It would be a shame for people to think that you’re a poor excuse of a rider just because of that.
Shameful is not caring about what you’re doing and continue doing it with a half ass attitude. You’re riding and doing your best. Just make sure you do your best and have fun.
I sorta know how you feel though (even though I haven’t unicycled for long). There was a few times when I couldn’t do some parts of my route and were embarrassed at myself and people were watching to see if I would give up. Easy solution for me was I just stayed there, rested a bit, got my head together and kept trying till it was accomplished and the next time around it got better and better.
I get the thrill more from accomplishing a hard task rather than completing the round trip. If you make it up that hill, that’s your finish line up there. You’ve won. The other finish line is just another goal.
Once upon a time I did the entire Slickrock Practice Loop trail in Moab with no walking. It took forever. The hardest parts were the sand crossings, with fine, loose sand between areas of rock. The only way through those (since I didn’t have a 4" tire) was a lot of hops. Also, some of the climby bits required hopping and multiple attempts. At its nominal elevation of around 4500’, there were lots of stops to simply breathe. A couple of very patient observers encouraged me, as well as providing witnesses to the feat. They were very patient.
Riding the main Slickrock loop, which is about 13 miles, can only be done sans-walking by the fittest of very fit unicyclists. Like 1% of the people who post here. The rest of us walk plenty. There is no shame in it, none whatsoever.
Shame is a choice. While someone else can give you a hard time about not riding a section, the choice of whether to feel bad about it is all yours. Sometimes I go to my local trails and ride up everything. Other times I’m either not in the mood, or clearly just not up to the task that day. So sometimes I’ll try to ride every inch, while other times I’ll decide to only ride what I feel like. I make my own rules.
Even in a race! You might have to walk some, to maintain your strength to complete the race. The second-hardest unicycle race I ever did, the Marathon at Unicon XV in New Zealand, involved plenty of walking on my part. Had I tried to ride up all the hills (even though I was on a 29"!), my overall time would have been slower. Would I rather have been able to ride the whole thing? Yes, but you have to work with the conditioning you have on that day, doing the best you can with it.
Is it a shame to walk up a hill? Well, shame is perhaps to strong a word, but when I’m in a MUni group ride, I take pride in riding up where others walk, and I envy those who still climb where I gave up. And if I’m riding solo (which is on most occasions) I feel somewhat embarrassed if a biker or walker sees me walking up, and I try to avoid that.
I can add that John won that race in his age class. I was in the same race (my hardest ever), and also on a 29". In fact I think I rode all of the hills up (partly because of the pride/shame issue) but the storm on the coast line had me walk a lot. (I came in third, in the same age class.)
Normally yes, in road races, but in this race walking was explicitly allowed by exception because of the big hill and the storm.
Again, thanks everyone for your replies. My takeaway from this has been to do what you want to do. In the end we all ride for ourselves, and we must decide on our own what we think is worth the effort and what isn’t.
Reading some of the posts in this thread has caused me to sit back a bit and think about what ‘I’ think I should do.
I’ve decided to scale back my initial plans. 70+ miles and 15000 vertical is just too big of a task for me at this point in my unicycling career. I don’t have qualms about walking what is truly not rideable, but to purposely put myself in a position where I’d have to walk rideable trail just to conserve strength wouldn’t feel right to me (which I think I knew to begin with, and was why I asked the question in the first place).
I’m gonna train my ass off and cut that in half to a 40 miler with a vertical mile, which will do me just fine, and I can’t wait to do it. Paired with a subalpine hikeup/ridedown of Mount Ogden are much more attainable (and fun) goals for this spring/summer.
I’m probably the most paranoid rider out there and sometimes forget to just go out and have some fun.
As an old ultrarunner, I can say for certain there is no shame in walking, and there are distinct advantages when you are trying to tackle something huge. For one, you actually get to look around and enjoy your surroundings – taking it all in, instead of exclusively focusing on the 10 feet ahead.
And I like your plan of breaking down your big ride into several bite-sized chunks at first. Once you’ve covered the ground in segments, put them all together for the epic adventure. That’s how every ‘mere mortal’ ultramarathoner I know trains for 100 milers. (Now for the elite runners – that’s another story – they just do a hundred miler every month or so. But they have building up to this level for years.)
Not only do I make my own rules, but I also (help) make the IUF rules. With much helpful input from Ken Looi in recent years, we have “loosened up” on what started as Track rules, making things more sensible for Road and XC riding, also similar to how the bikes do it. Yes you can walk, especially on sick courses that may be beyond some riders’ fitness or skills.
Yes and yes! MUni gets my heart rate up to numbers I can’t seem to get in Road riding. Sometimes you may have to back off, or allow for the realities of your current fitness level.
Me too! Who doesn’t want to be the guy who’s still cranking after everyone else starts walking? It’s a great feeling when I get to be that guy. And I also hate when I get “surprised” by bicyclists when I’m off. Sometimes I’ll get back on until they pass, though recently I haven’t been so self-conscious. Yesterday I took my SLR camera out on the trails to take pictures of the American River at its lowest ebb since 1977. With one elbow pinned to my side to keep it from banging around, I walked sections rather than risk dropping it. That was my ticket to be seen walking.
Interesting how all three of us are posting in this thread. We did so well, in part, by refusing to quit! I’ll add that it was the hardest Road race I’ve been in (my #1 was a mountain bike race–with uni category–in my local area). And as many of you know, that’s where I was ‘literally bitch-slapped off my unicycle’ by those winds.
Headwinds are annoying, but it was the sudden mega-gusts that got me! And nobody wants to win by having an opponent break down, which has happened to me before. That category should have been yours. Fortunately, there will be more races for all of us.
I’ve attached a great picture Nathan Hoover took during the New Zealand Marathon. This downhill was also evil for me since my borrowed Schlumpf had no brakes! Please forgive the false copyright; Lightroom does that automatically when I output them for Web viewing.