MUni at North America Unicycle Nationals

North America Unicycle Nationals
Rapid City, South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore area)
July 6-12, 2008

At this year’s nationals Mountain Unicycling is shaping up to be really good. As the MUni coordinator I’m doing my best to have a lot of MUni related events. As the local unicyclists are into Muni along the hilly terrain, it makes my job a lot easier. Below is a list of all the events and what you will notice is more MUni events than any other Nationals. Some are really brutal, such as the 13 mile race. Others are brand new such as the short obstacle based on time or the long technical ride based on number of falls.

While there are many MUni competitions, there will also be plenty of fun MUni rides during the non-Muni competition days. Actually, we have already been talking about having MUni fun rides on July 4th and 5th as well (I was going to drive up on July 3rd). If you haven’t been to this area, the terrain is perfect for lots of MUni rides. The competitions will be held on the M-hill, a hill that is right outside of downtown (about 3 miles from where all the main events will be happening). With the main hill so close, that means great access and easy to get some practice in.

Trials and Long Distance: I don’t know much about those events other then there is lots of planning to make them good.

5M PDF of the M-Hill (where the competitions will be held) -mhilltrails.pdf
Google link right to the M-Hill -

Extreme Uphill and Downhill race
Date/Time: Sun, July 6 13:30-15:00
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: short
Rider Level: While open to all riders, it is geared to more advanced MUni riders

Marathon cross country (super long - 13 miles)
Date/Time: Sun, July 6 15:00-18:00
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: 13 miles
Rider Level: Only open to riders who have previously ridden this distance

Muni Obstacle Course
Date/Time: Sun, July 7 8:00-16:00
Location: Bottom of the M Hill
Course Length: Short, will take less than two minutes
Rider Level: Open to all riders
Note: Each rider will get two official tries

Intermediate Uphill and Downhill race
Date/Time: Mon, July 7 9:00-12:00
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: short
Rider Level: Open to all riders

Muni Cross Country
Date/Time: Sun, July 7 12:00-15:00
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: less than 2 miles, the course will be slightly down hill
Rider Level: Open to all riders

Technical Cross Country
Date/Time: Thursday, July 10 8:00-16:00. Riders can compete when they are ready
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: 2 miles, the course will be downhill
Rider Level: Open to all riders
Note: This event is scored on the number of falls.

MUni Fun rides
Date/Time: Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri 13:00 to 16:00 (end time may vary)
Location: Plenty of different places to go ride around the area
Course Length: Varies
Rider Level: Varies

There is an Overall MUni award for men and women. This award will consist of the following MUni events: Extreme Uphill, Extreme Downhill, Muni Cross Country, Technical Cross Country, Marathon Cross Country and Muni Obstacle Course

Sounds like fun, but I don’t know if I can make it with RTL being so close.

Also, I wouldn’t necessarily call 13 miles “super” long. Unless it’s a lot more rugged than a typical mountain bike XC course, I’d bet the winner will finish in under 2 hours, which isn’t very long.

Similarly to a DH MTB race in BC I read about, I think it’d be good if there were optional difficult sections w/ time bonuses, as well as time penalties for UPD’s.
If I remember correctly the winning “time” was about 3:30. All of the top 10 or so finishers out of 60ish attempted all of the hardest sections (in some spots there were three options).

Thanks for all the detail, it sounds frikkin’ awesome! I hope newer events like these are allowed to take the place of some of the older events if they don’t have the interest they used to.

If you compare it to unicycle races, it’s one of the longest. The longest race ever held at a USA Nationals was 9 miles (on 24" wheels). I don’t think the USA has done anything over 10k for unlimited wheels. I’ve only once been in a unicycle race longer than nine miles, and that was the Unicon (full) Marathon in 2006. This race will be more than twice the length of anything we’ve done as a MUni race with the USA.

Fun, but makes it a lot more complicated to run the event, as there has to be officials watching every inch of the course. But apparently that will be the case on the Technical XC race, where dismounts will be counted. So there will have to be enough officials to see the entire course and somehow keep track of dismounts by each rider.

I love the list of events, now someone needs to come up with the rules to go with them. Like always, if you give them plenty of thought ahead of time and let everybody know about it, you will eliminate a lot of confusion at event time (as well as helping competitors prepare). What will the rules be? How will dismounts be counted in the scoring of the Technical XC race? Perhaps they could be a percentage deduction from the rider’s time, to keep them in proportion to what each rider is doing?

The Obstacle Course event sounds fascinating as well. Unless something specific is already planned, it would be nice if it could run as similar as possible to our “flatland” one (two tries, zero dismounts, best time).

The 13 mile XC ride sounds great and just about right for a proper XC race.

I’m there!

