Psyche Out ont the Trials Course

Hi There.

  So, I recently made a few new trials obstacles for practice on. One is a 6x8" piece of lumber standing up so the top is slightly more than 2' off the ground. It's supported adaquately enough that it doesn't really need anchoring to be a safe, stable obstacle. Another one is of the same make, except the 6x8 is replaced by a 4x4 that's missing some chunks so it's more like a 3x3. Both of these are made so I can put them on the sidewalk in front of my house whenever I want and unicycle on them. 

Today I got my first chance at jumping and playing around on them. The car was in the garage, so I didn’t have any way to drag out my massive trials boxes (rarely used anymore, as I can now hop high enough that they can tip when I land, so now they’re only used as platforms to go along with other obstacles, such as my balnce beam). I decided I’d start by doing a basic, quick warm-up of hopping up three stairs in front of my house inn one hop. This is about a 22" hop that I have a pretty easy time with. After two of these (it was warm out, so I was already mostly warmed up), I opened the garage and got out the 6x8 obstacle.

First some background: My first ever experience with precision in my pedalgrabs was pedalgrabbing onto a pole about 32" high and 10" in diameter (A video of Me or Mike Middleton pedalgrabbing it may be in Zach’s video). I got this within a week of learning to pedalgrab. My second ever atempt was some >30" high 6x8 poles set in the ground. They were at a convenient gapping distance. I had an easy time getting the first part, but I never even tried going to rubber. I haven’t returned yet, so I still haven’t landed them.

Because I chickened out on this, I decided to practice these sorts of pedalgrabs. I’ve never even come close to falling doing a pedalgrab onto the top of a small surface such as a 6x8. Still it took me a few minutes to get up the guts to try to pedalgrab the top of my 6x8 pole. Once I got it, all fears were gone and I can now do it easily.

After that, I decided to break out the 4x4 version. This is slightly less stable because I used sections of a slightly rotted out 2x8 to support it. Still, I pedalgrabbed it without any trouble, although I only caught about 3/4 of my pedal on the 4x4, the other 1/4th of it missing off the front. After a bit of no-dab adjust ment, I made like I was gonna go to rubber. After about 2 minutes of acting like I was about to go to rubber, I stepped down. I was psyching out on it. i kept looking at how it was smaller than my Snafu pedal. It literally fit between the pins on it. Because of the size, when on the 4x4 I can’t actually see what I’m attempting to go to rubber on. This has given me renewed appreciation of the line Ryan Atkins made and then landed at Toque. I tried again to build up the guts to go for the 4x4, but I never got myself to do it. Oh well, I said to myself, I hadn’t expected to be able to do that yet, anyways.

So, I continued on to the final move i wanted to land that day. I wanted to go straight to rubber on the 6x8. This wouldn’t be a first, I landed a ~2’ hop onto the top of a 6x8 embedded in the ground near my house about a week ago. I’d also landed a hop onto the top of a 22" tall fire hydrant when I was extremely tired, although I psyched out on that for a while, too. Still, even though I knew I could do it, I was a bit more than nervous. I set up, preparing to hop, encouragiung myself. Then a thought crossed my mind, “I haven’t even landed a 2’ hop today! The biggest I did was 22”, and that was up stairs! Can I even do a 2’ hop in this situation?" Suddenly my meager confidence was replaced with a brick wall of doubt. Rather then being able to see myself land the hop perfectly, I was seeing all the ways I would fall were I to try it. I even doubted whether I could still hop 2’, although I now warm up on most rides with a series of 25" hops (when available, they seem to loosen me up and boost my confidence).

Anyways, after that evil thought crossed my mind, I just couldn’t get myself to go for the hop. Try as I might, my leg muscles would not fire to get my tire onto that 6x8. I gave up and retrieved a hunk of wood from my basement that would act as a riser to reduce the hop to 18". My shaking legs finally gave in and I hopped. My tire landed square in the middle of the 6x8, exactly where I wanted it. I jumped off, partially relieved. Just to check, I did the hop again, this time with much less doubt and a lot more ease. Clearly, I could still hop, and I could still put my tire where I wanted it. This eroded a bit of that doubt, but it was stil there in force. I removed the riser, and made like I was going to finally go for the 2’ hop. After a few reassuring pedalgrabs and one more 18" hop with the riser, I prepared to go for it.

