Unbound Gravel – the making of an epic every part race

Unbound Gravel – the making of an epic every part race


The unofficial world championships, the all-encompassing Tour de France, the Paris-Roubaix of gravel – I’ve heard all of it about Unbound Gravel. I wouldn’t name it the romanticism like we connect to the age-old highway races we maintain so pricey, it’s extra of a “hell yeah”, boot-stomping, American gladiator vibe we really feel when folks speak of Unbound. It’s uncooked, it’s hardcore, and sure, the dreaded phrase ‘epic’ – how overused that phrase is in biking. 

However the query is, why is Unbound so extremely regarded? How did it come to be? Is it even laborious as all people suggests? Or is it simply advertising and marketing? Let’s dig in…

Gravel Metropolis

Downtown Emporia's Commercial Street was filled with starters for the 200-mile event.

Downtown Emporia’s Industrial Avenue full of starters for the 200-mile Unbound Gravel (Picture credit score: Wil Matthews)

After I first drove into Emporia, the unassuming mid-west city, I used to be greatly surprised by simply how ‘nation’ the city was. It has a predominant road as extensive because the day is lengthy, diners, guitar shops, vibrant doughnut retailers, and the city divided in two by an open railway that may have you ever ready for an age because the coal trains move by way of. It was like stepping again in time, again to the great previous days of Western films.