Where can I find UNICON XI info?

There was a whole bunch of info about UNICON (competition results, attendance numbers, etc) on the NWCUE website. I haven’t been able to access to that site (www.nwcue.org) for almost a week now, and I’m posting to ask if anybody knows either if and when it will be up again, or where else I could find this info.

Andy Cotter, I believe you where responsible for compiling the info in the first place. If your reading this, any help you could give me in finding it again would be very helpful.

I’m asking about this because there is a newspaper reporter doing a story about me and a friend unicycling, and she wants more information about that event.

Thanks for any help!


Re: Where can I find UNICON XI info?

I am trying to get the results from the organizers to be put on the USA and IUF websites. But, for now, Google’s cache has quite a bit of it (but not all):
Attendance count:

It’s interesting to note that the uphill race is so short relative to the downhill race (I take it those are seconds not minutes)- surely they should be of similar length timewise, or even distance wise, compared to the D’hill? OK, I wasn’t there so I probably don’t have a right to comment but an uphill race that’s over in a minute or two? That seems a bit too short to me! Is there some standard length for uphill races at a Unicon or was it just an arbitary length?

Just my thoughts,


if the uphill race was as long as the downhill race, only a select few would ride the whole thing, and lots of walking wouldnt be so good for a race…

You are comparing apples to oranges.

The uphill course was about 100 yards long, relatively steep and covered with lots of loose rock and gravel. Riders attempted the course one at a time; it was a race against the clock.

The downhill course was several miles long with about a 1000 foot vertical drop over the length of the course. This was a true head-to-head race, featuring a mass start at the top of the Central Express high speed quad chairlift.

Tom Daniels
NAUCC 2002 / UNICON 11 Event Director

Originally I was going to reply with ‘Why on earth?’ But if you’re thinking in terms of the courses in Toronto, your question makes sense. Please note though, that even in Toronto the elevation change in the Downhill race was at least 10 times more than it was in the Uphill. If the uphill course had been run on the downhill trail, my guess is that only Kris Holm would have completed the course, and the rest of the riders would be laying dead from heart attacks at various locations along the way, consistent with their fitness levels :slight_smile:

What was planned at UNICON 11 was a cross country race as the main event, and then separate downhill and uphill courses. But the Summit Hiking and Biking Center is located at a ski resort, and the trails primarily go up and down the mountain, not accross. There wasn’t anything viable as a cross country race that would work well logistically with the other necessary factors of a one-day MUni competition.

So I ask everbody to please adopt the name I was using for the “big” MUni race at UNICON 11 – the Downhill/Cross Country Race. The two were combined, and though it went down the mountain, it was primarily a cross country race.

This was the first Uphill race ever held at a UNICON. So yes, it was kind of arbitrary.

Answering your question brings up the matter of the various factors considered in designing a non-track race course. Things to be considered are available time, # of competitors, ability level of competitors, visibility of course and proximity of course to other events and parking.

The course we ended up using was actually the last 1% or so of the downhill race course. Riding down stuff is much easier than riding up! The original course we had set up turned out to be a little to steep and loose. None of the “test” riders were making it to the top, including the course designer. So we moved it over to something a little less steep. But it was still pretty loose gravel.

The perfect uphill course for me would have sections of loose material, bumpy surfaces, and a few spots where most riders would have to hop some. But there was nothing to fit this description within easy walking distance of the Trials course and ski lift, which was where all the people were gathered.

Because the Uphill event is ridden by one person at a time, you can’t drag everyone out to the middle of nowhere and have them wait in line. Not with a limited schedule and other events going on. By keeping it in the same area, it could overlap the Trials competition.

Race courses should be hard, but not so hard that only a handful of riders can complete them. This course, easy as it appeared, seems to have worked out well for that. Don’t forget to include altitude with the relative shortness of the course. We were somewhere around 3000+ feet above sea level.

The way this race worked was that if you fell off, all you had to do was back up to that spot, or a little before it, and continue, with the clock running. Other scenarios we have used in past competitions have allowed the rider 2 or 3 tries, but with no dismounts. The method we used at UNICON was easier to run, and much better suited to the large number of riders that participated.

Cross country courses have to be carefully considered as well. We have to assume that a percentage of the riders in one of these races will be relatively new to MUni. Riders will be crowded together in the early stages of the race, in ways they have probably never experienced if they’ve never raced MUni before. In the interest of preventing pileups and injuries, we want to keep the course from being technical to the point of making this happen. We don’t want it to be too easy either, but I think the UNICON course was a good compromise based on what was available at the Summit Hiking and Biking Center.

Highly technical sections in mass-start MUni races don’t work well, as all the riders would pile up in those spots, and they would be all over each other trying to hop or roll through. Even uphill sections can be a problem.

At UNICON X, the MUni course had a few uphill sections, one of which was hard enough to ride up that nearly everybody walked it. Walking is not something we want to have in our MUni races because it requires supervision in all potential walking areas, and it tempts riders to cheat. The big problem in China was riders running when they were off their unicycles. Some riders even complained of being knocked down by people who were running.

So any course we use should be something that can be mostly ridden, rather than walked, and that will accommodate the traffic of the number of riders expected. Future expert-type races will be much more difficult, but only when there is time enough to schedule them separately from mass-start events for riders of more various ability levels.

Stay on top,
John Foss
MUni Course Designer

Cool John, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply- I was only curious.

Yes, I totally agree that most people should be able to ride up the course, and that it should be a balance between technical difficulty and ability of the competitors.

It depends on what you mean by ‘hard’ though. How ‘hard’ a course is as in technical difficulty (surface, gradient, obstacles) or ‘hard’ as in course length? A longer course would test for aerobic fitness as well as technical ability.

I guess I asked about this because I’m comparing it to MountainB*** races where the length of hillcllimb races are usually 20-30 min around here. You end up feeling really blown to pieces at the finish. I’m planning to race a couple of these on my MUni though, since I love long hillclimbs!


Ken :slight_smile:

Re: Where can I find UNICON XI info?

johnfoss <johnfoss.d9c9n@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> So I ask everbody to please adopt the name I was using for the “big”
> MUni race at UNICON 11 – the Downhill/Cross Country Race. The two were
> combined, and though it went down the mountain, it was primarily a cross
> country race.

I said it at the time, and I’ll say it again now (I can be a
persistant bugger when the mood strikes), but the UNICON 11
“big” MUni race was a Downhill and definately not XC,
however much the organisers want to twist the normal definitions
of the terms.

Almost all XC races in the MTB world are a loop - they start
and finish at the same spot and thus have the same amount of
ascent and descent. The main exception to this is the enduro/
randonee style event where a linear route might be taken over
many miles (I’d love one of these at a UNICON, but I’m sure
the logistics would be prohibitive). The UNICON 11 MUni course
(as John mentioned) started at the top of the hill and finished
at the bottom (some 300m or so below). There was a little
ascent (maybe 30m tops) but nowhere near enough for it to be
classified as XC. It was a Downhill course - barely enough to
register for MTB Downhillers I’m sure - but a Downhill course
none the less.

Don’t get me started on how the UNICON “marathon” is only
10K either…

(who likes to earn his descents off-road and thinks that a marathon
should be something that gives a significant chance of bonking
when riding at the aerobic threshold for 2 hours or so)

Paul Selwood
paul@vimes.u-net.com http://www.vimes.u-net.com