Just thought I’d put up a write up of a recent event some of us went in on our Unis.
The Mont 24 is one of Australias biggest 24 hour MTB enduro event. With around 3000 riders in 600 teams riding a 20km loop that’s almost exclusively single track, and we were going to be the first ever unicyclists to compete in it.
Unicycle.com sponsored us with some really nice jerseys and some banners to hang up.
there was TimS, TimR Griff and myself in our team, and one of the TimS got there really early on the Friday to nab us the best possible spot and the rest of us had arrived and set up by Friday night as the race was due to start at 12pm Saturday.
As the last to arrive I was nominated as lead rider for the first lap which repeated the last 5km at the start making it 25km.
We were riding a combination of 26ers, 29ers, and Schlumpfed 26ers.
After a pretty good sleep I found myself lined up at the back of a pack of 600 MTB’s feeling nervous and needing to pee.
The first lap looped around past the HQ tents and through all the crowds before heading up into the forest. The ground was quite rutted where it passed through the crowds, so I was desperate not to fall on my but in front of everyone.
There was lots of walking for the first 2km as the bikes started to spread out, I was quite happy to sit at the back and wait for some space. Things spread out as we entered the forest where it started with about 2km of switchback climbing as we climbed to the top of the first ridge. We then came down the other side with some big berms and sweeping turns as it wound back towards the start.
This became the pattern for the whole loop. We would climb to the top of a ridge, ride along for a bit and then swoop down into the next gully. There were a number of technical climbs with roots or rocks making it more difficult and some of the trail was a bit rutted.
At about the 12km point the track got quite rough making the climbing difficult but not impossible. I found that I hardly used the high gear mode as most of the downhills were technical or a bit too rough, so I mostly just spun it out in low gear.
Because I started at the back on the first lap I nearly made it to the end before any mtbers started to catch up to me. They were invariably positive, polite and supportive of someone doing it on one wheel and very impressed that we could actually ride some of the more technical climbs in particular. A number of times when I offered a biker a chance to pass they said they were fine to sit behind me for a bit and watch.
The last 3km’s came down some technical single track and back into transition.
First lap of 25 took 2:15 and I was able to ride the whole loop.
TimS took the second lap and had a similar experience with a really positive vibe out on the track as well as lots of interest from MTBers wandering past our tent.
Griff went out after Tim and got clipped about 3km into his lap injuring his leg. He was brought back into transition by marshals who then said he could no longer ride.
TimR then set out just before dusk so he finished in the dark. He also injured himself during his lap but did finish the loop.
After a quick meeting we decided that Tim 1 and myself would do 1 night lap each and we’d try and do 3 more laps the next day.
I went first and was using my Ayup’s which do an awesome job of lighting up the trail, and the night lap was an absolute blast. I found myself having to walk some parts of the track on this lap though. Lap 2 took me 2:08 and finished about midnight.
TimS finished his lap just before 3 and we all hit the sack.
TimR started his second lap at 5am but the injuries from day one caused him to pull the plug half way through leaving Tim 1 and myself to try and do one more each.
My legs were feeling quite emply for my final lap and I really struggled in the climbs and ended up walking a bit more of the track than I wanted, but still rode a significant portion of it. lap 3 was 1:58.
TimS went out at about 10:30 for the final lap. He rode it really well and was given a beer about 200mtrs from the finish line so he rode across with a beer in one hand (very Australian) to huge cheers from everyone at transition.
All in all it was a really great event that was very welcoming to Unicyclists. Both the organizers and fellow participants. I would definately do it again next year.
Lap times were roughly as below.
Lap1(25km) Rob: 2:18
Lap2(20km) TimS: 2:15
Lap3 (10km) Griff: DNF
Lap4(20km) TimR: 3:00
Lap5(20km) Rob: 2:08
Lap5(20km) TimS: 2:30
Lap6(10km) TimR: DNF
Lap7(20km) Rob: 1:58
Lap8(20km) TimS: 2:15
Total of 165km in 24 hours of almost total single track. What a blast
It was awesome and I think most people there were impressed by what could be done on a Uni.