Just to ring the changes, I’ll do the trip-report this time rather than Sarah.
Today we popped out to a local MTB event - there have been lots of races over
the weekend, downhill, XC, uphill, etc. We however were interested in taking
part in the “Fat Tyre” Trailquest event (but on single wheels of course). This
is rather like the Polaris, orienteering for the checkpoints scoring the most
points that you can manage in the time allowed with large time penalties for
lateness. The only diffrences are the number of people entered (far fewer), the
length (only 1 day and 3 1/2 hours at that) and the penalties for lateness (5pts
We’d ummed and ahhed about which catagory to enter, the Novices or the Mixed
Team - we went for the Mixed Team, after all, having done 2 Polarises (Polari??)
we felt that claiming to be Novices was a little rich, even if we were only on 1
It was quite a nice day for riding with some sun, some cloud, very little wind
and mostly firm underwheel. Some of the woodland was a little squelchy though
thanks to the downpours we had had midweek. It wasn’t an ideal unicycle course -
quite flat and fairly easy riding
- so most of the bikes would be a lot quicker than us over some of the long
distances between checkpoints. We decided on a simple 4 checkpoint strategy,
with a possible extension of another 2 or 3 that we could have taken if we
were doing well for time.
The first 4 went fairly well - no major navigation problems or even crashes and
so we set off for the extensions to our plan. The first setback happened fairly
swifly - I was riding along in the woods quietly minding my own business when a
fly decided that my eye was a good place to be. This doesn’t sound like much,
but it distracted me enough that I promptly went A over T and landed
full-frontal in a large wet patch of mud - YUK! After a few minutes delay to try
and get the fly out, we continued on our way.
We can only have got another 400 yards or so along the track when Sarah’s
unicycle started making very loud hissing noises. She’d run over a sharp flint
that had cut a 1 inch hole in her tyre and a further gash of another inch
leaving a very flat tube and a rather weak tyre. We eventually patched up the
tube, but had to resort to “emergency techniques”. Having decided not to use
the dollar bill technique (yes, despite being in the UK, Sarah carries around
US $1 - presumably for just such an occasion), we stuck the inside of the tyre
together with elastoplast and then patched further with the wrapper from a
It had taken up 10-15 minutes to get this all sorted, and Sarah’s tyre still
looked rather fragile so we decided (in the face of the big time penalites) that
discresion was the better part etc and headed back to the event centre for an
early finish. Fortunately, our rather jury-rigged repair lasted long enough and
we finished in plenty of time.
Afterwards, we hung around a while waiting for the scores and chatted to a few
of the MTBers. They were all a very sociable bunch and were once again surprised
that one-wheelers not only could hack it off-road, but were prepared to compete.
Our final score was 130 points - the same as 2 other teams with whom we shared
joint last place in our catagory. We did a little better overall though with
about half a dozen behind us - including a few who didn’t have time penalties.
`Twas a grand day out, and the thought that we would have done a little better
if it hadn’t have been for an unfortunate flint has encouraged us that we might
well try this style of one-day event out again (there is a whole league of them
in our part of the world).
PS. Sarah now says she hates flints as well as slugs - they both knock you off
the uni, but flints are rather less squishy and cause more damage!
Paul Selwood email@example.com