News from the USA 1998 NUC: Day 4

This report covers the fourth day of the Unicycling Society of America’s
1998 National Unicycle Convention, in Monrovia, California.


    First of all, I offer another apology for mangled names. The corrections
    this time are:

TCUC – Twin Cities Unicycle Club Alan Tepper Dedra Divine Ashley Wood
Dr. Orland Reynolds Dustin Kelm


    Against my expectations (and the prior day's forecast), the day started
    out wet and a little coolerthan the prior day. The scattered light rain,
    and the shape of the clouds, made me concerned that the monsoon season
    had started, and we'd get thunderstroms.

    The National Weather Service reports a high temperature of 96

E. It also confirms my suspicians regarding a monsoon effect.

    The clouds thinned as the day went along, and it got hotter and
    hotter... though not as hot as Saturday in the gym. There was *no shade*
    to speak of for use by the general rider. Sunburn was a significant
    problem -- even my SPF 45 sunscreen was not enough.


    Today was the first race day. We started at about 0800 at Arcadia High
    School. It has a rubberized track, somewhat old but not overly warn.
    Apparently access to this track is jeaously guarded, and that's what's
    kept it in such good condition. I'm told we had trouble getting approval
    to use it!

    There was a major schedule change: the mandatory races were to
    rescheduled for the AM, when it was cooler, while the fun races were
    scheduled for the PM.

    Things started off well, and, in fact, we seemed to be getting some
    remarkably fast times in the races. Eventually it was discovered that
    the starting line had been laid out using yards instead of meters; ie
    the "100 meter" race was really 100 feet long. The first 9 or so races
    had to be re-done, although there's a positive side to the problem: new
    records were being set with each race! (John Foss)

    The actual order of events today was:

100 M, 400 M, One Foot, Fast Backwards, Wheel Walk (30 M, 10 M), Ultimate Wheel,
juggling, coasting, relay

There was no 200 M race this year – it’s been dropped!


    Geoff Faraghan showed me his MUni-to-track conversion. The knobby
    mountain bike tire was replaced with a thin tire, while the Telford
    mountain unicycle's shock was given the stiffest elastomer insert.


    There are 19 riders with Wood One WHeelers. They all flew; their giraffe
    unicycles were packed, disassembled, into two bike boxes. They had a
    difficult time acquiring the boke boxes, too, annd one of their boxes
    was later desctoyed (and replaced) by their airline, TWA, evidently in
    the process of checking why the contents had so much metal.


    There was discussion in the stands on how to rains $$$s for
    hosting a meet.


    The Anderson family of Wahpeton, North Dakota, chose to drive to the
    NUC. They reported tgood driving, perhaps a little warm, but the car's
    air conditioning took care of that.


    Knee pads and gloves were required for the juggling fun race. Have they
    been required uniformly in the recent past?


    I interviewed Pat and Gary Cassel and others from the Gold Bar Husky
    Hotshots Unicycle Club.

    Gold Bar is located in Washington, about 40 minutes NE of Seattle. The
    club is an official school club in the elementary (K12) school. It
    started 3 1/2 years ago with 3 riders, and now has more that 175 current
    riders in it. 7 riders, all kids, came to the NUC, in addition to Gary,
    of course.

    Gary's a Physical Education teacher, but this is an after hours club.
    They meed 4 days per week before school, and 4 days per week after
    school. Some middle school kids still participate after graduation from
    elementary school. The youngest riders are 5 years old.

    Although Gary's been a USA member, and attended last year's NUC, today
    was the forst track racing experience for his club's members. When they
    get home they'll look for a track on which to practice.

    Gary and the other Gold Bar riders aren't officially competing as a
    "club" in this NUC, due to liability issues with the school. They needed
    school district approval for their travel plans, hotels, adult
    supervision, etc., and didn't get it arranged ahead of time.

    The club has been using the 10 USA skill levels. They've been testing
    riders, and plan to start ordering level patches soon. In addition to
    the 10 USA levels, they use a 5-level ranking system of their own:
    beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, expert.

    The club performs in local parades and assemblies, There are 40-50
    riders in a typical parade performance, limited to advanced and expert
    riders. Sometimes they do shows that allow all riders to particupate
    in some way.

    A typical parage performance ha the giraffe riders forming arches, and
    the standard riders riding underneath. They slao form serpentine and
    reversal patterns, as well as stars. One foot riding, idling, and
    other skills are also included in their performances. They're seeling
    a lot of new performance material at the NUC, which they'll take home
    and practice.

    For some reasone the club is mainly composed of girls. "Girls learn
    faster and have better balance," said the girls whe were present when I
    interviewed Gary. The parents are very supportive, but only one parent
    rides a unicycle.

    About 60 of the current riders own their own unicycles. The club owns
    about 150 unicycles, which members may borrow for the day. These are
    Savage (16", 20", 24" and giraffe) and Zephyr brands (Taiwanese), and
    the club is happy with their performance.

    The club buys its unicycles from Tim's Bike Shop in Everett, WA. Tim's a
    unicycle rider himself, and gives a 10% discount to them. Typical prices
    are $159 for a new 6' giraffe, and $74 for a 20" Zephyr.

    Pat: "This has been inspiring, totally inspiring. Next year I'm
    going to ride."


    The NUC is being videotaped by two seperate groups. Clifton Middle
    School, Monrovia, CA, has a video production class that's taping the
    NUC as a project. They'll produce the official video condensation fo
    the NUC; pre-order forms are included in the NUC program book. I
    have more notes about the videp production class, but they aren't
    directly relevant to unicycling, and in the interest of time I'll
    skip them fo rnow.

