qualification and final rounds slow races

This discussion has an associated proposal. View Proposal Details here.

Comments about this discussion:


The current rulebook (3B.6.4.3/3B6.5) says every rider doing more than 45s in forward and more than 40s in backward is qualified for finals. Some years ago you’d probably have had 6 women achieving that and 3 men. Now the level is way higher and I assume that now more than 8 people are able to achieve the requested time and I don't think it makes sense to have finals with so many people. Finals would then take at least 3 hours with everybody getting two attempts.

For track races it is defined in Chapter 2B.7 that "for each final, the number of finalists will be eight, unless for an event that uses lanes, the number of usable lanes is less than eight". As slow races are part of track events (even if it is mentioned in "track other") my opinion is that only the 8 best ones are qualified. The main reason why I think we should go that way is the lack of time. The more riders are in the final, the longer it will take and I think as the final is for the best riders, only the best ones should be able to participate.

Now the following two cases can appear:

a) More than 8 riders may achieve 45s in forward or 40s in backward. If this is the case and the 9th has 50s then I think it's just bad luck. Compare with races such as 100m: There I can not say everybody riding faster than 15s is in the final. This rule doesn't make sense to me.

b) Less than 8 riders may achieve 45s in forward or 40s in backward. If this is the case I suggest that the best 8 participate in the finals anyway. Maybe the last rider will only achieve 30s but he is still part of the 8 best riders.


Thoughts on that?


I agree with all of that.

It seems to me that if we go this way, the 45 respectively 40 second limits don't have meaning anymore. It is simply the best eight riders (whatever their times are), based either on an official result of max 2 years old, or from the preliminary round of the same convention.

(The max of 2 years comes from your other discussion.)


I agree, top 8 riders. Possibly add alternative(s), from 9th and 10th riders, if some of the 8 do not attend the Finals. I think that would be a good addition to any race with a Final, but that's another (possible) proposal.


I agree, but two years is too short. I only see most of you every two years. How about six years, with wording to account for competitions not being exact numbers of years apart? In other words, for Unicon events to allow up to the next 3 Unicons.

Worst case scenario, I show up at Unicon in 2024, and am the fastest person in the Finals. Looks bad for me, but not a lot of time wasted...  :-)


I would not possibly add the 9th and 10th rider. I think it is mostly not known beforehand which riders won't attend the finals. Also, the finals are primarily for determining the champion right? The 9th or 10th rider is unlikely to win anyway.

As to how many years: six years seems too much for me. If someone's result is not valid anymore, he/she simply must enter the preliminary round (or whatever this should be called). Note that the discussed issue is only for the Slow races. Qualification for any finals outside Slow races has to be earned at the same convention.


I would also not add the 9th and the 10th. Also in other track finals sometimes riders don't show up and they just lose their right to participate in the final - their problem.

6 years also seems too much for me. I mean if you are still able to ride a good time after 6 years, what does it matter if you enter qualification round? There are also slow race competitions outside Unicon where you have plenty of chances to do a good time.


Okay, forget the 9th and 10th riders; adds complication we don't need. Similaly, the 6-year thing adds complication, and a degree of randomness. To keep it simple, have everyone qualify every time. If they don't, as Klaas correctly stated, it becomes an Expert event instead of a Final.

When registering for these conventions, I still smile as I fill in my "best times" for the various Track events. Most of these times were achieved in the 1980s! I'm definitely older now...   :-)


Qualification every time was acutally a big discussion in the last rulebook. I'd welcome that very much but I was "afraid" of bringing that up again because last time some riders (I will not mention names but I guess Klaas knows who I'm talking about) were strictly against qualification every time - don't know why... But as all track finals are held in this way I'd really welcome it also for slow races to be that way - then the original discussion of what we do when more/less riders achieve 45s is irrelevant.


Indeed, slow races are the only discipline where you can enter finals (or expert round) without prior qualification during the same convention. I clearly remember that this was brought about, I think it was in the 2015 Rulebook (not 2017). The only reason I can see is that for riders who are easily good enough to qualify for the finals, they don't have to spend time waiting for their turn in the qualification.

Is this enough to justify the exception?
Or do we see other reasons for it?


But why should it be an exception?

There are also riders in 100m, slalom etc. who are "easily good enough" to qualify for finals everytime. And still they have to do so in every single event. Why not in slow then too?

Other reasons I see: It makes the whole thing less complicated. If the rule with the 45s exists we could have the following problem: 5 riders are prequalified. The first four have more than 60s, the fifth just 45s. Now 4 riders do between 45s and 60s in the qualification round -> result: there are 9 riders qualified for the finals - but we've got only 8 places. Now do you "kick out" the one who was already prequalified but had the fastest time or how do you handle that? If all riders go through qualification round just the best 8 of that day compete again in the finals.

(Just another thought: In coasting for example there are no finals at all - Expert Results are determined by the results from age groups - maybe a thought also for slow?)


In the current Rulebook, there is no maximum of eight riders (per gender) for the "finals" in Slow. Every rider who qualifies with 45s for Forward Slow, be it from this convention or a previous result, is in the "finals". With the ever rising level of riding, their number will grow and possibly go to tens of riders. Another argument against this exception for slow.

Your "just another thought" is interesting. In addition to Coasting, also Stillstand is a discipline where there are no finals but expert results are determined (copied) from Age group competition. I think it is no coincidence that these two are competitions that take a rather long time because (1) they are inherently slow races, and (2) they require individual attempts. So by using this fule, time-consuming finals are avoided. The Slow races have these two characteristics also, so it would make sense to use the same rule for Slow.

This would be a major change to the current rules and I'd like to hear more opinions. Do we have any slow riders on the Track subcommittee this year?


The idea behind a Finals event is to see all the best riders competing head-to-head. Or in the case of IUF Slalom and Slow, as one group where you can see the top talent without waiting around all day. The IUF Slalom Finals in Spain was great for me to watch; I got great pictures and videos of the top riders, in an event that's a great combination of speed, skill and precision. In the past, the top riders would win awards, but seeing them do their fast runs was only a matter of random luck.

So I like the idea of a Finals, and if we make all of those Slow riders do it again, the reason should be so that people can watch. Which means it should always be presented as such, with some attempt to make it spectator-friendly. For example, not in a room that doesn't fit a lot of people, better if there is raised seating, etc.

For those reasons, the Coasting competition should also have a Final, which would be very cool to watch. Or to eliminate the Finals portion, which riders might prefer. Do people want to watch the slowest riders all together? Like a Coasting Finals, each rider would take a while, so it wouldn't be as exciting as regular Track finals, but it's good to see the talent. Coasting can also run multiple riders, staggered, if you have officials to watch each one. This wouldn't be sensible for Slow.


I somehow agree with you John, but keep in mind that some riders need almost 3minutes to do 10m slow... So finals can easily last up to 2hours with everyone having two attempts, which is (also for interested spectators) a long time.


Mirjam, I know exactly what you mean. The only thing worse would be having a Final for Stillstand, where almost nothing moves! So I am definitely not recommending it, in fact, in the interest of time, I strongly recommend against it.

While I very much enjoyed the IUF Slalom Finals at Unicon 18, It also took quite a bit of time for everyone to do their runs. However, IMHO this is a much more interesting spectator event, and those details matter. We are not just making rules for people to ride unicycles, we also have a lot of influence on how interesting this sport will be to watch. We should always err on the side of making it better for spectators/TV/press.

