2 Versions of the 3/26/11 Pre Y Ride:
So what if it’s a little cold outside? The sun is shining and that makes perfect weather for mUni riding. You’d be surprised how easily you stay warm when you’re pumping a unicycle through the mud and how quickly you’ll progress with the encouragement of a few other riders. That’s what Dave, Andy, Nate, Tony, and Isaac did this past Saturday. Andy had some interesting challenges for mUni Trials; you should check ‘em out:
(Video courtesy of Dave, Andy, and Isaac- and Dave's iPod)
(Note: change the resolution to 720p for best results)
The First Butler Wobble Group Muni Ride of the Spring Season.
Saturday the 26th of March dawned with a beautiful clear sky and crisp cool air as 5 of the Butler Wobble's more skilled and adventurous riders converged on the Butler Little Theater parking lot to start the first group Muni ride of the spring season. As the first couple of riders arrived we occupied ourselves in small talk and playing at small street and trials skills rendered more difficult with the larger Muni wheels. As the last of our group arrived and we were preparing to ride out to take on the trails, someone noticed that Tony's tire was off bead. This was when the tone of the day was really set, instantly everyone was offering tire levers, and pumps, and friendly ribbing. With the help of Nate's enormous pump the problem was soon rectified and we were off to start the day by climbing Ritz Park on the way to the trails above Memorial Park.
We frequently ride the trails above Memorial Park, however trail conditions were rendered particularly interesting at the beginning of this ride. The cold had frozen the saturated soil and had pushed ice up out of the ground giving it a very unique texture. At one point we had a rather amusing group UPD, two members of our group fell almost simultaneously, resulting in a domino effect causing every member of the group to have fallen off at the same time.
On our second loop through the trails one of the brothers Manfred spotted a couple of logs next to a fire pit and suggested that they would be fun to jump on. We stopped and those of the group with adequate skill and courage took turns jumping on to and across the logs while the others offered encouragement, suggestions, and some friendly ribbing. Once we exhausted the possibilities of the fire pit area we decided to move on to the Memorial Park hills, and Lower Alameda.
The first hill down to Memorial Park is deceptively challenging. It is short, but steep, rutted, and leaf filled. Again with this small challenge a deep sense of camaraderie prevailed as each of us took as many tries at the hill as we felt we needed to accomplish it to our personal satisfaction. The second downhill into the park is much more intimidating, and used to be a source of much trepidation as a beginner Muni rider. This ride it seemed almost anti-climactic. It is very clear, from small aspects of the ride like this one that all of us have improved significantly from last year. As we cut down into the park proper several kids and parents at ball practice called out in surprise and admiration at the site of unicyclists riding over the hill. At this point one of the big advantages of group riding was clearly evident as one of the group members took a great line that no one else saw, jumping off of the road bed, on to a small bank and riding it out. This was a particularly fun line as it was accessible to every member of the group with a few tries and encouragement.
For the next stage of our ride, we moved to the service road at the back of Lower Alameda Park. From the beginning it was clear that this stage of our ride would be a bit of an adventure. Apparently loggers had been in to ply their trade in some regard, perhaps to 'clean up' trees downed by the soggy winter and heavy winds. The dirt roads were torn and rutted and tree tops frequently protruded into the trail. This might seem like a big disappointment, however the ruts and mud made an otherwise uninteresting ride on a dirt road into a much more technical and physical challenge somewhat reminiscent in parts of the Grove City race in the local Month of Mud racing series. One unexpected disappointment resulting from the logging action was that a rather technical cross trail that we enjoy was impassably choked with downed tree tops, forcing us to bushwhack our way back to the main road.
Shortly after regaining the main road Andy spotted a new source of challenge and amusement, a couple of large logs stacked against the bank along the edge of the road. As a group we stopped to work out how to make Andy's suggested challenge of jumping off the bank onto the logs and then jumping down to the road workable. With some group collaboration and Dave and Andy's skilled experimentation with different approaches the challenge was overcome and an additional challenge of riding the logs as a skinny was taken and achieved. This was the last major Muni challenge for the day and the ride back along the paved park road was a nice cool down before heading off to encourage some new riders at uni club to refine their skills so they can join us in future Muni mayhem.
I hope you read all of Isaac's report. YouTube is ok, but the written word is better.
Yeah, you should join us. Unicycling is AWESOME!