I haven't seen any posts about last weekend except for John Foss's
excellent pictures - I ordered a few. Here's a letter I wrote
to John Drummond the day after. It was hard to be at work that
day as the weather was, again, perfect.
Wow, what a weekend. After picking Kris up at SFO, we headed
directly to Bruce & David's house. As we pulled up, we saw Adam and
Dan, Adam with big red rock bites from the morning rides. Eventually
we made it over to De LaVeaga Park and pretty much did the Saturday
expert ride from October. From the start, Kris amazed everyone.
He's gotten lots better since NUC99. He makes it look so easy that
it's really deceptive. He tried and failed on several sections
that don't appear to be humanly rideable, but probably in 6 more
months, he'll be riding them. He rode on top of a board where the
width was much less than his tire. He rode off an 8' drop, getting
it second try, rolling away nicely. Dan tried a similar one, and
cratered very impressively. He's indestructible. We rode until dark,
ending with trials on picnic tables etc. At one point Kris hopped onto
a table and was getting ready for something. I couldn't even tell
what he was going to try. Suddenly he flies to the side, to a pedal
catch on a metal barbecue railing, about 5' horizontally and 1'
higher than the table he took off from! Then the swing technique
he posted about recently to get up on top (of the 2" wide bar) -
he didn't quite do the whole thing cleanly, maybe because it was
just about dark. On one attempt, he broke one of the supports:
"Oh dear, I broke something." So all weekend long, "Oh dear" was
heard endlessly. And of course the famous, "Darn, I meant to
roll that." Adam had a new variation on the swing technique:
from a pedal catch, let the unicycle fall forward and make a 360
revolution. Catch it on the up, using that momentum to end up on
top of the table. I can see the future - the unicycle spinning
happily many times before the rider hops onto it and up. Ho hum.
Dinner was pizza with many videos. You're in for a treat later
this year when Dan and Adam finish their video. Absolutely
phenomenal footage and great editing. They got LOTS of footage
for it this weekend too.
Saturday morning was trials at Frederick St Park and the jetty
until about 1pm. David finally pulled off a uni spin, and
managed to swear like Kris rather than himself on all the failed
attempts (good since there were a ton of kids around). When Kris
and Adam hopped along on top of a play structure, jumped 6' off
landing easily, the moms and kids watching were incredulous.
At the jetty, Kris did one long section on those huge concrete
jacks that was like watching a long 5.12 solo rock climb. Gaps
so far, drops onto sloped landings, incredible! After lunch, we
did the ride to Mailbox (now named Mailboxes Etc) from Sunday
afternoon last October. Adam ran the whole way filming. I can't
describe the amazing log riding and cliff riding Kris did. Dan
rode down the trail, over a bump spinning a 360, landing and
continued - of course on video.
After showers and dinner at the brewery, videos again until late.
By now we had lots of people: Dan, Adam, Kris & Daniel Hopkins
staying at Bruce's. Geoff, John & Tim Bustos stayed at our house
that night (plus we had 5 houseguests from Japan - maybe a record
We made it back to Bruce's before 10am Sunday to find people
waking up. Since registration at Sea Otter to compete was something
like $75, we decided to hit the jetty and beach for more riding
in the morning. Again, Kris caused dropped jaws - just wait
for the video is all I can say. You also would've been impressed
to watch Beau, riding a slippery plastic pipe, about 12" in diameter
with sand on his wheel, for a long way. John signed his name
beautifully in the sand too - I wish I had a shorter easier name,
like Joe or Ed or just O.
It was a 5 car caravan to Laguna Seca raceway. About
an hour with heavy Santa Cruz beach traffic at first. 4 cars in
contact by cell phone. I call Bruce, "Your back window is open".
Bruce passes and Kris yells out the window, "What was that?!"
Since we arrived late, people were already leaving and parking
and entry was easier than last year. We went right to the trials
area and Kris, Dan, Adam, Bruce & David got on the practice area
as the competition was still going. This year the obstacles seemed
much harder, although they were less varied than last year - mostly
boulders. I believe that some of the courses did not see
clean runs from anyone, and they modified them Sunday morning
to be easier. Many of us went over to the dual slalom course after
a while and took quite a few runs down. The two courses are just
about identical, right next to each other, snaking down a big hill.
Not as big drops as last year, but the double jumps were still
challenging for most people. The bikes hit the first jump and land
on the far side of the second. For unicycles, it's pairs of
humps to get over and down, preferably without getting any air.
Beau and I rode about 5 times - it was great! Then back to the
trials area which was finishing up, so Kris and the others could
now play on all the courses. Watching Kris ride on a 3" diameter
steel pipe, about 15', both directions, was amazing. He also took
a couple of wild spills, but he falls like a cat. Finally, we
took off and drove back. At one point, you could turn your head
left and see the sun's orb just setting over Monterey Bay. Turn
to the other side and see a perfect full moon rising.
Dinner was at a funky sushi place - 15 people or so, just great.
we said good-bye and 5 of us piled into my truck. Kris packed
his 2 unis into his new Roach unicycle bag then took off with
Geoff. He had a 7am flight Monday morning...I would've had a lot
of trouble getting up at 5pm, that's for sure.
This weekend was the most fun I've had in a long time.
Another interesting thing was the equipment. Someone could do a
whole write-up just on that. Dan and Adam's 20" "Smonty" unis are
great. These are a Schwinn frame with a 20"x3" BMX tire. Those
guys can hop for days on them. But Adam has destroyed 5 sets of
steel cranks and blew huge holes in a tube on Sunday... There was
a prototype Hunter with 26"x3" Gaz (just under 29" in diameter)
which is amazing for trail riding. Geoff had a 26x2.6 Telford
with a brake (same as in October). Daniel had his 24x3 Hunter
with a brake. Kris had a DMATU and his own heavyweight with brake.
We all agreed that the equipment has a long way to go.