Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 Hour

To, anybody in south-eastern United States (or those willing to travel from even further). I’m going to be unicycling at the Dirt, Sweat and Gears 12 Hour in Fayetteville, Tennessee on May 3rd this year:

I just pre-rode the course Saturday and it is pretty grueling with ~ 1500 feet of climb and like descent in the 10.6 mile loop. Besides a few fairly long steep climbs (that I had to walk most of) the rest of it was very ridable and fun. I think perhaps I saw the worse case scenario course conditions as it was very muddy, the sticky kind, and had to fight the constant mud-tire-frame friction throughout the loop! At one point I had to just carry a small stick with me to clean out the frame because I couldn’t even turn the wheel at all! Super clogged! Anyhow if soloing isn’t for you there are team categories (of course). I think 3 loops or ~ 50km will be pretty good, anything more is pure bonus. I’m going to try for 5 loops if I don’t completely blow up… Kind of depends on how hot/humid it gets race day and if there’s mud. W/o the mud I think it could be a fairly ridable though very challenging/interesting loop.

So consider making the trip down (up) it will be a lot of fun. BTW, there are some trials elements set up in the large field where this event starts-finishes so bring a trials uni as well.


North Carolina team anybody?

bit of a drive, about 10 hours from where I am, but track season will be over by then, so it might be a possibility.

Please come and bring some friends with you. I friend of mine from Georgia will most likely be coming and doing the solo division as well. The more the better! There is some kind of big Single Speed race the day before so there is a lot going on this weekend and like I said I believe there is a group that comes down and set’s up more of a trials course as well. There was already some pre-existing stuff there saturday but the past photos I’ve seen seemed to contain some more elements… Come on down we’ll set up our own unicyclist village!

I just checked the calendar, and we have that friday off from school, so chances are pretty good right now that I’ll be able to go.

edit: this is about the same time that the Southeast MUnifest happened last year, anyone have info about it this year?

My riding buddy and I did an 8-hour with a course that sounds similar–a really grueling climb out the gate with something like 1800’ in around a mile (yeah, we walked; so did a lot of the bikes), but the rest a nice mix of mostly-ridable terrain. Lots of fun in the 10 mile loop, except for this unbelievable, almost-unwalkable hike-a-bike section just before the very end of the course. Cruel.

What we found out was that we had 5 hours worth of endurance in us, and completed two laps in that time. We’d anticipated getting 3 laps in, but both were cramping pretty badly at the end of lap 2. But despite the results, we received medals for our class (the only unis!) and the bikers loved that we were there.

Have fun!

i looked on the website i might be able to go i have to see how good i am once i fix up my uni, how much does it cost do you know?


It’s that time a year again. I wasn’t able to do this event last year because it was the same day as an ultramarathon I’d already committed on doing (I didn’t realize until too late they were on the same day). This year this event is free and clear on my schedule so I’m going to do it. It is almost foolish not to as it is very close to where I live, I’ve ridden the course and am friends with a lot of the people doing it. So I already contacted the race director of Dirt, Sweat and Gears and he told me to “Bring it on Cowboy!” so I am. For those not inclined to do the 12 hour solo there are also numerous team options.

Course beta: It is a ten mile+ loop that is fairly challenging. It had about 1500 feet of elevation change but most of it was extremely rideable. I only rode it in practice and on not a particularly good day to be riding as the low, flat areas near this stream were extremely muddy! I.e. I had to carry a stick with me as I rode to clean out the gunk in my tire every 100 yards or so! The wheel would just stop turning! But that was early in the year and by race day the course should be in great shape. Even through all this I managed a loop in right at 2 hours. So I think my race day goal will be at least 4 loops, perhaps 5 if I’m lucky. All depends on what kind of day we have; it can be very hot and humid in in May in Tennessee! Not only that but if it is very muddy, the going will be slow and I’ll settle for a solid 50km! This is a pretty big event for the southeast U.S. as it is advertised fairly heavily around the mountain *ike circuit. So come one come all! Misery loves company!

What? Nobody from the South East interested? Oh well…that’s cool. I’ll give another bump around the end of April after I get a chance to recon the course again (the private park is only open the 3rd Saturday of each month). I’ll have better trail beta then. This is a big venue with lots of stuff going on, food, drink, etc… so even if you don’t want to ride the whole time you can come and play, or form a team? They even had a trials course set up to “entertain” the crowd so come and do some trials. They give out a lot of schwag too. Anyways hopefully I’ll have some one-wheeled company. If not I’ll post my write-up here afterwords. Wish me luck. Later.

I may try to make this. I need to check my scedual first but I would love to come ride.

Alright! Well if you can make it great, maybe we can talk some of the other VA/NC riders into coming down and form a team? I really want to go solo, but doesn’t mean everybody would have to. I believe there is even a DUO division so partner up! I’ll take some photos and provide more trail beta next month. Anybody else interested just PM me or keep this thread alive.

Alright. It’s now offical. I’ve entered this event under the “Solo Amateur Single Speed” catagory. My only goal now is to not finish last! That’s why I like these longer endurance events as opposed to the shorter sprint events; people will quit early at an endurance event. I must only not quit. While I didn’t get a chance to get back UP to the Cotton Mill Preserve to pre-ride the course I’m not too worried; I’ve seen enough of it. It is going to be difficult, but the good thing is that a lot of folks end up pushing their bikes up the short steep hills anyhow so I’ll have company. Hike-a-uni is a whole lot easier than hike-a-bike. And the rest of the non-uphill sections of this course are not, IMHO, very technical so very rideable. Even with thick, sticky mud, I did the 10 mile + loop last year in right under 2 hours. So with favorable conditions and 12 hours I think I can make 4 loops; I’ll push for 5 if I’m able. So anybody else want to come? There are several team options, a trials course set up in the infield and a short “pump track.” (Whatever that is :wink: ). It’s not too late to sign up! So come on!