Is the Extreme Uphill and Downhill one race where you climb, then turn around and descend? Or is it two separate races? Either would be cool, I was just wondering.


Here are some answers to questions.

“13 miles isn’t all that long” - As John pointed out, it is long for a MUni race. I haven’t heard of any MUni race being that long anywhere in the world. While I can ride for 13 MUni miles, riding 13 miles as fast as possible is a totally different idea. 2+ hours of racing means that the rider will have to being water and some sort of food.

Uphill and downhill - They are separate races. To make it a lot easier to judge and run, if you dismount you will be disqualified. You will have two official chances and as many practice runs you want.

Rules for all these races - That is the next step. I need to work with Shawn (organizer of Nationals) on these. As he came up with the races, I know he has ideas on how to run them. I’ll work with him to get all the race rules on paper and then publish them. Once they are published I’ll make sure I give people a chance to critque them in case something was missed.


I’m probably just getting hung up on semantics, again, but I don’t agree that riding “as fast as possible is a totally different idea.” Maybe my idea of fun is different than a lot of MUni riders, but I would estimate my typical “just for fun” solo ride to be 80-90% of my race pace. Riding fast and covering lots of terrain is fun. Riding “slowly” and taking breaks are for “social” group rides. :wink:

Nonetheless, I think 13 miles is a good length for a long XC race. I just think “marathon” and “super” are overstatements.

AWESOME Andy! Thanks for the info. I’m going to be there if I have to uni there! Thanks for helping make this happen and if you need any help, I’m there. Sounds like it’s going to be one of the best Nationals yet, especially for MUni.

Technical Cross Country
Date/Time: Thursday, July 10 8:00-16:00. Riders can compete when they are ready
Location: M Hill - Close to the main facilitates
Course Length: 2 miles, the course will be downhill
Rider Level: Open to all riders
Note: This event is scored on the number of falls.

How will you record the number of times I fall down over a two mile course?

Honor system is what we were thinking. If that is way to honest for a competition it might be the buddy system. Or if still not objective enough for people, then it will be a ‘fun’ Muni competition and won’t be part of the overall award.

As you pointed out 2 miles is way too long to have volunteers watch every foot. Let me write up the rules for these competitions. Once they are done I’ll post back here and get your opinions.

How well is the course known? Im sure there will be some sections that are esay to ride, and other parts that will give trouble. You could have a person sit at the technical sections and watch.

Wow, organising a 13 mile muni race is an awesome thing to do. What’s the course like, is it hilly and technical, with lots of singletrack?

13 miles sounds like a nice distance, it’s short enough that you can keep it nice and technical, and that people will still be able to ride over everything. Much longer and people would start getting really knackered by the end and having to walk sections. It’s about the same distance as fun category in the mountain bike xc races I’ve entered (on unicycle), which seemed like a good distance.


I would love to see a marathon because I bet a lot of people will be coming soon from RTL (that includes me) and it would be fun to use our training for NAUCC as well. If there were to be a marathon I would suggest that the 10K only be held for 24" 125mm cranks, and the marathon be the 36er (unlimited size) race.

Will There Be Swag?

The Karapoti Classic is a 50km mountainbike race with a MUni category since 2003:
It takes just over 4hrs :slight_smile:

Most mountainbike races in the Pro-elite category takes between 2-4hrs, so I guess 13miles is probably about right for a Muni race. I suspect the top riders will finish in about 1-1.5hrs though, or else it would be faster to run.


Yes, 2008 would be a primo year to have a full marathon at NAUCC, with lots of very fit competitors! But it’s hellish to set one up so we can understand if the organizers aren’t prepared to do it.

If they did, the 10k can still be for the “casual” riders, and perhaps the big marathon should be limited to those who can ride it in under 2.5 hours or something, to keep it from taking all day.

At NAUCC it tends to become raffle prizes. The organizers usually need help making ends meet because as these conventions get more extensive in events, they get more expensive to run. Buy lots of raffle tickets!

Not sure how you can calculate the time it would take without knowing the terrain, for I have seen trails that a nearly 13 mph average on a Muni would be awesome! Case in point is a race here in Oklahoma - - that is named for the first race 20 years ago but is finally changing its name to the Hills of Hell. Last years race was about 17 miles and out of more than 500 bikes only one squeaked in under the hour and a half mark. I’m am going to try to get a Muni category here to get more than the 3 Muni riders in the race like we had this year, and it would make a great training ride for a Muni rider planning on Moab Munifest or going to NAUCC. And yes I think I can cover the course faster if I ran, but if I wanted to do it faster it is also quicker on a bike but I wouldn’t get the challenge of doing it on one wheel.

I have just finished the first draft of rules for the MUni races. I’m open to suggestions.