Gravel (Race) Controversy?

I regret that I have but one upvote to give.

That’s not the game. It’s not keep the playing field even until the last 10km, it’s get across the line first.

If you’re in the break and you don’t like that somebody’s not working, your options are:

  1. Try to convince them to work
  2. Also stop working and then try again with a different group after the catch
  3. Attack to try to split the group into a composition you like better
  4. Keep working, either because you’re confident that you can beat the rest in a sprint, or because you’re happy with any top-N place

That’s bike racing, and we’ve all seen all of those tactics a gajillion times, in a gajillion races, in all disciplines, and I am still baffled by the expectation some of these guys seem to have that a bike race would not have bike racing.


The finish of the race was kind of dumb. If it would have come down to a sprint with 3 or 4 guys, it would have been a mess. A hard right hand turn from tarmac to lose-ish gravel, then 30 yards to the finish.

Agreed. But it was a pretty good uphill drag with a tailwind to the finish, so good conditions to stretch things out a bit (especially after a long day). It wasn’t likely going to get to the line shoulder to shoulder. It’s also possible they saw the finish beforehand and agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk taking that turn at speed and had a gentleman’s agreement (doubtful). It really wasn’t that tough of a turn if you hit it right. A solo rider a few minute before them decked it coming in though. I was in group of 3 at the end and had no interest in a fight near the line and hit it about 1k out which was perfect with the tailwind and slight uphill.

Obviously this is a thread focused on a bigger gravel race with pros and there’s always discussion of Unbound and BWR. But I’m always surprised when I hear somebody say “oh Unbound is my first gravel race”. It surprises me because there are so many small local gravel races all around the country.

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I’d bet it depends on where you live. In central TX, you could probably race 3x a month between Feb and May and not drive more than ~2 hours to any of those events. Also, some of those races can be tough to find if you aren’t already plugged into a cycling network.


Really no different than people who do an Ironman as their first triathlon…many people just want to to the marquee event.

But Unbound (then DK) was my first gravel race in 2019…but I also had 30 years of racing experience (along with ~8 years of tri’s) so it didn’t really strike me as doing anything odd for it to be my first gravel race.

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I definitely met plenty of people when I was doing triathlons who did an Ironman as their first. For some, it works out fine. For others, less so.

Yeah. If you’ve done a bunch of racing already then I beforehand then it’s not a big deal.

But also some people are less worried about long races than I am. At this point, I’ve done enough long gravel races that I know anything up to 100 miles (unless the course is super hilly) I can not worry too much going in. For something like Unbound 200, a lot of things can ruin your day


I think that’s true but it’s not too difficult to get plugged in. I’m in Georgia and when I moved here first thing I did was connect on fb with all the local mountain and gravel cycling groups. It’s easy to find small races year round.

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Except I DINF’d, sooooo… :man_shrugging:t2: :man_shrugging:t2:


But yeah, I agree overall…I don’t think people who tackle bucket list races first often don’t understand what they are getting themselves into…but I still understand why they do it.


I can’t believe the Denver Nuggets wouldn’t let the Lakers score in the first half. I get that you want more points in like the last 4-5 minutes, but they should have been fair and take turns scoring points for the first three quarters. It just feels unfair and unsportsmanlike. They didn’t even let them win a single game. They could have at least let them go to game seven. And now the Nuggets get to rest but the Heat and Celtics are still playing and don’t get to rest. That’s not fair either. They should all be fair and play seven games and score the same points until the final minutes.

Sounds a little funny doesn’t it?

The race starts from kilometer 0. End of story. If one rider isn’t taking pulls, then it’s on the group to drop that rider. If you take more pulls than everybody else, you’re not racing smart. It’s not a contest on who takes the most pulls or does the most watts. If it was it would be Zwift racing.



A lot of people DNF Unbound, myself included.

I DNF’d 1 of my 2 Ironmans after having really solid training for the race.

I could “dumb” my way through a half Ironman or a 100 mile gravel race. But for a full Ironman or unbound 200 it makes for an even longer day than it already is.


Every time this comes up, I wish the winner would do a performance of Allen Iverson’s “practice?” press conference, interchanging the word “practice” for “racing”.


I find zwift racing and fast group rides to be a surprisingly good simulation of gravel racing. It’s often mass start with wide variety of abilities. The starts are hard and selective. Middle of the race often settles in with folks trying to rip things apart at every course feature. The draft is real, but you can’t just soft pedal in the pack and I’ll see NP numbers higher sitting in than I’d typically see in a gravel race. As the hours wear on, it’s usually whittled down to small groups. I’m not saying e-racing is the same as real racing, but the effort to hang with a hard zwift race/ride mirror gravel really close and the tactics are similar with the mass start and selection.

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I suspect that location wasn’t their top choice. The previous years finish location had some kind of cook off that weekend.

Unrelated to the topic, but that reminds me of the Lifetime Grand Prix Leadville episode. Some rando they interviewed said, “Yeah, I got into Leadville then thought, ‘shoot, I have to buy a mountain bike!’”


Yep. See people get into unbound and say they now need a gravel bike.


Looks like Ian back pedaled his comment on Instagram.


I have a lot of respect for someone who admits they’re wrong and is accountable for their actions. Chapeau


He must have caught wind of this thread. All hail the powerful TR forum.


The comment section on Insta was a slaughter house as well.