I went on my first long 36er ride on the 8th and another one on the 12th. In fact it was the first time riding a unicycle for more than a few km since my crash in April.
At the time of the first ride I was working at a wilderness camp for kids in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park and I had from 2pm till midnight off because all the groups were out of camp on their trips. I decided to do “the esker” which isn’t really an esker at all but a large glacial push moraine, which forms the continental divide between the Arctic Ocean and the Hudson Bay. Needless to say there are some spectacular views from the top and the trail that follows the ridge is quite hilly, not to mention the one climbing up the side! I made it my goal to make it to Caribou creek in 4 hours of riding.
I went with two co-workers on bikes thinking that having them around would motivate me to go faster by being faster than me due to more wheels and gears to help with hills. Alas this was not to be so, one of them turned back after about 5 or 6km because she couldn’t keep up on the near constant climb. About 10km later we stopped when I UPDed trying to hop over a log and the other guy, Josh wanted a water break
When we were just about ready too keep going I could hear something large moving around the bush and then we could hear it getting agitated. The animal started barking, snorting and grunting then we could hear it running at us. A bear came out of a coolie and was running through the bush directly at us josh froze and almost fell off his bike and I picked up my unicycle and roared at it. It stopped about two meters away and then Josh started yelling at it to. It was all snarly but was starting to look unsure of itself and eventually started to calm down. Josh and I detoured around it in the bush and it slowly walked away once we were past. Once it was too far away for good pictures we found a camera and took some pictures. I have had close encounters with bears before but have never been charged like that before. It was really cool.
Near the end of the trail that leads up to the ridge it got really steep and sandy so I ran for the last km or two. I got to the top and kept going but then my quads started to cramp real bad so I had to take a break. This was about 1:40 into the ride. I raised the seat because I would not need to hop over any more logs for the rest of the ride. This seemed to really help me spin better and helped prevent my legs from cramping again.
Once we got to then end of the section that follows the ridge the road opened up to a wide sand road after about a km I decided to take a detour to pearson lake for a more challenging trial and Josh took the road down to Lower fishing lake where I would meet him. Taking the detour turned out to be the wrong thing to do. The trail was way sandier than I remembered it and by the time I got to Pearson my uni was making grinding noises. I decided to take advantage of the lake and the fact that nobody else was around and went for a quick swim to wash off the sweat but when I got back onto the sadle it felt like tourture. This was further increased by the fact that the trail became a rock field for a couple km and I was forced to jog part of the way because it was too rough for me to get back on once I UPDed.
I eventually made it back to the road and met Josh at the beach at Lower Fishing Lake. We ate supper there and relaxed because It was obvious that we would not be able to make it to Caribou by 8:00 (when the kitchen closes).
We rode the last 9km back to camp and it was definitely the hardest 9km that I have ever done under my own power. I had to walk a good part of the time to give my but a rest from the seat.
August 12th The second ride
I went for a second ride on the 12th but couldn’t find anyone willing to go with me so I did it solo. This ride was much better. I took less breaks did not cramp but It did take me marginally longer to get to my first checkpoint (42 minutes vs 39 minutes the first time). After the first hour I was cruising, running up the steep sandy slopes and riding where I could. On my way down a relatively long steep hill my wheel got stuck in some really loose sand and I went flying off the front going into a roll. It was the first time I have crashed going faster than I could run since the one that left me unable to use my right arm for two months. When I got up I noticed that there were people at the bottom of the hill picking berries. I talked to them for a while and they were from the same small town as some of my relatives and they knew my aunt and uncle. Small world eh.
I met a couple trucks on the road and actually caught up to one, which pulled over to let me pass. The truck caught up to me again about 40 minutes later on an uphill near the end of the trail portion. I made it to Caribou in 2:34. That is an hour less time to got 7km further. I was beat and had supper with some of the locals (they all think I am crazy, and are probably right )
The ride back to camp was my first real ride on pavement and I was surprised to find that I was unable to go as fast as I thought I should be able to but 7km later when I got to the sand road which goes back to the Camp that I worked at I felt myself speed up. This tells me that I have a mental block about going fast on pavement. I think I need to get shorter cranks, a smooth reliable break and some kneepads to make myself more comfortable with going faster on pavement.
I was very happy with my second ride especially since I was quite a bit faster than my goal for getting to Caribou and I did not have a lot of the problems of my first ride.