Moab Report

I have some bad news for those of you who didn’t make it to Moab last
weekend: this had to be the premiere MUNI event in the world for 2003. It
was incredible! What a place. 3000 cheers for Rolf Thompson and all the
other volunteers who put this together. Your hard work really paid off with
a great festival.

If pictures are worth a thousand words, these links should total out at
55,000 word equivalents:

Riding photos at
People photos at

We woke up at 4:45am Friday morning and flew to Salt Lake City by 9:15. We
picked up a rental van plus Carl and Kris at a nearby motel. By chance, Dan
Heaton, Dylan Wallinger & John Childs stayed at the same place after a 16
hour marathon through 3 snowstorms, so we caravanned the 4+ hours to Moab.
That afternoon, we played on the slickrock, marveling at the amazing
sticking power our tires had. It seemed that there was no angle that would
make the tire slip. It was great meeting so many people too. For dinner,
Rolf had reserved the whole back room of the local Chinese restaurant and
about 50 of us enjoyed a fun meal. While most people camped at the beautiful
campsites Rolf had snagged, we decided to rent a cottage with John Foss and
Nick Brazzi, wanting to avoid flying with both unicycles and camping gear.
The place turned out to be great, and I heartily recommend the Desert
Gardens, right in town:

Saturday morning we were up early buying food and preparing for the much
anticipated Slickrock Trail. We started riding with maybe 40 people a little
after 9. We ended up splitting into three groups, one doing the full loop
clockwise, another counter-clockwise, and a third playing around on the
Practice Loop which isn’t as long. The ride took 6 hours as expected - 12
miles with 2000’ of climbing. We called it 12 “Moab Miles” as the continual
up and down on solid rock seemed to take much longer here than on trails we
are used to. The scenery was stupendous, the weather perfect, and the
riding…superlative! I just couldn’t believe the angles that were possible,
both up and down. You should’ve seen one of the spots Kris rode down - it
appeared physically impossible, but wasn’t! I think the ideal unicycle for
this terrain would be a 24x3 tire with 180mm cranks for extra leverage. A
brake is very handy. One strange thing on this trail is that it is shared
with not only bikes, but ATVs, jeeps and dirtbikes. It was weird seeing
jeeps and SUVs way out there on steep terrain. But I guess it’s no stranger
than a huge group of unicyclists. MANY photo stops were had, much water was
drunk, John Childs set a CSR (Cliff-side Retrieval) record (his unicycle,
but retrieval by Scot Cooper), Tom Holub tacoed his wheel and repaired it
enough to ride - and also bent a crank, Keith Frankie sprained his ankle in
a crash, but fun was had by all. An truly incredible ride. For me the
highlight was riding with my son Beau - he seemed to get stronger as the day
went on, and in the end I couldn’t even keep up with him. If he’s like this
at 11…I guess I’m doomed.

When we arrived back at the campground around 3:30, the games were just
getting started. Rolf and a large team of helpers had setup many courses on
the Fins ‘n’ Things slickrock trail. They stuck tape markers to show the
courses: idling in a small circle, Obstacle, high jump (min # of hops), long
jump, timed uphill, timed downhill, trials and the amazing Ultimate Wheel
Challenge. The UW challenge and the obstacle course were VERY difficult!
Brian Hansen blew everyone away by completing the whole UW course. Fun was
had by all until 6:30 when it was time to head off to dinner. Actually we
left a little early to take a shower, have a beer, soak in the hottub, etc.
Dinner was at a funny place, the Chuckwagon, a western-style cowboy place.
We had opted out of the cowboy show which was just as well. After dinner, we
had a long awards ceremony. There were so many great prizes donated by and many others, that it took hours to give them out. Rolf was
a great host and in the end every single person got something. Thanks Dylan
for donating the Canadian smoked salmon and maple syrup that I scored.

Sunday morning we started a little later, setting up car shuttles and then
driving up to Sand Flats, the start of the famous Porcupine Rim Trail. This
ride goes up 1200’ in 4 miles to a fantastic viewpoint, then heads down 10
more miles to the Colorado River. Only the last mile or two is singletrack,
but the rest has fun rocky sections and is never ever boring. A number of
people went out the 4 miles to the viewpoint then headed back, but over a
dozen completed the whole ride. There were tons of bikers out, the weather
was again perfect, Ed snapped his crank, Beau crashed on his head and
knocked himself out, we watched some OUCH bike crashes, but all in all, this
was another fantastic ride. The singletrack section at the end was
beautiful, traversing high above the river, eventually dropping us down to
the cars with lots of exciting sections. Just as on Saturday, Beau finished
the day stronger than he started, and stronger than most everyone else.