A Final for Coasting would be in-between Slalom and Slow (closer to Slalom) in terms of interest; last time I was present for a great Coasting showdown was Unicon XIII (England) where a couple of riders made it halfway around the track. Then at the end, for fun, we had a bunch of the top coasters do it at the same time, for pictures & video. I was honored to be part of that group, though not a contender for medals.  :-)


I completely agree with Mijam's first post. It seems to me much more logical to determine the number of finalists than any time to qualify for the final.
If you set a time, you have the big disadvantage that the rule for very small (local or regional competitions) means that no one might make it to the final round. And the purpose of the final should be that the best riders can compete against each other, whereby the level of the competition determines which performance belongs to the best. By setting the number of finalists, the rule would be universally applicable to all competitions, which I would very much welcome.
Furthermore, a fixed number of finalists also makes sense in terms of time scheduling.

The discussion about the final round itself was extensively held in the Rulebook Committee 2014/15...
I think the main argument for a mandatory final round in comparison to the previous system, where the expert results were determined from the age group results, was the fact of subjective judging in the Slow Races. With the final it should be ensured that all participants from whom the champion is determined are judged by the same judges. As long as no technical equipment is used in the slow races, I consider this to be a reasonable solution and would therefore maintain the system with a final round.
(IUF Rulebook Comittee 2014, Discussion 45 "Slow races in the future":
"For the finals, there will only be one team of judges in order to have a fair competition.
(The reason is that different judges, judge in different ways because everyone has his own perception and therefore an own definition of a mistake.)"

As far as the qualification over previous competition results is concerned, there were also some reasons for this in the system originally conceived at that time, which in my opinion, however, do not really work with the system implemented then and applied now. So I don't see any reason in the current system why you should enter finals without prior qualification during the same competition. In my opinion we don't need this exception for slow races.


I 100% agree with Jan's last comment - and by implication, with most of what has been said by others.

The argument in 2015/2015 about recognising pre-existing results for qualification was mainly fuelled by one specific slow competitor and one experienced Slow judge, who both were members of the Rulebook Track Committee. These individuals are not in any Rulebook committee now. Among the current committee members we seem to more or less agree on ditching this rule.

But I wonder if we need to seek advice from the Slow racing community - not necessarily the two mentioned individuals but the Slow racers in general. I'm a bit concerned about us changing the rules "behind their back".


I agree with Jan and Klaas.

For me it's absolutely fine to have a final round in slow races. I didn't remember the reason for it 4 years ago but it seems very logical to me and in comparison with stillstand (where you cannot judge wrong) final rounds should be kept.

I'm not sure about what to do now. We seem to agree with eachother so actually I could make a proposal but it seems that I am the only slow competitor who is on the committee for now. On the other hand: a lot of riders were invited and the interest to participate seemed not to be very big from the slow riders.


I also agree with everything from Jan. The logic of doing a Final makes sense as well, because there can be a large variation in "perception" by various judges. None are wrong, and none are right. It's a very subjective thing. This is the "organic" part of the Slow event which, so far, nobody has been able to figure a way around.

Don't worry about the Slow Race community, unless you know people you can canvass, and get their opinions. I would listen, but I'm definitely in favor of getting rid of prequalified finalists.


I think that it is important to get some feedback from the slow race community. Especially because we do not have a single German slow race member in this committee (I think).


Ok, I will try and get in contact with Ana Schrödinger and Julia Sandner (both German top riders).

Will write again when I got their feedback.


I have not only contacted thw two above mentioned riders (from which I haven't got any feedback so far), but also other slow riders.

Baptiste Albert (world record holder slow forward) completely agrees with our dicussed points.

From Gert-Jan and Erik De Vleeschouwer I got the following very helpful feedback (short version):

The main reason that the 45s/40s rule was made was to discourage the big amount of people who sign in for the slow races without having any skill or ambition for this discipline. You can argument it is the same for all track disciplines and also for Muni. But specifically for slow races you need a lot of time, a lot of judges and there is the fact that a lot of competitors just don’t show up without announcing. (my comment: Yes, but also other disciplines such as IUF Slalom where some riders take more than 45s is time-intensive and there also everybody is allowed to participate).

So I like the idea of limiting the amount of finalists to the 8, just like in other track disciplines. In that case the 40 and 45 sec rule is not meaningful anymore.

Personally we don’t like the automatic qualification and a lifetime qualification if you once reached the Q time in the past. It gives a lot of comfort for the top riders but in my opinion it is not good for the credibility of the sport. So I agree to skip this rule.

If there are no age group awards, you discourage ambitious young riders to compete in slow race. For this I have also a suggestion :-) : The Rulebook can define (or suggest) a minimum time for having a valid result. For example 20 seconds, if you don’t reach this time you are automatically DQ in the result list. It allows to have age group awards with some credibility.
Btw, same for stiltstand, now you have f.e. 2,3 and 3,1 sec in the result lists of a world championship, which is a bit ridiculous. (My comment: I would welcome such a rule, and btw I think for Stillstand it is or at least was already used)


So both Baptiste and Gert-Jan/Erik support our intended change for who qualifies for the Slow finals. That's encouraging.

The last paragraph of Gert-Jan and Erik is interesting. It points to another peculiarity in the Slow Race rules: the explicit possibility that there are no Age Group awards (see 3B.6.4.3).

Because Slow is in Chapter 3 (Track Other), it is subject to 3D.2 which says "Age group breakdown is also up to the host".
I take 3D.2 as meaning that Age Group splits for any competition in Chapter 3 may deviate from 2D.4 which prescribes a minimum set of Age Group boundaries, and allows more.
I do NOT think that the intention of 3D.2 is to allow that there are no Age Groups altogether, although the wording is not very clear on this.

My point is: why does the explicit option to not have Age Groups exist, in Slow Race only?
Gert-Jan and Erik rightly point out that this discourages ambitious young riders.

Their suggestion for a minimum time follows the practice at Stillstand. I like it for two reasons:
(1) It makes the results more credible, especially at World Championships
(2) It seems to pave the way to still have Age Groups in Slow.

However, I think that such a threshold must be optional, so that smaller events (than e.g. Unicon) can have either a more relaxed threshold or no threshold at all. Otherwise, a smaller competition in a region with few experienced Slow riders would have to disappoint a lot of participants by DQ'ing their result.


I agree on the minimum time threshold, which can be said to apply to Unicon, but optional or adjustable for smaller competitions. For many, since this event has existed, it has been one of the easiest age group medals to score, just by showing up and not disqualifying.

This opens the question of whether going too fast should be labeled as DNF or Disqualified. In this case, I think Disqualified is appropriate, at least if you stay on the board. You just finished too fast!


The question of how you label a run that is too fast (assuming there is a minimum time), is interesting. Are there any other possibilities than DNF and DQ? I can only think of DNS (did not start) but that doesn't seem to be appropriate either.

As argued elsewhere, DQ should only be 'awarded' for violation of a rule. So if going too fast must result in DQ, then there must be a rule saying that you must go slow. But is it desirable to have a different rule in different competitions?


I like hearing that other slow riders who are not on the RB Committee would also support our idea and I think it proves that we are on the right track.

