Ride. Race. Chase.

In March 2018, Salsa Cycles introduced a beautiful chaise lounge and issued this simple clarion call:

Salsa Cycles celebrates the culture of the gravel cycling movement. Through grassroots and DIY efforts, the calendar of high-quality gravel races continues to grow, and so too does the number of B-Road fanatics that travel, support, ride and race together throughout the year. This season, at five events across the country, we'll be giving racers a chance to relax – if just for a minute – to immortalize a moment of their day and their participation in a fantastic event.

One luxurious lounge. One photographer. Five different gravel family rooms. Dirt, sweat, and tears from thousands of riders across the land. Photographic portraits to capture it all.

My gravel season was originally supposed to start and end at Land Run 100: The redemption tour. https://salsacycles.com/culture/return_to_red_dirt_preparing_for_a_return_to_land_run_100

Then, I was invited and encouraged to try to collect a Chaise patch at all five, and an epic whirlwind season of gravel resulted. I’m pleased that I was able to meet the goal of completing each event, but am more thankful for all the other things those gravel rides brought me.

Looking back at the countless images and revisiting words shared between me and my fellow riders prepping for each event, it’s so strange how this season was like a high school relationship in so many ways—at times hot and heavy, and other times cold and stormy, often passionate, and always emotional. I have to thank Crystal and Bobby Wintle for the Land Run 100 Field Notes book we received in our schwag bag this year, which I carried with me on every ride and in which I captured some of the stream of consciousness in real time.

Just visit chasethechaise.com if you want to get an essence of these feelings from each distinctive ride, what the weather was like each day; how my gear, setup, even bike changed from ride to ride; my general demeanor when I made it to the Chaise. See the Coast To Coast and Dirty Kanza photos, in particular, get progressively darker as you scroll through them.

“If you make it to the Chaise, you can make it to the finish.” Famous last words at each of the Chase the Chaise rider meetings, courtesy of Salsa’s marketing content manager and chief storyteller, Mike Riemer. Except at this last event, the one in Idaho, the one that somehow seemed like I didn’t need to train as much for (stupidly), the Chaise surprised us all.

I racked up 760 miles of “think” and “me” time this season, and that’s just during the events. I’ve often spoken about how cathartic gravel riding is, how you truly find yourself in all parts of “God’s country,” even if you’re not the least bit spiritual. How if you take the time to look around, you’ll be awed by the massive gift Mother Nature gives. How you go to your deepest lows and your highest highs all in the matter of hours.

In this light, of course, the course that’s resonating in my brain is that of JayP’s Gravel Pursuit in Idaho.

Jay Petervary’s reasoning behind calling his event a “pursuit,” as opposed to a ride or a race, resounded in my brain not just during, but after the 120 miles teetering the Idaho/Montana border in late September. “Not every rider will come across the finish line first,” he said, “but my hope is every rider succeeds in their pursuit, however that is defined. Each of you is pursuing something.”

This epitomizes my experience on gravel in 2018. Generally, I choose to ride, not race, these endurance events—the goal is always to finish. This is how I’d describe my season; not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself, to reach that luxurious couch each time—but most importantly to finish.

Perhaps the most appropriate word for my take on Jay’s philosophy of this style of riding is ‘Chase’.

So I’ll go ahead and challenge you all as you’re planning your 2019 race calendars: Consider a Chase event. Perhaps, consider all six in 2019. Because whatever you choose to pursue, it’s nice to have the memories—the words, the images, the feels—that go along with it.

Cheers to the Chase.

 Among my favorite memories from my 2018 Chase…

Reasons I ride: Photos of my family were reminders along the Chase …

All five Chase the Chaise patches …

Training—best when written down …

When you just want to crawl under the couch and cry—at DK …

When you only have a minute to eat, and only a cold pizza at that—thanks, Mike Riemer, for giving us the Chase …

My hubby Scott is my perpetual tailwind—and the Chase photographer! At Michigan Coast to Coast …

After Land Run 100, there were only a handful of people we knew of who had a shot at the five-pack, and fellow Minnesotan Mark Seaburg was one of them. We yo-yo’d most of the Chase, and it was by pure unfortunate luck that he isn’t also atop this podium with me. Here we are entering Montana at Jay P’s Gravel Pursuit …

Mark Seaburg knows the meaning of Chase—along the way, he inspired me more than he knows. Nothing hurt my heart more than to see his sad face when heatstroke got the best of his passionate heart. My money’s on Mark in 2019 …

Smiling faces at any point in a long ride are welcome beyond belief …

Of every adrenaline rush that seeing the Chaise signs elicited this year, none were more magical than the Chaise Crew at DK. Thank you for the energy, even after dark on a long day at the Chaise…

To be one of the faces on the “wallpaper” for any given Chase ride is truly an honor …

This post filed under topics: Gravel Laura Haraldson Ultra Racing

Share this post:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Haraldson

Laura Haraldson

Running and mountain biking with her dogs in the great outdoors—rain or shine, winter or summer—are two of the things you’ll find me doing when I’m not gathering inspiration from my daughters, Ella, Cora and Lili. I have a recent fascination with wellness topics that include circuit training, TRX, HIIT and any other fitness acronym of the day—a simmering-beneath-the-surface competitive edge means I’m willing to try any form of exercise once. Helping my husband Scott’s wedding and lifestyle photography biz offers a bit of creative balance to my everyday routine.

COMMENTS (0)

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
}