The Last Summit

Before the mountains of the Alps were dusted with white powder this year, Lutz Eichholz and I decided we wanted to do another big peak. In order for this to happen, it had to be soon. So we quickly made a plan, called up the most courageous and wild Austrians we know, Gerald Rosenkranz and David Weichenberger, and asked them to come along.

A couple of days later, we met at a lonely train station near Innsbruck just before it got dark. I soon realized I had forgotten to bring any riding pants. Luckily, rule number one of Lutz Eichholz is: “Always bring a swim suit.” (Number two is: “Never bring a mattress”). I have never been happier to wear baggy swim shorts. We spread out everything we brought on the street, discussed what we needed to bring and stuffed it all into our big hiking packs. Then we turned on our head lamps and started climbing up a narrow gorge in the dark. When we had found a good spot to set camp, we soon noticed our stove didn’t work, had semi-warm Gnocchi for dinner, quickly set up our tents and hammocks and fell asleep listening to tales of the brave adventures of Lutz.

The next morning, with tiny eyes and wild hair, we were taken aback by the beauty of the place.

The weather man said there would be a thunderstorm in the afternoon, so we hurried upwards.

When we saw some evil-looking clouds coming towards us, we decided it would be smarter to turn around than to try and reach the summit at any cost. The trails, however, proved to be excellent.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Gerald Rosenkranz Photo: Stephanie Dietze

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: Stephanie Dietze

The next day was sunny and promising. Lutz had brought a whole backpack full of CLIF bars and felt strong and healthy all day.

Acutally, we all felt rather strong and ready to climb a summit.

There it was.

We climbed higher and higher…

 

…until we finally reached the top. We felt happy and jolly and celebrated with some thickly cut bread.

Unfortunately, there was no pool to try out Lutz’s swim shorts.

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But we had quite a hike ahead of us and no time to waste anyhow.

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The route led us over the steepest and most exposed ridge I have ever been on.

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Our local mountain man David was much quicker than we were, so he took over the camera and ran ahead.

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See that steep field of scree in the back? Yup, that’s where we planned on descending.

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And we actually did.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: David Weichenberger

Rider: Lutz Eichholz Photo: David Weichenberger

As it was getting dark, we hurried down the mountain, half riding, half surfing.

Rider: Stephanie Dietze Photo: David Weichenberger

And after twelve hours of adventure, we arrived back at David’s place in the dark. What a weekend. What a crew. Now come on, snow. Get it on.

Whistler, Pemberton & The Wilderness

Take five people from four countries, five wheels, a very minimalistic set of camping gear, a bag of food and a cassette adapter for the soundtrack. Throw them all in an awesome old van, add a pile of never drying, smelly pads and helmets – and you’re set for a road trip that will make you forget that there’s a real life out there somewhere.

You’ll learn lots of things. For example: British Columbia has 20,348,951,484 more stars in the sky than any other place in the world. Ice-cold rivers and lakes are much better than showers. Dish soap is unnecessary. Chips are necessary. Mount Gandalf is an actual place. It is possible to sleep for a whole day. Roads in Canada might just stop in the middle of nowhere. Just stay on the unicycle.

Ten days in Whistler, Pemberton, Birkenhead Lake and the wilderness surrounding those places. Here are some of my favorite moments and shots.

Sam, Gerald, Benoit, Jakob and...yes that's me. Dear Diary, I really like tape and Dr Pepper. Jakob Flansberry on Kill Me Thrill Me - Whistler Gerald Rosenkranz on Kill Me Thrill Me - Whistler Very remote camping spot. Benoit. Good morning, Gerald.How to make toast in style Top of the World Trail - Whistler Top of the World Trail - Whistler Me riding the Top of the World Trail - Whistler

It wasn't my idea. Double diamond technical! Me riding in Whistler Bikepark - Photo by Benoit Gonneville Damme Sam Lancaster riding in Whistler Bikepark Gerald Rosenkranz riding in Whistler Bikepark Cool camp at Birkenhead Lake Birkenhead Lake Sam and Benoit doing the Canadian thing - Birkenhead Lake Birkenhead Lake Hiking to Brian Waddington HutBrian Waddington Hut TrailSuperhero GeraldBrian Waddington Hut Brian Waddington Hut We found National Geographics and a guitar Let's never leave.

