me near the house, but it is a unique way to exercise.
I’ve avoided weight training/lifting mainly because I don’t want to ‘bulk up’ which would result in weight gain, albeit mostly muscle weight. I find that staying lighter with less weight to haul around gives me more endurance. Kinda like you don’t see many runners or swimmers with bodies like football players. Of course, a few pounds of added muscle in the legs could be potentially beneficial for hill climbing and overall endurance.
But I find that, at least for me, that it’s not my legs that give out during strenuous stuff like hopping up 100+ stairs, but after a certain point you get into anaerobic threshold, where lactic acid builds up in the body faster than it can be cleared away, and before too long you can’t continue. So my main goal has been to increase and/or prolong AT with interval training. But limiting factors, to name just two, are my age and having hypothyroidism.
Long-haul stair hopping is a good way to make unicycling into a bona fide form of strenuous exercise! The cross-training question is a bit of a moot point for me, though, as I am pretty sure my own stair hopping could still be improved more with better unihopping technique than with improved cardiovascular fitness. If I could go up ten steps in ten hops or less, my hopping record (currently 76 steps on a 20, only pausing to idle on the landings) would soar to new heights, but at present, I can only manage one hop per step for two steps or so before I have to stop and bounce in place for a moment to regain my balance. This isn’t something I’ve worked on recently, but I’ve been meaning to get back to it, so thanks for putting it out there, Unigeezer!
Any tips for reducing hop count would be much appreciated, though I know it’s often just a question of repressing the urge to immediately start bouncing the moment your wheel touches the next step.
Hop slower. That’s not a complete solution, but it does two things. First, it gives you a moment to “feel” your balance, and helps you aim the next hop. Second, it’s less intense, so in theory you can get farther at whatever your level of fitness may be at the time.
Yeah, hopping slower is kind of what I meant. It’s really a question of being confident enough in your hop to not try to make adjustments after you land. You land, hold still and let yourself start tilting toward the next step, then hop again. Being willing to remain motionless for that half second is key, but of course right before that you have to have made a hop of just the right height and angle.
This process gets harder the higher the steps are, I find, and climbing five or six steps in a row with all single hops is the best I have been able to do so far, and only on very gentle stairways, many of which smell of pee.