Basically I think it's a pity that there is the explicit possibility not to offer age groups at the slow races because I would completely agree with Gert-Jan and Erik that this discourages ambitious young riders.
To the question of why the explicit option to not have Age Groups exists: If I remember correctly, when the new Slow Race rules were introduced in the RB Committee 14/15, the age groups were completely deleted - so there was no longer any possibility to honour age groups in Slow Racing. The reason was that in the qualification round the riders are judged by many different judges and the results would be too subjective to carry out an age group evaluation. Even though the reasons certainly cannot be completely rejected, I didn't like the rule at the time, because I believe that it strongly discourages ambitious young athletes and does not promote young talents. In the RB Committee 16/17, the possibility of age group ranking was reintroduced. However, the possibility of not offering an age group ranking probably remains because of the reasons given by the previous RB Committee and perhaps also because of the resistance of individual members - I don't know exactly anymore.

Basically I could live with a threshold time as long as it is there to say: "If you are faster than this threshold, you did not do a Slow Race but you ride normally". In coasting, there is also the 5m limit, which you have to reach to prove that you have not only "fallen" but really coasted. If you consider that the 5m of coasting are less than 3% of the world record, then I think you shouldn't set the threshold too high for the Slow Races or give the organizers away from a Unicon definitely enough freedom to set reasonable thresholds.


How to label a run that's too fast? NSU (Not Slow Enough).    :-)

Our Slow Races will always suffer from subjective judging; the only way to mediate that is by using the same judges for every rider, which is not possible with hundreds of riders. What the additional judges can do is find the best candidates for that one set of judges. It will never be perfect; it's something we have to work around.


We seem to agree on most points and as I have no feedback from other slow riders I guess I can create a proposal. I will try to make an overview of the whole chapter 3B.6.4 and 3B.6.5 if there are no further comments. OK?


1. Your new rule says: The Age Group 0-10 uses a 10 m x 30 cm board, and for Backward Slow: The Age Group 0-10 uses a 10 m x 60 cm board.
Firstly, using a wider board for the young riders was an option in the old rule. Is there any reason that this is mandatory in your new rule?
Secondly, it might be better to refer to the age of the riders, rather than a specific age group which might not exist. E.g. if there are age groups 0-8 and 9-10, the wider board would be for both age groups. Perhaps something like: any age group with no riders of 11 years or older, the board may optionally use (etc); this option is up to the host to implement or not.
2. The term "Qualification round" stems from the old rule. In all other Track racing we don't have qualification rounds (not by that name anyway). What we do have is Age Group competition, the results of which are the basis for the Finals. I suggest to drop the term Qualification round and make Slow Races as similar as other Track races as possible.
3. We discussed what label to use for riders who stayed below the threshold (for which you choose 20 seconds which is OK with me). If it's DQ, that would imply that there is a rule saying the you must ride slow in the Slow Race. I can accept this, as it is the Slow Race. The DQ label can almost be thought of as a speeding ticket for a car driver (which is also given for violation of a rule): you were above the max speed, of 0.5 m/second in this case.


1. You are right, using the board was an option but I have not one event in memory where it was not done. And I know that the young riders would have a lot of difficulties on smaller boards (and we don't want to discourage them, right?)

2. I agree about your comment to refer to the age of riders.

3. Do I understand your suggestion right, that I change the term "qualification round" with "Age Groups"?

4. I like your comparioson with a speeding ticket. But does it need to be written explicitly? Is it not enough to say that 20s is the minimum?


1. I am not against requiring a wider board for young riders, just wanted to point out that this is a change from the old rule that kind of "slipped in" with the change in qualification/age group and final rounds that this proposal is about.

2. OK.

3 and 4. I wasn't thinking in terms of concrete proposal text. But since you're asking:
Re 3, indeed you could replace "Qualification round" with "Age group competition".
Re 4, I agree that the text is fine as it is, without reference to speeding tickets or so. I was just trying to justify the use of the somewhat harsh label DQ to be used for riders who do their best and try to make sure to follow all the rules.


I have got some more feedback - specifically from Ana Schrödinger. I tried to summarize her points (without any comments from my side, I'm waiting for your reaction):

- She is afraid that we are going into the wrong direction with reinventing the age groups. She has some negative experience from a past Unicon, where she said that in the age group runs there were a lot of different judges and some of them didn't know the rules very well. Furthermore she mentions a situation where riders were allowed to ride more than twice or other riders had to wait for a long time until their turn. She said that there were a lot of protests after that.

- Furthermore she thinks that in this discussion there are no "skilled" slow riders and that we cannot see the advantages the rules she invented in 2014/15.

- She has the opinion that slow races, stillstand and downhill gliding have not much in common with track events but that they are much closer to urban or freestyle.

- She mentions a rule from Italy where riders in a competition last year could decide between Expert and Standard class (however I know that it is not like this anymore, at least this year because I just registered two weeks ago for a competition in Italy).

- She likes the idea of not using older times than 3 years.


I value Ana's input, if only because she is probably the best Slow rider in the world. But for now, her arguments haven't convinced me.

Firstly, some of those negative experiences should not happen at all. Like making more than two attempts: this is probably a matter of the race director who has to properly instruct the volunteers. But more on topic: I don't see what those negative experiences have to do with having Age groups or not.

I don't know if no-one in this committee is skilled in Slow riding. (I only know that I am not.) But we have asked the advice of some expert Slow riders, precisely to broaden our experience base. So far, all opinions in this committee AND from expert riders, except Ana's, support going "back" to the usual Age group system.

I disagree that Slow races, Stillstand and Downhill gliding should be outside of Track racing. Urban and Freestyle are inherently subjective and it is unavoidable that they are judged. Slow, Stillstand and Downhill gliding are principally different: all must be done within rules that are in principle objective, just the same as other Track races.
Admittedly, in practice, some judging is involved, both in Slow (did the judge see a small stillstand or not?) and in other Track Races (e.g. in Onefoot: was the foot lifted before the 5m line?, or for all races: did someone finish in control?). I believe that Slow is correctly  categorised in Track racing, and hence should adhere to general Track racing rules such as having age groups.

Whatever happened in Italy, I guess this was not an IUF-sanctioned competition if it had Expert and Standard class for Slow Racing.

Bottom line: I still support the proposal, with some comments that I already made.


Proposal looks good.

- I recommend just adding "optionally" for the wider board dimensions for younger riders, and follow Klaas' guidance on making the age group descriptions flexible

- Under Timing, please clarify that when the tire/contact point crosses the start line, the rider may not still be in contact with the starting posts. Timers must watch the hands and the feet at the same time at that moment.

- Why are penalty rules optional? Better we give riders a consistent experience. The suggested errors are basically questions about whether the wheel stopped reversed, which is not allowed. While our study of this type of riding involves micro-motions to the rear and micro-stillstands, we don't have a good method for measuring this and setting a limit. But if our preferred limit is zero, there should be no penalties. If others believe the penalty thing is better than a DQ, please change the wording that each will *subtract* one second from the time. this is in case someone isn't paying attention and does the wrong math. But in general, I don't like the penalty idea because it says you can break the rules, if you do it tiny enough.

- For 3B.6.4.3, I highly recommend adding a passage to remind future hosts this event is intended for spectators, not just to have the same set of judges (whether you agree that's true or not). Some people might want to see it, so if possible, try to schedule it in a watchable way, or a spectator-friendly location, like on the track. I know that's stepping a little outside of just competition rules; ultimately that part would refer to a section in the "how to run a unicycle convention" document, which we don't do nearly enough work on...

- Also in  3B.6.4.3 it mentions 20-second minimum. Is this to qualify for Finals, or for everybody? What if nobody in an age group makes the minimum?