Hi. No need for a jacket. Good morning. Me riding in Pemberton - Photo by Gerald Rosenkranz Me riding in Pemberton  - Photo by Gerald Rosenkranz Let's go on an adventure! Definitely the right road. "Let me just rip out these little plants and we can continue driving." My legs after days of intense riding and serious climbing in Birkenstocks. Somewhere north of Pemberton A campground by the river Gerald Rosenkranz & Sam Lancaster riding Gargamel Trail in Whistler Sam Lancaster riding Gargamel Trail in Whistler Back to civilization - Squamish Boys.

Indian Arm Provincial Park - Halvor Lunden Trail

Ghosts

Halvor Lunden Trail above VancouverIt took us an hour to start the fire. But we did it. Best camp spot ever.

This was the last batch of photos from my trip to Canada. Now off to new adventures.

 

An’So, we can’t thank you enough for being so incredibly generous to lend us your van. You’re our hero.

Boys, I miss the oatmeal breakfasts by the lake. Every day. Take care, see you soon.

 

 

Vancouver & The North Shores

Riding some of the legendary mountain bike trails in and around Vancouver has been one of my dreams for a while. So when I was at Moab Munifest last March, and my fellow team member Ryan Kremsater invited me and the other riders of our little camp to come to his hometown after Unicon 17, I responded with an immediate yes.

Five month later here we were, eight people from all around the globe, with bulky unicycle luggage, tired but happy after Unicon, now looking forward to even more adventures. And Ryan was prepared. First thing he did after we arrived, was to show us the wood structures he had build to ride in his backyard.

Woodworks in Ryan's backyard

Tom doesn't know what to think

Naturally, we were intimidated. Ryan ensured us that we’d be fine, and took us to one of his favorite riding spots: Woodlot. While we climbed the logging road to the trail head, the sun started sinking.

We descended on Blood Donor and Shot Gun, impressed by the woodwork that was almost impossible to ride because it had been raining earlier. Though that didn’t stop Ryan from showing us off a little.

Ryan Kremsater

The next day, Ryan took us on Wild Cherry and Wades Trail on Cypress mountain. We were so focused on keeping mosquitos from our sweaty bodies, that we completely forgot to take photos. But we did start to get accustomed to the terrain and wood structures.

While all of us were working hard on our riding skills, Ryan made sure to give us a proper education in mountain bike history. On our third riding day, we were planning to ride Upper Oil Can, Espresso and Boundary on Mount Fromme.

Ryan Kremsater, Gerald Rosenkranz, Jacob Flansberry, Jenni Rinker, Tom Trevor, me and Sam Lancaster (left to right)

At one secret spot on the trails, Ryan told us to leave our unicycles and walked off into the woods. There weren’t any trails we could follow, as we walked behind him and made our way deeper into the foggy woods. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, we were surrounded by tall, skinny woodworks. They once were part of Circus, one of the most extreme trails ever built. Nowadays, the trail is closed and slowly falling apart.

Ryan looking down from Circus

Exploring Circus Circus Sam Curious Sam

After that, everything else seemed small and rideable all of a sudden.

Jacob Flansberry Jenni Rinker Ryan Kremsater Sam Lancaster, Jacob Flansberry & Gerald Rosenkranz

After three days of riding in Vancouver we were excited for a day of riding with Kris Holm in Squamish. Three days of Ryan’s boot camp had prepared us well and we felt especially strong.

In fron of Burrard Bridge: Gerald, Jacob, me and Ryan

(In the background is the infamous Burrard Bridge over whose sidewall Kris Holm was riding in One Tired Guy back in the day.)

