Howell Mountain Challenge photos

Last Sunday, 3 of us competed in the Howell Mountain Challenge on unicycle.
This is a mountain bike race near Napa, California:
http://www.puc.edu/Pioneers/HMC/ There were 37 separate age groups and
categories including Unicycle! The organizer was very psyched to have
unicycles there and was happy to make us our own category. There were 13
separate starts, 2 minutes apart with the unicycles last. The course was a
loop and depending on category you had to ride 1, 2 or 3 laps (1 for us). 1
lap was 13 miles. The course was quite technical and harder than the 24
Hours of Adrenalin course we did in May. Lots of narrow singletrack,
technical with some steep sections. The weather was really hot, and by the
end I was so tired I had to walk most of the uphill sections. It was
probably 60+% singletrack and the rest fireroad that was great on the Coker.
My max speed was 16.2mph. Racing is SO much more strenuous than just going
out riding!

It’s really hard to know what the best unicycle is for this type of course.
I ended up using a Coker with 150mm cranks; Gary used a Coker with 175mm
cranks and Louise used a Hunter with 150mm cranks. I had to walk on several
downhills though, due to having no brake and no strength left in my legs. I
think that longer cranks would be the way to go on a Coker. Even though it’s
more difficult navigating technical narrow singletrack with low trees on the
Coker, I think it’s faster than on a normal Muni. But since we started 24
minutes after the Pros, it was a depressingly short time (maybe 5 miles or
so) until we were lapped by the fastest bikes. Unicycles sure are fun, but
they aren’t fast compared to bikes.

Photos are at http://www.movaris.com/nathan/photos.html

—Nathan