Unbound 2025 Now with Coins and Qualifiers

From The Rad Site.

We’re handing out 100 qualifier “coins” for UNBOUND Gravel to finishers of the Rad. Think Willy Wonka, but with bikes and more dusty goodness:

  • 50% Performance-Based: 50 coins go do top riders in each category.
  • 50% Random Drawing: 50 coins will be up for grabs in a random drawing. Everyone’s got a shot!
  • Distances: finishers of the 110-mile and 70-mile races at The Rad will be eligible for a coin, coins will be split evenly across those two distances.

Look for all the Lifetime Gravel events to follow this format, just like Leadville.

Glad I am done with that race… :crazy_face:





You didn’t love unbound?

I enjoyed the day, but everything leading up to it I feel no need to relive. I “checked the box”, got redemption for 2019 and am satisfied.

A number of things have shifted for me over the last few years (primarily my wife’s health) and devoting that much time to a singular event just doesn’t make sense for me anymore.

I said to my buddies once we got back to the house that Unbound may have been my last “big event” race. I’m still kinda interested in doing The Traka (200km), but I wouldn’t invest so heavily in it.


I understand, it’s a big time suck

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That’s an understatement :grinning: I don’t train nearly as much as others (and it shows :joy:) and I’m glad to be done with a weekend of all riding. I enjoy riding my bike but I honestly enjoy a nice 3 hour Saturday ride and then still be able to do other stuff and not worry about another long ride the next day.

5 hours on the bike and do nothing the rest of the day doesn’t get the honey do list done


Conversely, with my Unbound fitness, I did a 3 hour trail ride on Saturday and it felt ridiculously easy and I was able to hit the “Honey Do” list with vigor.


I have only been doing the list for the past 6 days. Feels good to knock stuff out and make a big dent


That is correct. It’s funny because 5 hours for me seems to be the tipping point for I want to do zero the rest of the day. Under that for an endurance-y ride and I’m usually good


5 hours use to be an easy day and then house work wouldnt be an issue. As I have aged like a well beaten catchers mitt, any 5 hour ride results in me getting 0 stuff done


Sorry, my thoughts on this topic.

2023 I saw the mess that was unbound. I thought it would be great for them to make the race more of a racers race and if you want a chance to race in the “superbowl of gravel” you need to top 100 at a qualifying race. This might eliminate the people who run out of water after 30 miles, or who want support when they finish the 200 miles in 24 hours. Maybe this is a way for them to raise the level or rider for the race.

Would you rather podium unbound or gravel nats?

Hmmmm…podium, probably Unbound. Win, gravel nats, 100%. You get a cool jersey to wear for a whole year.


Back to the coins / qualifier issue, I’d say this indicates very low rider interest in The Rad as much as anything else.

Although they did also do a qualifier-event in Europe this year, too…my guess is that they will use the coins as lures to boost attendance at select events.

I don’t think that’s the intent. In my opinion, it’s just a logical extension to what they have been doing for the leadville race for years. These big races are supply constrained, so why not use that as a carrot to increase attendance at the lower profile races and bring more talent? Our local qualifier (Austin Rattler) would never sell out unless it was a leadville qualifier. And the qualification model makes the lower tier races more competitive along with the fun lottery thing where everyone has a chance.

Count me as someone who thinks Lifetime has a good formula here. It’s cool that the races are competitive at the pointy end, but the coolest part of these races are at the back where somebody has dragged their butt off the couch to try something that is a huge challenge for them. As much as I hate all the hoops we have to jump through to get a spot at these big races, I don’t think the right answer is to make more “pointy end” spots available by limiting entry for the folks trying to get off the couch.

I’ve never done gravel nats (and have only done unbound twice), so I can’t really compare the talent at the front of the amateur fields. Obviously, the pro field is way deeper at unbound. There are many more international amateurs at unbound, but that doesn’t mean they are faster. I assume “average” talent is going to be much higher at gravel nats because you don’t have a bunch of the “just trying to complete” folks, but I’d guess unbound has more fast folks from a pure numbers standpoint. You also don’t have any doping control for Amateurs at Unbound, so that gives a little more credibility to gravel Nats (in my opinion). My initial thoughts are same as @Power13, having the stars and stripes would be pretty cool, but I think Unbound is the gravel superbowl.

As much as I like serious, competitive racing, I like the travelling circus of these big events as well. From all accounts, US Cycling did a nice job of putting on the race last year. But besides the racing, I heard it was a pretty dull event. I want a multi-day party with like minded folks at my races. Even our local gravel or MTB events are usually a lot more fun than any sanctioned event I’ve been to.


I’m signed up for Rad Dirt Fest and hoping to do Unbound next year. Hopefully you’re right! :grinning:


Well said