My UNICON XI experience - long

Yes, Guy is one tough dude!

I cannot express in words what a tremendous experience UNICON was.
Unfortunately for me I was only able to attend three days. My family and I
left our home in Pleasant Grove, UT at 5am Saturday morning to make our
flight. The flight arrived in Seattle just before 8am. We then had a
shuttle trip to the car rental place where we got directions to our hotel in
Issaquah.

When we got to the hotel it was initially unclear whether we would be able
to check in. Check in isn’t until 3pm and it was about 9am. After a few
minutes they said they had a room ready and all was good. Incidentally as
we pulled into the hotel parking lot we noticed a kid on a 20" unicycle
riding across the crosswalk.

We drove around a bit looking for the venues and found Issaquah High School
where there was not a unicycle to be found. I wasn’t sure how to get to Mt.
Si High School so we went to the Issaquah library where they were kind
enough to allow me to use their computers/internet to look it up and print a
map. We then drove to Mt. Si High where there was a similar absence of
unicycles. It turns out that we arrived during the Seattle fun rides and
there were no competitive events taking place. No problem, the kids wanted
to go swimming at the hotel anyway so we went back and the kids got their
wish. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and we got a little sunburned. I
called the organizers (Tom Daniels) to ask if I could ride in the parade but
because I hadn’t arrive in time to pick up my registration materials I was
not able to ride in the parade. Instead, we watched the coverage of the
parade on the hotel TV. It was sort of funny how the commentators reacted
to the HUGE number of unicyclists. The TV station also had a bit about Alan
Tepper which was really nice. Anyway, since our day had begun so early we
were really tired. The kids had all zonked out and missed the unicycling
part of the parade but both my wife and I watch with amazement.

Sunday morning we went back to Mt. Si to check in and get my registration
materials. When we arrived we found a scattering of unicycles/unicyclists
in the gym practicing. The main event as we arrived was the 10K. The first
finishers were just coming in. I got my registration stuff and then we went
to find some jackets for the kids. We hadn’t expected the temperature
difference from hot Utah to cool Washington. The rest of Sunday was spent
watching freestyle routines in the Mt. Si gym. My personal favorite was a
little five year old girl named Brook (for whom my little 4yr old daughter
was frequently mistaken for). The kids lost interest late in the afternoon
so I took them back to the hotel and came back for the workshops. John
Childs did an airseat workshop that was informative and useful. Greg Harper
had the uni.5 hub with large drawings of the design. I was surprised by the
lack of attendees and the casual atmosphere of the workshops. I guess most
people were either participating in other things or spectating. I went back
to the gym to watch more freestyle.

Jack Halpern’s Coker had a bearing explosion on Sunday. Both bearings had
completely disintegrated. Roger Davies was in the entryway to the gym
working on it. I offered to help but there was little that could be done.
I almost got the chance to rebuild the wheel with a new hub (the existing
hub couldn’t be used because the inner bearing race could not be removed.)
In the end it was decided that John Drummond would put together a new
wheelset for Jack so that was put aside for later. At about 10:30 we got
told to leave. I couldn’t believe how fast the time had gone

Monday we went back to Mt. Si High for more freestyle and open X. They were
way behind schedule so some of the performers that were scheduled for Sunday
were rescheduled for Monday which bumped everything back. No problem, it
allowed us to see some performances that I thought we would have missed. I
was especially happy to see Guy and Melissa Hansen’s freestyle routine.
There was also a Muni fun ride that I was going to go on but last minute I
chickened out. It turns out that this was a good decision for me since the
ride up the chairlift was more than I would have been able to afford.

We took the kids to Snoqualmie falls and hiked down to the river. It is
truly a beautiful area. On the way back up from the river we passed Kris
Holm and friends on their way down.

As the afternoon progressed the kids got impatient so we left during Open-X.
This was the first time I’ve seen this sort of competition and I could have
stayed without getting bored for as long as there were riders to perform but
the kids had had enough so we headed back to the hotel to pack up for the
flight home Tuesday morning.

I really wish that I could have been there for the whole thing (both NAUCC
and UNICON). The two older kids (4 and 6) loved watching the freestyle
(especially the younger kids). My youngest son (almost two) didn’t really
love it but he tolerated the long time spent in the stands well.

Now that we’re back home both James and Sara have been practicing like
crazy. Sara rode unassisted about 6 feet and James is making similar
progress. So, I guess that they were inspired by the performances they saw.
Sara asked: “If I learn to ride can I go to the next one?” I told her to
count on it!

UNICON was one of the most memorable and enjoyable vacations I’ve taken. I
expect that UNICON XI will be the first of many UNICONs that our family will
attend. Thank you to all those that made it possible.

Sorry to go on for so long.

-mg

p.s. Don’t let yoopers ride your unicycle. :wink:

“dan” <dan.8s73y@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:dan.8s73y@timelimit.unicyclist.com
>
> Michael,
>
> Thanks for the update. Seems to me the guys at the front should have
> been faster than the mid 20’s. Perhaps some nasty roads prevented them
> from going all out. Or perhaps everyone took it easy and enjoyed the
> ride.
>
> Your friend Guy Hansen must be one tuff dude to perform the next day
> with a busted rib.
>
> Since this was your first UNICON, and really didn’t know what to expect,
> when you get a chance, please share some thoughts with us. What was the
> atmosphere like, and what stood out the most as far as events you saw?
> How about your wife and kids, did they enjoy it as much as you did?
>
> dan
>
>
> –
> dan
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> dan’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/78
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/19648
>

Michael,

Thanks for your detailed review of UNICON. I wish I could have made it. The freestyle stuff would have been interesting. Seeing the pic’s that Greg sent clued me in on a world I didn’t know existed. Having ridden off and on for quite a few years, and never seeing anything remotely close to the talent exhibited at UNICON is eye opening. I have never seen a rider simply riding backwards, not to mentioned some of the moves seen the pics.

I didn’t realize what a shelter world I live in. You cannot put a value on the new found inspiration your kids now have as a result of your vacation! I hope it started something that will last a lifetime. I am going to do my best to make it to the next UNICON!

dan