Unicon XV day 2

Day 2 of Unicon XV (29 December 2009) for me consisted of a ride to the Weta Cave, false start judging at the racing, and watching the Pairs Freestyle event. It’s taken me a long time to get the photos together, and even longer to write these words, but they’re finally ready to show.
Click on any image for the full size version.

First up, a ride to the Weta Cave, organised by Rémi Fontan, a unicycle rider who works for or used to work for the film company. The Cave is a small museum/shop run by Weta Films, and is located about 6.5 miles away from the TSB Arena, which was the main Unicon venue. Well, it was 6.5 miles by the coastal route we rode; it’s actually only about 2.5 miles as the crow flies, but the terrain doesn’t allow for that, even with the most direct land route possible. As we rode down the West side of Evans Bay, a walker flagged us down. He turned out to be a fellow convention attendee, who had just landed at the nearby airport, but whose unicycles had been lost in transit. As far as I remember, he was able to recover them a couple of days later, but that’s not a good way to start your holiday. On the East side of the bay we saw our first Weta prop; the Venture from King Kong. If Remi hadn’t told us what it was, I wouldn’t have recognised it. However, once we were looking at it, we could see that the name of the ship hasn’t been completely obliterated.

The Venture - long shot

The Venture

The Venture - nameplate

Name still visible

From the Venture, we turned inland towards Miramar, and the final leg to the Weta Cave. There wasn’t a bike rack at the Cave, so we locked our unicycles to a handy lizard in the front garden. The Cave itself is essentially quite a small shop, rammed full of Weta merchandise, plus a tiny cinema where they show a short film about what goes on in the workshops.

Unicycles locked to a lizard

Unicycles locked to a lizard

The Weta ride posse

The Weta ride posse - ???, unicycle Pete, ???, ???, John Foss, Remi Fontan, me. If you know the missing names, let me know

Model of Gollum in the Cave

Gollum welcomes visitors to the Cave

Inside the Weta Cave

Even the decor is quite heavily themed

The rest of the group had quite a leisurely ride back to the convention, but I’d signed up to volunteer at the race track as a false start judge (blowing a whistle if I spotted anyone starting before the pistol was fired). This meant going back by a different route to the others, with quite a tight deadline. I didn’t have a very good map, and I was completely unfamiliar with where I was going, but I managed to arrive just about on time. I don’t normally care too much about racing, but being focussed on the judging raised my level of interest. I did catch a few false starts, including a couple of doubles, but no-one managed to disqualify themselves with three. I also had a good vantage point to see some of the more unusual competitors:

Spider-Man prepares to race

Spider-Man prepares to race

Preparing to race with a broken arm

Some people are far too dedicated

The kid on the right in the sling broke his arm on the first day, but that didn’t stop him from participating in several events, and even winning a medal or two.

Back in the main convention hall in the evening, I watched the pairs freestyle competition. This wasn’t even the expert section, but the standards were generally pretty high. Given the time of year, there were quite a few acts with Christmas costumes or music, but there was plenty of variety, too:

Santas wheel walkingSantas stand-up wheel walkingEnd of the Santa show

One pair of a few Christmas themed freestyle entrants

blah Stand-up gliding with a tow

Fancy flouncy costumes

Practice session between age groups

Practice between age group sections

Pushing a stand-up glider backwards Here goes ... We have lift-off!

Fancy skills and costumes

Spin, spin, spinPush one way ...... turn around ...... and back again

More fancy skills and costumes

Getting readyStand-up wheel walking

Pinocchio and fairy godmother

Fancy footworkCome on, everyone does this nowWho needs both unicycles?I'm king of the world!

This pair did a very good Titanic-themed routine

Hmm. It took me three months to write up day one, and 14 for day two. If it carries on like this, I’m not even going to get day three done before next year’s Unicon, let alone days 4 to 15.

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