2003 Trials Competition, Sequachie, Tennessee
by Russell Fralick
Sequachie, Tennessee, is about three hours from Marietta, Georgia. My dad and I drove up two days ahead of the competition to construct the unicycle course sections. The Trials Training Center area covers approximately 650 acres of mountainous terrain, complete with streams and dry creek beds — perfect for trials competition.
Mike Firrdell met us the first morning, ready to help. My dad and I were following Mike down a very narrow, gravel road. I decided that Mike and I needed to split up so we wouldn’t get in each others way. In doing so, Dad and I needed to turn around. Our crew-cab dually truck, pulling a substantial trailer, is very long and doesn’t turn easily. Compounding the situation, rain had softened the ground the night before. And we got stuck. About an hour later we were facing the other way and on the way out. After that fun morning workout I got to start on the sections.
I was planning on 15 sections. Once we got started, setting up the sections was really easy. We used Monty tape (the same kind the police use ‘DO NOT CROSS’) to keep riders on course, snaking the tape through and around trees. The many rocks in the dry creek bed proved the greatest challenge, as riders had to attempt the course in both directions, uphill and downhill. The sections ranged from easy to difficult. I didn’t want the sections to be to easy. I wanted to challenge everyone from the beginners to the experts.
The object was to clean all 15 sections in two and a half hours. In unicycle trials, you want to get the highest score possible and you can try the sections as many times as you want. I used Kris Holm’s 2003 trials competition instructions as a guide. Kris uses a U-rating system. Basically, the harder the section the more points you get, and the easier the section, the fewer the points you get. Kris offers examples of what terrain receives what point value. The Instructions were very easy to follow. Thanks to Kris!
The competition started around 9:30am. There were three different classes, beginner, sport, and expert. There were a total of eight riders. All but one rider was from Marietta. The other was Chad Heddleston, from West Virginia. He is the first guy I have ever seen ride clipless pedals on a unicycle. I set up a 30-inch wooden box and some obstacles so everyone could warm up. Casey and I were pedal-grabbing on the box. Chad rode over to the tall side of the box and hopped from a stand still straight to rubber. Yes, a 30” forward hop. I knew then that there would be serious competition.
The rest of the day went pretty well. Chad and Casey cleaned all the sections. I had to go back later and clean two sections that had been a challenge. We wound up with a three-way-tie for first place. To break the tie, we held a high-jump contest. I went out on the third round at 25-inches, taking third place. Then the battle began between Chad and Casey. It went back and forth for 3 more rounds. Chad ended up taking the win at around 27 inches.
The beginner and sport classes did very well. Most of them have never ridden terrain like this ever before. So they had some difficulty. All of them rode the sections for the whole two and a half hour time limit. No one ever gave up.
I had a good time at the competition setting up the sections, competing, and most of all spending time with other unicyclists. Unicycle.com plans on getting more active in trials unicycling. I plan to represent Unicycle.com at the trials competition at Motorama in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, next February. See you there.
Many thanks to the Trials Training Center for providing a natural location to compete. They were very helpful with everything we needed. We thank Trialsin.com for hosting the competition and for inviting us to join in the fun. Thanks also to Mike Firrdell and his parents for working with us to ready the unicycle area for competition. And finally, I would also like to thank my dad for always being there for me and for all the help.
RESULTS, UNICYCLE TRIALS COMPETITION
Expert Class / Cleans / Ranking
Chad Heddleston / 15 / 1st / Winner by high-jump tiebreaker
Casey Drummond / 15 / 2nd
Russell Fralick / 15 / 3rd
Robby Ridgeway / 15 / 1st
Mitch Murphy / 6 / 1st Sawyer Drummond / 2 Chris Sumsky / 2 Alvis Weatherly / 2