Day/Night Thriler 03: 12hrs of solo madness

What had I gotten myself into? After my epic 24hr Moonride mountainbike race in May I had sworn off endurance events, unicycles, caffeine and peanut butter sandwiches altogether. And here I was just five months later at the start line for yet another crazy solo 12hr endurance race.

This years Day/Night Thriller mountainbike race proved to be even bigger and better than last years event! With over 3000 mountainbikers each composed of 5 person teams this was one BIG event. There were also 55 people (stupid) enough to do all 12hrs solo. This was the first big mountainbike event that NZ MUNi cyclists entered. We sent our first ever team to last years event.

Anyway, the course this year was better than ever. It was about 80% twisty singletrack, 20% transition/camp grassy tent city. There were one or two sharp climbs but otherwise a fairly rolling 8-9km course. I rode a Coker with 150mm cranks. I was a little apprehensive about this, as I had only ridden it 3-4 times off-road, and never on singletrack. My gamble paid off however- I completed the first lap somewhere around mid-lower 1/3 field. The Coker absolutely motored along the grass transition area- I couldn’t believe I was passing mountainbikers on the flat! The twisty singletrack was a lot of fun on the Coker too- it soaked up all the bumps pretty well and was mostly rideable.

I knocked off the first five or six laps feeling pretty good, before I felt really dizzy and collapsed in a heap at my team HQ. The MUni team team passed me at that point but I was too knackered/sleepy to get back on my Coker. Working a 85hr week is not good build up to a 12 hr endurance event!

Finally recovered after about 30 min in the supine position and jumped back on my Coker. Unfortunately I was still not entirely orientated in time and space and my leg overshot the pedal and I sprained my ankle. Luckily I was still able to ride with a little assistance to get back on the Coker. I eased back over the next few laps before I bonked spectacularly. I just lay on the side of the trail for about 10min before the race marshal came over and prodded me. I am also eternally grateful to the girl who stopped and gave me her chocolate bar or I would not have made it back to tent city/ unicycle HQ.

The next few laps were fairly unevenful. I had a couple of bad falls but no major injuries. The night laps were quite difficult given the fact that I hate carrots and my night vision is pretty poor. My 20W lamp was adequate but I found myself wishing I had another 15W to see where I was going. I switched over to my 29’er with 150mm cranks which made a huge difference.

I completed 15 laps of the moonride (the first lap is a shortened lap). In my category (solo men) I came 32 out of 46. Not bad for my second/third attempt at ultra endurance unicycle racing. I am not sure of the exact distance- people are telling me that the laps are about 8-9km long, with the first lap being a shortened lap/start loop.

The MUni team comprising of Tony Melton, Malcolm Todd, Steve Pavarno and a really fast kid named Blake did a total of 18 laps. This is an improvement on the 17 laps we did last year, which also had a shorter course.

Day/Night thriller results

I now have a sore bum and stiff legs.

Ken Looi :sunglasses:

Nice going, Ken! From the results one more lap would have moved you way up to about mid-field. In any case, that’s a long ride.

Congratulations Ken! And a hearty good job to team

If each lap was 8 km then 15 laps would be almost 75 miles of off-road riding in 12 hours. Wow!

In looking at the results I saw a team Unicyclists in the open category that did 30 laps. I’m going to assume that they were on bikes. Odd that they would choose the name “Unicyclists” but not as odd as some of the other names.

Thanks guys!

The first lap was a shortened start loop so I don’t think that counts :stuck_out_tongue:

And that is certainly curious that a MTB team called themselves unicyclists. Maybe they were Uni versity students or something :thinking:

Anyway, slight error- our NZ team actually did 19 laps if you included the start loop. Tony Melton did the fastest times of any unicyclist with a couple of sub 30min laps.

And the guy that won the solo mens category was riding a singlespeed! Maybe we can convert him to single wheel as well next year :stuck_out_tongue:

Here’s a pic of me riding Ken’s 29er on the last lap before it got dark. I did earlier laps on my Coker with 170mm cranks and wanted to see if a 29er with 125mm cranks would be any slower. My fastest Coker lap was 27min and the 29er lap was 33 min. I found Malcolms Nimbus 29er with 150mm cranx to be a much more enjoyable ride.

day-night coker thrills.jpg (900 KB)

Re: Day/Night Thriler 03: 12hrs of solo madness

Here’s to stamina and determination! Very good riding Ken!

You and also the team switched Cokers and 29’ers
(depending on terrain, daylight and preference). Between 36 and 29 it
is quite a step change. I was wondering, would a fat-tyred 32"er have
a right to exist in races like these?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray. - UniBrier

Oh yeah! The Coker was great. Although I would have liked to try it with 170mm cranks on. I found the 150mm X 36’ much better than the 125mm x 29’ I used in my 24hr race earlier this year. Similar sort of singletrack. The 125mm cranks have really poor acceleration/deceleration and slow you down everytime you hit a bump. On the other hand I found 150mmx 29’ pretty good, especially at night. So I think the crank length have a greater effect on MUni handling than does the wheels size. It was nice with the Coker on the flat though- it seems to roll really well on grass. It wasn’t too bad on the singletrack either.

So anyway I think the 29’er is great for climbs and at night, 36’ great for all out speed. But I personally wouldn’t go shorter than 150mm with cranks sizing.

Yeah, I reckon a 32’ would be good in between size for this race, it may have been even better than either of them. Also gives something to step down to from the Coker as the day wears on and you get more tired.