It took a while to shuttle all the people around as some were heading
straight home, some were staying and some were packing for an early start
the next day. But by 7:30 or 8 a group of 15 of us settled down in the Moab
Brewery for a great dinner. I was really kicking myself for not planning to
stay an extra day or two, but I can’t really complain. Our two vans left
Monday morning at 5am and 8am to get people to their various flights from
Salt Lake City. I drove the early “dawn patrol” van and it was so smooth
(only 3 hr 40 min) that we had a chance to see a little of Salt Lake City
before our flight. We toured the Capitol Building, Brigham Young’s Beehive
House, and the Mormon Tabernacle. It was a perfect day and the fact that our
flight ended up being cancelled didn’t even bum us out as we made it home
almost as quickly by flying to San Francisco instead of San Jose. We even
had time for lunch with John and Carl at the airport.

If you didn’t come - take any chance you get to ride these trails and visit

See you next year,

PS THANKS FOR EVERYTHING ROLF! I’ll send you your seat in the mail.

PPS Ok, what you really wanted to know about Utah: “Can you get good beer?”
The answer is yes, but you have to do it at a State Liquor store or a
restaurant that has done their shopping at a State Liquor store. Or a
brewpub. Be prepared to show your ID, even if you’re an old man like me (it
happened twice!)

thanx for a stunning write-up!
u make me wish i had the machine/ability to ride this kind of thing
no don’t tempt me, i just bought a house!

AAAARRRG, I can’t believe I wasn’t there. Of course, there’s no way I could have paid for it, but still. Gotta make an effort to get down there next year.


Pics please.
PLEASE! Anyone?

UW is my thing at the moment. I can’t ride the regular-uni-wheel-type UW more than a few revolutions yet so I have to live my pathetic life through others. Plus, I need to be able to prove to my family (and about 274 sceptical kids) that it can eventually look cool.



Thanks for peaking my regret. Thanks also for the excellent writeup and for bringing those of us who didn’t make it a little bit closer to the event.

Re: Moab Report

In article <>,
Borges <> wrote:
)> and the amazing Ultimate Wheel Challenge
)Pics please.
)PLEASE! Anyone?

Sorry, I didn’t get any photos, but the photos wouldn’t be that
interesting anyway–you’d really need video to capture it.
Basically you had to ride the UW through a course taped onto the
slickrock, with lots of turns, bumps, ups and downs. Someone made
it through the entire course–incredible!

Plug for next year

I don’t want to rub this in to anyone who couldn’t make it, but…
Everyone who can, do anything you can to make it next year to Moab! It was amazing. There was plenty of riding for all skill levels, so many MUni enthusiasts, and a plethora of photo ops. I’ve never been to any other uni event (I’m a poor college student), but as this was just down the road, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was worth it.
(Plus, it didn’t hurt that I won a new frame…)
I’ll get pictures up as soon as possible (I took 100+ pics, but not all are worth posting), so stay tuned!

UW on slickrock by Brian Hansen

Witnessing Brian on the UW was par for the entire weekend. The place seemed surreal at times. Here is a link to a pic of Brian on the UW course.

I have attended my share of MUni weekends since 1997 and I think this one set a new standard!! Thanks to the Thompsons and everyone who helped or just showed up. It was a great experience, but that’s what can happen when the right elements are combined: great outdoors + great exercise + great people

If you organize, they will come. Be there next year or be sorry.

Re: Moab Report

Well the cat is out of the bag. It is true. My muni fell over a small cliff into a small canyon along the Moab Slickrock trail. It fell an unknown distance to the bottom of the canyon. My guess is that it fell about 80 or 100 feet. The KH24 Pro has now officially been drop tested over a cliff and it survived. How’s that for an endorsement of a unicycle.

Amazingly there was no real damage to the unicycle. The wheel was still true. The seat was still straight. It was still in perfect rideable condition. The unicycle landed in a shrub rather than hitting the ground and that shrub probably saved the unicycle from damage. The only issue that I found so far is that the wheel lost some of its dish so it was no longer centered in the frame. The unicycle must have taken a blow on its side and the force knocked a bit of the dish out of the wheel. I took the wheel to a bike shop to get fixed today. It was only off by about 2 mm. It’s all good now. Amazingly the frame and seatpost are all straight. Just imagine the damage if it was a bike rather than a muni?

I’m going to take the rest of the muni apart tomorrow and look it over for cracks and loose bolts. Mainly I want to check the welds on the Wilder seat rail adapter thingy and make sure the nuts under the seat are still tight. I don’t expect to find any problems, but just want to make sure.

So what happened? I was riding back from a viewpoint near a small canyon. See the attached picture. I had a UPD and the unicycle did a short ghost ride down the slope towards the canyon. The unicycle fell on its side and continued sliding on its side as the slope got steeper and steeper and then over the edge. I was in no danger because I was not near the edge. It’s just weird how the unicycle found the slope and kept on going after the UPD. The point where the unicycle went over the edge was about 100 yards ahead in the attached picture.

