Unbound Gravel 2023

I don’t have this problem in training, but I’ve found at Unbound even though it’s not particularly technical it is challenging to grab a bottle and drink on a regular basis while trying to maintain position, not flat, etc. I’m thinking of using a pack to help with this but am not super jazzed about wearing one for 350 miles…

I’m thinking a combo of drink mix and gels. that has worked well for me for some shorter events (100-130 miles) and i have used that on all of my long training rides. The maurten’s gels are like jetfuel for me, which it should considering the price, so i’ll use some of those. i just tried the tap maple syrup packets recently and those were amazing, may throw some of those in as well.

another nutrition type question while we’re on the topic, for gels, chews, bars, etc. how do y’all like to carry them and then where do you put the wrappers? I always feel like i’m fumbling to open packages or put the trash somewhere without it flying away

For unbound I had a system. Top tube bag has my food. would carry enough to do 80 miles. I would cut open the blocks and have them ready to go, the gels i just ripped off with my teeth. I also would just throw loose gummy bears in the top tube bag also.

Each stop I would make a selection of what I wanted.

I ran a GRX 2x 48/31 up front and 11-32 out back. Never touched the 32, not even on “The Judge”, but I live in California, where we have really long climbs that can pitch you up to 20% and still have 5 miles to go.

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I usually keep my ClifBloks in my top tube bag. With them being in sticks I can fit a lot of them in there. I just squeeze out two at a time and then put back.

Gels I either do in my right back pocket, or in the right leg pocket of cargo bib shorts. Don’t under estimate the value of cargo bibs for a long ride and now there are some really good high quality options. I’ll forego my team bibs (Castelli) for Unbound and use Assos gravel cargo bibs instead due to the superior chamois and the pockets. I usually use the left leg pocket for garbage. I will keep a stack of Untapped waffles in my left jersey pocket and keep my phone in the center jersey pocket.

Based on the findings in https://www.trainerroad.com/forum/t/are-gels-really-that-bad-w-dr-mark-hearris-the-science-of-getting-faster-podcast-ep-9/

I’m shooting for 100+g of carb per hour and going Solid, blocks, gels, liquid.
Solids, with mixes of flavors and brands that I’ve been using for the past year.

Betty Lou pie bars are amazing, and I’ll be keeping them as pallet pleasers as well as Bonk Breaker Chews which I think are great from a flavor profile. Those are the only two I’ll call out as the rest are pretty well known here.

When it comes to liquid carbs, I’ve had good results with 50/50 mix of Murtain hydro gel & Gu Roctane mix. Going with that ratio you get some flavor, but not so much that it will turn you off.

My Osprey has 2.5l of electrolytes and I’ll swap for fresh full bladders at each checkpoint.

For me, the best thing about cargo bibs is an easy place to put empty wrappers…no need to faff around with packs again or reaching into rear pockets. Just stuff and go.

Cargo bibs are a pretty damn useful piece of kit for gravel races, IMO.


According to Silca you don’t want to add any drip lube (wax or oil) to a dirty chain as it will just carry contaminants deeper into the chain and potentially push out some of wax that is still inside. Better to either switch to a fresh waxed chain or just keep going. I haven’t done unbound, just passing on the info!

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Anyone have experience with the IRC DoubleCross? We get a pretty solid BOGO deal with our entry. I just haven’t seen much on them beyond what Stetina says about them

Is it really 20W drag using the SON dynamo hubs? I thought it was more in the single digits…

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I use gel flasks. No wrappers to contend with. Keep the flasks in my top tube bag.


I’m all in on straight maple syrup (in flasks) and skratch. I’ve only used syrup in one race this year and some training since then, but I really like it compared to gels (taste, consistency, packaging, cost). I’ve never used it in the heat, so that will be the final thing to test before I fully commit, but I’ll have plenty of time to test that before unbound.


Just one article but it seems sound on dynamos. Effects of drag and dynos - 2 to 8 watt lose for the average rider with the light on.

Personally, I think I would feel a 20watt drag kicking in on my light, but I’m also not a fast.

Silca have a specific video on chain prep and recommendations for a dry and wet Unbound.

I believe they recommend wax and then possibly use the synergetic the last 1/3.


He said hot wax is best and at a stopping point wipe down then apply the wet wax based lube

I emailed them 3/2021 and that’s the same thing they told me then

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The wet wax based Silca makes is the SuperSecret. It’s a little tricky to apply fast because you have to drip it on each link and then sort of rub it in with your finger. I’m thinking if you just sort of sprayed it in the chain it would just fly off. Anyone tried it?

RockNRoll Gold does work really well to spray on so might be easier. Definitely going to play around with this on some training rides.

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If you throw enough on it will coat. My experience is the wax works but it gets loud adding the lube makes that noise go away. Is it
Best, I have no idea but i have used it on a lot of long rides and it seemed to work well

I’ve used the untappd syrup in heat with no issues. The consistency is what makes it easy to consume fast.


Do yourself a favor and try the Salted Cocoa Untapped gels. They are the best sports nutrition I’ve ever tasted


So damn good.