gaps in your ability. part II

A month or two ago I posted a thread about how brief experiments with hopping while pointed up and down hill caused a big jump in my muni skills. I discovered another: Yesterday Anthony Shave and I were riding around campus doing curb rides and things. We decided it would be funny to ride like we were complete idiots. I sort just let the unicycle fly around underneath me like there was some giant crash evolving. I pretty much just shot the uni different directions without trying to stop it until it was about to get away. and then made giant corrections and let it go other ways. All the while flapping my legs every which way, teetering back and forth and wind milling my arms, this was fun for a while. It is funny, people are about equally impressed if they see you just barely able to ride, as they are if they see you rip some big drop. Anyway, today I went for a muni ride and discovered that I was more comfortable letting the uni swing out further from me and into a lot of positions that I formerly would have bailed from. It was the result of sort of pushing the limits out as to what you can save from the previous day’s antics. I found myself trying to ride a lot of rocky sections that I would normally hop through. Great fun. The last little trail to get back to the car I decided to ride without grabbing the seat at all just to see if I could use the new control to weave through the roots and rocks. It was going great but, I forgot about the two log drops. I did them. It is a little weird when you feet lift off the pedals in the middle of a drop. I landed both and it felt kind of like what I am guessing a suicide mount should feel like as you come into the saddle (yes I am a chicken, so I can’t say for sure).

Anyway, you know how confidence leads to more accomplishments and then more confidence. There is a trail here that is so steep that the thought of riding a bike down it terrified me. The trail is short. There are roots that interupt the slope, but the dirt has pulled away under them leaving these gaps. I don’t think I have ever walked up the trail with out having my hands on the ground to help. Anyway it is prabaly 50 feet high and more intimidating than difficult and maybe not as steep as it looks because today I decided to give it a go. You can’t really sidehop because your tire folds, even with decent pressure. I couldn’t really point down the hill directly because my 170 cranks would turn even with full weight on the back foot and pulling. So I sort of had to jump down among roots and little rocks that were locally flat. I found that practice with riding off big rocks with round tops helped because with those I sort of hop and inch foward until it is too steep and then leap. This hill was sort like that point where you would leap, only all the time. I ate it pretty big, and then looked for a new line for another 10 minutes. The second try I nailed it. I was so psyched, because I never considered it possible until today. Anyway, I may go back and snag some pictures, although you guys know how pictures of big down hills end up looking.

If there is quite a lot of loose material on the floor (small twigs, dry leaves etc.) then letting the uni go out to the side a bit gives really smooth control on corners. Say if you wanted to turn a sharp right, you wait until the right crank is in the 7:00 ish position (if you look at it from the right) then push down and too the left with your right foot. The wheel shoots to the left and spins round to the right, it looks and feels so cool if you get it right!

Im a chicken aswell :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: gaps in your ability. part II

You’ve described very well what makes Muni so cool. I’ve noticed that a good rider has the ability to adjust the overall tension in the body and regulate it very specifically. there are times when you weave in and out of a rocky area or winding section, and your body will be loose like cooked spaghetti. Your center of gravity will move in a smooth line, but your body and uni will wend and weave as necessary. You need to be limp and relaxed, like a wet noodle to do this. However, as you constantly hit sections, drops, jumps, you need your body to become taught and stay attached to the uni. If you ride “tight” all the time, you won’t be able to do anything, and you will get tired quickly. It’s cool to think about, but even more cool doing it.

Going down stairs is great practice for building confidence on steep declines.