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rubic
September 1st 03, 01:35 AM
Yesterday I completed a new milestone on the Coker,
a metric century of 62 miles. The Clarksville Labor
Day Weekend Classic in Tennessee is billed as one of
the flattest century rides in the country.

A lot of bicylists use this as their first 100 mile
century ride, my brother was one of them. Kudos to
brother David!

At first I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do this
ride on a unicycle or even if I'd be able to. My
Miyata air saddle has been shipped to David Stockton
who's fitting it on a new frame from Hunter Cycles.
On the day before the ride, I took the Viscount
saddle off my 24" trainer, trimmed down the seatpost
with a pipe cutter, and took it out for a brief 4 mile
ride. Everything seemed to be okay, though I probably
should have put in a shim on the seatpost.

On the morning of the ride, I left about 20 minutes
before the official start so as not to get tangled
up in the mass start. I was also worried about my
speed, since the SAG vehicles would pick up any
stragglers at 4:30 pm, and figured an early start
would give me an extra margin of safety.

About 2 miles into the ride, the 62 mile and 100 mile
courses diverged. After 40 minutes of riding I started
getting passed by people riding the metric century.
It was fun being out on the road with other riders
who would whoop and holler as they passed. By the
time I'd arrived at the first rest stop (15 miles)
I was still ahead of some of the slower metric
riders. I arrived at the rest stop about 2 hours
after I'd started, without a single dismount. This
would be my longest continuous riding for the day.
Thereafter, I would be forced to dismount about
every half hour to relieve myself of saddle pressure.

I didn't have a cyclocomputer on the Coker, but I
could estimate my distance by checking my watch.
I was probably averaging slightly over 8 miles an
hour. After the third hour, the traffic from the
metric riders had mostly passed me by, including
some children on mountain bikes. I would often
push down on the nose of the saddle with my
left hand, stand up and balance on the pedals to
relieve saddle pressure. This slowed my progress
and was tiring on the quads, but kept me going
forward.

After 4 hours into the ride a yellow VW beatle SAG
vehicle pulled up and warned me that there was a fast
paceline approaching. It was the lead group in the
100 mile ride, perhaps 25-30 riders strong. Soon
afterwards, I rode into the second rest stop
at mile 31, near the Jefferson Davis monument.
(Why a monument to Jefferson Davis in Kentucky
which fought on both sides?) The 31 mile halfway
point to the metric ride was the 70 mile point for
the century riders, and I got the chance to see many
of my friends in the Harpeth Bike Club riders there.

I pulled out of the second rest area feeling pretty
strong, but knew the next section would take its
toll. My initial plan was to stay on the unicycle
for 30 minutes, then take a 1 minute break to
relieve the saddle pain. So I was constantly
watching my wris****ch, waiting for the blessed
break time. Occassionally I'd cheat and dismount
after 20 minutes. Additionally I was having some
minor problems with the saddle twisting whenever
I'd apply too much torque. I was regretting not
taking the time to shim the seatpost.

On my other saddle I've got GB handlebars which
help (a little) to get some relief while riding.
I'm not sure how much this would help for longer
distances, but I've got to find some solution for
long rides. I also took some Ibuprofen, which
is pretty rare for me.

After leaving the second rest stop, the next one
would be at mile 49. On my bicycle, I'd normally
pooh-pooh these short distance rest stops, but in my
present transportation mode I welcomed them. For
the remainder of the ride I would be passed by the
slower 100 mile riders. It was great to hear their
encouragement, and it kept me going when all I wanted
to do was get off the stupid unicycle. Several times
someone would whip out their camera and say "I've got
to get a picture of this." Even a few cars not
associated with the ride would slow down and yell
out "Totally awesome!".

One advantage (the only advantage?) with traveling
at such a slow speed is that I never missed any of
the road markings. At one point I yelled at some
riders who missed a turn and redirected them to the
route. At another I yelled but the riders were too
far ahead to hear me. I later heard one of them
exclaim as we met at the last rest stop, "I've already
done my 100 miles!"

The toughest part of the ride was the last few miles
into the third and last rest stop. We encountered
some brief rain, which wasn't unexpected and actually
somewhat refreshing. The overcast day had kept the
worst of the heat from scorching us.

I had miscalculated the time/distance and thought I
had another half hour until the last rest stop. It
was somewhat discouraging. Then the rest stop appeared
as an unexpected surprise. I talked with a few riders
including two of my brother's riding buddies, Kenny and
Jim. They told me David was only a few miles behind.

