Since my last climb up Fargo street on 2/23/11, I was filled with both anticipation AND apprehension about Sunday's (3/6/11) “Annual Fargo hill street climb challenge”! When I did my climb back on 2/23/11, I had nearly collapsed upon finishing, and my lungs continued to burn like fire for the next 24 hours! So I had serious doubts as to if I could ever do it again!
With the hundreds of bikers, spectators, media, plus my LBS sponsor and my brother were there, so I had everything riding on this!
I got to Fargo early, and signed up and got my lucky number “7”, and then it was time to face the music! So after some stretching and a good deep breath, I mounted my 24" mountain unicycle, and went for it! After about 100 feet I realized that, unlike last time, THIS time there were other participants…on BIKES…that I had to contend with during the climb!
They space the riders out as best they can but, invariably, people tend to bunch up now and then, and it happened to me more than once! I found myself having to balance in one spot, and sometimes hop in place, to avoid a collision! That slowed me down a bit, and gravity would throw me back down the massive 33% grade hill each time I hopped!
But, at the ¾ point up, I started gaining confidence that I might pull it off! To my great surprise, my legs felt strong with no noticeable lactic acid, and my lungs weren't burning like last time. With 50 feet to go, I knew I had it in the bag, and as I crested the top, I felt relief and great excitement, and this time, instead of nearly collapsing after my last climb when my buddy Steve was there, I THRUST my uni over my head in victory, as a tribute to my broter waiting below. I got my patch and now it was official!
After a few minutes, I rode back down, got lots of high fives, and chatted with several people. After giving a couple interviews with media that was there, a reporter from OC Register—who was late getting there and missed my climb—just asked me to “recreate it” by riding up for only about 20 feet, so he could snap some shots for the paper.
I said sure, and casually started my short, 20 foot climb. But after he said thanks and got the shot, I decided to keep going! So many more people had arrived since my first climb, so I thought, why not. I’ve already got my patch, so if I can’t make it a second time, no biggie, I’ve got my patch anyway!
So I kept going…and going…and…I made it to the top for a *second* time in a row! Wow! From what the organizers told me, and they're been doing this even since the early 1990's, I am not only the oldest, but the ONLY person to have EVER successfully climbed Fargo on a unicycle! They say a few others have tried over the years, but none got very far. Next year I'll try for five climbs! Ok, I know that's a big goal, but I can dream can't I? lol.