Tour Du Suds – Park City

| September 21, 2009 | 6 Comments

The annual Tour Du Suds (TDS) bike race in Park City is the highlight of my summer unicycle season as it gives me a chance to ride with a few hundred other people who are equally silly looking.  The TDS is a fundraiser for the Mountain Trails Foundation and although some people take it seriously, most are just there to have fun and dress up accordingly.

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Tour Du Suds studs gettin' down before they head up.

Team Catholic School Girls were back this year (they were all women this time), there was a nice bunny rabbit, a pedaling keg (my nemisis), Evil Knevil and even a Pro Wrestler.  The race starts at the Park City City Park (<— the real name of it) and rides mostly singletrack all the way to the top of the resort, which is about 3,000′ of elevation gain.  Riding a unicycle is a lot like riding a one-wheeled single-speed bike, so suffice it to say, my legs were smoked.

200' into the race and I've already been passed by most of the pack.

200' into the race and I've already been passed by most of the pack.

I put in my usual middle of the pack performance and had a great time doing it.  The first crux is to avoid being run over at the start as the unicycle gets up to its top speed of 8mph right away and never falters.

Keg Man making his move on me.  His tap head could actually produce beer!

Keg Man making his move on me. His tap head could actually produce beer!

A nice day for a ride.  Polly (my wife) is at the head of this hard charging pelaton.

A nice day for a ride. Polly (my wife) is at the head of this hard charging peloton.

Although it doesn’t seem feasible, unicycles aren’t that much slower than an average Mountain Bike rider on the uphills as the faster you go, the easier it is to balance, so there is a lot of incentive to Go Dog Go.  On the flats or downhills… forget it.  Bikes are way faster.

Making my big move - too bad it was within 100' of the finish line.

Making my big move - too bad it was within 100' of the finish line.

But still, even though unicycles are a semi-pointless mode of transportation, they are fun, challenging and put all those beginner bike trails in a new perspective.

Super Woman and Bat Girl blow off steam at the end of the race by flying the world's tiniest kites.  These things were about the size of my palm and were flown on cotton sewing thread.  Very cool and colorful.

Super Woman and Bat Girl blow off steam at the end of the race by flying the world's tiniest kites. These things were about the size of my palm and were flown on cotton sewing thread. Very cool and colorful.

This is about the fifth year in a row that I have ridden the TDS on a unicycle and every year I keep hoping that another MUni rider will show up and challenge my dominance in the unicycle category, but so far victory is all mine, and, all in my mind.

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Category: Events

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (6)

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  1. Layne says:

    Andrew,

    I have to tell you that the supplemental instructions for the NPW were excellent and I referred to them often. I’m a sewing novice, so I needed all all the help I could get! I’m done with the sewing, now I just do the bridle. I can’t wait to get it up in the air! Here’s a link to a pic if you care to see it. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ITUpoITL5Tg/Srb-8bOzVJI/AAAAAAAAAko/SC4AWSrbXCk/s1600-h/IMAGE_040%5B1%5D

    Layne

  2. Andrew says:

    Looking good Layne! Figuring it out for the first time is pretty hard, but once you understand the construction (especially the nose), they go faster. Word of advice – be careful and diligent with your bridle line measurements. My kites have always flown straight right off the bat, but I’ve heard of many people spending hours tuning their bridles.

  3. Ralph S. says:

    Not to sound like a kite nOOb (which I am anyways, so who cares…), what is the bridle to human interface? I have seen single line attachment with a sliding bar connected to each bridle. Is there a simple system that would connect to a climbing harness or something simple as such? I guess a quick release may be desireable, too…

    Sorry to get off topic. Great job on dominating the Unicycle division! I would like to get a MUni, but they cost more than I spent on my rig with two wheels!

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Ralph – There are many ways to attach yourself to a kite. The basic concept of almost all of them is a handlebar type of rod with control lines coming off of each end and a single loop going back to the rider in the middle. For NASA wings (the type we are talking about here), that’s pretty much it and you can clip the center point into a climbing harness or whatever else you want (a sled, etc.). More sophisticated kites allow the bar to slide in/out, which in turn depowers the kite.

  5. d3 says:

    ralph is a kite n00b! ralph is a kite n00b!

    who knew there were kite n00bs?

    congratulations, mcleans! especially to polly. cripe, i was on my mtn bike the other day and love the ‘i have a 6 month old’ excuse for my opposite-of-lightning-fast ascent. errrrrf.

  6. nurse ben says:

    You should give Bert a hollar, he said he knew you, we ride together once in a while, I bet he’d be game to ride that race with you next year. I’d join you if you promise not to discuss NTN ;)

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