Yuri Hauswald refers to himself as a diesel when describing power output and his propensity for chewing up insane distances. That’s a fitting, if somewhat self-deprecatory, description for a riding style that has served him well. His diesel engine helped him win 24-hour mountain bike races astride a single speed, powered him to victory at the muddiest Dirty Kanza ever in 2015, and rolled him to 2nd at the inaugural DKXL – a crushing 350-mile effort – at the age of 48 (not that anyone’s counting).
A little more than three decades ago, Yuri entered Berkeley as a lacrosse-playing, self-described meathead. He emerged from Berkeley with a degree in American literature and secured a job teaching English at a prep school in Pennsylvania. It was there that he had a chance encounter with a borrowed GT Zaskar.
It changed everything. From a start in mountain biking involving cutoff jeans and Chuck Taylors, Yuri has progressed through a long and broadly encompassing arc as a cyclist. Mountain biking led him to the crazed fringe of single-speeding, which led him to the masochistic carnival of solo 24-hour racing and subsequently to 100-mile events. Ultimately, this set him up perfectly for gravel racing when that discipline finally evolved out of cycling’s evolutionary stew.
Time marches on, but true style is eternal. Here, Yuri goes into the dirt crusted Zoolander realm, with this pair of contrasting images taken a decade apart at two separate Single Speed World Championships. Photo by Brian Vernor
“Turns out I was half-decent at going in circles for 24 hours,” Yuri recalls, “and I won the 24 Hours of Adrenalin at Laguna Seca in 2005, which qualified me for 24-hour worlds that year, where I got 9th. In 2006, at the tender age of 36, I finally got the coveted three letters I’d been chasing for years: P.R.O. I did a few more 24s and then migrated to 8 and 12-hour races, as well as 100-mile MTB events. In 2013, I discovered the Dirty Kanza and in 2015 I won the muddiest edition of the event at the age of 45.”
“I’m the tortoise – or the diesel as some friends call me – which suits gravel perfectly. I’m turning 50 this year; and like the desert tortoise who has a VERY long lifespan, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Slow and steady is my mantra, with a healthy dose of fun,” he concludes. Today, Yuri balances a full-time job as Elite Athlete Manager for GU Energy with a packed racing schedule and a training mileage load that would make most mortals buckle. Diesel? Make that a high-output one.
We here at Roval have known Yuri, ridden with him, raced with him and been beat into a paste by him ever since he showed up at the Marin Knobular race back in 1996. We are proud to call him a friend, and we are enormously pleased to announce him as a Roval athlete. For 2020, Yuri will be putting our wheels to the test across the globe – from the Strade Bianche to the LeadBoat Challenge, and anywhere else where the far horizon beckons like a mirage. Welcome to the family, Yuri. Now go crush some gravel!