> Just one thought: This is a maybe a a bit arguable because NUC is
> supposed to be the U.S. National competition
When I read this I thought you were going to say something about how we
were outside the US border…
But actually, NUC is the US national “convention” and within that
convention we hold competitions. When we changed the name from “meet” to
“convention” a few years ago, the idea was to promote more than just a
schedule packed with competitive events. This has been slow in coming, but
I think progress is being made.
So along those lines, and in the interest of attracting unicyclists who
are not interested in competition only, I am always in favor of events
that are participation-based, rather than competitive. A unicycle chain, a
tour through downtown Toronto, group trail rides, these are
non-competitive events everybody enjoys and remembers.
> have one thought/question: How many people that like to do unicycle
> trials actually care whether they beat anyone in a competition format?
Of the handful of actual unicycle Trials people out there, I would guess
they aren’t that interested in competition. There is no precedent. Only a
small handful of Trials competitions have ever been held, and I don’t know
if anybody actually went to all of them. The sport is extremely new, and
even the activity is relatively new. I think the Uni-Verse video is still
making an impact on riders out there to turn them into Trials riders.
> Many sports, including many types of unicycling, depend on competition
> as an inherent part of the sport. There wouldn’t be much point to a
> tennis tournament or a track racing meet if there wasn’t some sort of
> competition involved.
The same is true for us. We have traditionally competed at our
get-togethers because that’s something we can’t do when we are apart.
Non-competitive Trials people don’t need to go to a convention to do
non-competitive Trials. But of course there will be lots of other Trials
riders there, so it should be very desirable to go, competition or no.
> fact remains that the vast majority of people push themselves very hard
> in these sports for reasons that make person-to-person competition
I think this is true of unicycling as well. You don’t learn to ride in the
first place without pushing yourself hard enough to learn the basics.
But what you are getting at is the nature of competitive sport and whether
we “need” to compete. Good question!
The MUni Weekends were originally set up to be a contrast to the NUC in
that they were non-competitive. The few competition events we have had
have deliberately not been taken too seriously, for fear of turning MUni
Weekend into a competition-dominated event. So there, we have competed for
fun. Sometimes we have been strict and regimented, such as with the Trials
competition at Santa Cruz, but mostly it has been very simple, like the
Confluence Uphill Race. Somebody wins, others don’t, but the prizes
usually don’t mean much anyway. We’re there to ride together and have a
I like this aspect of MUni, and look forward to seeing it in Toronto on
the non-competitive group rides that are scheduled. I had a lot of
non-competitive fun up in the Snoqualmie pass as well. 1998 and 2000
didn’t have enough time in the schedules to allow for anything but the
competitive events in there. Non-competitive events are easier to set up,
and probably even take less time.
But then there’s the flip side. The existence of competition makes people
try harder. Gives them a goal to strive for, or a result to try to improve
upon. It also provides a much better focus for media. If we can get them
to come and watch our sport, they will understand a competition better
than a bunch of people riding down a trail. Granted, no media person would
have any trouble being riveted on watching Kris jump between 100’ cliffs,
but there just aren’t that many Kris Holms.
So competition is also a way of building up a sport. And the logical
place to hold competitions is at the convention, where all the riders
> Competition does increase credibility of some sports in media circles.
> However, I thought I’d just put the question out there: If a large
> effort was made to create an awesome course with tons of cool obstacles,
> how many people would rather push themselves (and push themselves hard)
> in a supportive social environment, where satisfaction comes from
> personal success? Does anyone feel that they would get anything more out
> of this if they were competing against other people?
I have learned from experience that I will push myself harder in a
competition situation. But the question is why? Not for the medal. I
have a box full of those at home and they mean little to me anymore. And
not to see if I can do better than the other guy, though that is what’s
I have to think back to the Trials competition in Snoqualmie. There was a
thunderstorm and lightning was actually striking in the parking lot.
Jacquie wanted to kill me later because I didn’t know lightning freaks her
out and she was waiting in the car for me to finish. But I had not got a
chance to ride the Trials course before, due to being busy with other
events. I was determined to complete it. Thanks to Kris and Geoff Faraghan
for staying out in the rain while I and a few others did. I had much more
satisfaction from having completed one of the world’s first-ever true
Trials competitions than the second place I won.
I did it to do it. But in my case the competition helps. In theory, the
course will be there whether or not it is done competitively. People who
don’t want to compete should have a chance to play on it after the
competition (nobody should before, I guess).
> This is a brand new sport. We can do anything we want with
> it. I’ll add my opinion: I’m just as stoked to see someone else succeed
> at something as when I do it.
Me too. But the same would be true even in a competition like this. It’s
not so much about who wins, but about who did their best. The competition
is always there for us to use it as we personally best see fit. Some just
want to win. Others just want to play. Sane people without Trials
unicycles or MUnis should just want to watch
I favor a format that rewards participation and encourages people to have
a good time. In this case, I guess that would mean to keep it from getting
complicated. The simpler the event, the more fun it will be to participate
Hope that’s useful, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone email@example.com
“Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world.”