RUMFORD – Ten days from today, a 2004 graduate of SAD 43’s Mountain Valley High School will compete with more than 100 world-class unicycle riders in a unique, international unicycle race unlike any ever held.

Despite the intimidation factor of competing against world-record holders in “Ride the Lobster,” to Peru native Max DeMilner, 21, of Farmington, racing in the 500-mile five-day ride across Nova Scotia that starts June 16 means fame and glory.

A shot at $10,000 in prize money, free food and entertainment, and being greeted like conquering heroes by townspeople and children along the route is OK, too.

“Schoolchildren in a town called New Germany made something for us and, as we ride through the town, they will ring bells for us,” DeMilner said Wednesday morning. “And at one town, there will be a costumed fisherman and giant lobster to welcome us in.”

There’s also a free lobster feast for teams at the end of the June 16-20 race, although DeMilner said he’ll eat something else; he doesn’t like lobster.

The race follows DeMilner’s 720-mile unicycle ride across New England in 2006 and his brother Kyle’s trek-progress tracking Web site.

The event also gives Max DeMilner a rare chance to ride with Kyle, 25, of Philadelphia, and their dad, Charles DeMilner, 49, of Flagstaff, Ariz.

As Team Unicycle Max, the trio is the only all-family team competing out of 35 teams from across the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Because each three-person riding team must have a support person, the DeMilners will be joined by Max’s trainer/girlfriend, Courtney Bengston, 20, of Farmington.

Although Max admits he’s already dealing with racing anxiety, Bengston believes he’ll settle down and do well.

“I think they’ll be in the top 10 because they all have different strengths that complement each other,” she said, mentioning the elder DeMilner’s stamina, her boyfriend’s speed, and his brother’s hill-climbing ability.

Max DeMilner has trained almost daily since last fall, riding his unicycle everywhere. He also works out in the gym at the University of Maine at Farmington where he is majoring in philosophy when he’s not at work as a Rite-Aid pharmacist in Farmington.

Despite working 8 to 9 hours daily, a typical training day consists of unicycling back and forth from home to work, riding during his lunch break, then hitting the gym after work for strength training.

He’s also increased his protein and pasta intake to build strength and quick energy.

“Just now, I feel ready to ride, and I didn’t think I’d get to this point. I’m in great shape, my legs are strong and I can crank up the hills and keep going, so, let’s roll,” Max DeMilner said.

During each day or stage, teams will complete nearly 100 miles by riding individually in several shifts ranging from between half an hour to an hour per shift.

Regarding the race – he scouted the route last September – Max DeMilner said the toughest part is the last stage – a 110-mile ride across the hilliest and most difficult terrain on Cape Breton Island.

“One reason they chose such difficult terrain and a stage as long as it is, was, ‘Oh, we’re bringing in so many top athletes from around the world’ – including a couple of New Zealand record holders and half a dozen world champions – and they wanted to leave humbled.

“But, this is going to be the longest, biggest, most grueling unicycle race in history, and I don’t think anyone’s taking it lightly,” he said.


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