Then, i chickened out. I just could not get myself to go for that hop.

I find that I am faced with situations where I ethier know I can do something or think I can but still get nervous more than I like. Mostly it’s on moves that are high up off the ground or very big and precise, such as big hops onto the thin edge of a 2x4. Still, it’s annoying to be mentally blocked when you have the physical capability. Today, I was unable to get past the mental aspect twice, as the above story relates. This was disheartening and downright shameful to me, no matter how much I appreciate the difficulty involved in the moves I both did and didn’t do. I would much rather have my limits not be psychological, but physical. So far, during both trials and muni, I find that my mind often is the restriction factor to my body.

I’m sure other riders encounter situations where they “psyche out”, ethier on stuff 1/100th the difficulty or 100x the difficulty of what I describe above. So, please, do share these stories, and how you overcame the obstacles involved. I would like to hear your techiniques for dealing with mental blocks on the uniycle.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, yeah, here’s a picture of the 6x8 obstacle.

That was an interesting read after talking to you the other day. I’m still VERY impressed by the 19" precise hop and the pedal grab to rubber on the 6x8.

I’m very freaquently psyched out by lots of trials situations. I generally actually focus on the various ways in which I could hurt myself and try to use that to deterine whther or not I will attempt the line. There are plenty of times where I save myself the risk of injury and pain by thinking of possible errors, etc and ‘chicken out’ of the line, but in these cases I’m usually happy with my decision…I’m a wuss, you see. If I decide that I can’t really hurt myself too badly and I want to attemot it I pretty much just keep on mentally insulting myself until I give in to my teasing and name calling and try the line. :slight_smile:

That’s what goes on in my mind for the lines that are new to me. For the lines that I have done before I usually try to motivate myself to do it even with the risk of injury (not that there generally is any real risk).

Basically I get scared when any height is involved. I will attempt a 1.70m gap between my 35mm wide gapping bars any day because they’re only about 20cm high (although as I’ve experienced already, they really can hurt you at that height :)) but at 50cm high I’d imagine I’d only attempt about a 1.30 or 1.40m gap at this stage.


Yeah, it can be helpful to be able to see all the ways you cold screw up, just so you’re ready to handle them if you fall. The problem is that eventually you get to the point where everything you do can have a nasty fall. You just have to make sure you don’t fall. For example, on the 6x8, one of the nastiest falls I could imagine was were I to put the wheel too far forward so that the wheel hangs off the front and subsewquently shoots out the front, having me land square on the 6x8. That’d suck. The problem I have is that I’m not very confident in my front-back precision when doing big hops, so I was having a hard time getting myself to believe that I could get my wheel onto the 6x8.

Anyone else have ideas for both dealing with nerves on on the trials course, and possibly how I could go about lnading the pedalgrab onto the 4x4 and the 2’ sidehop onto the 6x8?

hey, I cant do ANY of the stuff you guys were just talking about, but I have some pointers on how to keep from getting psyched out.
(1: dont think about the ways to hurt yourself. focus on how to land it, not how to fall if (when) you screw it up.
(2: dont think so much about it before you do it. if you wouldnt have waited to 2 minutes of acting like you were going to go to rubber, and just went for it as soon as you were there, you would have landed it.
(3:if you dont think you are ready for jumping on something like 2 feet high, jsut build up to it. you know you can do a 22 inch hop up the stairs, so find a ledge about that height off the ground. then when you can get that, go for the 24 inch hop. (and just to say something, I have seen videos, you can make the 2’ hop!) if you dont feel like you could do the regular 22 incher, start at an even smaller height that youre comfortable with.
(4: distract yourself somewhat from what you are doing. if you think about something besides what you are doing, and just grunt and go for it, you have a better chance of making it.

thats my 2 cents.

hope you do the pedalgrab soon,

I see. So… to perform the best we need split personalities, one to do the riding and the other to be the bad influence… :slight_smile:



Today I did some more trials practice on the 6x8 and the balance beam, plus a teeny bit on my 2’ boxes. I warmed up with 5 no-prhop hops onto a small square drawn onto the top of the box, to test my precision. I landed on the square every time. This reassured me, so I got out the 6x8 pole and the riser that turned it into a 18-19" hop. I did this without hesitating, and landed it easily. Two more times, two more perfect landings. Then, i got out my other risers, which are around 2.2" each, with a 1.1" one thrown in there. I stacked them all up, and they added up to about 5.5". I jumped off them and landed the pole perfectly. Then, I removed the 1.1" one and did it as a 20" hop. Again, it was pretty easy, although I hesitated a few seconds. Then, I traded out a 2.3" riser for the 1.1" riser, and did the hop as a 21" hop. Again, it was seamless, although I hesitated a bit more that time. I did it again, and then removed the 1.1" riser so it was a 22" hop. I hesitated about 45 seconds before jumping, but I landed it. I did it again, and one more time. After those, I traded the ~2.4" riser for the 1.1" riser so it was 23". I hesitated about 90 seconds on this one, and then got off. Then, I said to myself, “Hey, what’s 1” to you. It’s still doable, and 1" hgiher won’t make any difference." With that in mind, I quickly did the hop before doubt took hold again. I landed it seamlessly, and swent for it again after about 30 seconds of hesitation. I lande d it about 4 times before I removed the 1.1" riser so it would be a 24" hop. I again wussed out. I put the 1.1" riser back in and did that hop about 30 more times, without a fall, although a few times I actually over-hopped and jumped nearly over the 6x8, only to catch about 1" of tire and then hop off. I decided to call it a day with the 6x8.

Then I went over to the balance beam and another riser. I was gapping from the riser to the balance beam and then trying to ride the beam. i landed it a few times, but I had a low success rate of about 5%. I also had a few nasty falls where I was really grateful for my arm and leg armour.

It helped to take baby steps, although they’re clearly not quite enough yet. For me the only sure no-nerves technique is repeated success with ease. Nothing less will do.

gerblefranklin man i can’t believe your only 15 how long does it take to do these write ups?
One thing please could you do a summery of what you said at the bottem it would be really nice for people like me who can never be bothered to read the whole thing!On the other hand your tips on how to do stuff are great! It’s always good when u reply as your so good and you outline every thing to do unlike somepeople.

I have a strange keyboard that helps with typing. Since I can touch type, these long posts don’t usually take more than five minutes. Hence all the typos, though. Also, when you type fast, it’s harder to capitalize your I’s because of how short you need to press the shift key for. I’ll try to summarize next time.

ok thanks but what the hell is touch typing? Sorry bout the jacking but i have neva actually been told!

touch typing is when you type without looking at the keyboard. Its kinda hard to do, but its what I always use!! You just gotta learn what goes where, and practice ALOT. (kind of like unicycling!) hey, I made an analogy. thats awesome! I sound intelligent now! :wink:

Congratulations Bevan, that’s great. Yesterday at a bike trials competition I did an 86cm (approx. 33-34") pedal grab (or rather pedal grab to crank grab) to a truck tyre. That felt great, because I’ve just started pedal grabbing and it’s good to finally actually use them to get onto something I can’t normally reach. I’m doing them seat in at the moment but I might try to figure out seat out pedal grabs soon.

I find that when I’m going for a hop up to something that’s high for me I often get quite intimidated and I don’t know why. This doesn’t happed with pedal grabs though because I always just end up doing footplants if I can’t make the height. :slight_smile:

It was fun anyway.


Andrew: You got your pedal 34" off the ground with a seat in sidehop?! That’s awesome! I rarely get scared of high pedalgrabs, unless I’m tired, because then I may miss and rake my thigh down the obstacle. That hurts.

I landed a pedalgrab to rubber today on the top of a 6x8 32" off the ground multiple times today. I didn’t go for the gap, but I was happy I even got to rubber. I’ll do the gap next time.

Mike Broke his Easton pedal today. The bearings simply dissolved. It gave him a reason to glide and ride one-footed everywhere, though.

Today I raised my tire pressure and am having much easier times with big hops. Not much progress with the dealing with nerves:( .

Congratulations on your high 6x8 pedal grab, that’s very impressive. Please let us know when you get photos and videos of all these lines.

You shouldn’t have told me that. :wink:


Sorry. I most definitely will post videos when I have them, although i want to keep some stuff so that I can have some new material for the short movie I inevitably intend to make.