FW: Questions/Comments about NUC 2000


[NOTE: When I wrote this the other day, I thought it went out to the newsgroup
but it didn’t. So here it is now, repeating a few things other people have said
in between…]

Here’s some basic answers for Curtis, though he’ll still need specific
information from the NUC hosts. Part of what I’m explaining is the
background, or general philosophy of how our conventions have been structured
over the years:

> 1. I do not understand why “Michigan weather” is getting so much attention
> Were the track events held first at these other conventions? What makes
> Michigan weather so different that the schedule must vary from the previous
> two years

Michigan weather is not significantly different from the other Midwestern states
in the summer, though everyone likes to brag about their own local weather.
Michigan is known for sudden changes in weather, and a notorious difficulty of
accurate weather prediction. I now live in northern California, and we really
can’t brag about our weather, other than that it’s “nice”. Of course we have
other natural events, like earthquakes, landslides, floods, and huge brush and
forest fires. But no tornadoes at least.

The variance in schedule is a return to the “traditional” order of events from
past years. Because racing takes place outdoors and artistic in, it’s safer to
schedule racing first. In the event of rain the schedule can then be switched
around. In the past, we’ve been able to get indoor tracks in Michigan, but these
are hot, small, and I guess either too expensive or too hard to get on the
necessary weekend.

> It seems to make sense to hold the track events during the second half of the
> convention.

Safety-wise, yes. Weather-wise, no. Also building of excitement-wise, also no.
The artistic events provide a much better climax to the showing of talent at
NUC, and provide a better situation for non-competitors to rest. Though having
the races last affords artistic competitors more of a chance to go all-out with
less fear of injury, having the races first makes those same riders ride more
“responsibly”, and possibly reduce the incidence of injury.

I am a proponent of de-emphasizing the competitions at NUC in favor of a less
hectic schedule, and more events that are just done for fun. But it may take
years to make that happen, if at all, so I won’t go into detail here…

> 2. With heat and humidity a given, why do we want to schedule the tough race
> (1600m) during the hottest part of the day?

Agree. The posted general schedule makes it look like those races are scheduled
for mid-afternoon. Please shoot for first thing in the morning or later toward
the evening. My solution for this race, which is not entering it, does not work
for everyone! :slight_smile:

I think back to Mark Schaefer breaking the world mile record in 1982, at about
3:00 in the afternoon during a Minnesota heat wave. There was almost nobody out
at the track to see him do this amazing feat because they had all seeked refuge
in the gym. Mark’s record has never been broken.

> 3. As hard as some rider’s train for the Standard Competition is it fair to
> them to compete when they might be physically drained and not able to give
> a 100% effort to the event?

It is a symptom of trying to fit so many events and so many age groups into a
weekend. In the old days, the conventions were simply racing on Saturday, and
artistic on Sunday. But of course with the availability of winning slots for
110 riders per event (11 age groups x two sexes x five places), it obviously
doesn’t fit.

My personal philosophy is that riders should specialize more. Some do, focusing
on some events and not others. But as our conventions are currently structured,
there is encouragement for everybody to enter every single event. I don’t agree
with this. In either case, most of the time it seems our very best racers are
also some of our best artistic riders, and vice versa. The nice thing about this
is that they are in such good physical condition, putting the racing and
Standard Skill in the same day is not a big problem, as long as there is
sufficient “changing, prep and warm-up” time.

> 4. Without more information about the dorms I have the following questions:

The advantage to dorms is that they’re usually lots cheaper than hotel rooms. In
combination with a campus meal plan, they also don’t require a car for the
duration of the convention.

> Do several rooms share one bathroom with shower

Yes, though I don’t remember the situation in Adrian. One of the drawbacks of
saving the money.

> I am a little disappointed that a site was picked where no motel/hotel would
> be available for convention attendees to stay.

No less disappointed than the hosts I’m sure. They were stuck with a very
limited choice of weekends due to our tradition of trying not to overlap with
the IJA Festival, which is always the third weekend in July, and UNICON, which
happens every two years but not on a fixed weekend. The late announcement of
UNICON dates further compounded the problem, leaving us stuck with a race
weekend. Well, we pretty much all used dorms at these conventions up until 1990
or so, so I guess I’ll be okay with it. It’s an unfortunate situation that the
hosts had little control over.

> 5. I believe I heard that a previous convention was held in Adrian. Maybe some
> comments from those who attended would be helpful. How many do you expect
> to attend this year? (How many people typically attend a convention when it
> is held in the Midwest?)

I was there. Adrian is a small town, and I thought it was very nice. But for
some reason, I can’t remember if I stayed in a dorm room, or in one of the local
motels! A bigger event that summer was the Great Wall Marathon in China, which I
remember more vividly. The thing I remember most about Adrian was leaving my
fanny pack out on the tennis court all night, with a camera and maybe even my
wallet in it. The next day, it was still right where I’d left it.

I think there were about 200 riders in '93? Average for the period. I would take
a guess at 225-275 this year. Having NUC on the West coast two years in a row
was unprecented in the history of the USA. It hardly ever left the Midwest
before, so we have no grounds for comparison. We got surprisingly large numbers,
especially in WA, but most of those riders probably can’t afford the trip to
Michigan, and vice-versa.

> 6. If we are so jammed in the schedule that the muni has to be a
> post-convention event and track and standard competition must occur on the
> same day why don’t we just hold NUC 2000 from July 19th -

Marathon events at NUC started as Monday morning things. The Monday race we did
in '93 was a UMX/Marathon race, on a bike path. There’s nothing in Adrian to
compare with the dirt we rode in '98 and '99, so it’s less of a major event.
I’ve offered to set up a MUni race of some sort, possibly like what we did in
Iowa (also flat), but I think the campus doesn’t have an area that they’re
willing to let us use.

I agree that a longer convention will help us all relax more, but there is also
pressure to not take up too many days of peoples’ vacation time, and to realize
they may be going to China or elsewhere this year.

> I am still fairly new to these Conventions and only have NUC 1998 and NUC 1999
> to use for comparisons.

That’s okay. The two conventions you attended were different in several ways
from the “traditional” ones that preceded them. For example in Monrovia we had a
beautiful mountainous background, super-hot temperatures, and smog. In '99 we
had an even more beautiful mountainous background, a ski resort, and the only
dirt track we’ve ever raced on at a NUC. RTUC and the Wood One Wheelers with
their combined management have held more Nationals than anyone
(9), so they have the weight of precedent behind them. This convention will just
be a little more like the previous ones. The lack of hotels will definitely
be a hardship for some, and I sure hope there are lots and lots of dorm rooms
to accommodate all of us!

John Foss President, Unicycling Society of America Director, International
Unicycling Federation Member, Redford Township Unicycle Club, 1980-1984 (reply
to jfoss@unicycling.com) http://www.unicycling.com