- Regarding Final round: No need to mention "fair", but make it clear that the same people must judge everybody. Not sure how to word it, but something like "The Judging team for the Finals must consist of a single group of people that watch every rider." Then we can add the part about the possible future "accurate and reliable technical means".


Forgot one:

- The 30cm and 60cm boards for younger riders should be mandatory for Unicon, but optional for lesser competitions. I expect them to be used at any large competition, but do not want to place hardship on smaller competitions. Or we can offer them to be marked on the ground (I believe we had this as a past option), where the outer edge of the tape or line marks where the outer edge of the board would be. This makes it easy enough to see if the center of the contact patch crosses that edge.


Your last "forgot one" comment seems to contradict your first 'bullet' of the previous comment. Or maybe you meant we should forget that bullet-number-one-comment?
Then again, why do you think the wider boards should be mandatory at Unicons? If we think wider boards are better suitable for the younger Slow riders AND want to offer consistent a competition environment, they should be mandatory everywhere (like they were before 2015, BTW). I'm fine if it is allowed to mark the wider board with tape on the floor as opposed to have a physical board of that width (in order to avoid hardship for a small convention).

Second bullet: agree, it's good to make this explicit.

Third bullet: these penalty rules were created at the same time (2014/2015), and from the same source, as the controversial pre-qualification rule. I frankly was never happy with it, and in the same Rulebook round, I created a separate proposal to mitigate the penalty rules by making them optional - which was passed (agreed). It was the most I could do at the time.
Does anyone know if the penalty rule has ever been applied in a Slow competition under IUF rules?

Fourth bullet: no opinion.

Fifth bullet: Proposal clearly states it is for the Qualification Round (which will probably be renamed to Age Group competition). The what-if question is a good one - it might happen in 0-8 or even 0-10. What is the compelling reason to have such a minimum in the first place?

Sixth bullet: agree. All our rules must be fair, we don't need to state this for any particular rule.


Yes, the "forgot" is an update to what I wrote earlier. Unicon being the highest level of competition available, we should at least have it there. It's not a big thing for me, so if nobody else has an opinion, let's not worry about it. Let the hosts decide if they will cut all that wood, or use tape (or paint) on the ground.

Penalty bullet: Judging this event is inherently impossible to do perfectly. Allowing for some stops or rearward movement only makes a gray area more gray, so I prefer that we stick with the binary yes/no, that the rider must keep in the "yes" zone all the way down the board.

5th bullet: Oops, I figured that out before I was done with my post, and forgot to remove it...



Unfortunately, I have not much time at the moment, so that I cannot go through all the points mentioned here in detail.

However, I would like to say a few words about the penalty rules whose introduction I welcomed in 2014/15. The penalty rules are intended exclusively for cases in which the judges cannot clearly say whether a rule has been violated or not. And since it is sometimes really hard to determine at the Slow Races whether a driver for example stopped or not, I think it is very good that the judges have the possibility to punish the driver with this rule without having to disqualify him. Before the introduction of the rule it was often very dependent on the judges whether in such "borderline cases", where either both judges were not sure or the judges had different opinions, the rider was disqualified or decided for the rider. Of course, the riders were more likely to go to the judges who did not disqualify so quickly, which led to the mentioned dependence of the results on the judges. In Germany, as far as I know, the rule has been applied in all competitions since its introduction. Because the judges no longer have to decide between "disqualification" and "run okay", the results are less dependent on the judges. There are no longer the extremes in the judges - those who always disqualify in cases of doubt and those who always decide for the rider, since both groups now rather give the penalty. Of course there is still a dependency of the results on the judges - the evaluation by eye remains a subjective evaluation procedure - but I think the dependency is less extreme than at the time when there was only "DQ" and "run Okay" as a possibility.
However, I hope that someday in the future we will have a technical system to judge the Slow Races and thus an objective evaluation procedure, where the penalty rules are no longer needed, because a technical system can't be uncertain ;) But as long as such a system is not yet in widespread use, I think the penalty rules make sense and I would not like to see them abolished.


I will work over the proposal tonight and update it with your comments. Some thoughts from me:

1. Penalty rules: I agree that it is difficult to handle, however, they were actually invented for the very slow riders because there is is VERY difficult to see weather they stopped or not. So in order not to disqualify them straight ahead they get a penalty. I myself do slow races (I'm not as slow as Ana, but I'm pretty slow too) and in my opinion this rule is not so bad.

2. Agree about the timing and letting go of starting post.

3. I'd prefer to make the rule of wider boards for young riders mandatory again.

4. Why a minimum? There are a lot of riders who don't ride slow - for example 5s for 10m. That is not the aim of a slow race so they should not be on the result list. We could consider of lowering the minimum for riders younger than 11 to 10 s.


What I don't like about the penalty rule is that it does not really eliminate a grey area, but rather it creates two grey areas, one between DQ and penalty, and one between penalty and run OK. But if Jan, Mirjam and Ana (and possibly more) are happy with it, and the rule is actually used in some competitions, I give up my resistance and agree with having this optional penalty rule.

I'm undecided about my preference for a minimum or not. If there is one, then 10s for riders under 11 would be better than 20s.

Responding to a slightly older comment: deduct means subtract (in this context), but I agree that subtract is a clearer word.


Slow Race judging is all grey area. Earlier attempts to use mechanical means to judge it only proved how much wheel movement there actually is; the sensor that was tested in the 90s was attached to the frame. This also showed how much frame movement there is in relation to the wheel, which is why that method was useless. To go a "mechanical" measurement of wheel movement would probably require an accelerometer attached to the wheel, using an agreed-upon measurement of how much deviation is allowed. But then having the hardware attached to the wheel (presumably attached inside the spokes with velcro straps or something) would add an off-center weight to the wheel...

Another approach could be something optical; a camera watching from the side? But I don't know how you would program that to understand wheel rotation without being confused by the riders' leg and foot. Maybe if it focuses near the bottom of the wheel? Future projects for technical experts.

I see where the penalty approach allows for tiny movements to not become DQs. But then how many of those should a rider be allowed to have in a 10m race? Perhaps there should be a maximum. How many will have to be determined by people familiar with existing uses of the penalty rule.

Also I agree with Mirjam on having a "speed limit" for all riders, but making it shorter as she suggested.  :-)


Can we agree on 15s for 11+ and 10s for under 11?

Although I'd prefer 20s for forward and 15s for backward.. However this makes it more complicated.. opinions?



For the information of John and others, here is some more info about a possible technical solution to monitor adherence to the Slow Race rules.


Apparently a prototype existed in 2015, but to my knowledge this hasn't been developed further. It certainly seems possible though.


As to how many penalties allowed in a 10m Slow race: I would say infinitely many. The current rule implicitly says this too.

As to what the speed limit must be, I think it should be such that it discriminates between riders who have done some real training on the Slow race on the one hand, and those riders who do a slow race just for fun (or for an easy medal) on the other hand, all this at the "level" of a typical rider.
My thought behind this is that someone who hasn't trained should get DQ, and someone who takes Slow racing seriously would get a resulting time. I would guess that a minimum of 20 seconds is about right for Forward Slow. I can't estimate the best minimum/minima for young riders, and/or for Backward Slow.
And maybe we should not prescribe fixed minimum values, but suggest recommended minimum values. And probably to make them optional, in any case for non-Unicons, but perhaps for all conventions.


In my opinion it is better to prescribe a fixed minimum (at least for Unicon) so that it is the same at every Unicon. Otherwise you will have one host who says 10s, another wants 15s and a third one even 20s. I don't like that idea too much. However, I fully agree to make them optional for other conventions than Unicon.

Furthermore I also think the same way about the penalies, and I would not like to change anything about this rule at the moment.

I will finish the new proposal tonight and update it.


I agree with Mirjam on both points here.

A question that should be thought about: if your net time after penalties brings you below the minimum time, are you disqualified. To me this is obviously "yes". But maybe this should be prescribed in the rules to be clear, if others agree.


I would not disagree with fixed minimum times for Unicon. For non-Unicon, I think the host should be free to choose other minimum times, or no minimum at all.

I agree with Scott's last point. We can write in the rule that the minimum time applies to the resulting time after subtraction of penalty seconds.


Two comments on the revised proposal:

1. The text under Timing in 3B.6.4.1 is currently subject to a discussion (#87) in the Main Committee. Once we agree in the Main Committee, this could lead to a separate proposal here, or we can try and make it 'right' now. Is it OK if I suggest a better version?
2. Check the board size for young riders for Backwards. It is now at 30cm but I guess you meant it to be 60cm.



1. Yes!

2. Typing error - corrected :)


Minimum times: I agree with Mirjam on 20s for Forward and 15s for Backward, with 10s for Under 11. As a Slow rider of "basic" skill, Backward is definitely more difficult than Forward, so they should be different times. For the kids, 10s is fair enough. Whatever we choose, it should be mandatory for Unicon, and optional for other competitions.

How many Penalties: Allowing an infinite amount is good in terms of being able to crack down on slightly sloppy riders. But at the same time, someone who is pushing the limits to where judges have to take a "mulligan" (guess) more than 10-20 times calls into question whether we are doing this right. Allowing infractions more than 20 times would seem like the rider is taking advantage of the system. At some point you need to be disqualified. But if the top riders believe there should be no limit on penalties, I'm okay with that.

DQ from too many penalties: I agree with Scott about making it clear that if penalties reduce a rider's time to below the minimum time, it id a DQ. If minimum times are not used, this rule would not apply.




With one second subtraction per "micro-error", I don't think it is possible to take advantage of the system.

However, picturing this situation made me wonder: are micro-errors spoken aloud, thus informing the rider during his run about every micro-error occurring? Or will she just hear the total at the end? What if several judges judge the same person, how do they coordinate their penalties?
There must be answers to these questions from practice, as the system has been used.


It is told to the rider after finishing the run. Two judges judge and decide together on the number if errors. Worked out really well in the last competitions.


Do you think top Slow riders would benefit from a sound of some sort, indicating that they have scored a penalty as they ride the board? On the one hand, this would be distracting, but on the other hand it might be seen as useful feedback. I'm thinking of  something like a soft 'buzz' or 'ding', possibly emanating from a cellphone, held in the hand of each judge. For tech nerds, a very simple app could be made that could do that, as well as count how many were sounded during a given run.


No I don’t think that this is necessary. It is more distracting than useful.


Mirjam in her one-but-last post stated that two judges judge and decide together on the number of errors. I guess that getting to this decision requires some discussion between the two judges, which I cannot imagine taking place during the run. That implies that during the run, there are no definitive verdicts on when the penalties were scored (if any).

So even if a rider would benefit from some audible indication of a penalty (which John asks and Mirjam thinks is not the case), those indications cannot be given.


I defer to the experts on the audible indication; distractions should be kept to a minimum. Sounds like we should describe the method for judges to compare their notes and arrive at an agreed-upon number of penalty seconds.


Hi all,

thanks Scott for asking for the input of German slow riders!

Now technical problems are solved and I am glad to be back again for developing the rulebook.

Thanks Mirjam, for trying to explain my opinion, but let me describe the backgrounds in other words.

I really wonder, that some of you, who were in the IUF rulebook committee 2014/15 don't remember the reasons which led us to the current sow race rules.

1. The main problem seems to be, that slow races are again and again compared to the track races, although they are more or less accidentally listed under track races because no one thought about where they could fit in times ago.

Why slow races should not be listed under track races??

- because slow races are judged by humans.

- because you need special experienced judges to judge good riders.

- because track races are comparable to athletics. However slow races are not comparable to athletics, because the main skill of slow races is the "art of balance".

-because track races consist in ride as fast as possible. Slow races consist in not to loose the balance.


2. In the past (competitions held according to rulebook 2012/13) for slow race age group competitions we had officially the same rules for all riders, but practically these same rules for all riders have never been applied, because the realization has not been possible. Let me explain:

For age group competitions we need a lot of judges, but not all judges are qualified at the same level. 

Some judges did refuse to judge good riders. The consequence was that good riders had warmed up and were ready to do their run, but then the judges refused to judge these good riders and refered to qualified judges who would come within 2 or 3 hours. Then the good riders had to wait for these special judges.

Another example, that shows that there were not applied the same rules for all riders in an age group competition:

Sometimes there was only one judge. But when good riders wanted to do their run, the judge said that for good riders 2, 3, 4, or 5 judged are needed. So, there was not the same number of judges for all riders. If there were not enough judges for the good riders at the age group competition, the good riders were not allowed to do their run and they had to wait a lot of time for more judges.

Another problem was that judges, who were not qualified, disqualified automatically all good riders because they didn't had any idea how to judge. 

Therefore, some good riders arranged a certain hour private and unofficially with qualified judges during the age group competition to be judged by these selected judges. Other good riders who didn't know about the arranged hour, had to wait a lot of time or They were disqualified by a not qualified judge.

3. because of these problems for example at unicon16 there were a lot of protests. 

At Unicon17 thee condition to have slow races again at an Unicon was to create a new system, which should avoid all these injustices. (the current IUF rules for slow races) were developed.!!!

According to the current rulebook, riders who have already reached a result of 45/40s or better at another competition, have the possibility to start at an expert competition/final where they have one team of qualified judges for all riders. So, the current rules  only make official and transparent for all riders, what in the past was done in an unofficial, intransparent and private way for some riders

Good riders had not to start at the age group competition/qualification round because there were so much disadvantage.This disadvantages are nearly impossible to avoid, because of the great number of judges, needed. 

These rules can not be compared with rules for track races, because in an age group competition good riders are not disadvantaged and we don't need separate judges for good riders in track races!!!

Please don't touch these current rules, which had been applied successfully since 2014, at unicon 17, union 18 and union 19, and at ec unicycling 2017 and unioec 2015!!!

If now you go back, ignoring the the development to a satisfactory situation for good riders, and make them start again in the qualification round/age group competition, that would mean to get back to the problems of the past that caused a lot of protests. 

@ Miriam:

If the problem ist that there are too much finalists/expert riders, the host can set the qualification time for the finals/expert competition on a higher level. For example, that was done for EC Unicycling 2017.

The host can also set the qualification time on a lower level for smaller championships. That was done for some regional championships in Germany.

5. At the Italian championships in 2018, riders were asked to decide with their registration if they want to compete in the expert competition or in the age group competition. 

That´s not according to the current IUF rulebook, but this realization of a slow race competition shows that the host knows about the backgrounds of the current IUF slow race rules and about the problems in terms of these disciplines in the past. 

So, the expert riders cold get an expert competition with qualified judges. 

In addition, for the expert competition signed in only riders who had a realistic chance to win an expert medal, because the other riders tried to get an age group medal. So, the expert competition didn't take a lot of time, and there were about 5 expert riders.

If you really want to reintroduce age group competitions for slow races, the rules applied at the mentioned championship in Italy would be the only option to have a fair competition for expert and age group riders, because these rules also make official what in in the past was done in an unofficial way.



<Sound of a mental explosion; pieces of all the discussion above falling all around us>

Thank you for the history lesson, it was needed!

Based on Ana's explanation, I think this event would work better as an elective Expert event than by having a Finals, due to the situation with judging. This would work fine on its own, but what if somebody does tremendously well in Age Group and qualifies for the Expert group? Should they be allowed to be re-judged with the experts? And if so, should their age group placing be deleted in favor of taking a chance at an overall medal?

Option 1: If yes to any of that, I recommend that this be the choice of the rider. The rider gets informed that they are eligible to compete with the Experts, but to do so, their age group results would not be counted. The reason for doing this is to keep the really good Slow riders from competing in the Age Group event. They can keep their age group result, or try for a medal in the Expert round, but not both.

Option 2: As discussed above, everyone can enter their age group, and their results will be counted. Plus they will qualify for the Expert round (in this case it would be called Finals). But according to Ana, this might not work, or might have to be scheduled into a specific timeframe where the top judges would be available to judge them. But that seems like a duplication of effort.

Option 3: Riders have to make their choice ahead of time, like in Freestyle. As explained above, this is really not a Track event (we should probably stop calling it a race; see below); it has more in common with Freestyle anyway. Riders can either choose to do really well in their age group, or "go for the gold" in the Expert group, just like Freestyle.

Why we've treated it like a Track event: The "Slow Race" developed over the years, from something much more race-like. At my first-ever National Unicycle Meet (Kokomo, Indiana 1980), the Slow Race was done in the gym, perhaps because it was raining outside, and the rain created a lot of havoc in the 2.5 schedule, which included a pre-existing full-scale, traditional parade through town. Anyway, two lines were marked on the floor for a 30' distance (10 yards), each rider had their own judge, who followed behind them, and everybody started at the same time. It was a MUCH less formal event than today, and the judging was basically completely random. There is video of this in the documentary film that was made at that convention (which I don't have, and needs to be digitized!) 

Subsequent to that, it was always done on "Track day", as these conventions were still 2-3 day events. Even as the conventions grew longer, it kept its place at the track because it used the same starting post and stopwatch equipment, and riders could do it during down-time between races. Perhaps part of why it has stayed connected to Track is the name, "Race".

Time for a re-name? I think yes, way overtime. This probably belongs in its own proposal, but only if people think the idea has merit. Suggestions are welcome, but I offer a few below. Please note that names are meaningful. A name that is accurate is not necessarily a good thing. NAUCC is an example of a terrible, awful name for something that's wonderful. So please recognize that the way we name things will affect how people think of them:
- Forever Race
- 10m Non-Stop (or just Non-Stop)
- Balance in Motion
- Slow Balance
- Moving Statue, Rolling Statue



Comment on Ana's post:

1. I partly agree. In Slow races, stillstand and downhill gliding (which are all listed under "Track other") there are clear criteria for who should be the winner (e.g. the slowest person or the person being able to stand still for the longest time). This is not the case in freestyle (which is also judged by judges).

2. I have participated in many slow races before the new rule was invented and I have never made bad experience. Probably Unicon 16 is the only example where riders where sent away from judge to judge (which of course should not happen). However, I think a huge influence comes from the race director. If he/she clearly instructs judges (e.g. always 2 per board,...) then problems like in Brixen can easily be avoided.

3. The problem with "different judges" is not solved by giving the very slow riders the possibility to use a result which they already achieved. Who says that these results are all judged by the same people? I don't think so and then it's also not comparable. Example: Ana reaches her qualification time at EC2017 judged by two different people than I (who achieve my qualification time at Unicon 19).

4. It will not help to set up the qualification time. At Unicon 18 we had 4 competitors in slow backward male. If we make the qualification time even higher then even less competitors will be able to compete in the final and I'm not in favor of having a lot of female and almost no male riders.

5. no comment here



@John: Thanks for explaining the background, because times ago slow races were listed under track races.

Now we should list slow races ans stillstand (maybe downhill gliding too) in an own category as it was done for jumps too, because always comparing with track races doesn't help us developing these disciplines.

Indeed, we had 4 times (Unicon17, Unicon18, Unioec 2015, EC Unicycling 2017) an own discipline director for slow races and stillstand, because the track race director didn't feel competent enough to realize slow races, stillstand and track races.

It seems important to me that slow races and stillstand will be listed in an own category and not under freestyle or urban to have separat  directors.

I like your idea to rename slow races something like "slow ride", but most I like the idea of "slow balance".


For Slow race, there are objective criteria to determine the winner, unlike in Freestyle. In that respect, Slow race is more like Track racing than it is like Freestyle.

In practice, Slow race depends on human judges. But as we have discussed, this is not inherently required. In theory and with more development also in practice, the no-stop rule and the 45 degree rule can be judged electronically. A prototype has been demonstrated years ago already. And as John mentioned, other approaches can be envisaged.

Now I agree that using such technology in competition is currently not feasible yet. But once it is, this takes away most if not all of the reasons for the current exceptional rules in Slow race.
And not only that! It would take away the need to rely on judges who will never judge the same. This also holds for so-called experienced judges.

In Track racing, the rules to detemine who wins a race are also objective. In the early days of Track racing, adherence to these rules was judged by human judges. Over the years, technical systems have been developed like false start monitoring, electronic timing with light beams, and finish cameras. With these systems, most Track rules are now checked objectively, and no-one wants to go back to judging by eye.

The Slow community is slow (no pun intended) to support development of such technical systems, even though the possibilities clearly exist. For reasons I don't understand, many of them desire to hold on to human judges with all the associated problems.


I think the Slow Racing community would not be so slow to adopt a technology-based judging system; it would just have to work. People who like riding slow aren't necessarily app developers or hardware expert, and vice-versa. How to motivate tech nerds to make something for slow racers? Free tickets to watch the competition perhaps?  Zzzzzz.     :-P

For splitting Slow/Still into their own section, perhaps we could include Gliding and Coasting? They are also not the same but don't fit well with Track either. Actually Coasting probably does, as it's often held on the same track. And Gliding can theoretically be also done on the track, though I don't know if anyone has ever done a Track Gliding competition, since Track Coasting is much more interesting...

I thought of a better name: Slowstand. It's like a Stillstand, but you can't stand still. Makes perfect sense for an activity like unicycle riding.  :-)



First of all I would like to say that I would support John's suggestion to rename the discipline to 100%. "Balance Riding" or "Slow Balance Riding" would in my opinion be names that would describe the discipline perfectly, because as Ana has already written, it is essentially about balance.

I wouldn't regard the disciplines as "races", but like Mirjam has already written, they are listed in the rulebook in the category "Track: Other" and not under "Track: Races". Maybe it would be useful to give the category a more meaningful name (e.g. "Track: Technical Disciplines"), but this leads us too far away from the actual topic. And I think the discipline fits quite well in the track category - reasons for that have already been mentioned.

Even though I consider many of Ana's arguments to be plausible at the first moment, in my opinion they are no real arguments against the proposed changes at the second moment. Because the problem what Ana describes is obviously not in the old rules but in the fact that the judges are no adequate qualified / trained at the events. And in my opinion the only way to handle it is to qulify and train the judges properly. Also in other disciplines it's a no go that the judges are not properly trained. Furthermore, there is the possibility to further develop the technical equipment and thus eliminate all problems mentioned.


