Some people here already know about it. But I wanted to share with you my joy of having broken the unicycle hour record with a distance covered of 33.365km.
I have been planning to attempt this record for a few years. Last year when Jana Tenambergen pushed the limits even further, I exchanged with her. In the months that followed I decided that I would not attempt to break the record on a Formula 1 track, nor on a speedway as the last men’s and women’s records were achieved. Not on a track either, like Ken Looi did… Besides, maybe the record should have been set on a 400m track, even if it is really difficult and not very pleasant for my taste. So I decided instead to find some country roads near my home, halfway between Saint-Malo, my hometown, and the Mont-Saint-Michel.
The point that made me choose this place is that it’s very flat with few curves (one lap is about 8.15km), the Mont-Saint-Michel marsh is the only flat place in all Brittany. But it’s also a place very exposed to the wind, nearby there is a big spot of sand yacht. As for the road surface, it’s far from a formula 1 track, the road is in good condition, but there is better.
The days before my attempt, I was afraid that it would be windy. Four days earlier I had done a training on the spot, there is very little wind but I felt it a lot… and I missed my train at 1 minute, I interpreted that as a bad sign.
On Sunday October 10th at 10:39 am, I set off in the fog on a small country road near Dol-de-Bretagne in France. I started too fast… I ran the first 10km in about 17min45sec. I tried not to weaken as the laps went by, it was really hard, my speed started to drop between the 2nd and 3rd lap. And as the loop I was running on was about 8.15km, I had to continue my effort on a 5th lap when I had already ride for 58min37sec. At the finish line (after 5 laps) my watch showed 40.9km at an average speed of 33.4km/h, which was enough for me to know that I had succeeded.
That unicycle is unique and all, but what stands out to me the most is the clipless pedals and the ~20.7mph average speed! I can see that clipless would be good for efficiency in such a task but it still amazes me.
@unicycleharry I often get speed errors with the GPS… my watch is getting old (suunto ambit3 peak). Maybe it’s because of the fog, or the smoothing method, I always set the max accuracy (with a GPS position every second), maybe I should try every 10 sec… I’m more interested in tracking my heart rate than my instant speed.
I’ll give you more information about my training and some anecdotes in a future post.
How have you been getting along with clipless pedals? Any issues getting out in time? I have been using Time pedals on my mountain bike for more that 20 years. Been wondering if I should try them on my Muni.
I started riding with clipless pedals about 6 years ago. I first started with shimano SM-SH56 cleats and minimal tension. They required very little effort to remove the shoe, so much so that I sometimes accidentally removed the shoe when pulling the pedal up. I then started to tighten the springs gradually, while gaining confidence in the movement to take off the shoes. Two or three years ago, I had tightened the pedal springs so much that I switched to shimano SM-SH51 cleats. Today, their setting suits me well, with about 3 turns of the allen key.
I use XC shoes, as they are the stiffest MTB shoes.
I am currently tempted to try clipless road pedals and shoes. In particular to test a power meter at an affordable price. But I still have a memory of a pair of pedals that had no adjustment and were very difficult to take off.
I don’t fall much with my clipless pedals, in fact before I switched to clipless pedals my falls were most often related to the fact that I lost the pedals. With the clipless pedals I fall much less often. That said, I did have a fall during training 3 weeks ago, I had a problem with a gear shift that didn’t go well. I was thrown to the front of the unicycle, and my 2 feet came out of the pedals by themselves, I fell on my knees, elbows and hands (which are all protected).
I use MTB pedals for unicycle road riding, I would strongly advise against using road pedals for muni riding. I know several French people who use MTB clipless pedals for cross country and even downhill riding, but this is not my case and I could not advise to do so.
I don’t think you could say we are several. We’re 2 people using Shimano MTB clipless pedals for downhill and 1 other guy sometimes using Time clipless pedals for XC too.
That’s basically the same as road racing but you tighten the springs less than what you do for road racing and you only use multi-directional cleats (SM-SH56 for SPD pedals).
But to use them, you should already have a great level in these disciplines so you know you won’t hardly fall. It also requires some training on flat ground before going downhill. A friend of mine tried them for DH and he broke his wrist because he had neither the level, neither the advised training with clipless pedals.
So if you want to try them, please be careful. Protect your body as much as you can - full-face helmet, gloves, wrist guards, knee guards, backbone guard -, loosen them as much as you can, use multi-directional cleats (I don’t know if they exists for Time pedals) and start on flat and easy ground. Remember that you should try them only if you already land on your feet 99% of the time in case of UPDs.