by Tammy Marsh
Our first nationals was a great experience for us. We loved the opportunity to bond with so many unicyclists from around the country. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting people we had previously only emailed, and we felt honored to meet many famous unicyclists! We rode out with the Twin City Unicycle Club and arrived in Adrian Wednesday night, when other unicyclists were just beginning to arrive and congregate in the parking lot of Adrian College. We pulled out our unicycles and joined the fun right away, meeting new people and learning new tricks like backwards wheel walk.
Thursday was a day of racing. I really enjoyed myself even though racing is not really my thing! Placing fifth in the 1600 meter earned me an Expert Competitor t-shirt. This was quite unexpected as I had done no racing practice, but I guess Unicycle Across Minnesota gave me an advantage. My sister and I amazed ourselves and both qualified for the expert heat for the 400 meter, and oddly enough we both DQ'ed by falling off on the home stretch within seconds of each other! Oh well, at least my wrist was only sprained and not broken, and we felt cool by just qualifying for the expert heat. Races continued the next day, including wheel walk, one-foot, and backwards fast races. Tanya and I received many a racing medal due to the small size of our age groups! We also tried the obstacle course and found out just how difficult those slow boards are.
Standard Skill routines began Friday night and continued Saturday morning. Tanya placed fifth in Standard Skill, thus earning an Expert Competitor t-shirt! Pairs routines were next on the list, and Tanya and I took first in our (small) age group. We performed our routine better for the judges than we had ever performed it in practice! (no falls!) Watching the expert pairs competition was a real treat. Colin Schworer and Lindsey Johnson claimed a well-deserved first place with a breath-taking, creative and nearly flawless performance. Everyone enjoyed the Public Show that night, featuring the junior expert pairs performances, amazing juggler Jay Gilligan, unicycle champ Dustin Kelm, unicycle builder Tom Miller, historic unicyclists Paul Fox and Doc Reynolds, Municyclist Dan Heaton, and more. The show wrapped up with a stunning performance by Sem and Theresa Abrahams.
Individual routines took place Sunday, followed by group routines and club routines. Tanya, Gilby and I put together a fun group routine which earned us third place: "Surf City: Two Girls for Every Guy." The club routines were fun to watch as well, especially the TCUC's well-choreographed and fast-paced James Bond routine, which won them first place. Sunday night was the awards ceremony, and we left Monday morning.
Nationals was definitely inspiring, and now we have a long list of tricks we want to master before next year! It was great to make so many new friends, and we were flattered when some younger unicyclists asked us to sign their shirts. :)