Archive for the ‘Ride The Lobster’ Category

RTL Retrospective: Stage 3 Criterium

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.

-Kyle

This Is For The Ages

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.

 

The Mighty Lobster Has Been Ridden

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.

Welcome to the Order of Good Cheer

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.

Crossing Over with Team Unicycle Max

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.

Fear and Loafing on the Road to RTL

June 12, 2008

Kyle here on the road with the Chas-man. We’re currently in Massachusetts on our way up to Maine to join up with the other half of Team Unicycle Max. The drive up from Philly can be a grueling one, but we’re both pretty psyched up for the race. Driving hundreds of miles is nothing when you got good tunes and lots of laughs. The DeMilners have never been short on either. We’ll be staying in Portland tonight before catching The Cat ferry up to The Lobster. If you happen to drive through Portland and see a UnicycleMax sticker on a stop sign or two, we had absolutely nothing to do with it. More from the road to RTL to come. Stay tuned.

And now a word from our sponsors…

June 6, 2008

Our friend Bill Merrylees and his team, American Mojo, just scored a sweet sponsorshipfrom Coker Cycles. Bill is a great guy who helped Max out quite a bit during his 2006 New England tour, so I’m happy to see the custom red white and blue Big One go to someone who really deserves it. He’s done a lot to spread the sport of unicycling in Vermont through weekly club meetings. Are we worried that American Mojo, now with the support of a major unicycle manufacturer, will run us off the road and claim victory over Team Unicycle Max? Not a chance. Besides, Joycone has our backs.

Step 1: Lookin Good

June 4, 2008

As Max mentioned earlier, the official Team Unicycle Max jerseys and t-shirts are in. Great Graphics in north Philly hooked us up with an excellent screenprinting job. So now no matter how we finish in the race, at least we’ll be do it in style.

 

Drunk Driver Ruins Bike Race in Mexico

June 3, 2008

The numbers continue to tick away on the countdown to Ride the Lobster, but this isn’t the only game in town. The beginning of summer marks the beginning of the summer bike race season. The 2008 Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling starts today in Allentown, PA which is always a big event arount here. Philadelphia is a pretty cycling-friendly city, better than average anyway. Still, drunken idiots are everywhere, and the tragedy that happened in Mexico over the weekend could unfortunately happen anywhere.

 

MONTERREY, Mexico – A car plowed into a bike race along a highway near the U.S.-Mexico border, killing one and injuring 10 others.

The 28-year-old driver was apparently drunk and fell asleep when he crashed into the race Sunday, police investigator Jose Alfredo Rodriguez said Monday (AP via MSNBC)

Be safe out there kids. Keep your head up and watch out for idiots. This is a terrible tragedy, but I hope some good comes out of it and the rest of the summer cycling season is safe and fun.

Overtime at the Joe

June 3, 2008

I don’t have television, so I’m listening to the hockey game on internet radio out of Detroit. The Red Wings can take the Stanley Cup tonight if they beat the Penguins. Now, even though Team Unicycle Max is spread out geographically, we are one and all Red Wings fans. The game just finished up it’s first sudden-death overtime period, and I’m trying not to fidget by writing.

I got word from Carrot Signs that our Team Unicycle Max flag is on its way, and should arrive by Saturday. Kyle sent me pictures of the jerseys and T-shirts, back from the printer, and they’re fantastic. Now that our bodies are in shape, and our unicycles are in top notch condition (okay, so mine was the only one that needed a real tune up, but my Captain Pasquale has never been better), we’re getting our merch together. It’s pretty cool. We should get some stickers made up. We won’t have them for the race, but they’re pretty cheap to have made up.

I have not one, not two, but three live feeds of the Red Wings game right now. It’s a but much…

I’ve officially started teaching Courtney to unicycle. I don’t know if I’ve gotten to be a better teacher, or if she’s just a good student, or what, but she’s picking it up quickly. It typically takes between 8 and 12 hours of practice before you can be called a unicycle rider, defined by being able to ride 50 meters unassisted. Courtney has three hours in the saddle right now, and she’s been able to unicycle three or four meters.  She’s not free mounting yet, but once she gets a little more comfortable riding, I’ll have her start. She’s really doing well, I’m proud of her.

The second overtime period just started, and Marc-Andre Fleury, goalie for the Penguins, has 49 saves so far. forty Nine! This is getting ridiculous. This game started on Tuesday.

I made a list of all the things I need to bring up to Nova Scotia. It’s a surprisingly short list, as we’ll be spending most of our days on the roll. That’s how close we are to the race. I’m starting to do laundry, and get ready to pack.

Let’s roll!