Posts Tagged ‘nova scotia’

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.

Zen and the art of air saddle maintenance

June 2, 2008

With two weeks until we leave for the big event, my training regimen has become borderline sadistic. I unicycle before work, then to work, then from work, then I unicycle to the gym, do all my strength training, then ride home and stare at a map of Nova Scotia. I have a date with my favorite press guy, Terry Karkos of the Sun Journal, on Wednesday for another training article with pictures. He asked when the rest of the team rolls into town, so I’m thinking he’ll be game for at least one more article before the race.

Courtney, our support person, has been staying with me for the past week, waiting for her apartment to open up. My obsession has infected her, and she could not be more excited about the event. She keeps demanding to know what exactly her duties are as support person, but I don’t know what to tell her. I think her principal duty will be snapping pictures and taking video, which she’s pretty good at.

Apart from the anxiety that comes with not knowing what to expect, she’s a bit stressed at the magnitude of Ride The Lobster, and the role I’ve played in its conception. It is true that my Six States; One Wheel tour (or more accurately, the website Kyle built for it) inspired Ed Wedler, who had never even been on a unicycle, to organize this, the most grueling unicycle race in history. Not only that, but on a 4-day promo event in Nova Scotia that I attended last September, a woman snapped a picture of me leaning into a turn in Annapolis Royal which has become the marquee image for RTL. It’s on the blog, it’s in the 2008 “Doers and Dreamers” tourism guide, it’s on the stationary… It’s perhaps one of the most recognizable unicycling images, like, in the world. I mean, even if the 123 riders from 13 countries who qualified for the race don’t know my name, they know who I am.

The technology of long-distance unicycling has changed tremendously in the past year. Not that it wouldn’t have changed without Ride The Lobster, but that’s the reason it’s happening now. The new T7 handle, the Nimbus Knightrider tire, the aluminum frames, and rims, and all that. Sometimes I think about it, and get to feeling like my brother and I have really changed the world of long-distance unicycling. That since the day we opened up the Torker CX 24″ that my dad sent me in 2002, we were destined to leave our indelible mark on the sport. We were destined to grow and legitimize the sport, and this is how we’ve done it.

But, after my head swells, and that flush of pride fades, I worry about the competition, and if I’ll let my team down.

My unicycle is finally in fightin’ shape. Rust spots from the winter salt: cleaned and coated. Brake line: replaced with teflon-coated steel braid. Seat post: replaced with Pr1mo rail-style post. Saddle: KH Fusion freeride (in Team UniMax orange) after fighting for a couple days with my Fusion air saddle. Tire: Coker button tread. Looks like I missed my chance to pick up a Knightrider, but this means between the tree of us, we’ll have all 3 available 36″ tires. My unicycle will probably be one of the older ones in the race. Mine will be the black Coker in a sea of blue Nimbuses. Unicycle Max likes to be distinct.

I’ve been thinking about communication between the vehicle and the rider. Last time I was up in Nova Scotia, I used my cell phone a few times, and my bill was sky high. I’d hoped the organizers would provide something, but since they can’t cover all the meals, I think we should look into some sort of 2-way radio.
UniMax flag on the way, I’ll have pictures of this and my amazing RTL wall in my apartment.

Let’s Roll!

-Max as Himself

Crank-a-tron Update

May 29, 2008

What a difference 20mm makes. That’s how much shorter my new cranks are and the difference is dramatic. I was quickly able to hit a new top speed of just under 17mph, with a good maintained average speed of about 14 – 15mph. Of course this was all on flat to slight downhill road. I avoided my usual 6-mile loop that tackles all the major hills in the area because even though the shorter cranks make allow you to pedal a little faster, they take away a lot of leverage for hammering up hills. Luckily, it sounds like this race will be mostly flat, so shorter cranks are definitely the ticket. Plus we have a sweet little 29er in our uni arsenal should we encounter any truly heinous hills to climb.

I just realized that we’ll be on our way up to Maine in 2 weeks and had a mini panic attack. This race is going to be here and gone before we know it. Cheers.

-Kyle D

Shorter is Better in the Long Run

May 28, 2008

Ride the Lobster is less than 3 weeks away, which means it’s officially crunch time. Just 3 short weeks left to turn the training knob to 11 and to get our equipment overhauled and pimped out. For Max, his uni has the most miles on it by far. He has also done quite a bit of riding in the snow during the long Maine winters, so his unicycle has some badly needed maintenance before the race. For myself, I just need some shorter cranks.

Now we’ve all had the unfortunate experience of fighting with cotterless cranks, getting them to stay on the square tapered hub without coming loose every 10 minutes, pounding them with a rubber mallet to get a nice tight fit, or improvising a shim to fix an ill-fitting crank wobble. However, I have the luxury of a new ISIS hub on my wheel. That means stronger, more reliable, and a heck of a lot easier to change the cranks. I had my first taste of it last night and I couldn’t believe what a breeze it was. The ISIS hub and cranks are quickly becoming the standard in new unicycles. I was lucky enough to score the only Nimbus 36″er with the ISIS system. It was a custom creation from the folks at unicycle.com and I’m so glad they hooked me up. Not that I’m doing any crazy trials on my 36er or anything, but with the ISIS cranks, I’m not worrying about bending them or tightening them everywhere I go, something Max knows about in the worst way. During the final leg of his New England solo tour, he encountered some major crank failure, which is not very fun in itself, but when it happens in the pouring rain and in the middle of nowhere, a failure like that is miserable.

So my new cranks went on in a snap. I’ll take them for a spin later today. They should allow me to go faster on the flats and downhill sections. Hopefully I still have enough leverage to tackle all the ridiculous hills around my neighborhood. Stay tuned for a full report.

-Kyle D

We Are Here to Go!

May 19, 2008

Welcome to the new Team Unicycle Max blog. This is it; Uni Central, HQ, your number one place for exclusive Team Unicycle Max content. We’re gearing up for the big race less than a month away. 35 teams are now signed on to ride the crustacean-shaped Canadian providence. Plans are coming together, jerseys are being printed, the wheels are in motion. We’re all very excited, not just because we get to participate in such an epic global unicycling event, but because we get to ride as a family. The Max Man himself was a big inspiration for the organizers of this race, so just riding with THE UnicyleMax is awesome. The race is approaching fast, so check back often with www.unicyclemax.com and www.ridethelobster.com for the latest news and updates.

K-Man out.