April 10, 2011
Well folks, it’s about that time of year again. Team Unicycle Max are in the planning stages of our next great unicycle adventure. It’s been a few years since we updated our blog, but rest assured, we have been very busy. Allow me to fill you in on our 2009 adventure.
After Ride The Lobster in 2008, the three of us decided to make this team uni ride an annual event. The first post-RTL ride for Team Unicycle Max happened in Shenandoah National Park, on Skyline Drive in Virginia. We rode, we camped, we hiked, we met a lot of really nice and generous people along the way. It was a huge success and we had a great time.
Stay tuned for a retrospective look at the 2010 adventure: The Grand Canyon.
June 7, 2009
Team Unicycle Max is ready to ride again. It’s been over a year since Ride The Lobster and we’re all very anxious to get going. While this year’s journey will not be nearly as epic as last year’s 500 mile grueling trek through Nova Scotia, we’re hoping to at least capture that same energy and excitement.
The second annual Team Unicycle Max epic ride of awesomeness will be a scenic cruise through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Skyline Drive is famous for being one of the most gorgeous winding mountain roads in the country. We won’t be unicycling the entire length of the drive, but will cover at least half of it. This trip will come with the expert support of my wife, Chrissy. The plan is for 2 days of riding, 1 day of hiking, and 3 nights of tent camping.
We probably won’t have the connectivity during our camping trip in the mountains to update the site, but please follow @epluribusfunk on twitter for live on the road tweets. Stay tuned folks, Team unicycle max is back in the saddle and ready to ride.
March 31, 2009
Spring has sprung and it’s time to get back in shape. The 2009 unicycling season is already filling up with various races and adventures, so it’s time to dust off the winter cobwebs and get back in the saddle.
Here in Philly, I finally found some fellow unicyclists to explore the local trails with. We started things off with a short 5 mile loop around Ridley Creek State Park. The trail was wide, paved, and busy with bikers, joggers, kids and dogs. Everyone seemed to enjoy seeing 3 big unicycles roll by. Our climbing legs are out of shape as the one long steep hill at the beginning gave us a hard time. We’ll conquer it next time.
Some upcoming events for Team Unicycle Max: a team ride around Lake Champlain in July or September, a 19 mile race on Long Beach Island in June, the Whiteface Mountain Uphill Race in June or September, and several small adventures inbetween. Max and I also applied for the Evolution of Balance award with 2 other young riders we met at RTL. If we win, the 4 of us will be heading to Iceland for some volcanic rock and glacial mountain unicycling. The winners of the award will be announced at the end of April. In the meantime, we just keep pedaling, getting back into shape. Ride on!
December 8, 2008
So just when I thought the unicycling season was over, here come the holidays and along with them, some unique opportunities to ride. Some opportunities are for fun, others out of necessity. Either way, it always feels good to get out and ride, no matter how cold or windy it may be.
The first opportunity came around Thanksgiving. The local Philadelphia rock radio station WMMR has a very funny morning show that I listen to regularly. Every year, on the day before Thanksgiving, the Preston and Steve show puts on their own parade of debauchery called the Spanksgiving Day parade. It features some local string bands for that authentic parade sound, truckloads of hot ladies, fire-breathers, pizza dough tossers, Jesus and Moses in an epic lightsaber duel, all centered loosely around an S & M theme. They basically take all the crazy local talent they can get and cram them into one little rogue party parade. So when they put out the call this year for unicyclists, I contacted them immediately.
Unfortunately, I was the only unicyclist in the Philadelphia area to attend, but I had a great time. I rode my trials uni instead of my 36″ just for maneuverability sake, and a luchador mask for weirdness sake.
The next riding opportunity came out of necessity. My driver’s license was set to expire in mid-December. I had my ticket to get a new photo taken and just had to find the time to get to the License Photo Center. They weren’t open late enough to go during the week, so my only option was to go on a Saturday. Unfortunately, the wife has class all day on Saturdays and therefore has the car as well. So my only choice was to unicycle to the photo center. It was only a 6 mile round trip, but take my lack of riding lately, the hills, the cold, and the wind, it turned out to be quite the ride. Of course it also meant that my new license photo was red-faced, sweaty, and with a bad case of hat-head. The ride was tough, but I felt great once I got back to my place. When you don’t ride for a while, you forget how good it makes you feel when you do.
Happy holiday riding!
October 20, 2008
There was a time for me when unicycling was a year round sport. Riding through the Maine snow and ice to get to class everyday was something I took great pride in. It really wasn’t as impractical as you might think. But with school days long gone, so is the need for daily short distance commuting through the snow.
So the unicycling season here in the northeast is coming to a close. Less daylight after work, colder, leaves disguising rogue potholes etc. Luckily the Hockey season is fully upon us to comfort us in this time of need. Although we may be spending more time indoors as the days grow colder and darker, watching the fast-paced heavy hitting action of a good hockey game is sure to warm your heart.
This week, I will be attending my first NHL game of the season, and my first game since I was a kid in Arizona. Good times. This time around, the Flyers will hopefully get their first win and make delicious chum out of the Sharks.
Philadelphia is alive with hope now that the Phillies will be playing in the word series, so no one is really paying attention to hockey in this city. Now with an 0-5 record so far, I don’t blame them. The Flyers are not off to a good start, so to ease the pain of a potential 6th lose, we also have tickets to see the Red Wings beat the beans out of the Bruins in Boston. Detroit fans are known for popping up all over the place, sometimes in large numbers, so I’m sure I won’t be the only one sporting red and white against the black and yellow. Plus we have a cup to defend, so look out Boston!
So folks, if the impending doom and gloom of winter is keeping you off the uni, go ahead and settle down for a good old fashioned game of bone-crunching hockey. You’ll be glad you did. Go Red Wings, go Flyers!
Oh and go Phillies!
July 6, 2008
It’s taken longer than I anticipated to sit back and take in the full measure of the event we took part in. During the race, you’re just living in the moment, trying to ride your best, just looking to make it up the next hill, make it to the next checkpoint, make a clean hand-off. Chas and I were working double time as we were both drivers of our support vehicle. Pulling double duty as rider and driver could have been overwhelmingly stressful if we weren’t so focused on survival. Still, the unrelenting rain on stage 2 and the stage 3 time trials were starting to take their toll on us.
We landed in Truro feeling rather miserable and unsure. The town of Truro had a very nice downtown area to explore and we had plenty of time to kill before the criterium, but the skies kept spitting rain on us and frankly, I’d had enough rain for the day. Once we heard that our accommodations at the dorms were open, we bolted. We threw a bunch of wet clothes into the dryer and prepared to head back into town for dinner and the next race. For Chas, that preparation included fashioning a makeshift helmet cam to capture the action.
The crit was a blast. After hours of riding in the pouring rain, this short, fast, fun race was just what we needed. The locals were incredible, cheering us on at every turn. I just had the best time weaving through riders as I passed them and cutting those corners as sharp as I could. It was quite a thrill. Even though the results of the crit really didn’t add up to much as far as the overall times for the stage, it was definitely one of the highlights of the entire race. Stage 3 was a welcome change from the first two long and grueling stages. I think it really lifted our spirits and helped make the next stage the most fun day of riding we had all week. Stay tuned for more RTL Retrospectives.
June 29, 2008
It’s been a week now since the last day of Ride The Lobster, and life is sort of back to normal. While the wonderful people of Nova Scotia were all aware of and excited about the big race coming through their small towns, coming back to the states where most people knew nothign about it is a little strange. We all enjoyed talking to the locals, answering questions, waving to the kids, and they were just as enthusiastic about meeting us. Here in Philadelphia, it’s back to car horns, “go back to the circus”, and “oh hell no.” Well, the 4th of July is right around the corner. I can just pretend the parade and fireworks are in celebration of me completing the longest most grueling unicycle race in history. All this for me? Aw you shouldn’t have.
Saturday morning was the awards ceremony at Gaelic College. There were many speeches and stories and laughs and lobster clapping and even a few tears. Ed Wedler was wearing his Team Unicycle Max t-shirt when he quoted Max and said “This was for the ages.” That was Max’s farewell address at his 2006 New England tour launch.
Little did we know that this one little crazy trip would somehow turn into this giant crazy international event. Ride The Lobster was an amazing adventure; truly one for the ages.
June 21, 2008
5 days and 800km later, the race is over. We did it. We made it. We survived. The competition was very intimidating. We had record holders, world champions, and real experienced veterans of the sport as well as kids too young to drive. Hanging out with all the great people involved from all over the world was very cool. Its nice to know that if I’m ever in New Zealand or the UK, I’ll at least be able to find someone to ride with. It’s universal: unicyclists are some of the nicest, most fun and interesting people you’re likely to find.
I’ll give a more detailed acount of each day when I’ve had a little more time to recover, but my favorite parts of the race were day 4 to Antigonish, and the Criterium race in Truro. The people throughout Nova Scotia have been incredible, but the Crit really brought out the whole community to cheer us on at every turn. Chas and I were in the first heat, the slowest bunch from the time trials. It was 6 laps around a big city block for a total of 800m. I had a blast jamming past people and making real sharp leaning turns around the corners. It was quick and it was a ton of fun which was exactly what we needed halfway through the race.
I’ll post more as we make our way back down to Yarmouth (thankfully by car) and head back to Maine and then Philadelphia. I think we will have put almost 2400 miles on this rental car in just 2 weeks. That’s not as cool as the 500 miles we put on our unis. It was a great race, but I’m happy that it’s over and I can’t wait to get home. Cheers.
June 15, 2008
Annapolis Royal hosted a welcoming party today for all of the teams that have arrived so far. This is a town with a population of just over 400 that completely opened their arms for the 100 crazy unicyclists that will be riding through on Monday. The school children drew posters and flags for us, the town crier inducted us all into the traditional Order of Good Cheer, and the locals have just been extremely warm and supportive. Even Kris Holm was amazed at the way this race has brought a whole providence together. It truly is something very special to us and all the other participants, but also to the people of Nova Scotia.
Max was beaming at dinner as Kris Holm sat next to me and talked to us all night. Max had his picture taken with all of the big names, gave away most of the stickers, and even gave an autographed postcard to a little girl who just wanted to run around us in circles pedaling with her hands. Still, it was quite humbling to suddenly be in the same room as world record holders and pioneers of the sport. I think we’ll be able to hold our own, but its so hard to tell. There are a lot of really good, really fast riders here. I’ll be thrilled if I just make it to the finish line in one piece.
June 13, 2008
The team has officially landed on foreign soil. They tried to keep us out, gave us the third degree at customs, sent Chas to the “Examining Warehouse”, but none of their tricks could keep us from getting our stink on this fine land of Nova Scotia.
The ferry ride was long but we all managed to keep it entertaining. I tried my hand at the slot machines over international waters; went in with 3 quarters and came out with 3 dollars. Sweet deal. Then it was back to a rousing game of Hackey Hand Toss. Max and I got the high score with 382 catches.
Yarmouth seems like a pretty cool town. Turns out Max’s picture is plastered all over town. There’s definitely a buzz among the locals. We’re excited to be here, and they’re excited to have us. I think we’re definitely one of the first teams to land here. We may go for a team ride around town later, see if we can cause a scene. That seems to be a daily goal for us, and so far so good. The race is still 2 more days left before the race, and a lot more trouble to get into.