Balance Riding is also a great idea for a rename. My favorite so far, as long as it's stuck in the "Track" category, is Forever Race.  :-)

Regarding poorly trained judges, this is not a one-off, and happens to a certain degree at most every large convention I have ever attended. People who volunteer to do a given post, are given minimal information about the event they are running, and are doing their best often end up making up their own rules. They may not even know there's a detailed Rulebook that some of us have slaved over. This is definitely a problem, but I don't know how to fix it, other than to offer as much help as possible to organizers.

Also when you find out the people running the Gliding hill, for example, have no idea what they're doing, but they aren't happy about being criticized, you can make people angry, or even walk away from their volunteer posts because they are embarrassed. It's important to be diplomatic when you realize someone is doing it wrong. But it can be hard when their boss, the Race Director, for instance, is at a totally different facility and can't be consulted in a timely manner.

I would go so far as to say everybody who is going to be in charge of a "standalone" event, such as Gliding, which isn't near any other event, needs to have access to a full Rulebook onsite, and ultimately will have received just the relevant sections from the Rulebook so they can know those without having to wade through a much larger document. But those relevant sections must be complete; not just the Gliding section, for example, because they have to know about required safety gear, how the start is supposed to work, age groups and more.


Slow balance is fine for me.

I will revise that in the proposal whichh leads to another 3 days of discussion and them set the proposal to vote.

thanks for all your inputs!


I think there must be "slow" in the name of this discipline. Obviously, you can't have every aspect in the name of any discipline but to me, riding slow is the core aspect of this event.


The first two sentences of 3B.6.4 in your new text are contradictory in terms of the board width.
Also, in my opinion the last part of the second sentence is vague.
Thirdly, the “race” distance is not explicitly mentioned. The board length is mentioned, but this does not determine the “race” length. In practice, the board is somewhat longer than 10 meters to allow a proper start, it’s the distance between start and finish that is 10 meters. In my text suggestion below below, I don’t specify board length.

Text suggestion:
In Slow Balance Forward, the rider rides a distance of 10 meters in a continuous forward motion as slowly as possible without stopping, going backward, hopping or twisting more than 45 degrees to either side. Any age group with riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 15 cm wide. Any age group with no riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 30 cm wide at Unicon; in other conventions the host may choose to use either a 15 cm wide board or a 30 cm wide board for this age group.
- - - - -
For 3B.6.4.1 I had offered a re-write. Here it is:
The position of the unicycle during Slow Balance is defined by the tire contact point. In Slow Balance, the rider starts behind the starting line. On command by the starter, the rider has 10 seconds to start forward motion and let go off the starting post. The timer starts recording time when the tire contact point crosses the starting line. At this moment, the rider may not be in contact with the starting post anymore. Timers must watch the hands and the feet/wheel at the same time at that moment. The time stops when the tire contact point crosses the finish line.

(Note that I have deleted the part after the last comma. This makes it identical to the start where it is also about the tire contact point crossing the line. If a rider rides really slow, the touching of the ground after the end of the board will occur AFTER the crossing of the finish line, which in fact makes the "race" longer than 10 meters.)
- - - - -
3B.6.5, third bullet, Text suggestion (similar to 3B.6.4):
Any age group with riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 30 cm wide. Any age group with no riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 60 cm wide at Unicon; in other conventions the host may choose to use either a 30 cm wide board or a 60 cm wide board for this age group.


Mirjam started this discussion because of the simply reason that the finals would take too much time.

The current rules give to the discipline director possibilities to handle this imagined situation:

These possibilities are:

- Set the qualification time on a higher level (as ist was done at EC Unicycling 2017) or

- set different qualification times for male and female (as it was done at EC Unicycling 2017) and

- allow only pre qualification times no older than 3 years.

Please consider that the current rules worked very well the last 4 Unicons without protests. It´s not responsible to destroy now the current rules because of an imagined problem. Going back to the old rules, wich don't allow pre qualifications, we will have the problems of the past again next year in Grenoble.

@Mirjam: Your opinion is that the problems of the past can be solved by the influence of the discipline director. Actual, for EC Unicycling 2019 where less than 200 riders compete in slow races, it might be possible.

But our next Unicon in Grenoble will be again near by Germany, like Brixen. In Brixen we had about of 500 riders for slow races. If you will rank age groups again, we even will have more than 500. In Brixen, we also had a very good workshop for judges but as I described in my comment 5 days ago, due to the great number of qualification round/ age group riders a lot of additional volunteers were needed to judge.!!!(More, than 40 judges were needed. 3 boards: 15 cm, 30 cm and 60 cm x 2 judges = 6. Six judges x 20 hours open, that was the case of Brixen!,  impossible to handle with qualified judges!!! Therefore, we had the problems that I described 5 days ago. 

We are not developing rules for a small european competition where we have less than 200 riders but let us think in UNICON terms like Grenoble, where more riders are expected.

Please do´t forget that since the current rules were applied, we have the best riders in the finals, because they were not disqualified  in the qualification round/age group competition by not qualified judges.


Another problem for Mirjam seems to be that in the finals/expert competition we have more female than male riders.

It has to be considered that slow races are disciplines wich are practiced seriously by more female riders than male riders. The same situation we have in freestyle. (At Unicons there are always more freestyle-expert starting places for female than for male riders.) However, in urban disciplines we have a greater number of male riders, What´s the problem?

If we start again to compare slow races with track races, and the 8 best male riders start in the Expert competition/final we have results that are comparable with "normal riding" and not with the main skill, to keep the balance. With "normal riding" I mean a result of 20  or 30 sec.

The idea to have at all costs a number of 8 finalists comes from comparing slow races again with track races. The final will not take less time, but even more time because we will have a greater number of finalists and not a smaller one as you wish!!! We had never a total of more than 16 finalists (male and female) with the current rules.

So, I am totally against to replace the possibility of pre- qualification by a final with the best 8 female and the best 8 male riders.


2014 we had a long discussion in terms of age groups for slow races (in the future: "slow balance"). Fact is that there are less riders who train seriously slow races than for example track races. Therefore, in certain age and gender groups its very easy to get a medal by performing the skill of a normal riding on a board, as it is required for IUF skill level 1, for example with a result of 20 sec. But the main skill of "not to loose the balance" is required for results grater than 28 or 30sec.

Therefore, age groups with a minimum of 10, 15 or 20 sec. doesn't make any sense.


I don't like this disrespectful way of talking about performances of "20 or 30 sec". I'm sure that for a lot of riders it is very difficult just to keep the balance while riding over the narrow board - and this is definitely not the same as riding like in Skill Level 1. So of course age groups with a minimum of 10, 15 or 20 sec. make sense!

The big disadvantage of setting times in advance for reaching the final is that you never know what level of performance actually prevails in a competition and therefore you never know in advance what performance the best riders in the competition will achieve. And I personally think it's much better if the best riders in a competition always have the opportunity to compete in a final / expert competition.


Thanks Klaas for your useful input. When I have faster wifi I will try to update it again.

Jan, I agree with you. 30s is a very good performance and it should not be pushed down as then we will have no more young riders who do slow races.

I do not see any further problems with the judges (by the way it‘s also for freestyle where you need a lot of qualified people and it always works).

I guess our main aim is to make the rules better for the majority of riders and not for one or two single ones.


I think we need to be careful that we don't take an elitist view on the Slow (Balance) discipline.
In my opinion, we shouldn't do this for any discipline. The events that we make the Rulebook for, draw a broad audience in term of riding "levels". And yes, that includes Unicon.

I just looked up the results for Age Groups of the last Unicon in 2018.

For Slow Forward, there were 9 Age Groups (4 female and 5 male), and indeed 9 x 3 = 27 age group medals.
Of those 27 results, 9 were below 20 seconds, and even 13 were below 30 seconds.

For Slow Backward, there were the same 9 Age Groups.
There were 11 medal results below 20 seconds, and even 21 below 30 seconds.

I think that for any discipline it is reasonable to consider an Age Group medal winner in a World Championship a good rider.
This implies that in most age groups, 20 seconds (let alone 30 seconds) is a good result for Slow, and certainly worthy of recognition.


In the latest proposal text, I think the revision that has been made to 3B.6.4 should also be carried over to the third bullet of 3B.6.5. Suggested (complete) text for the third bullet:

Any age group with riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 30 cm wide. Any age group with no riders of 11 years or older must use a board of 60 cm wide at Unicon; in other conventions the host may choose to use either a 30 cm wide board or a 60 cm wide board for this age group.


I added that but I just couldn‘t mark it in bold on my phone. (And forgot to delete the other text)

I‘m glad someone checks that on the computer


Sorry, I overlooked some text indeed. I only responded to the text to be deleted (which has now been done).

Yet, on the new version I have two remarks:

1. In an earlier version, the minimum valid result for Backward for young riders was 10 seconds. I personally would prefer to keep this. As your proposal stands now, in Forward it is 15 or 20 seconds depending on age, in Backward it is 15 seconds for everyone.

2. I think it is better to split the third bullet in two bullets, one about board width and one about minimum time (in this order, like it was in the old rule).


I think it‘s ok now. I just can‘t make italics but the rest should be fine


I am not easily satisfied :-)

From the third bullet we can delete
"Riders who don’t reach this threshold are automatically DQ. If your net time after penalties brings you below the minimum time, you are also DQ. For other competitions than Unicon, the host may adjust the threshold to a lower time or have no threshold at all."
(Because there is no difference with Forward.)

Also, we need the italics in the Rulebook. And to avoid misunderstandings, preferably in the proposal as well. But I understand you cannot do that on your phone.
Maybe Connie can edit the proposal and add italics in the appropriate places (that is, in the seconds and cm values in the last two bullets?

Otherwise, I agree the proposal is fine.


I take note that nobody is interested in the experiences of Unicon16 and that the problems are simply negated.

At Unicon16 we had very professional organizers. The organizers did absolutely their best, nevertheless they had the problems as I described. 

@Mirjam: It seems that you don't know that in freestyle each age group is judged by the same judging team, that means, that judges cannot change within an age group. So, if we have age groups at an Unicon, you should think about having the same judging team for each age group too, to exclude privat deals between riders and the judges by whom they want to be judged. This unsatisfactory situation has been stopped by the current rules. 

@Jan: If you want to keep slow races listed by track races because we have there a category named "other", we should be coherent and stopp to compare slow races with track races: 8 finalists because we have 8 lanes on a track......is no argument, because its not comparable.

By the way, I know riders who have never trained slow races but perform results of 35sec. or more, trying the first time.

@Klaas: Anyway, what result is honored by a medal depends of the number of age groups and how the age groups are formed. You can have 2, 3, 4 or more age groups and therefor different numbers of medals.


For Mirjam it seems to be a problem that previous results are judged by different judges. I want to explain you that pre- qualified riders were judged in a final by a competent judging team. It´s obvious that these are not the same persons, but judges of a final are the most qualified judges we have. However, this is not the case of age group judges. Therefore, we really should 

- allow previous results (not older than 3 years)


- separate between age group and expert competition.

The main problem we had in the past, was that riders with 12" had been unjustly disqualified in age group competition because o the 45°-angle- problem. The judges were not competent enough. 

By the way, this is not my case, but we are developing rules for all riders!



The proposal looks good. Couple of concerns:

In the first paragraph we give dimensions for the board, but don't speak of how we judge a tire that goes off the side. My understanding has been that the tire may overlap the edge of the board, as long as it never contacts the ground. This would make a thick board more friendly than a thin board. I don't think we need to specify a thickness (or minimum thickness), but we should be clear on what counts as a violation along the edges. I recommend something like "Tires may overlap the edges of the board, but if the tire contacts the ground next to the board, that would be the end of that attempt."

Under Penalty Rules, examples listed are twisting and vibrations of the wheel, but doesn't directly address the main thing Slow Judges watch for, which is borderline stops and backward motions of the wheel/cranks. When we say "micro-errors" this implies to me that tiny stops, or tiny rearward movements are the main cause of need for this penalty section. I'm not sure of how to write it, but I think we must address that part first, followed by the less common twisting, and vibrations.

The Penalty Rules are listed as "optional", but it doesn't give guidance on when that would traditionally be used or not used. At large conventions, and especially Unicon, I think it would be absolutely necessary unless your pool of judges are really, really consistent with each other. So I suggest we either say the Penalty Rules "will" be used for Unicon, and are recommended for any competition where there is a large pool of judges" (or something similar).

Lastly, the final sentence was unclear to me. If we have a "reliable objective detection system" available, and in use, we should not need to use that penalty section. Assuming our detection system is indeed reliable and objective, it should replace the need for Penalty Rules. Or perhaps we can word it to allow for an imperfect detection system, if we get stuck with one that's really good, but not quite perfect?


About an edge rule: agree.

About Penalty: I agree that borderline stops and other-direction-movement is the main issue in Slow Balance riding. But isn't this what is meant by vibration? If not, what is?

About when to use Penalty rules: I tend to agree. I learned only recently (through this discussion) that the Penalty rules have been used successfully several times in the last few years.

I tend to agree to the last point, too. Penalties for micro-erros are a way to deal with judges who aren't sure if a twist was 44 or 46 degrees, or if the tyre rotated backward for just a little bit or not. Obviously, one problem is that a system that does this reliably and objectively doesn't exist yet (although it has been prototyped). A potentially bigger problem, however, is how you define an error to be signalled by such a technical system if we had a choice. I mean, if in one particular second one micrometer of distance is covered (in the correct direction), does that count as an illegal stillstand? Any human judge would call it that. My point is that even with a perfect theoretical system, a case can be made for micro-errors. Heck, if you look close enough, it appears that the position and speed of the wheel cannot be determined with infinite accuracy, although the accuracy could far exceed that of a human judge. Oh well, I'm rambling.


Slow judging will never be perfect, especially with human judging. If there weren't a group of enthusiastic riders who love doing this event, I would have walked away long ago. So the Penalty Rules give us a little "wiggle room" to keep a rider from disqualifying for what some riders would consider a violation but others would not. We hope. And we are told that this works.

Someday we will probably have a renewed interest by someone to develop a method for more "objective" judging using a device attached to the wheel, or observing from outside the uni. Once these are in the test phase, we can start deciding on the criteria that will work for them, based on what we have. And, in future, the technology will no doubt improve, at which time we will have a language to use for describing the unwanted movements, and the measurements we set as limits for them. It'll take a while to sort itself out.


BTW, I don't know what is meant by "vibration". Most forms of vibration are too small to see, and must be heard or felt. So maybe we just need to replace that word with something that covers "micro-errors".


I agree with the overlap on edges and added it to the proposal.

penalty rules were used at all bigger conventions since they are in the rulebook. Nevertheless I added a part where we say it is recommended that...

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