The Thrill

Most of us know that unicycling does something to us that is makes us a little high. I was thinking about what it would be.

I expect that even though it can be overridden by the risk assessment areas of the brain, the body still responds to the precarious nature of unicycling and activates a “fight or flight” response at a deeper level, releasing a mixture of adrenaline and endorphins.

I was struck by this recently working hard up early a five minute steep climb when I suddenly UPDd and engaged in a conversation with a couple of pedestrians. I was definitely twitchy on adrenaline compared to what I would be putting in the same effort running up a hill.

The same feeling isn’t there at the end of a climb. I think this is because enough hormones in anticipation of the whole climb are released in the first couple of minutes and burnt off in subsequent the effort. Normally I would have remounted and gone on my way but just standing there is not what my body had just been primed to do.

As I no longer get quite the same feeling I used to from just basic riding, I think a certain part of it is from getting into a “flow” state. It is an actual thing, and I have gotten it from juggling too. Just not consistently, like I did from unicycling. I can still get it from unicycling, I just have to do harder stuff. I was just thinking about this the other day, so it was there in my mind when I read your post.

There is definitely an endorphin effect too. It takes longer to kick in, but after riding for awhile, my thinking (and ability to converse with people) is definitely a bit muddled. At the top of some particularly tough climbs, I have actually experienced a body rush that felt like my exhalation was turning into sort of an internalized laugh or shudder. It’s hard to describe.

Adrenaline; I don’t know. Maybe it factors in and I just don’t observe it as such. I don’t generally feel like I’m approaching a state of panic, and when I do, I don’t regard it as a positive part of the experience. For example, when starting to lose it on a downhill, there is probably adrenaline release. It may even be what has enabled me to miraculously not wipe out on several occasions. I wouldn’t group that feeling with the pleasurable feelings of flow and endorphins, though. Everybody is different. Some people love adrenaline.