Unbound is the world’s most important gravel race, with the 200-mile distance serving as the marquee event for the Life Time Grand Prix series that has $250,000 on tap. There is also the 350-mile XL, plus 100-, 50- and 25-mile events.
Held on the rolling Flint Hills outside Emporia, Kansas, the race is notorious for tough conditions.
Sometimes it’s blisteringly hot and humid; some years it pours rain. Perhaps the most difficult is when rain hits dirt roads that don’t drain well, and soupy mud turns to ultra-sticky, peanut-butter mud that brings wheels and riders to a standstill, and ejects chains from chainrings.
While the forecast for this weekend’s race was largely dry, rain the day before sent many riders scrambling for thinner tyres for better mud clearance. And boy did they need it. Conditions for Unbound 2023 made for a particularly challenging edition of the event – for riders and their bikes alike.
Tyre selection varied wildly; some riders had 38mm slicks, and others had 2.1in knobbly tyres. Outside of the 70 Grand Prix competitors, gear selection is an even wider cornucopia, with everything from singlespeeds to fat bikes and tandems seen in the Flint Hills.
We’ve already brought you news of Shimano GRX 12-speed and what we believe to be a new Canyon Grail (pictured). Now it’s time for all of the tech details. Ben Delaney / Our Media
We’ve already covered the new Shimano GRX groupset and the new Canyon Grail spotted at Unbound, so let’s get into the tech detail.Here’s […]