We immediately fell in love with the trails around Squamish. For the first time, it hadn’t rained and we were able to take the challenges all the steep granite slabs, roots and and lush mossy forests offered.

Me on a log, being filmed by RyanJacob Flansberry Ryan Kremsater getting readyRyan Kremsater

What a beautiful day! For the record, we rode Mashiter, Tracks from Hell, 50 Shades, Entrails, Boney Elbows, and Hueso.

Group photo with Kris (he's the one making the funny face)

Our legs had earned themselves a rest day, which we spent in Vancouver…

Sam and me …and in Ryan’s family’s heavenly backyard.

There was one more day left of riding with the king of the woodworks, aka Ryan. We decided to hit the trails of Woodlot again to see the progress we had made. And indeed, we had gotten better. All of us did some lines, we hadn’t been able to do the first time. I felt much more confident on skinnies and very steep descends and found it to be my best riding day of the week.

Jacob Flansberry & Gerald Rosenkranz

Jacob et le moustache horribleGerald RosenkranzMe. Photo by Ryan Kremsater Me. Photo by Ryan Kremsater

Sam Lancaster

Gerald was riding so good, he almost turned into the tail.

It wasn’t easy, but in the end, we could convince him to come back to Ryan’s house to enjoy one last of the delicious meals Ryan’s mom had been spoiling us with all week.

 Ryan, Laurie and Terry – we feel extremely lucky to have spent such a wonderful time at your beautiful home. Thank you. So much. You know we’ll be back.

Back in the Dolomites

Two years after Lutz and I climbed and rode down Cima Ombretta Orientale (see the video here), we found ourselves talking about how it was the most beautiful mountain we had ever been on. So we decided to go and climb that 3011m high peak in the Dolomites again. No cameras this time, but instead the best camping chef in the world: Jesper Andersen.

The winter in this part of the Alps had been cold and long this year and we knew we were going to have to cross some snow fields and might not even be able to see the summit. But we decided to drive down to Italy and give it a try. Even the weather forecast showing nothing but small icons of grey clouds and grey clouds with rain couldn’t stop us. We are brave adventurers, we thought. So we packed everything we’d need for two days in our backpacks and waved good bye to our green little van.

Soon we realized, it was indeed rather snowy. (The bivouac hut we planned on sleeping at is behind the black rocks in the very back center of this photo.)

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is Jesper. He is 1,90m tall.

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We made it over the snow fields and found the bivouac just as we remembered it from two years ago. It felt almost like coming back to a beloved week end house.

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Should we try to bring our unis on the summit?

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Jesper thought we should carve some stones first…

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…and melt snow to cook dinner later that night.

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Meanwhile, Lutz practiced jumping.

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We decided to try and climb up to the summit the same day. Soon we had to realize it doesn’t really make sense to climb a vertical snow field with a unicycle, so we left them behind and hoped the lonesome Spanish guy who was also staying at the bivouac wouldn’t steal them.

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At the top of Cima Ombretta Orientale, again.

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Why did we not bring our unis?

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We decided to reenact the photos from 2012 anyhow.

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Our chef Jesper was getting hungry and went ahead to start preparing dinner.

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But we told him he has to earn those calories…

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…by riding down a steep field of scree.

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Surprisingly he survived and was still as excited about cooking as before.

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There was nothing to do, we had forgotten the schnaps and so we went to bed.

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Just like two years ago, I sneaked outside for the sunrise. This time I took my camera.

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We could barely stop Jesper from making pancakes for breakfast.

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Instead we enjoyed the best pot of porridge we ever had…

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…along with a great breakfast view.

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As pretty as those clouds were, they didn’t mean any good. We hurried down the trail without taking any photos. It was great to see how much easier some parts were, but also how good my riding must have been already when I was riding that thing down the first time.

After this epic adventure, we decided to invite Scott into our van and tell him what he had missed for the rest of the trip.

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He said we were mean and started missing his Mom.

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Luckily, we had found another mountain that was almost as high and almost as beautiful.

