What Just Happened?

What Just Happened?

Posting here at the RKP World HQ has been off for the last week and for that I apologize. Between the travel, preparations, the actual riding and then the interior destruction of this particular verb herder, well, I’ve left you a little in the dark, not unlike the dark I was riding in Saturday night.

Were I to try to sum up my experience with Dirty Kanza with a single word, I’d roll with immense. The landscape is immense. The distance is immense. The preparation, the planning and the challenge itself, all immense. And the psychological and emotional impact could easily be downplayed, which is why it’s good to stick with a word like immense.

Dirty Kanza will occupy my thoughts and my writing for some time to come. Rather than try to capture the whole of the experience in a single post, I’m going to build a more composite portrait, much like David Hockney’s composites, that were nearly cubist in their multitude of perspective. Honestly, there’s no way I could say everything I want to express in a single post.

The image above should be familiar enough to you in theme and composition, and I suppose in subject as well. Salsa’s Chase the Chaise is, in my humble estimation, everything that’s right about cycling in general and with gravel riding in specific. It’s memorable. It’s playful. And it’s irreverent. For me, cycling has always been about play, about not taking myself too seriously—even though I have been prone to do that. These portraits are nothing so much as an inspiration to engage the world on your terms. It’s the school portrait, but without the administration demanding that boys wear ties and girls wear dresses. Wear what you want. Sit (or not) where you want. Pose how you want. Include what you want.

It’s not just an invitation to show yourself, but it’s a request to open yourself to the world. Tell us who you are.

And who are you? Well there are few occasions presenting a better opportunity for insight into that than a dozen or so miles from the finish of a 200-mile race. After being on the bike for at least 12 hours, no matter who you are, some of the traditional filters, that internal editor who tells you, “Sit up straight; don’t put your feet on the furniture!” just disappear. It might be more accurate to say the id tells them to get lost. A friend asked me what pose I’d do when I got to the chaise and I realized that as much as I wanted to sit for the portrait, I had no idea what I’d do, or even how zany I wanted to get. My pose was what came to me on the spot, and in looking at it now, I see contentment and satisfaction, and maybe a little dollop of bliss, too.

It’s just the sort of message I’d want to send the world about what cycling means to me, if I stopped to think about it.


Image: the ever-awesome Salsa Cycles #chasethechaise

, ,


  1. Neil Winkelmann

    Brilliant shot. I just love that Salsa do this just for giggles (and viral exposure, I guess). No branding, no charge. It’s just an incredibly fun souvenir, and while I said that the Salsa don’t charge $$, that isn’t to say there is no cost of getting one of these photos for the scrapbook.

    Congrats again for a great result, Patrick. Again, a real pleasure to catch up in person.

  2. Toddster

    Such a great picture. I’ve been scrolling through the Salsa pics to try and find you. I have enjoyed the articles and podcasts on your preparation and have been rooting for you from afar. When I hit the RKP site today I first saw your chaise picture before reading a single word and immediately thought, “Padraig looks SO happy!” Great picture and I’m sure a great ride experience. Looking forward to the discussion and articles to come!

    1. Author

      Aw. Thanks so much. I may be a grownup, but we all benefit from validation and compliments. Thanks for being part of our audience.

  3. Scott M.

    Congratulations on completing a massive — dare I say “Epic” — ride. Any event that exceed 8 hours is at a whole different level. You doubled that. So Epic, for sure.

    One gauge for an event’s epicness is how much it consumes you after the fact. I’ve spent hours pouring over maps and blogs and posts for events of magnitude after completing them — true for epic rides, epic vacations, epic accidents. I’m looking forward to hearing the podcast.

    I’m glad you took time to commemorate your experience in the Salsa picture. I’ve yet to see pics of Colin, Amity, Alison, Peter, Ted, Lawson, or Taylor in similar repose. Maybe I’m just browsing in the wrong places or maybe the

  4. Ihan Kim

    Hey P – I introduced myself at the EF water stop that saved our proverbial bacon on Saturday. Glad to see you safe and sound on the other side. We ended up riding in the same vicinity to each other for the last stretch (after the chaise?), but we were in our individual pain caves, and I didn’t have the energy to reintroduce myself. Will look forward to reading your thoughts on the day and the weekend.

    1. Author

      Yeah, that EF water stop was a really critical part of making that day possible. They deserve diamonds or scores unreleased Beatle albums for that. I can’t blame you for not speaking up late that night, but I’d have done my best to make you happy for doing so. Cheers to you for completing a day that took down many strong riders.

  5. Kristi Mohn

    So great to meet you! This little bike race holds a special place in lots of people’s hearts, riders, racers, and fans alike. Thanks for being here. ❤️🙏

    1. Author

      You’re totally awesome Kristi. I can’t wait to have a chance to spend more time with you.

  6. Seano

    “… and in looking at it now, I see contentment and satisfaction, and maybe a little dollop of bliss, too.”

    Yup! Well done – congrats.

  7. Davo

    You did it. That is a fact. Others can speculate and pontificate about how they think it would be or should be.
    You actually did it. Hang onto that. Forever.

  8. Darren

    “….for me, cycling has always been about play, about not taking myself to seriously-even though I have been prone to do that.”

    That sentence embodies everything that I’ve come to love about The Paceline and RKP; a sense of joy about cycling, mixed with brutal honesty and transparency. Keep up the great work. Congrats on DK. AWESOME picture!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *