Please note: This blog post has been updated to reflect current event names.
The Chaise in its final location of 2018, at JayP's Gravel Pursuit...
It was such a privilege to travel the country with “The Chaise” this past gravel season, meeting so many riders and learning of their inspirations and motivations, seeing some successfully battle inner demons, and so many rise up to complete what should rightfully be considered difficult rides.
Bikes represent a common ground, no matter if you’re a Type-A-hammer frequenting Strava and aiming at personal bests, or if you’re a casual cyclist who just enjoys the feeling of rolling around under your own human power, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors. After all, we are each unique, and so are our reasons for riding bikes.
Chase The Chaise really allowed us to enter ‘the family rooms’ of the widely diverse gravel scene that our nation is cultivating. Having been around the cycling block for a while now, I believe we are in a new and important time. The gravel scene is and has become, perhaps, the best melding of competition and non-competition I’ve yet seen in the cycling world.
At the front, there are extremely talented cyclists truly attempting to win, or to find pride in how fast they successfully accomplish the ride. Behind them is the larger group of riders, the vast majority, that are applying as much or more effort while competing against the course, fending off the difficulties that arise to bike, body, and spirit, and battling the preconceived notions about what they are truly capable of. What an honor to stand near The Chaise, sharing a laugh, some encouragement, seeing people find satisfaction in something so simple as an elegant couch on a gravel road, and helping to capture a moment in time to be shared with family and friends.
I’ve got a lot of fun memories from the 2018 Chase The Chaise events, among them:
These guys started us off right at the Mid South 100...thanks for stopping guys!
None of the leading racers that stopped for their photo lost their race. (Yes, that’s me subtly shaming a few folks for not taking a 10-second stop to let us capture their moment.)
When the Salsa van is a rocking, you can come a knocking. It was only rocking because of the massive storm blowing in an hour before the Unbound Gravel 200 start!
Risa was one of the riders at Unbound Gravel that missed a turn and wound up at The Chaise early, but turned around, and tacked on extra miles to correct her mistake...well done, Risa...
I was inspired seeing riders who’d made a wrong turn, thereby shortcutting their races, turn around to correct their mistakes, adding as many as 10 miles, but keeping it honest, and returning to The Chaise for a second time for their portrait.
Learning that the reason one woman displayed a scar on her abdomen was to celebrate “a family portrait” with the kidney donated by her brother.
Having countless numbers of riders ask if anyone had yet done the Costanza pose? To be clear, you can never have too many Costanzas.
Seeing a rider walk and coast downhill for many, many miles with a broken freehub, just to make it to The Chaise at the Mid South 100.
Being spooked by Chaise photographer Scott Haraldson through his clever hiding of a Blue Tooth speaker in the woods of Michigan, softly playing the banjo music from Deliverance. Well played, sir.
Becoming an honorary member of the Cutters team alongside The Chaise. Thanks for the surprise, ladies!
Having my pronunciation of the The Chaise corrected at both Unbound Gravl and Gravel Pursuit by Bert! Repeat after me; Le Chaiz…
Perfect placement at Coast To Coast in Michigan where riders at night suddenly turned a corner and saw The Chaise glowing in the night!
Northwoods Splits surprise!
Gameday decision to satisfy both the 60 and 120-milers at Le Grand Du Nord, and surprising them with that news on the start line.
Families that ride together, thrive together!
Seeing two families of mom, dad, and child, each complete the 60-mile Gravel Pursuit, one with 9-year-old and the other with an infant in a trailer!
And hearing the warm hoots and hollers of so many riders as they realized they’d reached The Chaise, and were ready for their portraits.
Shellshocked at the Coast To Coast...classic!
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil at the Unbound Gravel 200...classic!
In a dark place during the inaugural Unbound Gravel XL...classic!
Not a grizzly, but a rare gravely bear sighting in Idaho...classic!
The floating head at Coast To Coast...classic!
Well placed Chaise at Le Grand Du Nord...classic!
My thanks to all of the event promoters (Bobby, Crystal, Mark, Matt, Jeremy, Jim, Kristi, Tim, Lelan, Jay, and Tracey) that welcomed The Chaise, and my thanks to all who stopped for a photo and let us be a part of their ride.
I’m excited to announce that for 2019, The Chaise returns!
It might not look exactly the same as when you last saw it, but it will be back.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.