    The NUC is also being videotaped by a professional crew for Trailblazer
    Video Magazine. They are producing footage for a cable sports show that
    covers biking. They spent a lot of time with Brett Bymaster and the MUni
    workshops, and came back dirty from climbing trees for camera angles.


    Today's races were fairly routine. They ran pretty smoothly, except for
    a fair number of false starts. Sem did a good job of staging the racers.
    Here's a summary of some of the results:

100 M Expert Male: 1st place: Andy Schwartz, 14.10 sec 100 M Expert Female: 1st
place: Dana Schneider, 15.09 sec

400 M Expert Male: 1st place: Jim Bernard, 1:02.86 400 M Expert Female: 1st
place: Dana Schneider, 1:09.03

One Foot Expert Male: 1st place: Ryan Wood, 8.53 sec One Foot Expert Female: 1st
place: Dana Schneider, 9.25 sec

Walk the Wheel Expert Male: 1st place: Ryan Wood (time not posted) Walk the
Wheel Expert Female: 1st place: Dana Schneider, 11.41 sec

Fast Backwards Expert Male: 1st place: Andy Schwartz, 10.25 sec Fast Backwards
Expert Female: 1st place: Dana Schneider, 10.94 sec

    See any patterns? :-)

Coasting: 1) Andy Schwartz, 2) Dana Schneider, 3) Andy Cotter.


    The track events finished up more-or-less on schedule (I think), giving
    the participants time to swim, shower, change clothes, eat dinner, etc.
    befor the USA's annual general meeting.

    The annual General Meeting of the Unicycling Society of America started
    at 7:09 PM in a conference room at the Holiday Inn. 56 members were
    present at the start of the meeting, enough for a quorum. Here are some
    of the meeting highlights:
  1.  The USA continued to have about 845 members; this has been unchanged for
     the last 10 years.
  2.  Andy will take over leadership of the Rule Book committee this year.
  3.  If you want multiple copies of On One Wheel (OOW), you can pay multiple
     membership fees. You still get only one vote per member at the General
     Meeting, however.
  4.  First Class mailing of OOW will be available for $10/yr extra.
  5.  Election of officers:
     Dirt Iwema was re-elected President without opposition.
     Andy Cotter was re-elected Vice President without opposition.
     Dick Hardin (spelling?) was elected Secretary, over the incumbent,
     Rick Anderson.
     Carol Britchford was re-elected Treasurer without opposition.
     Connie Cotter was re-elected Newsletter Editor without opposition.
     Jenni White was elected Director, replacing Nick Messimer. Her goal is
     to increase western states involvement.
  6.  It was mentioned that the Merchandising Manager was retiring, but no
     discussion of a replacement occured (as far as I know). There was no
     discussion of the open position of Historian.
  7.  Alan Tepper presented a very provessional PowerPoint proposal for the
     Panther Pride Demo Team to host the 1999 NUC. The audience was
     overwhelmed by the amount of planning and detail that was already
     The proposed dates for the 1999 NUC are 31 Jul - 4 Aug 1999. The daily
     schedule is patterned after the 1998 NUC's.
     George Peck has promised to come, and to give special MUni instruction.
     Panther Pride Demo Team will also host an all-Washington unicycle riders
     convention on 03-Oct-1998. Expert guests are solicited.
     The proposal was accepted.
  8.  Tim Johnson, a Director of the Unicycle Team of Minnesota, presented a
     written proposal to make helmets mandatory for racers under 18 years of
     age. After a fairly divisive discussion, the proposal failed, 36 to 43.
     The idea behind the proposal was resurrected by Andy Cotter in the form
     of a general membership paper ballot, to be conducted by the Rules
     Committee in conjunction with On One Wheel. The OOW Editor, Connie
     Cotter, committed to print all letters, pro and con, on the issue. This
     proposal passed in a voice vote.
     The General Meeting adjourned at 8:46 PM.
     The LCD screen/overhead projector used by Alan Tepper for his 1999 NUC
     proposal gave much better results than the video projector that John
     Foss used in the Public Show on Saturday night. John and a few other
     people stayed in the Holiday Inn conference room while John ran parts of
     his PowerPoint presentation off a zip drive.
     There was a scheduled Renegade show at the YMCA. I didn't attend, but I
     heard that it went well after a slow start. Sem demonsrtated
     freestanding ladder techniques; Guy Hansen (Utah) demonstrated hand
     peddling a standard unicycle; and other good stuff hapenned.
                                     Craig Milo Rogers

RE: News from the USA 1998 NUC: Day 4

Craig Milo Rogers wrote:

> ******************
> Knee pads and gloves were required for the juggling fun race. Have they
> been required uniformly in the recent past?
> ******************

Though our rules require kneepads and gloves for all races, in the past there
have been Referees who permitted riders to race without gloves. Not this year.
If the rider is interested in doing well in the juggling race, he/she just needs
a nice pair of bicycling gloves, which have very little affect on throwing &

catching ability. Safety first!

BTW: The USA (or IUF) is not in the business of making people wear safety
equipment when they don’t want to. Our purpose is to protect you in minimal ways
when you compete in our events. The choice of participating is always yours.

Thanks to Craig for all his work, which included tedious note-taking, throughout
the convention so the people at home could read about it!

John Foss