RTL Qualifying Ride October 13th -14th

The numbers:

Fist Ride

Distance 90.04 km
Ascend 538 m
Descend 538 m

Modifying factors
Light rain 90 km
Soft gravel 5 km
Night Riding 10 km

Difficulty rating
Objective 159
Subjective 101
Final Rating 260

Second ride

Distance 62.57 km
Ascend 440 m
Descend 440 m

Modifying factors
Light rain 62 km
Soft gravel 9 km

Difficulty Rating
Objective 97
Subjective 55
Previous Day Carryover 52.5
Final Rating 205

The Rides

I got to my campsite at Nemekus Lake on the evening of Friday October 12th. I could tell by the lack of vehicle tracks that there has only been one other person out there since it snowed there the day before. The road from Waskesiu was intermittently covered with light fluffy snow and the entire track down to Nemekus was covered. I found a site to my likening in the deserted campground got all my stuff ready for the morning, set up my tent pulled out the extra sleeping bag and had a good sleep.

When I woke up the sun was just getting up, the air was crisp and clean but there was a very light misty sleet falling. I had a quick breakfast ran to the outhouse and back to warm up and then got on my wheel.

The first couple km up the clay/sand/gravel road to the highway felt sluggish and by the time I saw pavement I decided to add a bit of air to my tire and take off the balaclava and heavy mitts I started with. Once I was on pavement things started to fall into place. I was able to get into a comfortable rhythm and my core started warming up. After 10km I stopped to do some stretches then kept going. The sleet shifted to rain around the time I got to the Waskesiu townsite and I was feeling pretty dam good. I kept going through the townsite and up the 264 to LT’s at the junction with the #2.

I made it to LT’s in just over an hour and a half, I was pretty happy with that as it ment I was averaging around 20km/h. At LT’s I met a guy who said he had a couple unicycles but could only sort of ride them, apparently he collects classic bikes and has a few of the one wheeled variety. He said that he even had a giraffe, I asked if he would be interested in selling it, he said no but I could give it a try if I am ever in LA (that’s La Ronge, not Los Angeles). Unfortunately I can’t remember his name but LA is small enough that I might be able to find out who he is and where he lives by asking a few people.

On the way back to Waskesiu my right knee started to feel a little bit weird so I got off and ran for a couple hundred meters. I got back on and everything felt great again. When I got back to the town site I decided to wait in one of the kitchen shelters for my mom to show up instead of start the next leg of the trip to the Heart Lakes. She said that she ws going to show up at noon and call me on my cell phone. She showed up closer to 1:00 but that wasn’t too bad cause the rain was getting heavier and I had an opportunity to dry out a bit by a woodstove while I waited.

The Ride to the Heart lakes was really nice and it felt easier than last time I did that road. I saw a few deer, a pilliated woodpecker and a nice bull elk. I took out the camera for the elk and almost fell over taking some ride by shots. Unfortunately only one really turned out.

The Heart lakes were nice and I walked a little way down the interpretive trail until I realized that I could only walk “a little way” as the trial was only about 100m long. The ride back to Waskesiu was fairly uneventful but my mom was still there when I got back which was a surprise to me but I guess if she drove out 3 hours and had 3 hours to drive back home then we might as well spend more time together. We had an early supper at the restaurant. The Food was quite good and surprisingly cheep for a facnyish place but the service was a bit slow and it was getting dark by the time we got out of there. I forgot how early it got dark this time of year at this latitude but fortunately I did have my headlamp in my bag.

It was pertnear pitch black out for a good section of the ride back to my campsite. On the “gravel” road my tire slipped out from underneath me on one of the steeper sections but I managed to land mostly on my feet. I had planed to do 90 km each of the days and when I got to my tent the cyclometer was reading 89.52 km so I rode to the outhouse and back to make it read 90.04 km. It felt good to have the first day done. I made a fire for a bit then went to bed around 8:00.

Day 2

I woke up not quite as well rested as the first night, my thermo rest had developed a leak but the night was definitely warmer than the first. I had some cereal and drank part of an energy drink and got back on the uni. I was feeling really good and when I was near the top of the gravel road I decided that I should leave my fleece behind because I ended up just carrying it around in my backpack yesterday once I warmed up. This is where I took the picture of the wolf track in the road. I dropped off the fleece and then went for about 15km before stopping to do stretches like the day before.

I got to Waskesiu in good time but when I got to LT’s I was not so happy with my time. It took me almost 15 minutes longer than the first day, I was not thinking of the extra 4km I did to drop off my fleece and my averages were almost identical both around 19.5 km/h.

On the way back to town my knee started feeling weird on the same downhill section as last time so I ran for a little bit again but this time It did not seem to help as much. I took some Advil and rested for a while and took to easy when I started again. It wasn’t getting better, it was getting worse. Since I was about 25km from my campsite and truck I didn’t really have much of an option so I decided to abandon the heat lake section of the ride and just try to get back to my campsite and truck. I started to get cold because I left my jacket behind and with the sore knee I was not able to keep my heart rate and body temperature up. When I finally got to the town site I built a fire in one of the camp kitchens again to warm up and dry off a bit. I swapped out my 127s for 150s then started going again after a good break. It hurt to walk as well as ride but it was not as bad with the longer cranks.

After what seemed like an eternity of wet, cold, painful pedaling I got back to Nemekus Lake by walking the steeper parts and riding the flats. I was quite disappointed in myself for being over 25 km short of my goal. I decided that I would pack up, and drive back to Prince Albert and if I was feeling OK maybe finish the ride on the bike trail that goes partially around town, especially since I could just call someone for a ride if my knee totally gave out and I was in PA. After eating supper my knee was feeling a bit better but I decided the best thing to do would be to sleep for a few hours then ride in the early morning so I could get the rest of the ride in before 9:00AM, the time I started my first ride. I figured if I finish my second ride within 48 hours of starting the first one it should be OK.

I woke up at 6 and didn’t feel to bad. The knee wasn’t stiff but still a bit tender. I did one loop of the Kinsman Park which is right by my place but decided that the trail was too uneven and windy to be a good place to ride a fair distance especially since only half the park had lights so my eyes would adjust for the light then need to adjust to be good with just the headlamp. I decided to go down 22nd street but after a few blocks my knee started to really hurt again all of a sudden. I walked back to my place defeated by my knee.

On Wednesday of that week I was doing a cutblock and road layout in the bush for school and then on Thursday I could not walk. I am slowly recovering and went to a doctor who said that I did not do any long term damage and that I just need to limit my activity for three weeks to allow it to heal.

I did not think that the ride I did was good enough to qualify due to the second day being only just over 65 km but when I decided to put the numbers into the Unicycle Long Distance Rating Calculator I was surprised to see that I did indeed make it by a considerable margin. Although I think the modifier is too high for light rain I will gladly take it.

I am not going to count the early morning portion of the ride as it stretches the meaning of “in one day” and is also not needed.

The elevation change measurements were done today using my truck and GPS borrowed from a friend. To check the accuracy of my cyclometer I also tracked the total distance driving the route I unied the first day. The GPS tracked the distance of the roads I rode on as 89.256 km I’m pretty happy with that as its less than 1% difference.

See ya all in Nova Scotia!


Great write-up there Saskatchewanian. And, it sounds like a great ride too… well, for the first day and a half anyway!

I can sympathise about the dodgy knee. I’ve had trouble in the past, and as I start to ride further and further, the thought of it packing up miles from home is quite a worry.

Welcome to the RTL Qualified club. Look forward to meeting you in Nova Scotia


Well done Sask’ on your qualification rides. Nice ride-up and lovely pics evocative of a northern fall/autumn.

Rest the knee well.


Just read the write up now.

Was your ride self supported? If so, did you just carry everything in a backpack or did you strap anything to the unicycle? What all did you bring with you?

I just bought a pretty good commuting bag that can carry a sleeping bag and light weight tent quite nicely…more so than my last backpack which definitely hurt my back when I tried to uni with a tent/sleeping bag etc. I have never tried strapping anything to my unicycle though.

I love hearing about multi day uni rides that involve camping! Good job.

Yup, it was self supported but I just did a big loop each day so I didn’t need to carry all of my stuff. I kept most of my things in my backpack but I did have a small bike bag strapped on to the back of the frame just over the wheel. I had my cable lock and camera in there.

On the first day I had energy bars, apples a banana, my water bladder, and after a while my fleece, mitts and balaclava in my backpack. The second day I had the bars, water and apples but decided to add in the longer cranks and all tools necessary for swapping them out if I needed to. This turned out to be the smartest thing I did that day, one of the dumbest things I did that day was leave my fleece behind.

I kept energy drink mixed with power-aide in the water bottle, and had my ID, debit card, $20, my pocket knife and a lighter in my pockets.

I have never unied with a tent etc. in my pack but do plan on doing it sometime in the future. I believe that a good touring bike is way more practical if you actually want to do a self supported trip but doing it on one wheel would be lots of fun.

Thanks for the comments guys, i appreciate it.:slight_smile:

An update on the knee:
I have not ridden since this ride because the knee is still not right, I saw a doctor a week after the ride and he told me there wasn’t anything wrong with it and to rest it for two more weeks, after those two weeks it was still not very good so I went and got some X-rays but those didn’t show anything abnormal. I am going to get it checked out at an actual sports medicine place in Saskatoon some time next week. Its been frustrating not being able to ride, bike or run, especially since when I get frustrated I like to go for a good ride, bike or run…

I forgot to mention that I also carried a spare 700C tube two tire levers and a pump.