Ride the Lobster (category suggestions)

I know the race is one-category, with prizes for 1st place through whatever (Did I hear 1st - 10th place prizes?).

This first year of the race, especially, I’m sure the organizers are have more than enough planning and work :astonished: , and I’m not suggesting the policy change, at least not this year.

But, we can certainly keep track, informally, of other team categories.
Some I can think of include:

Fastest geared team

  • most likely this will be the overall winner, too.
    Fastest non-geared team.
  • I bet there will be a few fast ones. To me this is a much more interesting distinction than 9th or 10th place team. In future years, I’d like to see this become the second biggest prize.
    Fastest all-female team
  • As far as I know, there’s only one so far.
    Fastest mixed-gender team
  • at least two of these, so far
    Fastest masters (over 40 yrs old) team
  • are there any of these? A good one could be quite competitive. Older guys do well in grueling endurance events.
    Oldest combined-age finishing team
  • Our team is 105, I think. (Vince - 25(?), Roland - 35, me - 45) Not old enough to win this, I bet!
    Youngest combined-age finishing team
  • 105 isn’t young enough to win this, I bet!
    Hardest partying finishing team
  • subjective, but I bet by the end, there will be a consensus on this. My money’s on one of the British teams, though I intend to be drinking a bit of beer, dancing when the opportunity arises, and playing my harmonica if I can find an open mic at some RTL event or other. We (Personal Roller Coaster) may be vying for this one.

Anything else people would be interested in seeing as a prize?

Informally this sounds like a really good idea. I like the idea of the age category and maybe there could be an award for best support person since it sounds like they will have a big role in this being the liaison. Also, I think I read somewhere that this will not be an annual event.

Geared vs. Non-Geared

Yes, I was thinking the exact same thing. Since geared uni’s are out of most people’s budgets, I think it’s a huge disadvantage for them to compete against non-geared uni’s. Kind of like if you had a Tour de France and only a few teams could afford gears. The gears “should” totally win all the other nongeared teams because of the advantage they have. If I had to make a prediction, I’d bet that all teams with a geared uni will beat every team that doesn’t have a geared uni. I say this because anyone that has a geared coker is more than likely a pretty good rider in the first place to even consider buying one. Maybe I’m wrong, at least I hope I am!

I know it’s probably not going to happen but I’d love for the top 10 prizes to be split in half, so that there were prizes for the top 10 teams for both geared and non-geared. Although I don’t know how many teams are planning on using geared uni’s? I’m guessing at least 5 if not many more? Anyone know? I know of at least two teams… What does everyone else think about this, geared vs. non-geared?

Also, I do like the other catagories as well. My new unicycle company, uniproshop, might consider awarding prizes to some of them! This will not only help spread the word of the new unicycle business but it’ll also make it more fun for more teams, especially those teams that don’t place in the top 10.

That’s a pretty big prediction…considering that the top 4 riders at the last Unicon Marathon were on non-geared Cokers. At least three of those riders had geared Unis which they chose not to ride.

It will depend on the terrain. Our team has both Geared 29" Schlumpfs and non-geared 36". How much time we spend racing on each uni really depends on the terrain. A 29" Schlumpf is essentially a 1 speed uni (43.5") as the 29" 1:1 mode is probably going to be uncompetitive unless you have ultra-short cranks (eg 65mm), which would screw up your high gear. It is definitely faster on the flat, but I wouldn’t like to ride it on a very hilly course.

A 36" Uni is such a huge gear I can’t imaging going very fast on it with short cranks in high gear. You end up increasing crank length and losing some of the high gear advantage.

To have a geared uni that has two useful racing gears, I think you need more closely spaced gear ratios…eg 1:1 and 1:1.25

I don’t think geared vs non-geared is a very good category split. Most of the top teams will probably use a combination of both.

Not long till we find out how they compare!

Gizmo Duck-you make some good points. It will be interesting to see what happens. I do think a combination of them both is going to win the race (as well as really good fast endurance riders) but most people can’t afford having a combination. I was comparing it to bikes that have many gears, so just having the 1.5 might not be a huge advantage. If a team that has no geared uni’s wins first place, that’d be awesome in my books. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the confidence Steveyo. I’ll certainly do my best and hope not to let the side down :smiley:


In proposing a category split, I realized the “geared” teams may be using both geared and non-geared. As long as a team uses a guni AT ALL, in my definition, it would still be decidedly in the “geared” category.

My intention was to propose a category for teams with NO gunis in their uni stable.

Like I said, though, STM, we’re not going roll over for you. We plan on riding hard, but also enjoying the week’s festivities. Don’t get overconfident. :smiley:

I don’t think gears make that much of a difference. I know on our training weekend recently, the riders were always in pretty much the order you’d expect, I didn’t find myself overtaking people I wouldn’t expect to overtake on a non geared uni, and I didn’t find people overtaking me who I wouldn’t expect either.

I think if you look at the fastest people, Ken, Sam Wakeling, Roger Davies, Des Devlin, Tue Johanssen etc. they’re all just fast, no matter what unicycle they’re on, I think they’re good enough at spinning super fast that gears don’t make a massive difference. Maybe gears will make a difference towards the bottom of the categories, but I really don’t think they’ll make much difference at the top. Actually looking at that list of the five fastest people I’ve ridden with, off the top of my head I don’t think any of them ride a geared unicycle much, I know Sam and Tue don’t have them, and they are probably the fastest UK riders entering, Des doesn’t have one, last time I heard Ken and Roger don’t ride theirs much.


After riding with the geared 29 for a while I have come to the conclusion that I predicted. That is that…the geared 29 is the faster unicycle for me on flat/slightly hilly courses, but not on a route with a lot of hills with a lot of climbs. Yesterday I did a route with a lot of rolling hills with a lot of climbs and I am sure that I would have completed it faster with a 36er. It takes a lot more muscle to push through hills in high gear and I found myself just keeping it in low for long sections of the ride. It is a lot easier to spin fast than it is to muscle your way though something, which is why I find the geared uni a little more draining.

However, riding in high gear on a nice smooth route with slight inclines/declines is amazing.

If I had to bet between a team with Gunis and a team with standard short-crank 36ers, I’d put my money on the team with the strongest riders and best teamwork.

…back on topic. I know of a local team which is hoping for a best costume category.

That’s a good one I hadn’t thought of.

The overall winner will be the team that’s the most fit, with the best teamwork to avoid time-costly mistakes in non-riding areas.

The Centurions (Dave White, David Stone and me). I’m not sure of our total age, but I think it’s at least 135. Our combined years of unicycling is 101. Dave and David both have 29" Schlumpfs, and I’m experimenting with a 36" Schlumpf and short-crank non-geared Cokers.

Unfortunately budget is not a factor in this race. When you consider the fact that people outside of driving distance (like us) have to spend approximately the price of a geared uni to even attend the race, it doesn’t seem too disproportionate. Win the race and you can afford one! :slight_smile:

But as I mentioned above, the fittest riders will win, gears or no. Though the geared unis have an advantage on the flats and downhills, the advantage drops quickly as soon as the road goes more than slightly uphill. Also the fact that you have a selection of two gears is not as useful as it might seem, as your crank size will only be optimized for one of those gears. Generally the high one, leaving you relatively slow, with long cranks in your low gear. This works great on the 36" with 150s and steep hills, but there’s kind of a big hole for not-so-steep hills.

I like the idea of no categories. Do they have age groups in the Tour de France? No. Show up, and do the best you can with any equipment you want. This you cannot do in the Tour de France. No recumbents, for instance. At RTL, every team that participates is a winner. Every team that finishes the race has done even better. And the team that does it the fastest gets the prize and the glory, and a big urn of Gatorade dumped over their heads if there is one. But all of us participants get to be part of the experience, which will be a unique one in the world of competitive unicycling.

One facet that you left out here is years of experience on a unicycle. Fitness is separate from riding efficiency, right? I’m quite fit from a lifetime of competitive ultimate frisbee, but I’ve only uni’ed a bit less than four years. My fitness is high, but my uni riding efficiency may be lagging compared to, say, your team, with 30 years’ riding each.

Also, please know that I’m in no way complaining about the no-category set-up. I just thought this might make for lively, interesting discussion. :slight_smile: Before and after the race.

You’re right. General fitness will get you nowhere (but not breathing as hard). A fuller description will be “best-trained for the race at hand.” As for general unicycling experience, my team is sure hoping it will be a factor. :slight_smile: But for the most part, the experience needed will come with building up the riding fitness in training for the actual race. Experience in the relay aspect, and changing of positions will no doubt help as well. My team is scattered between NY, OH and CA, and we don’t plan to be in the same place until we get to Nova Scotia…

Has anyone else wondered what the social atmostphere is going to be like with more than a hundred riders that have been getting to know each other online for years (some offline as well)? It seems like that aspect in itself is reason enough for some kind of socialogical study.

I’m looking forward to the hanging out with uni folks as much as the riding itself!

We do it several times a year at the bigger conventions. Last one was Moab, with over 200 riders! For RTL we’ll spend most of the day in separate cars… :stuck_out_tongue:

johnfoss (or anyone else)-want to make a side bet for like a beer or something, if a nongeared or geared team will win? I’ll bet for the team with a geared uni. Any takers for a non-geared team? Let me know if you’re interested! :wink:

Here’s a few more categories that might be interesting…

Finishing Team with least amount of combined years riding

Fastest Team with less than 10 years combined experience

  • are there any? Rolandisimo & have 6 yrs combined, not sure how long Vince has been riding
    Finishing Team with Most Lobsters Consumed
    Friendliest Finishing Team
  • (in ultimate we say “the team with the best ‘spirit of the game’”)
    Most Pimped-out Unicycle
    Oldest Individual Finisher
    Youngest Individual Finisher

I’m thinking this will be my team, The North American Youth. Riders ages are 16, 16, and 20, with our support person being 20. It gives us a grand combined total of 72. :slight_smile: