King of the Munitants?

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling' started by Mikefule, May 25, 2004.

  1. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    The bizarre and counterproductive flexitime arrangements at work meant I
    had to leave early today or I'd lose the time on Tuesday that I'd been
    forced to earn last week. So...

    I take the MUni in the car and drive up to Deerdale, one of my regular
    starting places in Sherwood Forest. I mount and set off up the easy
    forest track, legs and seat-interface still a little sore from Sunday's
    epic ride on the 28. The change from thin 28 with 110s to fat 26 with
    150s is huge, and that knobbly tyre is quite a handful on the hard
    packed surface.

    Very quickly, I decide to divert down one of the many narrow single
    tracks that criss cross the forest. The track is pleasant and swoopy,
    with a few tricky bits, but nothing too difficult. It's a fine chance
    to get the feel of the MUni again, and to let my legs warm up.

    Then I reach the gravelly and sandy incline. I stand on the pedals,
    grasp the handle, and plod up the hill, struggling a bit with the fine
    control, but doing quite well. Mixed gravel and sand spread in variable
    depth on a hard rutted base is a challenging surface to ride!
    Eventually, all those little errors and over-corrections overwhelm me
    and I UPD. 0.7 miles covered (1.1 km approx.). I take the opportunity
    to put some air in the tyre. I takes more than I expected! I really
    don't know how you guys ride on soft tyres. It might be good for drops
    and hops, but it definitely doesn't help with normal cross country
    riding.

    The extra air makes a difference, and soon I'm making better progress.
    I find myself back on a wide hard packed forest road, then I turn up a
    narrower track with more gravel and sand before taking an enticing
    looking single track which disappears into the forest on my left.

    This bit of single track turns out to be a "cresta run" - a U-shaped
    trough which zig zags and swoops through the forest and was clearly made
    for cyclists. Riding it takes complete concentration, because if I
    wander too far away from the centre of the U, the sloping sides
    interfere with my balance. A couple of times, I'm impressed with myself
    as I ride down short steep slopes (almost drops, honestly!) and I don't
    "trip" at the bottom. The conifers on each side are crowding in, and
    the air is thick with the heavy smell of pine, like a recently cleaned
    bathroom.

    Then I come to a series of humps and hollows, all in a particularly
    winding section of the cresta run. I like to read the ground ahead,
    pick my route, and fence the trail, but the obstacles are too close to
    each other for this, and eventually I paint myself into a corner and
    UPD. I feel no shame, because this is difficult riding, by my
    standards.

    I pick the uni up and walk back a few paces before remounting. Does
    everyone else do this? I always have to try to ride the bit that beat
    me the first time. This time, I manage it and my reward is an even more
    difficult section! By now, I'm breathing hard and loud, and at every
    "nearly moment" I grunt, and after every little unexpected triumph I
    emit a "Yes!" through clenched teeth. I must sound like an overweight
    sailor on the first night of shore leave.

    From the end of this section, it's an easy climb up a steady trail to
    the start of the "Dual Descender" - a pair of tracks specially designed
    for alleged mountain bikers. Frankly, I could ride most of this on my
    granny's bike, although I'd probably remove the eggs and milk from the
    wicker basket first. On the MUni, the Dual descender (or one of them!)
    is quite tricky, but there's nothing I can't manage if I grunt loudly
    enough. There are one or two wooden ramps with drops which I cunningly
    avoid. Wheels are round for a reason, I always say.

    I get to the end of the difficult bit. There's even a sign saying,
    "End". This is where I fall off, full length, and roll in the dust.

    I remount and continue along some normal single track, parallel to the
    main trail. A mountain biker rides past on the main trail and shouts,
    "Well done! respect for that!" I don't shout back, "Lazy sod! What
    are all those gears and suspension for then, huh?" but I think it.

    Then I reach the steep gravelly incline - steeper than the previous one,
    and gravellier. I UPD about 2/3 of the way up, and the pride demon
    makes me ride all the way back down and try again. I UPD about 3/4 of
    the way up, and the pride demon looks me in the eye, and I know I have
    to do it. At the third time of asking, I ride the entire ascent in one.
    Other people measure their success by having big houses, prestige cars,
    and ulcers, and here's me getting my sense of self-worth from riding an
    overgrown circus prop up a bumpy footpath in the woods. Who's the barmy
    one?

    Let's fast forward a bit now, to The Desert... mentioned in my previous
    ramblings... The Desert is the local name for a huge expanse of sand and
    mud at the edge of a quarry. Near to the Desert is The Pond, and this
    is the most dismal place on Earth - and that's from someone who's been
    to Skegness in winter. The Pond is a slimy black and grey oily mess,
    with dead trees standing in it. There are rusted and burned out cars
    upturned in the water, and all around is devastation; litter, broken
    concrete, abandoned fridges, shattered glass, and obscene grafitti.

    Honestly, the first time I came here (in my 4x4, exploring) it spooked
    me. I drove away in silence and didn't whistle, hum a tune, or even
    turn the car radio on for about half an hour after I was back on the
    main road. So much senseless destruction, in what could be a lovely
    place. It's like the Cursed Earth from the early 2000AD comics.

    Today, I see a mother moorhen leading her chicks out across the mud
    towards the pond. Somehow, this is a symbol of hope - nature reclaiming
    what man has nearly destroyed.

    From here, I ride up a steeply sloping gravel and sand track at the side
    of the desert. (Say, there's waaaay too much sand and gravel in this
    one!) After a few hundred yards, I UPD. As I pick up the MUni, I
    notice the broom bushes are in flower. Something makes me stop, and I
    sit for several minutes. Behind me is The Desert. Below me, just out
    of sight, is the filthy Pond with its wrecked cars and abandoned
    fridges, but in front of me is a sloping area of bright yellow broom
    bushes in full flower. Beyond them there is a row of hawthorns in
    blossom, some pure white, some tinged slightly pink as if they've been
    washed with a red T shirt. There is also gorse, the yellow flowers not
    as bright as the broom. In the foreground I can see an amazing variety
    of grasses and wild plants, and in the distance I can see the lush green
    canopy of the forest.

    A crow flies past and I watch it, noticing that it flies straight. Is
    that where the expression comes from? Most of the other birds seem to
    flutter from place to place with no obvious plan; overhead, swifts soar
    and swoop as they feed on the wing; but that crow just flies straight
    on, in no rush, but with a fixed purpose.

    And do you know, if I didn't ride a unicycle, I wouldn't be here. The
    youths who ride moto cross bikes around the desert, and the blokes with
    quad bikes and Land Rovers probably don't see all this - and I'm damned
    sure the little sods who steal other people's cars and set fire to them
    before pushing them into The Pond don't notice it. It might do them
    some good if someone held them down and made them look. Or perhaps if
    they just held them down in The Pond...

    After a few minutes, I notice the clouds are gathering, and I'm chilling
    off. I remount and ride up to the top of the hill. I set of down a
    steep sandy ramp, lose my nerve, bail out and scrawk the back of my leg
    on the pins of my pedal. Discretion is the better part of cowardice,
    and I take a different route, ending up on a huge area of compacted
    black grit - it looks like powdered coal - with deep fossilised wheel
    ruts in it, and random pools of slime. This makes The Cursed Earth look
    like a top holiday destination!

    For a moment, I see myself in my red full face helmet, my back pack and
    riding an off road unicycle, and think how this image would have fitted
    in well with the Judge Dredd story line. Of course, in the story,
    Graark, King of the Munitants, wouldn't UPD on a wheel rut and nearly
    end up in a pool of slime like I did - and, to be honest, he wouldn't
    keep rubbing his undercarriage and wishing he'd worn his cycle shorts!

    From here, it's forest trails and footpaths back to the car. I've been
    out and about for a couple of hours, and covered 7.25 miles (11.7 km).
    Uncle Michael says, "Wear your cycle shorts - you know it makes sense!"


