IHD on the IHT

Yesterday the SARs celebrated the fourth (I think) annual International Harper Day on the Iron Horse Trail. We had a five hour ride from Hyak 23 miles or so to Rattlesnake Lake with twelve unicyclists and six bicyclists. AnSo Rodet (France) and Doc’s friend Simon (England) were kind enough to make the ride international this year. We had a long, pleasant downhill ride beginning with the standard happy birthday song in the tunnel and ending with Doc’s Coker trials playground including skinny riding and juggling. It was overcast but we felt only a couple of drops of precipitation during the entire ride. The rain came as we ended and began the ferry and packing process. Attending were

Unicycle: JC, Toms Jackson and Blackwood, Tyler, Anne Sophie, Doc, Steve DeKoekkoek, John Spinosa, Travis, Danny Allen, Jeff Sloan and myself.

Bicycle: Miles Blackwood, Adrian, Jenn, Ward, Gary Allen, Simon.

I hope I have omitted no one. Ward, Travis, and John brought clubs and juggled a great deal of the way. I think we had our first mishap this year with Ward’s flat tire. Somehow it took six people and all of their equipment to repair it.

Tyler and JC both took some photos.

Tyler’s photos are here. Tyler has an interesting video of lights in the tunnel.

JC’s photos are here.

Thanks to all who attended. Special thanks to Marie Blackwood whose hospitality remains unmatched in my experience. To those who could not attend, maybe we’ll see you next year. You’re always welcome but you have to sing in the tunnel.

I’ve also added a few pics in an International Harper Day album in my unicycling photos gallery.

It was a really enjoyable ride, as always. The Iron Horse Trail is a big-wheel dream: 20 miles long, 2% downhill the entire way, 200-foot-high railroad trestles to ride over, lots of shade, and a 2.25 mile long spooky-ass pitch-black railroad tunnel to ride through.

Harper was relatively well-behaved given this was His day. He demanded a round of Happy Birthday in the tunnel, then pouted when we didn’t get a quorum of singers. Then at lunch–when the group did sing–it was more demands. “Louder…Faster…now in French!!!” Still, we bring him along every year, and will continue to do so until one of the other Seattle Area Riders buys an open bed pickup truck that can haul all the unicycles.

Kudos to Tyler for being the official photographer of this year’s event. Some great shots, and I love the tunnel video. Tyler also ruled…riding the whole thing on an ungeared 29-er and leading the way over the 36-ers much of the time. Top speed for the day went to Jeff S on his Schlumpf. He turned it on a couple of times, and I lost distance against him even at my top speed. I want one of those babies, but I’m afraid I’d never take advantage of its potential, as I’d be too skeered of falling when riding faster than I can run.

Travis and John maintained 3-club patterns for much of the ride, which was very impressive. Even more impressive was their ability to convince their friend Ward to come along with a bicycle, and to conveniently haul nine juggling clubs in his paniers the entire way. Ward kicks it. It was nice to have the chance to pass during our breaks. Kudos also to Gary, who became the Pit Crew leader in executing the critical tire repair operation on Ward’s bike.

Finally, huge thanks to An’So for traveling from France by way of BC to join us. It was great to have a true international uni-tourist among us, and she went above and beyond the call of duty by enduring not one but two Greyhound Stations as part of the process.

Looking forward already to next year’s event…

Ahh, happy memories. The Iron Horse was my first long distance coker rider and inspired me to get a 36" wheel. The trail is a fantastic unicycle ride and Harper is one of my favourite riders. From the photos it looks like you had a great time. I am envious!

Thanks, Peter. I’m one of my favorite riders, too.

Jeff Sloan took the best group shot. If any more photos show up, I will provide a link to them.

Unlike Travis and John, who both had several drops, the clubs never touched the ground when in Ward’s posession. :wink:

I wish someone got a picture of the club-toting bicycle pannier setup, but I didn’t see one. It was pretty trick, and carried 9 clubs w/ room to spare.

Got my pics up.

Twas another great day. I think 5 hours is a record to go 22 miles though. At that pace the legs do stay fresh, although staying comfortable in the saddle seems to be more distance dependant.

Great pics Steve…I’m glad someone got a picture of Harper with the birthday candle. I love that shot, and how An’So is the only one sitting at the table. All the veteran IHD riders knew what was coming with the nasal blow, and retreated to a safe distance.

Wasn’t that the 5th annual IHD?? And, had I been in that dark, dank tunnel with you, not being proficient at Haiku, I would have sung as follows to the tune of BeeGees’ “Staying Alive”:

Well you can tell by the way I ride my wheel,
I’m a uni man: No time to fall.
Bearings loud & saddle warm,
I been U-P-D-ing since I was born.

My road rash cured, now it’s OK,
And you may roll the other way;
We can try, a big crank grab,
On a picnic table I’ll take a stab!

Whether you’re distance
Or whether you’re trials,
You’re staying alive, staying alive.
Feel the spokes breakin’
And your tire a shakin,
You’re fifty-five, fifty-five.

Ha ha ha ha, fifty-five, fifty five

Happy birthday. These are the first pics I have seen of you without all that hair. I hope you did something good with it like donate it to wigs for cancer patients or give it to GILD.

You should see some elderly cancer patients wearing my hair soon. I was surprised that they wanted gray hair but, when you think of it, most cancer patients have gray hair. It’s just that the kids get all the press. If I had been thinking I would have shipped it to GILD. That’s a much better idea and would have been a greater benefit to mankind.

It’s double nickel day today.

Do I still have the opportunity to respectfully decline?

Happy birthday Greg.

I’m disappointed that Harper didn’t take the opportunity to go for the bald chrome dome look. If you’re going to go from long long to short short you should go all the way (at least for a week or two).