(‘Field Notes’ – the process for POC to record, fine tune and confirm ideas with athletes and leaders in their spheres of expertise.)
“Stimulating emotions just from drawing a line”
This Chris Burkard quote relates to the first recorded 1000km traverse of the Icelandic interior in 2020. It is short, but it is overflowing with experiences.
It was a journey that had never been attempted on a bike previously. It had not even been drawn on the map. But it perfectly sums up the feeling that when you take on such a challenge you know that you will take yourself beyond your known boundaries, no matter how well you prepare.
And it’s exactly the kind of insight which makes people like Chris Burkard unique, and so special to examine ideas with.
Chris Burkard is already an inspiration to many. An accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author. He may be best known for images of untamed, powerful landscapes, and he strives to share his vision of wild places with millions of people, to inspire them to explore for themselves.
Traveling throughout the year to pursue the farthest expanses of Earth, Chris Burkard works to capture stories that inspire humans to consider their relationship with nature, while promoting the preservation of wild places everywhere.
Chris forms many of his experiences in landscapes which are lightly touched by human presence. What this means in practice is that there is no back up to call on. If something breaks it will need to be fixed there and then.
Better still is knowing that what you take will not break, and Chris goes to extremes to test his equipment before embarking on a journey as you always want to travel as light, and confident, as possible.
“You have to think differently when you take on a route or events where there is no civilization. When it’s just the elements how and what to pack becomes critical. There’s no point having the best rain jacket if you can’t get to it before the sky opens, and if you can’t stay warm then it doesn’t really matter how much food you have. Everything is about the small details that need to align perfectly together in extremes.”
Built on countless journeys his insights can pin-point a detail or need with clarity. And when we wanted to discuss some ideas around gravel, ultra-distance and adventure cycling we knew exactly who we wanted to join us.
Sweden is blessed with a rich network of gravel roads and riding together in the inaugural Nordic Gravel event in Bergslagen we were able to discuss first-hand some of the ideas that come from exposure to the extremes of cold, heat, rain, fatigue, hunger, wind or darkness.
“I didn’t know what to think about the Swedish gravel scene. The landscape, the people and the culture was all new to me. What I found there was incredible community, smiles, a little rain and legitimately perfect gravel roads that left me questioning why I hadn’t been there sooner. And then I dove into a day of talking products and design which left me fully inspired by POC’s approach and dedication.”
Material weight, durability, what is the best carrying approach or what should a helmet be useful for, apart from protection are all topics to be deliberated. Is there a detail, such as a lanyard on the Devour Ultra glasses, or the carrying options on the Omne Ultra helmet, that will make a difference?
Sometimes during our field notes we find the answer, sometimes we find more questions, but it’s a process of refinement that brings experiences from far flung places that we can all benefit from, even if we are not drawing a line on a map.
Photos by: Maja Johansson