Who has ridden a unicycle in a triathlon?

In keeping with the “Who has done X on a unicycle?” theme I’m starting the: Who has ridden a unicycle in the cycling portion of a triathlon? thread. I posted a short blip of the triathlon I just did in:

I know there are countless others but I’ll start it off:

Name: Date: Event (distances) Location: Unicycle setup

Rob Youngren: August 19th, 2006: Huntsville Sprint Triathlon (3mile XC run, 6 mile ride, 400m swim) Huntsville, Alabama: 28" Yuni, Nokian 26x3 Gazz. w/ 150mm cranks!
Rob Youngren: August 16th, 2008: Huntsville Sprint Triathlon (3mile XC run, 6 mile ride, 400m swim) Huntsville, Alabama: Coker Bigone 36" w/ 150mm cranks.

Cool. I fully intend to do something like this and was looking for some advice on training for it. I can’t swim (well) so I guess a duathlon makes more sense for me.

Your finish seems erally impressive. Are you a fast swimmer/runner? And how far behind did you lag at the end of your cycling? Also, how did you train up for it? I know triathletes tend to use their cycling leg to get their breath back but that’s obviously not possible with a uni…

<edit> Didn’t realise that I can look up the split times. Just saw that you were almost bottom 100 for the cycling leg which is not bad at all, though quite demoralising I’m sure.

Yeah I’m mainly a runner, have been running for half my life. I discovered unicycling as a way to cross-train. So my fitness level from running really translates well into my unicycling endurance. Unlike most triathlons, this event does a Wave start based on your submitted recent 5km run time. There were 5 waves starting 8-15 minutes apart. I started in the 1st wave and had a fairly fast run time so I had a pretty fair “lead” over most of the field going into the ride section which I averaged around 13mph on my 36er. So, in a nutshell, I didn’t really get passed by too many people (not like two years ago when I competed on my 26" unicycle!) because of the staggered start. I’m not really a swimmer but still managed to get through the swim without drowning :slight_smile: ! I think I could have gone much faster on the cycling leg if I’d gotten used to shorter cranks, but I didn’t really have time to. Next year…

i’m going to do a Triathlon at my school, it’s 10km and i’m going to do it with my coker Big-one/114mm cranks, sorry that’s all what i know about it, it could change too…

Well it’s sort of the opposite for me - unicycling’s really good at building up stamina and that got me good to go for runs.

Have you tried duathlons?

Yes, shorter cranks do wonders. It’s actually quite a feat that you did the same race on 150s AND a 26" (or 28?) wheel.

Well, you’ve quite inspired me. I’ve got 10 more years to reach ur age and match your feat!

Cool! Congrats on a great performance. Man, you’re fast on your feet! I’m lucky to break 10 minute miles when I run!

I’ve thought about trying to uni on a triathlon, but am so slow that not even a 36er would help. I’ve done a couple of off-road triathlons (I took the traditional two-wheeled approach to the cycling), but yours is the first I’ve seen that didn’t start out with the swimming leg. Makes sense, though–you get to work up a sweat before having to get wet!

Good show, Rob! There’s a local sprint tri that I thought about doing last month. You’ve inspired me to give it a go next summer.

Thanks. It was a lot of fun to do and I plan on doing it every year that I’m in town (it’s our local Huntsville Track Club’s event). A unicycle would normally be too slow for the longer, more traditional triathlons around but the fact that this one has multiple start times and the ride was only 6 miles made it quite doable. I’m not a triathlete by any means but it was sure fun to do anyhow! It was great seeing the look on people’s faces when I was setting up my unicycle at the first transition area (run to ride). Like “You’re going to ride that?” I’d encourage everybody to give a triathlon a shot. You’d probably need to find one with a short enough ride so that you don’t have to worry about possible cut-off times on the course. I know some events where you have to finish the ride by a certain time… Also make sure you get permission from the race director, in my case it was simple since I know everybody involved with the event (I even volunteered before and after this event anyhow). Most of all just have fun with it!

Alright! It was that time of year again. I participated for the third time on a unicycle in our local Huntsville Sprint Triathlon. This was my best performance yet. The race consists of a 3 mile cross-country run, followed by a 6 mile ride and concludes with a 400m pool swim. This time I shaved about a minute and twenty seconds off of my previous personal best (with a unicycle) finishing in 53m 32s with splits of 19:18 for the run, 25:42 for the ride (this includes my 1st and 2nd transition times so really my ride was ~ a minute faster) and 8:33 for the swim. I finished 62nd of 451 overall and 55th Individual (there were many teams). I’m really quite pleased. Although this was my slowest run in years I think it was a better strategy as I seemed to have more energy for the ride. I rode my Coker Big One with 125mm cranks (last year I had just gotten my Coker and wasn’t very used to it so I used 150mm cranks). So doing the math I averaged right at 14 mph for the 6 miles (including the transition times) or probably closer to 14 1/2 mph if you take out the transition times… (I don’t have a computer, but need to get one I suppose!). If anybody is in the Southeast area this time of year, this is a very unicycle and family friendly event! Come on down! If we can get enough riders perhaps we can have our own category? It really could happen as I know the race director and the organization that puts the race on. :slight_smile:

