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

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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. Continue reading Whistler, Pemberton & The Wilderness

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.

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Unicon 17 – World Champs

To someone who has never attended Unicon, it must seem a bit outlandish to hear people talk about and praise this event. Even I find it overdone sometimes. Until one second later all those memories, stories and beautiful moments come to my head and I find myself saying “I wish it was always Unicon.”

Unicons, short for Unicycling World Championships and Convention, are like the Olympics, Christmas and summer camp happening all at once. They are held every two years in a different country somewhere in the world. This year Unicon 17 was held in Montéal, Canada. It was my eighth Unicon and it’ll be a while before I grow tired of them. If ever. It was also the first time I was in charge of directing an event, together with Benoit, one of the Unicon hosts, I organized the muni competitions at Mont Tremblant and helped with communications. In between, I was able to squeeze in some enough time to be goofy with my brother Felix, meet old and new friends from all over the world, watch world class riding and exciting competitions, explore Montréal by unicycle, take part in the naked bike ride, eat Poutine, convince people to take photos in bib shorts and search for ways to climb the roof (which doesn’t exist, of course).

Oh, and I did compete as well. Here are my results:
Uphill: 1st Place Age Group
Cyclocross Unlimited: 2nd Place Age Group, 4th over all
Cross Country Elite: 3rd Place Age Group, 5th over all
Downhill Advanced (Qualification): 4th Age Group
Downhill Elite (Finals): 8th over all

Now that we are all back in the real world on our parts of the world, all that’s left are a handful of magical moments in my head and on camera, a set of medals and that one phrase: “See you in two!”

 

Max Schulze during Trials Finals Scott Wilton & Martin Charrier during the 10k race Eli Brill during Flatland Finals

Downhill Advanced / Qualifications - Photo by Tom Tony Trevor

Sam Lancaster, me and Ryan Kremsater after the Cross Country Elite race Bibs

Trials Prelims

Street Finals

Lorenz Pöham, me, Scott Wilton, Max Schulze and Beau Hoover

Chihiro Suzuki and Sayaka Kan during Expert Pairs Freestyle

Group Freestyle

Natsumi & Me

Kris Holm Factory Team - Photo by Danielle Ross

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?

Continue reading Back in the Dolomites