    --
    Mikefule - Roland Hope School of Unicycling

    Yoooooooneeeeeeemaaaaaaaaan rides again.
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  2. johnfoss

    johnfoss Guest

    Mikefule wrote:
    > *I pick the uni up and walk back a few paces before remounting. Does
    > everyone else do this? *

    All the time. When the goal is to ride the whole trail, the hard parts
    are the "candy!"
    > *Other people measure their success by having big houses, prestige
    > cars, and ulcers, and here's me getting my sense of self-worth from
    > riding an overgrown circus prop up a bumpy footpath in the woods.
    > Who's the barmy one?*

    When all's said and done, I'll retire with the house. :D

    Thanks again for a nice tale of riding. I've got to do more of those
    myself...


    --
    johnfoss - Walkin' on the edge

    John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
    "jfoss" at "unicycling.com"
    www.unicycling.com

    "if you can do balloon animals,you can lace your own wheel." -- Jagur
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  3. phil

    phil Guest

    I think we should have a unimeet in Nottingham. We could ride all over
    the place and see how many times someone says "wow, I remember this
    bit!" even though only Mike has ever been there...

    Phil


    --
    phil - ex-studenty type

    "Cattle Prods solve most of life's little problems."
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  4. Mikefule wrote:
    > *
    >
    > Frankly, I could ride most of this on my granny's bike, although I'd
    > probably remove the eggs and milk from the wicker basket first.
    >
    > *



    That's just given me an idea, unicycle egg and spoon racing, has anyone
    tried this?


    --
    Matt.P.Herbert - Muni Hungry Newbie

    Two wheels good, Four wheels bad,
    One wheel wonderful.
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  5. Klaas Bil

    Klaas Bil Guest

    On Tue, 25 May 2004 15:15:54 -0500, "Mikefule" wrote:

    >The bizarre and counterproductive flexitime arrangements at work meant I
    >had to leave early today or I'd lose the time on Tuesday that I'd been
    >forced to earn last week. So...


    You really love your work don't you? (Otherwise you wouldn't endure so
    much...)

    >I take the opportunity
    >to put some air in the tyre. I takes more than I expected! I really
    >don't know how you guys ride on soft tyres. It might be good for drops
    >and hops, but it definitely doesn't help with normal cross country
    >riding.


    I decided to put some air in my 24 x 3 tyre before yesterday's MUni
    ride. It appeared to be 10 psi and I upped it to 23. Made be a better
    rider. I too, was surprised at how low it was.

    >I pick the uni up and walk back a few paces before remounting. Does
    >everyone else do this?


    No, I either cheat and mount where the dismount has left me (accepting
    that I failed this time), or I do the whole thing (slope or other
    difficulty) anew, if I aim at a Full Monty Glory. If I just do the
    failed bit again and succeed, that for me doesn't count as Full Monty
    Glory.

    Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
    --
    be sure to remove the saddle and simply sit on the seat post. this is far more comfortable - tennisgh22 on the comfort of Savage unis
     
  6. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    Klaas Bil in his full Monty glory... pictures please? No, on second
    thoughts, this is a family forum.:eek:


    --
    Mikefule - Roland Hope School of Unicycling

    Well, it all depends on what you mean by "semantics".
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  7. johnfoss

    johnfoss Guest

    Full "mounty" I could understand....

    Yes, there are different degrees of going back and re-riding a section.
    Usually what my friends and I do is back up to before the hard part and
    try again on that. No sense starting from the middle. But sometimes time
    and tiredness cause us to adjust our sensibilities in this area.

    Plus for the true purist, you have to go back to the beginning of
    whatever it was. If it's a climb, you must return to the bottom. If it's
    a downhill stretch, back to the top, etc.


    --
    johnfoss - Walkin' on the edge

    John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
    "jfoss" at "unicycling.com"
    www.unicycling.com

    "if you can do balloon animals,you can lace your own wheel." -- Jagur
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