I was going to start my own thread on the same topic, about my own ride today! So I’ll jump in on yours.
Mine was a much shorter MUni ride, made with the goal of minimal dismounts. Today I rode the Clementine Loop in Auburn, 7 miles with about 1000’ of climbing, part on pavement, and most on technical singletrack, with only 4 dismounts total. That’s a major personal best for me! Not bad considering I do much more Coker miles than MUni miles, and not enough of either.
In my current state of good riding skills but lousy conditioning, the hardest part was the long slog uphill on the first half of the ride. Normally I’ll stop several times to rest, and ride quite a bit faster in between. In order to not only ride the entire paved uphill section (about 800’ of up, mostly on pavement), and still have energy left for the remaining dirt climb when I got there, I had to take it dead slow.
The problem is, riding slow on uphills is risky as well. The slower you go, the easier it is to get tripped up by bumps or unevenness in the pavement. But a slow cadence was needed to keep my heartrate where I could control it.
For those not familiar with this ride, it was the first one at the first MUni Weekend, and we returned there to ride it again in '97, '98 and '03. It starts at the American River Confluence, goes under the big Foresthill bridge, then heads uphill until it’s a couple of hundred feet above the bridge. Then it comes back down along a different fork of the river, on some of my favorite singletrack anywhere.
It was 80-90 degrees out, which is typical for this time of year.
Amazingly, I made it all the way up the early dirt uphill, and all of the paved portion of the uphill. My first dismount came after about 50 meters of uphill on the remaining climb. I took a rest. Then I managed to hold it together for the remainder of the climb, and rode right past the big oak tree at the top of the hill, where we usually stop to rest and wait for people.
A little while later, I moved over to let some bikes past. I had to give them the courtesy, as one of them gave me one of the best quotes ever: “You are the coolest dude I have ever seen in my life!” I moved over into some weeds to let them pass. Stupid. People on bikes suck at passing unicyclists on singletrack. They slow down and get reluctant. So I UPD’d while hopping in the weeds next to the trail. This was on an easy piece of trail, so I prefer not to count that one as part of my ride score. I immediately jumped back on after they passed, so there would be no advantage of resting.
Then, after riding some very gnarly and rocky downhill stuff, I UPD’d in a relatively easy spot. Isn’t that always how it is? My official count was at 2. Almost all the uphill was long past, but the remainder of the ride was almost all singletrack with lots of rocks and narrow spots.
I rode right through a technical spot on the trail I’m usually chicken to ride. No problem! I managed to continue through the culvert (tunnel), down to Old Foresthill Road, across the road and onto the OHV road (which was closed because they were updating the pavement; tar mixed with rocks?). My next dismount came at a spot along the Confluence Trail where a waterfall runs across the trail during the winter. That spot is here:
Then I fell off again on one of the technical bits where the trail lumps up over a slide area; steep, narrow and rocky uphill section with major exposure to the left (just how I like it). That was four.
I passed a runner coming the other way, and realized I was a little rude as I didn’t yield the right of way. Though the trail tends uphill for her, I was actually the one riding uphill at the time. She just stopped in the middle of the (narrow) trail and stared. It takes too long to explain why you don’t want to stop or move over!
The last time I tried to do minimal dismounts on this trail, my final score was seven. But that only counted UPDs, not deliberate rest stops. This was different. But on that last time, my last dismount was in the last 100’ or so of the trail, on the uphill bit that comes out near the parked cars. I was determined not to let that happen this time! But I was pretty tired from all the non-stop downhill riding. Then, dread of all dreads, a family group was walking down as I was coming up. Mom, dad, little kids, grandma. Please make a space for me, I thought to myself, and hold onto the little ones! They did as I wished, and I was able to crank past them.
I made it up to the road! But I was not finished. I had stopped several times on the first part of my ride, before deciding to go for a record. I had to continue back onto the Clementine Trail and a little ways past the Foresthill Bridge before my loop would be complete. I got more and more paranoid as I went, fearing small bumps would ruin my numbers. Then, just as the doubletrack was turning to singletrack, here came a couple of hikers. I rode real slow, hoping that would not
mess me up before I got to their location, giving them time to get to the wider part. Made it! What a ride!
I knew I’d gotten a good workout as my sweat felt cold on my body. That’s either the body’s cooling system working very well, or something wrong with me.
I love my Scott Wallis carbon handle. For my riding style a symmetrical handle would be more appropriate, and if he ever makes one I’ll get that and put my current handle on a Trials uni. The smooth carbon makes for a wet handle as my hand sweats on it.
I was getting saddlesore on the long uphill slog at the beginning. The combination of riding real slow, for a long time without stopping, is bad on the crotch. I tried to shift around some, but without a longer handlebar system or the occasional stop, the body has limits. My seat is a new KH Fusion, unmodified (except for the handle).
The goal of minimal dismounts took a lot of fun out of the ride. The slowness of my uphill part took a lot of patience. It was very slow! I usually go quite a bit faster, and then stop when I have to. If I was in better shape I would have been able to roll a little faster, but I wanted to arrive at the final dirt uphill with energy to spare.
Along the same lines, the fun technical sections on the second half of this ride were instead worrisome, potential dismount sections. All were approached with fear, and I rode the easier lines when possible and avoided all the “fun” stuff along the sides.
Though I am very proud of my personal goal accomplishment, I would normally much rather do the ride with lots of stops and multiple tries on all the fun sections.
BTW: Total elapsed time, about 1.5 hours. And it was all rolling. The few hops that occurred were while I was either stopped or just mounting, and were not used to get over any obstacles.