Evolution of Balance Award - the real announcement =)

I am very happy to announce the 2008 Evolution of Balance grant winner!

The 2008 award will go to Steve Relles, Roland Kays, Perry Woodin, and Brad Stratton from Albany, NY, and Vince LeMay from Montreal, Quebec, who have proposed a trip in Panama to ride jungle trails from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Their route follows the ancient Gold Routes, a now obscure network of trails that for over 500 years formed a trade and smuggling route across Panama. To the best of our knowledge, they will be the first people to ride this route on any kind of cycle. Congrats you guys! Steve & crew will be heading to Panama in the next dry season, in January 2009.

Selecting a winning applicant was really hard. There were so many great ideas, awesome trips all over the world, and also different styles of trips that are really hard (almost impossible, really) to compare. In the end we selected the application that we felt had a good combination of an adventurous and doable trip, interesting goal, qualified riders, a well thought-out plan, and a well-prepared application.

Thanks a lot to all of you that applied. I know that many of you are planning to go on your proposed trips regardless of the grant, which is great. I’d like to put together a trips ideas page at krisholm.com, based on ideas from applicants (with the applicant’s permission and names removed).

Also, thanks again to Horny Toad Clothing and to Nathan Hoover, who contributed to the award.



Congradulations to Steve Relles, Roland Kays, Perry Woodin, Brad Stratton and Vince LeMay on your winning of the Evolution of Balance Grant! It is well deserved. I can tell you that you were up against some serious competition from my team. We proposed a 180km ride on a dogsled route between the towns of Kangerlusaug and Sisimuit in Greenland. Your proposed trip sounds really cool and I am looking forward reading your writeup!

All the Best!


Congratulations to the guys for getting the grant. I’m a little bummed of course, but there is always next year :slight_smile:

Good luck on your trip, sounds like it is going to be awesome !!

Congratulations!!! looking forward to reading the write up :slight_smile:

p.s try not get caught up in and trade and smuggling!

I think that everyone should post their unicycle adventure ideas (that they did or did not submit) in this thread.

Congrats to the winners, and I am curious to read the other applications.

This was a great idea.

Well, it looks like I’m not the first to say congratulations to Steveyo and crew… but maybe I’ll be the first to ask if there’s space for one more to come along :slight_smile:

Seriously though, congratulations to everyone that won, or even put lots of thought in to their own plan. And thanks to Kris (and sponsors) for the award itself. This can only be a good thing for the future of unicycling.


That is kiiiind of what I was trying to get at with my post haha. If anyone has a trip planned that they submitted and wants more riders you should post in this thread. I am hoping that most of the people who submitted applications for the grant will still be going on their trips with or without the grant money. This really is a great idea and will help inspire more people to go on unicycle adventures.

Two trips I have in mind that I did not submit:

  1. Muni/road trip in Iceland, I have several routes I have been looking at and I would try to plan it so that it would be half on road and half offroad (even though most of the roads in Iceland appear to be basically offroad anyway hah) so that it would be ideal for a schlumpf. Not sure when I would do this trip.

  2. Unicycling most of the length of Norway from Stavanger to Tromso via the western fjords and Lofoten Islands. Mostly on the road with the exception of Rallarvegen.

Wow - What an AMAZING trip you guys have planned! congratulations on your creativity. Stay safe, take lots of photos and have an incredible amount of fun!

Congrats to everybody who submitted a proposal. From my limited experience I’ve come to see that very few people unicycle, far fewer ride muni, even even fewer still ride long distance muni. I come from an ultra-marathoning background (over 12 years of running 50km - 160km races) and what I’d like to see someday is some marathon and longer mountain unicycle events. The problem now with the really cool mountain bike events is that aid is too far apart and the cut-offs aren’t reasonable for a unicyclist. What would be good is a mountain bike type event, as far as the route goes, but put on with the aid frequency and cut-offs of an ultra-marathon running event (seems like we can cruise along at about that kind of pace overall). I think it would be cool to host different events like this once a year or so, so like minded individuals like us can get together, socalize and go for a real long muni ride/race. Sort of like the Moab Muni Festival but built around a long, long distance route with plenty of frequent aid and a beautiful route! Just my opinion. What do you think Kris and others?

FWIW, I’m planning on riding the Monarch Crest Trail again this summer near Salida, CO; and some other shorter epic rides around the Lake City, Colorado area. I’ve got a couple ideas for some much more difficult rides but my busy school/work schedule is very limiting right now, probably for the next couple years… :(… However I’d be up to helping organize some sort of meeting of long distance muni riders. I think it would be a great enhancement to our sport and really show the two wheeled world, and others, what we are capable of.

Cheers and enjoy your adventures! I can’t wait to get out to Colorado this June for some awesome riding!


Wow I must say I’m a bit bummed, but from the sounds of it, the award went to the right people. I think that it was definatly more what you were looking for:D .

I can’t wait to see all the applications be posted.

I’m not sure most mountain bike events really are that bad for a unicyclist. There are quite a few unicyclists in the UK who’ve ridden 50km and longer mountain bike events without coming last or getting caught by cut-offs. Also I know quite a few in New Zealand (and a few of us foreigners) have done Karapoti which is 50km in big hills.