Another bump. Really? Nobody in the Southeast interested in coming? I know there are a lot of riders in the Southeast. Anyhow I have to go as it’s practically a local race for me. If the solo division is too intimidating there are also Duo, Quad and “Here for the beer” 5+ person team possibilities. Lot’s of food, beer and other vendors. Anyways I’ll be going it alone I guess… no worries I’m used to that :). I’ll bump this thread again one last time next week… Cheers.

Sounds like fun. I head down to Nashville to visit family a few times a year, but unfortunately not in Early may.

Tear it up!


All right, last call before late fee’s go up. Anyhow, wish me luck, I’m going to need it! I’ll post a short write up in the aftermath…

Alright I’ll keep the post-race report very short since it was not very interesting anyhow.

First the good news: I finished 12th* of 17 in my divison (solo single speed amateur male), 47th* of 78 solo riders and 92nd* of 175 overall (including all the relays). * means that this is of those starters who actually finished at least one 10.6 mile loop. But more on that in a minute.

Now the bad news: I only completed two loops (21.2 miles) and it took me 8h 20m to do so! And there was very little riding involved!

So what happened? As we all feared, the heavy rains we’ve had in this area (over 30 inches over the past two weeks) made a complete mess of the trail system the race course covers. And unlike nice, slippery mud, that is still rideable albeit very carefully; we had the peanut-butter <-> cemet consistency type “clay” soil to contend with for the majority of the 12 hour event! Ironically I did a little pre-riding of the course the afternoon before (Friday) and probably rode more in that warmup that I did during the race! So I ended up placing fairly well simply because it was far easier to carry/push a unicycle around the course than it was to do the same with a bicycle. It was pure chaos. We all started out right as it started to rain. If the rain had held out, the course was dry enough to have been tricky but still rideable that day. But luck wasn’t on our side and within a few miles most everybody but the fast starting pros were left alternatively pushing their bikes or else stopped on the side of the trail trying to clear out enough mud with a stick to let the tires roll for another 100 yards! It was very bad! The mud was so binding that you couldn’t push any type of wheel through the muck! At one point I just held my unicycle by the seat handle and just dragged the whole stupid thing through the mud as my wheel wouldn’t even turn! Finally I sobered up the situation and realized my riding was over so I stopped and cleaned as much mud off the tire as I could and then just shouldered the beast and began to hike for the next 7 hours or so!! :astonished: For mot everybody else, at the earliest opportunity, around 4-5 miles, a large part of the racers abandoned the course and cut back to the start finish area. Of those who toughed it out one loop, most didn’t even start, let alone complete a second loop (this includes relays!). It was quite possibly the worst case scenario. I think the only reason this event was even held was because it is on private property and the owner is a mountain biker himself who built all the trails and this is the only event (or only time to even get to ride these trails) all year. The lack of riding didn’t seem to dampen most people’s spirits as most folks were well along in their imbibing by the time I finished my first loop; and totally tossed by the time I came around again. Thank heavens the race director, after seeing what lap times people were churning out, decided to not allow anybody back OUT THERE with just 3 hours left in the event. I technically could have started a third, but the fact that my second loop took roughly 4 1/2 hours there was no way I’d finish in time as all loops had to be completed UNDER the 12 hour cutoff. No worries I really didn’t want to go back OUT THERE!

So it’s pretty lame that I didn’t get to ride, but I think I still won a lot of respect for sticking out two loops when most didn’t. I think I even aggravated a few folks because I got a lot of remarks like, “Well it’s a lot EASIER to carry THAT around than this &(#!!! bike!!!” HA! Who would have predicted a unicycle would have an unfair advantage at a mountain bike race! Well my reply to all that, which I used several times was, “Well that’s why you always need to carry a unicycle around in your trunk; you’ll never know when it might just come in handy!” :smiley:

Here are the obligatory “before” and “after” photos. You can judge for yourself the conditions!

great! it’s always good to prove unicyclists are faster than most cyclists!
I just hope the conditions at Mountain Mayhem aren’t the same… they often are!

Good luck to you guys at Mountain Mayhem! I wish I could go overseas for that one! Hopefully we’ll have better luck with the weather next year. I’m definitely going to keep doing this one each year as it is so close to home and I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere. The trail system is really rideable on a unicycle when it hasn’t rained over 30" the past two weeks! :astonished: Anyhow here’s a link to more general race photos, there are a couple of me BTW.

Nice one, sounds like a nightmare!

You sure you don’t want to pop over for Mountain Mayhem this year, I think we could still do with another rider;)

A few of us NorCal riders are getting ready for the Weaverville 12 hour in two weeks. Last year (when we only rode in the Super-D), the course was very similar to the conditions you’re describing–peanut-butter mixed with cement. Nasty stuff. That “after” picture really captures what it must have been like for you for those 8 hours. Yikes.

Wow, that sucks.
Good job representing!

you should join us for the the Hardcore 24: Fingerlakes NY (I already confirmed that Unis are welcome) ~8mi lap. register soon to get a pavilion. Ontario County Park-Naples, NY, ~ 4hrs from Albany. http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7687

I’m sure there won’t be any mud!