Leaving the last rest stop, I was feeling confident
that I'd finish the ride, with only 13 miles to go.
It helped that there was a continuous stream of
riders still on route. Interestingly, most people
were curious as to the difficulty of climbing the
hills, (what hills?) which were the least of my problems.
Saddle comfort is the only killer issue. I wonder if
(like bicycling) saddle comfort will increase with
training? I hope so.

Soon after I left the last rest stop, perhaps 10 miles
from the finish, my brother passed me. He was looking
in pretty good shape and said he only hit a rough
patch between miles 60 and 70. He would have enough
time to shower and get back out and take some photos
of my arrival.

I arrived about an hour later, still ahead of a very
few scattered 100-mile riders. My finish time was
under 8 hours. On the way home we stopped and ate
dinner with some friends from the Harpeth Bike Club,
always a pleasant way to end any kind of ride.


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UniBrier
September 1st 03, 05:32 AM
Great write up! Congratulations.

Did you have to take any "circulation breaks" besides rest breaks?

My longest time in the saddle for both Coker on yesterday's 22 mile ride
and a 24x2.6 on a similar railroad grade 15 mile ride is 2.5 hours for
each. It seems the time to get the circulation back comes before the
rest break is needed.


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rubic
September 1st 03, 07:02 PM
<< Did you have to take any "circulation breaks" besides
rest breaks? >>

Yes. After the first 2 hours, I got off the Coker
about every 30 minutes, for a 1-2 minute break. It
was frustrating because I wasn't tired, but I had
to give my butt a rest.

<< Do you have any suggestions as to what a good seat
design would be? >>

Silk and gossamer? <0.5 wink>

One of the more radical ideas I had during the ride
was a seat that could be rotated 90 degrees, using
different pressure points. Rotating it once every
half hour to effectively change seat positions.
But that's probably not practical.

<< This is a major factor in uni distance riding. >>

Yes. I could have easily gone 100+ miles, but
the cumulative saddle pressure is just too much
to bear. It is definitely the limiting factor
for long rides. Bummer.

Questions:

1. Does training improve the ability to withstand
longer saddle time?

2. Has anyone adopted a leather Brooks saddle for
the Coker?

---

One last thing I may seriously consider, though I'd
like to get feedback from others first. It would
appear that the aerobar setup I've seen with some
Cokers might permit some weight to be shifted from
the saddle, especially those with elbow/forearm
rests. Comments?

-Jeff


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Mikefule
September 1st 03, 07:51 PM
Wow!

A helluva distance in a helluva short time!

I'm impressed.


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rubic
September 1st 03, 08:13 PM
<< A helluva distance in a helluva short time! I'm impressed. >>

Coming from you Mike, that's a helluva compliment. I'm
quite impressed with your 12+ miles in a hour's ride.

-Jeff


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Cokerhead
September 2nd 03, 09:27 PM
Jeff,
Nice Post. It's weird how much pain you can endure when everyone's
yelling out support:p
I'm in training for my 5th MS150 on my Coker. I don't ride (train)
nearly as much as I used to, but I try to keep "my foot in the door" for
bike rides in this area.
I need to come over to TN from OK and ride with you sometime.
Are you still planning to ride the NATCHEZ trail?
-Mark


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johnfoss
September 2nd 03, 10:41 PM
rubic wrote:
> *1. Does training improve the ability to withstand
> longer saddle time?*
Some. But I think there's a limit, and that limit is somewhere below the
# of hours in a saddle you get on a bike. Training will also improve
your speed, which will cut down the saddle time for a given ride. But in
the mean time you can play with equipment.

> *2. Has anyone adopted a leather Brooks saddle for
> the Coker?*
I don't know about that, but I did once buy a new unicycle that came
with a similar saddle (Ideale, from France). That was a Langenberg
unicycle I bought in Germany in 1982. I no longer have the seat, and
don't know if I have the "determination" to find out whether it would
conform to my crotch before I died. Does today's average road bicyclist
still use those things?

> *It would appear that the aerobar setup I've seen with some Cokers
> might permit some weight to be shifted from the saddle, especially
> those with elbow/forearm rests. Comments?*
Heck yeah. I'm a relative beginner to road Cokering, but the handlebar
is the only way to go. I can't imagine doing 100 km on a Viscount seat
with no handle or handlebar. My hat's off! I really like my handlebar on
my 8 mile ride each way to & from work. I especially like that I've set
it up with two different hand positions. I have pictures of mine in the
"Misc. MUni and Commuting 2003" album here:
http://www.unicycling.com/ofoto/unistuff.htm

In any case, believe what works for the riders on the big uni tours
(www.unitours.org). If they don't know what works, who does?

On a bike, the ability to coast makes it easier to stand up every once
in a while and give the crotch a rest. Handlebars support up to 40% of
your weight. And I think the different pelvic angle of your body against
the seat also makes a big difference. Scot Cooper used a bike seat for
the Norway ride.

For a unicycle with a handlebar, the rider probably no longer needs a
saddle with the typical unicycle shape. You're not making lots of fancy
turns, and you need comfort more than control. Sounds like it's time for
the designers to start coming up with new seat shapes....

-Jeff [/B]:)


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John Foss
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________________

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"Where's my unicycle?" -- Andy Cotter
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johnfoss
September 2nd 03, 10:44 PM
johnfoss wrote:
> [B]Some. But I think there's a limit, and that limit is somewhere
> below the # of hours in a saddle you get on a bike. Training will also
> improve your speed, which will cut down the saddle time for a given
> ride. But in the mean time you can play with equipment.
>
> I don't know about that, but I did once buy a new unicycle that came
> with a similar saddle (Ideale, from France). That was a Langenberg
> unicycle I bought in Germany in 1982. I no longer have the seat, and
> don't know if I have the "determination" to find out whether it would
> conform to my crotch before I died. Does today's average road
> bicyclist still use those things?
>
> Heck yeah. I'm a relative beginner to road Cokering, but the
> handlebar is the only way to go. I can't imagine doing 100 km on a
> Viscount seat with no handle or handlebar. My hat's off! I really like
> my handlebar on my 8 mile ride each way to & from work. I especially
> like that I've set it up with two different hand positions. I have
> pictures of mine in the "Misc. MUni and Commuting 2003" album here:
> http://www.unicycling.com/ofoto/unistuff.htm
>
> In any case, believe what works for the riders on the big uni tours
> (www.unitours.org). If they don't know what works, who does?
>
> On a bike, the ability to coast makes it easier to stand up every once
> in a while and give the crotch a rest. Handlebars support up to 40% of
> your weight. And I think the different pelvic angle of your body
> against the seat also makes a big difference. Scot Cooper used a bike
> seat for the Norway ride.
>
> For a unicycle with a handlebar, the rider probably no longer needs a
> saddle with the typical unicycle shape. You're not making lots of
> fancy turns, and you need comfort more than control. Sounds like it's
> time for the designers to start coming up with new seat shapes.... :)



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aspenmike
September 2nd 03, 11:28 PM
Congrats rubic on the long ride, especially w/o a handlebar! I am a firm
believer in that training can only help out, both in less saddle time
because of improved efficiency, and the old bum just getting used to
being it. A handlebar is a must as well for long Coker rides, I use a
air saddle with a handle bar and it is the only way I can ride for hours
at a time. Way to Go!


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rubic
September 2nd 03, 11:53 PM
Hi John.

<< But I think there's a limit, and that limit is somewhere
below the # of hours in a saddle you get on a bike. >>

With my current bike setup (Brooks saddle, relaxed geometry
frame) I can almost ride indefinitely ... or at least until
sleep deprivation takes its toll. I doubt that will be
possible with my Coker, but any suggestions to extend my
"cruising range" is appreciated.

<< Does today's average road bicyclist still use those [Brooks]
things? >>

After last year's Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200K, the only
people who weren't complaining about their seats were the
Brooks saddle cultists. So I joined. <0.5 wink>

<< Sounds like it's time for the designers to start coming up
with new seat shapes... >>

Interestingly enough, David Stockton made the same point in a
conversation we had last night.

Thank you for your comments.

-Jeff


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thinuniking
September 3rd 03, 11:04 AM
i do a few cross country runs and i am ok at it i have never done a big
ride like that before but i know how you feel on runs i get about half
way and start to think why am i doing this what is the point?but i
manage to push though and do ok the same with my old paper round the
last few papers are always the hardest.
and well done!


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unibiker
September 3rd 03, 03:02 PM
rubic wrote:
> *After last year's Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200K, the only
> people who weren't complaining about their seats were the
> Brooks saddle cultists. So I joined.*


Hi Rubic,

First of all, Congratulations on the ride.

I'm very familiar with the pain you went through.

In my endless search for relief of soreness/numbness, Iíve never heard
of Brooks saddles. Thanks for the info. Iím due for a new seat again
(mainly due to sliding around in search of pain relief). Iíll try to
find one of these things.

Sorry I missed you in Nashville. You started posting shortly after I
left town.


--
unibiker - What is that thing anyway?

Jeff Baker

______________________________

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Cokerhead
September 7th 03, 09:38 PM
rubic wrote:
> *
>
> I'm impressed. Any tips for my first MS150?
>
> Practice,practice,practice. I don't know enough about you to
> recommend anything else.
>
>
> << Are you still planning to ride the NATCHEZ trail? >>
>
> Yes, but to fit it into my schedule it will have to cover
> 442 miles in 8-9 days.
>
> I'd be OK with that if I trained properly. I've ridden/driven most of
> Blue Ridge Parkway. How does Natchez compare to that?(if you're
> familiar with Blue Ridge)
>
> -Mark
>
> *



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rubic
September 8th 03, 12:52 AM
Cokerhead:
>>> Are you still planning to ride the NATCHEZ trail?

Rubic:
>> Yes, but to fit it into my schedule it will have to cover
>> 442 miles in 8-9 days.

Cokerhead:
> I'd be OK with that if I trained properly. I've
> ridden/driven most of Blue Ridge Parkway. How does
> Natchez compare to that? (if you're familiar with Blue Ridge)

I've bicycled a good bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The "hilly section" of the Natchez Trace is the part
closest to the northern terminus (Nashville) and
IMO, pretty moderate. The grades are no worse than
anything I've ridden on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and
hills are not very long.

As you move further south (maybe 60-75 miles) from
Nashville, the terrain becomes mostly flat.

-Jeff


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nbrazzi
September 8th 03, 01:53 AM
rubic wrote:
> *
>
> Yes, but to fit it into my schedule it will have to cover
> 442 miles in 8-9 days. A Norwegian Unicycle Tour it is
> not, neither in beauty nor grandeur. After bicycling in
> France, I've got some ideas for 2005, however ....
>
> -Jeff *


Really? I very much want to put together a european ride for the summer
of 2005. If this is something you really want to do, let's work
together on this. Email my username at unicyclist.com.

On the subject of saddles, my vote goes to the KH Velo with the rail
adapter to give it that upwards tilt. I was skeptical until I tried it
and it makes a world of difference. The handlebars are next on my list.
Think about how the KH seemed to expensive to you. Then think about
the pain you were in. I don't think the price is too high.


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rubic
September 8th 03, 05:28 PM
<< i've been meaning to ask how much training did
u do for this ride? i'm asking because i got the
impression from your write-up that u did this ride
pretty much on 'residual fitness' and i wanted to
check if that is actually the case if so, how much
riding do u generally do to be able to pull off
a ride like this? >>

Dave,

I think you are correct. I was able to complete this
Coker ride mostly on residual fitness from training
for the 760 mile Paris-Brest-Paris bike ride -- about
300 miles/week. Since the metric ride occurred only
a week after PBP, I did not have time to train
specifically for it. My longest Coker ride prior
to this was 32 miles, about a month before the
Labor Day ride.

Compared to the intensity of my bike rides (brevets,
in randonneuring parlance), the metric Coker was a
cakewalk -- neglecting saddle issues(*). Although I'm
sure we use our muscles somewhat differently in each
activity, there was enough in common with bicycling that
I suffered no hip/knee/foot issues. And actually the
spine is in a much better position compared to bicycling
for long distances. I was also helped by the flatness
of the terrain. Hilly terrain with lots of descents
would have required more back-pedal strength, which
hasn't been part of my workouts to date.

Good question.

-Jeff


(*) Note that I set no speed records for this ride,
so I'm only comparing it to the level of intensity
I bring to my other rides. I'm sure other Cokeurs
could ride this course with the same effort level
I ride on my brevets and complete it in much less
time.


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StephenH
September 21st 08, 10:26 PM
Congratulations on the accomplishment. Just this year, I rode my first
metric century and mile century on a bicycle, and felt like that was an
accomplishment!

Back this spring, I rode my 3-wheel cargo trike in one of the local
charity bike rides. This thing, specifically:
[image:
http://i192.photobucket.com/albums/z172/stephenhazelton/MiscBikePhotos/WRL3.jpg]

I rode the shortest route, which was 16 miles, and took 2 hours to do
it, so that's averaging 8 mph. But what surprised me is that I still
passed people! Now, these folks weren't doing a metric century, but
still, it's hard to go so slow that you don't pass somebody. That
trike also makes a good support vehicle for unicycling, as my son and I
tried that around White Rock Lake once.

One way that speed affects you, though, is it cuts down on your rest
stops. On my bike, I'll ride 14 or 15 mph, depending on wind and
hills. Typical rest stops are about 10 miles apart, so every 40
minutes, I'm coming to a rest stop, and that's about right for me. But
going 8 mph, all the sudden, that's an hour and a half between rest
stops, which is not good. Of course, for cyclists, the people going
slow are the very ones that need them the most.

(Edit: Dang, just saw this was an "old thread" after I hit the enter
button- so the congratulations are a few years too late!)


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