Where mountain bike routes become a problem is in the week long events (or longer), and things like 160km/100 mile in a day races, as the level of bikers in those will just be that bit higher, and there are far more hard constraints like the amount of daylight available.

The ultimate thing that a unicyclist should do at some point is the Great Divide, but you do have to average 100 miles a day, so it wouldn’t be easy to say the least.


The Great Divide has crossed my mind before, but it would probably be better done not during the race. That way average distance per day would be much lower and you could enjoy it more.

Also I should add a big thanks to Unicycle.com who sponsored the award in terms of funding the logistical cost of getting prizes from Taiwan (my point of export) to the applicants. Thanks!


Well, from some of the mountain bike events I’ve searched and considered doing in the U.S. the cut-offs would be extremely tight for even the most ambitious unicyclist. Also most of these events have aid-stations 15-20 miles apart which may be no problem for a mountain biker but a slower moving unicyclist that is a problem. This has been the main reason I’ve focused on doing 12 hr mtn bike events since a shorter loop nature means more frequent aid. I still think it would be cool to semi-organize events like what siafirede is talking about i.e. Great Divide “race” or “ride” but maybe half the daily distance and add some more support or aid caches. I like the idea of the Evolution of Balance award and to add to the whole idea why not organize events were everybody who is able can join up and go i.e. the festival idea. Or perhaps a long trail loop course i.e. up to 100 miles with shorter options available with aid stations/support frequent (or caches). Yes I’m talking about continuous rides, night time just do like the mtn bikers and ultra-runners do, put on the headlamps and such and keep going! I’m thinking of these things like a true all around endurance event, i.e. you may be forced to hike alot and ride when you can (especially at night). I different kind of experience entirely; but not unlike a solo 24 hour mtn bike event.

I rode with a few of those guys at the “Lifestyles” race; they resembled an unstoppable machine more than the title unicyclist would lead you to believe, a sheer blur of dust and wheel.

Great idea, I’m glad y’all’ve won it.

That sounds like a sick trip. You guys better post lots of photos. I imagine that you are going to have to get a lot of shots before you head down there. well… there goes the whole grant :stuck_out_tongue:

15-20 miles between water isn’t that bad, it’s easy to carry enough food/water for a normal 20 mile muni ride, just do that. As for continuous riding for 24 hours several of us have done solo 24 hour mountain bike races and not come last, night riding included (also much of my winter muni riding is at night, as it’s the only time to ride in the week, I’m sure the same is true of a lot of regular muni riders).

I kind of agree that it’d be great to have a unicycle specific long distance event, but until there are enough riders for that to be organised I don’t really see that there’s anything stopping us entering mountain bike events. I also don’t think muni events really need to be wussed down or have that much added support compared to mountain bike events.

I do have a plan for a long distance event though, which is to race/ride the South Downs Way, it’s 100 miles, rideable on a 29er, 10,000 feet of climbing (and the same of descending). There’s water about every 20 miles, and food at roughly 60 and 75 miles (plus some food a bit off the trail at about 30 miles). Obviously as a proper long distance challenge rules would be: no external support, no feed stations, you can get water from the taps and food from cafes on the route, if you need to retire, ride, walk or hitch hike / taxi to the nearest train station. The obvious cut-off time would be 24 hours, and personally I think it should start at 10pm at night, so that people are doing the night riding when they are fresh - also it’d mean night riding the easiest and least hilly / rocky part of the course.


Yeah I’m totally in to entering mtn bike events on my unicycle, I’ve done that before and will continue to. I guess I was just leaning towards having unicycle specific long distance events. I know there maybe not enough riders now to warrent it, but if you included an event around one of the existing Muni festivals then you could have a fan/support base as well as offer some shorter distance alternative or possibilities of breaking the full distance over multiple days of the festival? Yeah I don’t totally agree with 15-20 miles not being a long way w/o aid. If you’re on a nice xc trail that you can fly along on a 29er then I agree but what about a real technical more advanced muni route were you’re on a 24" unicycle? You could be out there for long hours and if it’s hot? You can’t imagine how hot and miserably humid it gets here in the south! wow.

Anyways your South Downs Way sounds like an awsome epic, I wish I had the time and $$ to be able to join you! I’ve got a couple of route ideas for a 100 mile muni adventures that I plan on executing in the next couple of years.



Thanks for the kudos, everyone. I can’t believe we got it. We’re all ecstatic, and it’s going to hard to shelve this whole thing and concentrate on RTL. :slight_smile:

We put a major amount of time (so far) into the planning and app-writing, and it was a huge group effort. Roland (aka Rolandisimo) does mammal research down in Panama, and he came up with the original idea, and did a lot of leg-work down in Panama scouting out the route, talking to Nat’l Park officials, and the like. He also has a friend who’s a Nat. Geo. freelance photographer who’s planning on MTBing with us and documenting.

Roland and Perry (capuni) were also great with editing and steering my writing through its verbose wanderings, and Brad, who’s a cartographer, made us a beautiful map as part of our award application.

Brad Map 4sm.bmp (851 KB)

That is so cool. I remember reading about an ultramarathon run that ran from the pacific to the atlantic in Panama, something like 50 miles + or -. Not sure of the exact route they took but I remember reading some race write-ups in Ultrarunning magazine. I’m so jealous! Enjoy and please share your experiences with us all!