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Jesper fixed the best and most garlicy dinner yet.

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And soon Scott was back to his old shape.

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On our last day, we wanted to climb an even higher mountain called Piz Boè. Just in case Jesper’s Danish genes would not be able to handle those 3152 meters of altitude, Lutz’s girlfriend Giulia joined, to carry him down if necessary. (Yes, he’s taken now. Sorry Jacob.)

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The next day looked quite promising.

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Scotts was wearing tights again.

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We carried some stones up the mountain…

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…and were amazed by the Italians who never fail their style, even in the roughest conditions.

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Lutz did a spontaneous dance of joy.

And decided to look like Reinhold Messner for the rest of the day.

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Jesper couldn’t believe he was still alive at an altitude almost 20 times higher than the highest mountain of Denmark.

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On the way down, Scott finally got his ride on steep scree.

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Happily, we all jumped into the van and didn’t stop singing until we were back home.

Tales from the Karwendel Alps

Those first minutes of a roadtrip, when everything is finally packed, you’re spitting cherry seeds out of the window and wonder about the adventures you are going to have in the next couple of days.

When Benedikt Soja, Lutz Eichholz, Scott Wilton and I took off for our trip to the Karwendel Alps near Innsbruck, Austria this June, we had no idea. No idea, that the trails were going to be so perfect. No idea, that on the first day, we’d lose Ben’s precious muni on a steep slope in the forest. And no idea, that we’d have to call a helicopter to get Scott back down from the mountain. In the end, all turned out well and we consider ourselves very lucky, not only because we have such great road trip buddies, who can live in a tiny van peacefully even after days without a shower.

We focused on filming rather than taking photos this time, so here are some snap shots and a short video recap:

Check out Ben’s cool shirt.

Three fusion zeros checking out the view.

That moment when Scott turned into an angel at the peak.

Camera boy Lutz.

Die Frisur sitzt.

Yes.

Above Lake Aachen.

While Scott was enjoying the view of his swollen ankle

Breakfast for champions.

PS: I love Youtube. Here’s an alternative link.

At Home In Israel

What is it that makes a place feel like home? When your bed is thousands of miles away, the air is full of unfamiliar sounds, everything feels and smells different and you haven’t spoken your mother tongue in days? It is possible. I just got back from a week-long trip to Israel, hardly knew any of the people I met before and never stayed at one place more than a night. But I did feel at home every second. Here’s how.

One day after my return from Moab in March, I received a message from Raffi Vitis, inviting me to come to the Israeli Unicycling Convention he was organizing. We had a quick talk on the phone, I checked my schedule and before I knew the flight was booked. Life is easy sometimes. A little more than a month later I walked through the gate at the Tel Aviv airport and found Raffi and Márk Fábián waiting for me. Márk is an amazing trials rider from Hungary and was the other foreign guest at the convention. I had briefly met each of them before at other conventions – long enough to know this week would be a fun one.

In the car, Raffi told us the plan for the week. The convention would start the next day and until then we could spend some time in Tel Aviv. After the convention, we would be staying with the families of some uni riders all over the country. Ten minutes later Raffi dropped us of in the middle of Tel Aviv where Danni and his son Eyal were waiting for us. They had only heard of our existence the night before and had agreed to host us for the night. Half an hour and a delicious falafel later Eyal introduced us to his city.

 

The next day, Márk and I explored the city on our own. We went to the sea, had lots of fresh fruit juice and were amazed by the flora we found all over the city.

In the afternoon, Danni drove us all to the Kibbutz of Shoval in the south of Israel, where the Israeli unicycling convention would take place. Here we met Raffi again, along with 80 other unicyclists from all over the country, of all ages and riding levels. Márk and I held some workshops, played some games, showed some photos and videos of us and our unis and had lots of fun meeting and talking to people. Israeli kids are crazy about a game called “Combat”, where you basically try to push each other off the unicycle. So we played it until we fell off our unis because we were so tired.

The next day was filled with more workshops, games – and the official trials competition. It had been years since I took part in one (and quit because I was too frustrated after ten minutes), but someone has to show the Israeli girls that we can do that, too, right? So I borrowed Márk’s unicycle and had so much fun doing some of the lines, that I decided to practice more trials riding from now on.

In the afternoon it was time to say good bye to most of the riders. It was hard to believe we all had met just 24 hours earlier. We spent the night with Udi, his daughter Efrat and their family over an amazing dinner and long, very interesting conversations. The next day was supposed to be a very hot day, which is why we got up very early to meet with a group of riders to do some muni at Ben Shemen park. We rode along some great trails and obstacles and were glad we had met so early because even the morning air felt hotter than the hottest summer days in Berlin.

After the ride, Raffi took us over the border to Palestine. Here we met Alaa, who hadn’t been able to join us at the convention because he didn’t get a permit to cross the border in time.

For the afternoon, Raffi invited us to stay with him and his family. His youngest son is only four months old and it was great to get to know him not only as a unicyclist and organizer but also as a loving father of three children.

We couldn’t convince Raffi that having five children would be a good idea, so we spent the night with Itai, his son Ran and their family. We got there late and left early in the morning, but not without another good conversation and the feeling that we had found more good friends that we hope to meet again one day. Itai dropped us off at the train station, where we hopped on a train to Tel Aviv, managed to get off at the right train station, met Shay, hopped on a bus out of Tel Aviv and drove to Jerusalem with him. Shay had been at the unicycling convention too and had decided to take a day off work to show us around. Once again Márk and I couldn’t believe the hospitality and friendliness we were receiving.

After a fun day with Shay, he dropped us off at Citadel hostel in the middle of the old city. Raffi had reserved a “1000-star-room” for us: Since all the rooms had been booked, we could sleep on the rooftop of the hostel. We quickly agreed that this is better than any indoor bed we could have had, grabbed our unis and went to do some riding in this ancient city that’s so important for three of the world’s religions.

The next day was supposed to be just as hot as the days before, so we decided to go on a trip into the desert. You don’t get a chance to float in the dead sea every day, right? You also don’t get a chance to use Israeli public transport with nothing but Hebrew signs every day – which is why it took us a bit longer than originally planned to finally get some refreshment in the incredibly salty water. Apparently it’s a thing to cover your skin with the black mud you can find at some spots along the beach, so we did that, too (and couldn’t believe how soft our skin had gotten afterwards).

 

We hurried back to Jerusalem to meet Noam and his son Nativ and to do some riding at Shalom Path above Jerusalem. Later at their house in Neve Shalom, a village where muslim and jewish idealists live house by house, we were once again treated with a delicious dinner. It was very late already, which is why we took apart our unicycles, packed all our gear into our suitcases (secretly laughing at the thought of the very strict security people having to smell those sweaty knee pads, shoes and clothes), caught two hours of sleep and went to the airport with Noam, who got us through security in no time, without our bags getting checked.


To all the people who helped us on this trip, hosted us, fed us, showed us the Israeli culture and were so incredibly kind: Thank you. Toda. Danke. Köszönöm. You made this an amazing trip. I hope I will see all of you again soon and can host you at my place one day. Raffi, you are a beast organizer and a gentlemen and one of the kindest people around – thank you so much for inviting us. Márk, it’s hard to imagine a more like-minded person to travel with. You did the impossible and got me into trials, hoping for more trips in the future. Everyone – you made a foreign, far away place feel like home, thank you.

Three epic days in Moab

HyMesa. Photo by Benoit Gonneville Damme

There is certain magic that lies upon the trails of Moab. You follow a path made of red soil, large rocks and loose rocks. You’re constantly concentrated, using the muscles of your legs, arms and back to fly over the without losing balance. With the flow, you start feeling the joy, you pedal faster and try something you’ve never done before, a higher drop or an incredibly technical and exposed section. You stay on the wheel. You ride on, stay focused, and keep your muscles tense. Until it happens: you weren’t focused for a millisecond, the pressure on your pedal was just a tiny bit too weak, you try keep the balance but it’s too late. Your legs need to run to keep up with the speed you are moving at. You slow down, you stop, you are trying to catch your breath. You turn around to pick up your uni, but the beauty surrounding you catches your eyes. And you pause. You look at the wide canyons, the red rocks, the towers and arches, the formations formed in a long passed chapter of this planet. You take a deep breath. You turn, grab your uni and hurry down the trail. 

Last weekend I had the chance to participate in Moab Munifest, a classic amongst the mountain unicycling conventions. It had been on my list for a while, so last month, during my incredibly fun stay at Tenerife, I decided to simply book a flight and do it. I teamed up with Benoit Gonneville Damme, a rider from Montreal (who also organizes Unicon 17, the next unicycle world championships this summer) to extend the weekend to a weeklong adventure and make it worth the long flight.

We met up in Denver and went riding in the smaller mountains of the region, which weren’t completely covered in snow. We did some fun rides, went to Mallory Cave and the Dinosaur Mountain outside of Boulder, went up the Northern Table Mountain of Golden and had excellent snow riding conditions on Bergen Park Trail outside of Evergreen. I had never seen mountains like these before, very high but yet delicately formed and constantly imagined cowboys on horses exploring these wild lands. In the evenings we returned to Denver, where we were staying with Anne and Marco, the most lovable hosts one can imagine. Marco just recently got into unicycling and spontaneously invited us to stay at their house when he heard we were coming to the area. Every night a delicious home cooked meal and warm conversations about culture and politics were waiting for us. We also made friends with their joyful son José, who is four years old and turns out to be a big fan of balloon animals and hats.

North Table Mountain, Golden. Photo by Benoit Gonneville Damme Bergen Peak José

On Thursday before the convention, Benoit and I met up with Max Schulze, who is also a member of the KH Factory Team, Jacob Spera and Jenni Rinker. With Max’ car packed to the roof with gear and camping equipment, we drove through the Rocky Mountains in the dark. When we arrived at Slickrock Campground in Moab later that night, we were happy none of our unicycles had fallen off the bike rack in the back, pitched our tents in the dark and soon crawled into our fluffy sleeping bags.

Max

When I awoke the next morning, I found the campground to be surrounded by huge red sandstone hills, which kept the valley in the shadow and the air cold and crisp. As the sun came out and slowly warmed up the air, one by one unicyclists from all over North America showed up. This is probably one of my favorite parts about unicycling: Seeing old friends who I’ve met before at conventions all over the globe, as well as meeting new riders whom I had only heard of or talked to on the internet before. We quickly formed a bigger gang and decided to get ready for some physical exercise with a big American breakfast at Denny’s. Some of us decided to go to a bouldering area afterwards, where I found myself rock climbing in hiking boots soon after (Note to self: bring climbing shoes when going to one of the most beautiful climbing spots in the world next time).

Ryan Phil Jenni

As much fun as it was, we decided it was time for some unicycling and went to the skate park where everyone met up for the official start of the convention. While approaching the site, I could make out a diverse group of people unicycling, juggling, chatting about the latest innovations, some proudly showing off their manly chest hair – the usual sight when a couple of unicyclists turn up in the same spot. After years of virtual communication, I finally had a chance to chat with Kris Holm, my unicycle sponsor and idol to many of us. He decided to come on a ride to the infamous Portal Trail with us.

On that trail, while hiking up, I got a first impression of the endlessly wide, red canyons and rock formations to all sides and couldn’t really believe what I was seeing, that I was actually there. Once again, I was amazed by the openness and friendliness of all the other unicyclists, as well as the riding skills of so many of them. With a young sport like mountain unicycling, the bar of what’s possible rises so quickly, it never gets old to see some of the top riders stop because they have spotted a challenging line, climbing up there, looking at angles and landings, measuring and finally clearing a spectacular obstacle on one wheel. Motivated by the outstanding terrain and good company, I too found myself riding lines I hadn’t thought I was capable of doing a couple of days before. Oh, what the spirit of the mountains and the warm vibes of the unicycling family do to you.

Climbing Portal TrailPortal Trail3Top of Portal TrailPortal Group PhotoJarin Erickson at Portal Trail

Portal Trail. Photo by Spencer HochbergPortal Trail. Photo by Spencer HochbergRyan Kremsater on Portal TrailPhil Sanders on Portal TrailRyan Kremsater, Miles Ornish and Jacob Spera on Portal Trail

Back off the trail, the evening was filled with pizza, relaxing our muscles in the hot tub, whale stories and balloon art around the campfire.

Balloon Rave

When unzipping the entrance of my tent early the next morning, the first thing I saw were people showing off their bib shorts and rubbing silicon lube on the inside of their thighs. Life doesn’t get any better than that.

Noli Jacob

At the trailhead of Porcupine Trail it was snowing when we started the 14-mile downhill track. Again, the curvy, narrow trail led us along the edge of a breathtaking canyon. The trail is rather technical throughout the whole ride, which made it equally fun and exhausting all along. I stopped for a couple of scenic lookouts and worked my way down the trail for the next 6.5 hours.

Porcupine Trail. Photo by Benoit Gonneville Damme

 

Benoit, Cody and Phil on Porcupine Trail

As the the sun rose higher in the sky, the amount of drinking water left in our backpacks became a popular conversation topic, although I wasn’t worried since I had completely overdone it by taken five liters on the trail. Nevertheless I did look forward to the end of the trail – during some (very brave) drops I had over expanded the junction of my right big toe several times, which made riding on the technical parts harder and painful. After the final descent along an exposed edge with the Colorado River below me, I decided to hop into the ice cold river with our gang, while waiting for Max who went to pick up the car at the beginning of the trail. (Thanks again!)

At the formal western-style convention dinner that night, we managed to shoot a picture with all present members of the Kris Holm Factory Team: Max, me, Kris and Ryan. Rare and special moment.

KH Factory Team Members at Moab: Max Schulze, me, Kris Holm and Ryan Kremsater

That night, we also broke the world record of the number of people fitting into one hot tub and made mini s’mores at the campfire.

When getting up early again the next morning, I couldn’t really believe it was the last day already. I happily noticed that others were feeling the same way, so we wasted some time playing frisbee and lighting a morning camp fire while packing and taking down our tents. Our last ride took us up HyMesa Trail. My legs did feel a bit tired from the long technical ride the previous day, I had barely managed to squeeze my swollen foot into my show and of course I over expanded my toe a couple more times. So I took it easier on the technical part, nevertheless enjoying the landscape and the beautifully wound Jackson Trail elegantly leading among the carved red rocks.

HyMesa TrailHyMesa TrailMax Schulze on HyMesa TrailHyMesa. Photo by Benoit Gonneville DammeMax and Benoit

At the end of the trail we decided to skip the shower and instead went to have a last big lunch with everyone. One buffalo (!) burger and a dozen piggyback rides later it was good-bye. Boy, why is it that unicyclists are such lovely people? We had become a family in just a little more than two days and even now, writing this on my flight home to Berlin, it is hard to believe that we will be spread all over the planet again until the summer.

Driving through the Rockies back to Max’s place in Golden was another bonding experience, while sitting in the smell of our sweaty gear, dancing to one song on repeat, looking out the window imagining what it would be like to ride down the super steep lines on the mountain ranges passing by. The last couple of hours went by much too quickly, including camping in Max’s living room, sitting on top of my suitcase for a while (Why is it always harder to close on the way back?) and taking a good-bye photo in colorful tights in the front yard at freezing temperatures.

Tights!

As I am writing this, the fingers of my right hand are covered with black ink from my broken pen. I can’t believe this trip went by so quickly. Babies, it’s been an overall epic trip. I literally cannot wait for the summer to come to see your sexy bodies and lovely faces again. It’s been an honor to go on this adventure with you. Take care and ride safely.

[vimeo 89872871]

Video: This Is British Columbia

2014 to me was the year of lots of great trips while starting my life from scratch. Of all those places and moments, it’s impossible to pick a favorite – there are just too many that come to my mind. That said, my Canada adventure definitly was the one that stood out the most, simply because it was so long and it was three trips in one. Three crazy trips. Here’s a brand new video by Ryan Kremsater about our time in British Columbia riding the North Shore mountains Fromme and Cypress, and in Mission, Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.

All of you wonderful and witty people, the new friends I made, the old friends that grew even closer, I am happy that our paths crossed and thankful for all those precious moments we shared under the sun and under the stars. You guys make growing up bearable, thank you. To many more adventures and whatever else will come. 2015, bring it on.

 Update: Pinkbike, Mpora, Outside Television and many others have featured our video. Thanks!

CLIF Bar Brand Ambassador 2015

Know those moments when you pack your bag, filling your water bladder halfway and stuffing one cereal bar into your backpack, because hey, it won’t be a long ride and who wants to bring some extra weight anyhow? And then you end up being out there for hours, with your stomach rumbling, longing for water. I sure have learned my lessons in the previous years, but it still happens to me sometimes. And then there’s that problem with standard cereal bars: You grow sick of their taste pretty quickly and they don’t even give you enough energy to reach the next alpine hut.

2015 is the year where it’ll all change: I am happy to announce that I will be a brand ambassador for CLIF Bar next year. I first tried their delicious, healthy snacks when I went to Moab this spring and basically lived on them in British Columbia this summer, bringing home as many bars as my luggage weight allowed. Now that they are available in Europe, am looking forward to this cooperation very much. Thank you!

On German TV: In.Puncto for EinsPlus

The lovely people at the German national TV channel Einsplus recently invited me to their show in.puncto and two days of filming in advance. To me, the funnest part of being on TV is getting to see how all of this works in the background, how many people are involved in creating a couple of minutes of TV footage and how nice every single person I get to meet is. Thanks for having me!

Muni Race 2 in Poland and Czech Republic

The beginning of every road trip looks about the same: Lots of unicycles for just a few people on the back of my little green van. This time, it took us to Rychlebské Stezky, Czech Republic where we unloaded our gear in an old summer bike camp.

Since it was October and the temperatures accordingly, it was a good idea to wear a down jacket for breakfast and warm your fingers with lots of hot tea.

Photo by Scott Wilton

The convention was a rather small one, with not more than about 20 competitors. But amongst those were some of the world’s best XC and Downhill unicyclists. Here’s a photo of the infamous Jakub Rulf and me during a practise run.

Photo by Scott Wilton

There were two competitions: The Cross Country race atRychlebské Stezky with a long and intense uphill, following an hour-long technical downhill. There are no photos of me competing, because we were all racing. I got in first of the women, with Patricia Wilton making second place. During this race, both of the boys who had travelled with me, broke their bones on the same spot in the beginning of the track: Ben Soja hurt his hip during an unlucky fall and Scott Wilton broke his thumb in the beginning. Which didn’t stop him from finishing the race.

The next day, all of the riders travelled to Czarna Góra, Poland for the downhill comp, while Ben had fun at the Czech hospital nearby. Scott became Patricia’s and my personal photographer and ran down the track next to us. I have to talk him into doing that again. (Hi Scott.)

Photo by Lukasz Chornikowski

Photo by Scott Wilton

Photo by Scott Wilton

It was close, but Patricia showed me why it makes sense to put on short cranks and pedal like crazy that day. She got in first, I followed close behind.

Photo by Scott Wilton

The Cross Country champs with their awards: Me, Scott Wilton (US), Patricia Wilton (US), Jakub Rulf (CZ) and Martin Charrier (F).

Photo by Lukasz Chornikowski

And the whole family:

Photo by Miśka Hendrys

Thank you for a great convention, Maksym!