This is my final blog post for the UNICON Italy 2012 trip. I want to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today and for those who helped organize UNICON 2012. I’d like to thank all my family and friends for their support, the Thomas family for practically adding me to their family, and also the Pӧham’s for their kindness and hospitality towards me and Colby. I’m so grateful for all the amazing people I met at UNICON and I hope to see you all again!
In street I made it to the final 6 riders and then placed 4th after the finals. I’m super happy about it and I’m humbled to be among all these amazing riders. In flatland I advanced to the final 16 riders and placed 13th. I’m stoked about my results and I still see so much that I can excel at with unicycling.
Huge thanks to my sponsors for all the help they have been in supporting me. I had the opportunity to chat with Kris Holm for a bit and he is super nice and humble. There is no easier unicycle brand to represent than Kris Holm Unicycles because of the hard work that goes into producing each part. My co-sponsors Unicycle.com and Five Ten shoes have been so easy to work with as well. Five Ten Shoes don’t get near the credit they deserve. While other riders constantly hurt their feet on big tricks, my feet stay safe and happy because I ride with Five Ten Karvers. Personally I see no difference in flips and rolls when using the Karvers over Nike 6.0’s. Actually there is one difference; my feet don’t hurt after I’m done riding. Another easy brand to represent is Vooray clothing. Vooray has been a huge support for the last couple of years and I’m very grateful for it. Vooray is like Nutella, once someone tries it, they instantly love it.
Also shout out to my best friend Colby Thomas! I wouldn’t have picked anyone else to spend an entire month in Europe with. What a stud. Thanks for always being there for me bro. Also thanks to Colby’s mom, Holly Thomas, for planning our entire trip, she is the brains behind the operation! Thanks Holly! Colby and I couldn’t have done it without you!
The last few days of UNICON were spent chilling with all the bros. A group of us went to the local swimming center and had a blast! We filmed a bit and ate loads of pizza and gelato. The weather went a little sour the last few days so we couldn’t ride outside much. Eli Brill slept with us a couple of nights during the trip. Apparently it’s common for me to talk in my sleep.
On Friday the 31st of July 2012, Colby, 2 New Zealand riders, 4 Swedish riders, 2 Hungary riders, and I traveled to Austria to spend a week at the Pӧham’s house. The first night, Mrs. Pӧham had a candle lit dinner on the patio prepared. And then breakfast on the patio with everything from fresh fruit to yogurt and granola. She was amazing to us; she even washed our dirty, stinky laundry!
The first day we rode in the nearby city Innsbruck. Innsbruck is a beautiful city with some great street spots. We also rode in the Pӧham’s hometown of Oberhofen one of the days. It was really cool to see all the spots from the videos they make. I even got to ride in the Pӧham magic cellar and I landed 5 new tricks! Magic! And if that’s not magic, I was able to see all 3 Pӧham brothers kiss their girlfriends. Now that’s magical.
One of the days we went to a small village next to Oberhofen where they were having a parade and some shows. We rode in the parade; I got to ride a giraffe unicycle (5 foot tall unicycle). The parade was full of floats that had sculptures made entirely of flowers. There were also lots of authentic dressed Austrians and overall it was a very beautiful parade. Afterwards we performed a show with the Pӧham brothers! It was so sick, such an amazing experience!
On the final day Colby, Raphael, Elias and I woke up at 1:15 AM and hiked to a helicopter pad on top of the Alps! We got there in time for the most spectacular sunrise I’ve ever witnessed. Raphi filmed us all doing some tricks for the new video he’s making. I rarely say this but from the top of the mountain, looking over Austria, I would say it’s just as beautiful as Cache Valley, Utah. After we were done filming we hiked down to a mountain restaurant and had some really good pancake things with apple sauce. “An Austrian specialty” as Raphi would say. And if that wasn’t cool enough, we then continued to go swimming in a gorgeous lake with a dock, Island in the middle, and rope swing just like in the movies. I even got the opportunity to see a naked man fly off the rope swing into the refreshing water. I got the full European experience right there.
And now I’m on the airplane headed home. It flew by, just as I expected it would. Not the airplane but the trip. I loved every minute of it and I’m so humbled and grateful for the opportunity! I’m so grateful for all the new friendships I made. That’s one of the reasons I love unicycling so much is because of the people I get to interact with. Never in a million years did I think unicycling would take me to Europe and be able to meet people from all over the world. My next adventure is teaching the gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the people of Merida, Mexico. Wish me luck! 🙂
This post is focused on how amazing everyone is here at UNICON 16 in Brixon, Italy. I’m always amazed at how friendly, kind, funny and easy going the unicyclist community is. It’s extremely hard to find a unicyclist that isn’t instantly easy to get along with. I never stop laughing and smiling at everyone here. We are literally a family of unicyclists. People from different cultures, countries and backgrounds meet together and set aside their differences to follow a passion, and that is to ride one wheel. We are one. (Pun intended) I can’t thank the organizers and sponsors enough for putting together an event so we can all meet together and do what we love.
The amount of gratitude and kindness that I’ve been shown is through the roof! It’s never about one person here, everyone looks out for one another and it’s a huge example for me. I broke my right pinky finger in March of this year. I just let it heal because there isn’t much doctors can do for it. It’s been alright until yesterday I landed wrong on the seat and it bent backwards. I think I either broke it again or sprained it really badly. It should be fine for competitions and I’m not too worried about it. The main point I wanted to bring up was how much concern riders had for me. Everyone asks if I’m okay and wants to make sure I’m alright. Sam La Hood wrapped it in a splint not 5 minutes after it happened and let me keep the tape. Krisz Kovacs gave me his Popsicle to ice it down. Lorenz and Raphael Poham gave me a remedy of sorts to rub on it and also some professional athletic tape. This is all within one day of me injuring my pinky finger. It isn’t even a big deal because it’s just my pinky but everyone has so much love for one another that they want to help each other out. I’m not a big complainer about things so I’m just really grateful for all the help I’ve been given. That’s just one of the many experiences I’ve had of the love shown to me by the riders. Also I take back everything bad I’ve said about the French because of how wonderful they have been to me here. 😛
Everyone here pushes each other to succeed, like I said, it’s never about one person, it’s about everyone. I know I’m biased but I don’t believe there is another sport out there like unicycling where everyone is so close together. A beginner can walk up to the best unicyclist and ask for tips and actually get personal feedback.
Okay, enough about me loving everyone! The Flatland Competition is tomorrow and here is the situation we have on our hands. There are about 80 riders registered for Flatland. In the rulebook they are allowed a minute and a half prelim and then the top 8 riders move on to the battles. A battle consists of both riders going head to head via unicycle tricks. They take turns doing tricks and the judges pick who was best and that rider moves on. The problem is that with 80 riders each having a minute and a half it adds up to a lot of time. So they shortened the prelim to a minute, then they are picking the top 16 riders to have another 2 minute prelim. (Prelim just means a run where the judges watch you do tricks) Then they pick the top 8 to move on to the battles. Wish me luck. J
Also I finally met and talked with my sponsor Kris Holm for a bit, he’s working on some great stuff and I’m pumped to represent Kris Holm Unicycles. I’ll be sure and write a review on the spirit cranks once I have done some riding with them.
Hope everyone back home is doing well. Again, I miss you all and thank you for the support!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to answer them!
Be sure to check out the UNICON Facebook Album here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4387686173701.2180853.1334709428&type=3
Blessed. That sums up my feelings right now.
Everyone is finally arriving at UNICON 16 in Brixen, Italy. I’m meeting all the riders I’ve looked up to since I first started riding. Everyone here is so chill and nice. Corbin Dunn is in the same room as me and I remember drooling over pictures of his trials course when I first started riding. I also met the Pohams today and that was something I’ve wanted to do since I saw their first video. It’s unique because I’ve talked to all of them on Facebook and Unicycle Forums so it doesn’t really feel like it’s my first time meeting people. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to meet all these amazing people and ride with them in ITALY!
Colby Danger Thomas and I have been in Brixon since the 14th so today is our one week mark. We basically run the city, all the locals love us. I’m all about supporting local business.
The only thing that was sketchy since we have been in Brixen was when we got up at 6:50AM and breakfast didn’t start til 7:30AM so we had to kill some time. We were walking around the Cathedral in the center of town and we walked down an alley and came out to a little square that only had one door into a house/church. There was a fairly big ledge in the corner and being the 19 year old immature kid I am, I wanted to get to the top. There was a wire fence on top but it stopped 3 feet from the edge so you could squeeze through. I felt like Jackie Chan as I 2 stepped off each wall in the corner and grabbed onto the ledge. I pulled myself up and I saw a garden on the other side and I took a few cool pictures of the rusted wire fence. I was explaining to Colby my view from the top when we heard keys jingling and footsteps coming down the alley. My first instinct told me to hurry and jump down so he wouldn’t see me up there but I was too late. As I jumped down a typical German looking man walked out and immediately thought we were robbing the place. He spoke little English and I showed him a picture I took trying to explain that what I did was harmless. I said “Sorry sir” and he snapped back “NO SORRY, POLICE!” At that moment he went to grab Colby and I yelled “Run Colby!” and we took off back to our hostel. When we got into our room we were both panting and a little shaken up. We avoided the square for the rest of the day but haven’t seen the man since. Could have been a lot different if we hadn’t have got out of there. I know it was irresponsible and immature but luckily we are okay and I think I learned my lesson.. 😉
We changed Hostels on Wednesday to a catholic school and they use it as a hostel in the summer. It’s a room of 5 beds and everyone in it unicycles. Some Swedish riders are in the room next to us and they claim to have heard Yodeling up in the mountains a couple of mornings ago. Epic.
I met my sponsor Kris Holm on Saturday. Well, I was judging a trials line he was doing and we talked for a second. I’ve only heard good things about him and he’s a really nice guy, hopefully I get to chat with him some more while I’m here.
I ran out of clothes which meant I had to do what my loving mother usually does for me. Laundry. It’s a sketchy set up with a laundry machine practically up to my knees. Corbin and I picked up some soap from the store hoping that we got the right kind because he only speaks a little German and no Italian. It makes me extremely grateful for laundry machines back home, especially since we have to hang our clothes up to dry here. I’m sure it’s a great experience that will prepare me for my mission in Merida, Mexico!
Few side notes, I’m addicted to the Gelato, I’ve eaten Pizza every day since we arrived in brixon, I landed a new trick that I’m the 2nd in the world to land, landed a few other new tricks, Eli slept over a couple of nights ago <3, I’m addicted to Nutella, The catholic place scares me especially the forbidden 4th floor.
I took some amazing photos on Sunday of everyone riding. Check them out on the Facebook album here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4387686173701.2180853.1334709428&type=1
Again I’m missing my family and friends back home, I love you all so much!
I’m sure I forgot some stuff but I’ll put it in the next one!
I compete this Thursday in flatland so I’ll let you all know how it goes! J Wish me luck!
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Brixon is so green! Granted it has been raining on and off the past 2 days. It’s so pretty and I love it! Be sure to check out the UNICON Facebook album for more pictures: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4387686173701.2180853.1334709428&type=1
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Here is a small collage of the first batch of photos i’ve taken. To view all photos please visit: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4387686173701.2180853.1334709428&type=3
Above is a picture (I didn’t take) of Brixen. Looks a lot like Cache Valley. Easily just as pretty.
Here is the first post to my travels during UNICON 16 in Brixen, Italy. To make it easier on me here is my Facebook update describing the trip thus far.
I’m in Brixen Italy in a Youth Hostel. I made it safely. First traveling to Iceland making our connecting flight by 20minutes. Then proceeding to Munich, Germany and having a drunken manufacture worker help us get tickets and guide us to our train where he proceeded to play Avril Lavigne and show us the lighter app on his samsung phone. Great guy. Good heart. We traded him tickets for 3 beers. 3 Euros for 3 beers. What a steal. We made our train by 5 minutes. After the matter, we accidentally tried to enter a girls only section on the train. YOLO. We proceeded on a bus to some other city in Italy, where we met 2 beautiful Italian Chicas. They want us. We proceeded to walk across town and now we are here at the hostel. All with my one and only bro, Colby Danger Thomas. And we still got 25 days to tear up Europe.
So yeah. Crazy trip so far. In the total 17 hours of travel I got about 1 or 2 hours of sleep. This actually worked out better because of the time change because I was tired when it was time to sleep in Italy. Italy is 8 hours ahead of Utah if my calculations are correct.
A little more on the buying beer for “Micheal” was his name. We asked him to help us buy our tickets (bad idea he spoke very bad english) and he did his best to help us but couldn’t get our cards to work. He had a ticket that was good for 5 people so he told us if we bought him beer he would let us go with him. “You buy beer for tickets” he said in broken english. We proceeded towards a bar and he then told me to stop and wait by the luggage while Colby and him continued to the bar. I thought nothing of it, he said “Be back in 3 minutes.” I was convinced he would be back in 3 minutes. 10 minutes later i’m by the luggage about to cry thinking Colby just got kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. “How am I going to explain this to his parents?” “Should I call a police officer.” Those were thoughts going through my head. But how do you explain something like that to someones parents? You’re screwed no matter what. “Well, i let Colby go with some drunk guy to buy beer…” Yeah that’s not going to fly. I’ve honestly never prayed so hard in my entire life. When I saw Colby walking towards me i’ve never been so relieved. So grateful for the power of prayer. Micheal ended up being a really cool guy, he showed us his pictures from his trip to Turkey, a picture of his GF, told us how much he loves Assassins Creed. All that good stuff. All in broken English. Such a blessing that we met him because he led us right to the train we needed to be on.
Last night Colby lost his wallet (big shocker) and he was saying a prayer, opened his eyes, and saw it right on the ground while it was pitch black and raining. The church is true.
The hostel is dope. We are in a room with 4 beds and it’s me, Colby, and a super nice guy named Martin.
Almost everyone speaks a little English, which is crazy because they also speak like 4 other languages. Americans suck that way. We make everyone learn English because we don’t learn any other language.
The ice cream is bomb as usual for Italy. Colby got me to order this “Siciline” or some crap last night at a restaurant. It was a pizza with anchovies/sardines. Worst pizza ever. I just ate the crust haha
I freakin miss my family and friends so hard. I usually don’t get homesick but i’m feeling it this time. I guess it’s good preparation for my mission. I’m really grateful for all my family and friends and the support they are giving me. Love you all.
Me and Colby rode around on our uncycles in the rain a little last night in Brixen. There was a live concert going on in the center of town so we ate there and listened. It’s just crazy that we are in Italy at the Unicycle World Championships. Such a humbling experience and i’m grateful to be here with Colby!
Sorry for the horrible grammar, i’m just trying to get this blog updated as fast as possible. Let me know if you have any questions and i’ll answer them 🙂
If you want to stay really updated on pictures and stuff, check out my instagram: kevinkartchner Twitter: ktkartch and facebook.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about Kris Holm I’ll give you a little background. Kris is the founder of competitive trials unicycling. He basically raised mountain unicycling and trials unicycling like a momma bear raises her cubs. Kris eventually got sick of his equipment breaking so he revolutionized unicycles to what they are today. He continues to innovate his equipment to give the unicycle community top of the line gear. On top of that he’s an incredibly nice guy and continues to push unicycling mainstream.
Despite the recent addition to the Holm family with the birth of Kris’ daughter, he still finds time to release his first book “The Essestial Guide to Moutain and Trials Unicycling.” This book is a must have for unicyclists of all skill levels. With over 250 colour photos it’s even a must for toddlers! I gaurentee it will be the first book Kris’ daughter will read. The book will be available for purchase in unicycle shops worldwide mid-late April. For more info and to download a preview please visit http://gradientpress.com/.
Also check a video Mercedes made featuring Kris Holm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJdHiUacYZY&feature=player_embedded
In the words of Nike, “Life is a Sport, Make it Count.”