Fortunately it’s a small canyon and it was possible to walk down to the bottom. I went around and walked to the other side of the canyon because it looked like there was an easier path down to where the unicycle was on that side of the canyon. Unfortunately it turned out that the access on the other side of the canyon was not as good as I had thought. Fortunately at about that time Scot Cooper came along to see what was up. He came in from the other direction and saw an even easier and faster way down to the bottom of the canyon near to where the unicycle was. Scot took the shorter way down and was able to retrieve the unicycle. Thanks Scot! I met Scot down at the bottom of the canyon after he found the unicycle and then hiked back up. I did a poor job of finding the fast way down to where the unicycle was.

I should have taken some pictures of the retrieval process, but I wasn’t in the mood for picture taking at that time. Next time I’m on the Slickrock trail I’ll take a picture of where the unicycle went over the edge. It’s not a fun sight to see a $1500 unicycle slide over a cliff. My words at the time were “Oh Sh**, F***”. A bike rider nearby just said, “You guys are hardcore”. How hardcore is it to loose your unicycle over a cliff?

My unicycle is:
KH24 Pro frame
Profile hub and cranks
Avro Zum Eliminator rim
Atomlab Aircorp pedals
Thomsom seatpost
Wilder rail adapter
Carbon fiber seat with Miyata handle and bumper
No brake was attached at the time


Re: Re: Moab Report

I’m sorry I didn’t go now because I missed seeing you have a UPD. I’ve ridden with you all this time and never seen you do anything but step casually off the MUni as you wait for the rest of us to get back up or catch our breath.

Isn’t it odd that anything brandishing the initials KH tries to find, on its own, the largest drop around? I’m surprised that the unicycle didn’t land the drop and ride away on its own.

Thanks for the nice story.

Re: Moab Report

On Thu, 3 Apr 2003 01:54:39 -0600, john_childs
<> wrote:

>It’s just weird how the unicycle found the slope and
>kept on going after the UPD.

Harper thinks it’s the brandished KH initials. But then how weird is
it that rivers (without KH brand) find the most efficient route to the

Hush! It’s a little secret called gravity.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

"In cooking, 6 drops make a dash. "

Great shots, Nathan. It’s great revisiting all that stuff. I think its hillarious that you waited until I got up to call my mom to take the picture at the Moab Brewery. I bet you planned that…

Re: Re: Moab Report

That’s not what I was told before…

Not to rain on parades, but “100+ feet” would be a record based on my previous experience. 80-100 feet would only be a Moab record or a tie. Still, a record nobody will want to beat!

Nathan was there in 1999 when David Poznanter dropped his unicycle down about 100’ on the Stevens Trail in Colfax, CA. If anything, that one’s a tie with your Moab drop. I think David’s crank got bent in that drop, but it wasn’t a Profile. I have pictures from that event, but alas, they’re not scanned. They include Bruce Bundy trying to unbend the crank by sticking the unicycle between various rocks at the river side.

Brett Bymaster also did a whopping cliffside retrieval on an earlier ride on the Steven’s Trail, though in a different location. His was probably 60-80’. It took him a while to figure out how to get down to it (big canyon, river at bottom, hundreds of feet below).

The other great example I can think of on this topic doesn’t count as a cliffside retrieval. It’s Jack halpern’s “unicycle bowling” down a giant stairway in China at the Great Wall. We were walking down, after the 100 meter race up there at the Great Wall Marathon in 1993. You walk down what feels like about 1000 steps to get from that section of the wall back to the parking lot. At one point, Jack’s 24" Miyata got away from him, and went tumbling and bouncing a long way, narrowly missing some people below, before coming to rest. Definitely the longest example of unicycle bowling I’ve ever witnessed!

Moab was an awesome weekend. I’ll write more about it soon!

Re: Re: Re: Moab Report

I’m very bad at estimating height like that. Maybe Scot Cooper has a better estimate for the height of the fall. It was definitely higher than I wanted to drop the unicycle.

Next year when I get a picture of the drop zone I’ll also have to try to get a better estimate of the height. Maybe I’ll be motivated enough to bring a clinometer. Or I could bring my GPS and get the elevation at the bottom and top of the canyon.

Re: Re: Moab Report

The weird part wasn’t that the unicycle went downhill. The weird part was how the uni went from rolling (ghost riding) on a safe slope a good distance from the canyon to slowly sliding on its side down a progressively steeper slope into the canyon. The unicycle was sliding in slow motion and I was just hoping that the pedal or the seat would catch on something in the rock to stop it. Unfortunately the rock there was all nice and smooth so the unicycle just kept on sliding. If only the unicycle had a grappling hook to stop its fall.