3rd year in a row now on the 36er, 4th time on a unicycle at the Huntsville Sprint Triathlon. I was a few minutes slower than last year, but the conditions were quite a bit more hot and humid, plus I haven’t been riding at all in months so I was a bit more cautious on the ride. Anyhow, finished 73rd out of 402 finishers (64th individual, there were teams). Had so much fun yet again, it’s become an annual tradition for me and people seem to really get a kick out of seeing “the unicycle guy” every year. Why not, it’s local and the distances are so short it’s totally doable. If anybody is ever near by and wants to give it a go, it’s only a 3 mile cross-country run, 6 mile ride and a 400m swim. The event is very unicycle friendly so come and give it a shot next year! The beauty of this event though is that there are 5 staggered starts so you have plenty of time to finish, especially if you’re in an early group. I should know, my first time I did this triathlon on a unicycle I’d only been riding a few months and so rode my 26" uni (yes with Nokian 26x3 Gazz!). Even so I still wasn’t last place! (Yeah I can run pretty fast so that helped a lot and I’m an ok swimmer). Till next year…

Congrats. 73/402 is sick!

You really should do the whole thing in alternative ways. Swim the backstroke and hop on one foot for the running section or something.

run backwards, unicycle, swim with floaties on arms

Well, the obvious alternative on the running portion is barefoot …

… I’d really like to do an Ironman with one wheel and no shoes but I think I have some legalistic hurdles to overcome for that one. I should probably start at the “sprint” level anyways, which I’ve also been meaning to do.

i did a sprint tri this july. it was 800 yards swimming, 16 mile ride(on my bike), and a 3 mile swim. i reccommend this distance to start with. the hardest part for me was the swim, because it is in open water and you cant see anything. i would do a uni tri, but i find myself too competitive to lose so much time unicycling.

Yeah I’m usually super competitive as well, but I’ve grown to enjoy these personal challenges. I’m competing against the clock to better my previous times and, at a minimum, to justify my first wave start (100 athletes per start) by finishing in the top 100 (they seed the waves by your submitted best 5km time).

I’ve also thought about doing my own Ironman distance event involving unicycling the 112 mile “bike”, just to day that I’ve done it. I’ve just about got the perfect place to do it (for me). A 2.4 mile river swim to this wildlife refuge where I can easily do a series of 20 mile loops on some nice flat gravel roads to get the 112 mile ride and 26.2 mile run. Nice thing about the river is that I can just sort of float downriver at a pretty good rate! Now when to do this? Hmmm…

I’ll clear out some time on my race calendar for it :slight_smile: Got room for Barefoot Ted with his penny farthing, bare feet, and a 19th century wool swimming trousers?

Really sort of a pipe dream of mine. I’ve got too much on my plate to take a real crack at an Ironman unicycle effort anytime soon. I live in a town where there are a lot of athletes around, runners, ultra-runners, triathletes, etc… So I keep hearing about how hard an Ironman is, blah, blah, blah (they’ve never run a 100 miler so they can’t appreciate how difficult that is). So I’d like to shut them up some and do an Ironman myself. However, I don’t want shell out a bunch of $$$ and travel to some place just to do this, plus, like you I’d like to do the ride on a unicycle. Because of legal reasons and possible cut-off times I don’t know if I’d be able to ride a unicycle. So I figured that the original Ironman started out basically as a FatAss type event so why not do my own like this? So we’ll see, perhaps I’ll take this idea a bit more serious soon…

Not a triathlon, but yesterday I competed in a 2-10-2 Duathlon, with 2-mile run, 10-mile cycle, 2 mile-run. I rode my Coker Big One 36er w/125s for the cycling leg. I finished 153rd out of 220 finishers. My splits were 52nd position for the first 2-mile run, 203rd in the cycling leg, and 42nd in the last leg, 2-mile run. My transition times were slow, due to changing from running shoes to my 5.10s, and getting knee-pads on.

My wife, Rose, raced (she rode a two-wheeler), too so one of my goals was to beat her. I failed - she took me by over 5 minutes. We both had a great time, and the bikers who passed me all had nice, encouraging comments. The ride was extremely windy, with a side/front headwind for the last 4.5 miles or so. I was happy with a 13 mph riding average.

Here are the results. And here’s a pic from the start of the cycling leg of the race: