Unbound Gravel 2023

I’d recommend a small frame pump as an extra vs a Fumpa. A Fumpa is pretty heavy and has a finite amount of air. A frame pump weighs little and has infinite amount of air. I had a frame/C02 combo pump. Quick to inflate a flat but can “top” up a slow leak for hours if needed.

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I also have a gravelro (Christmas present) so I’ll give it a go BEFORE I get to Emporia :smiley:

Come out to Colorado. SBT GRVL is a much more civilized affair than Unbound. Better roads. Better weather (usually). Not as painfully long.

From my last big training ride last weekend:


So smooth.

I wish I could easily pick and choose gravel type and elevation on demand. Some days it’d be nice to have a nice flat ride with smooth gravel. Other days some hills. I’d probably just accept smooth gravel all the time.

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FTFY. :crazy_face:

I’ll be back this year.


Great pic. Looks like some Gucci Gravel.

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My training grounds prior to the drive down to Emporia.

The townships are in the process of scraping the gravel pushed to the side with snowplows back to the center. So depending on which road you’re on it could be DEEP Type 3. decent type 2 or the most awsome hero type 1. No type 4 in sight.

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I’m hoping KS elevation knocks 20 or 30 miles off the 200 in perceived distance :rofl:

Shout out to whoever wrote into the podcast to ask a panel of people who have never done Unbound if he should ride 33s or buy a new bike 3 weeks out instead of coming to this thread :smile:


Did I hear @Jonathan say 33c tires would be great at unbound?!? Also @IvyAudrain just screwed everyone by saying it wasn’t gonna be muddy.


I enjoy the podcast and I think Ivy and Jonathon offer a lot of good advice on a variety of topics. That said, it seems that neither of them have much experience actually racing gravel and I find their advice generally off the mark (at least for the kind of gravel racing I’ve been exposed to). Their advice seems more appropriate to folks riding these events to finish, which is great, but that advice doesn’t always apply when racing and they don’t seem to differentiate the 2. In particular, I find their advice on pacing to be fundamentally flawed for racing. You can’t pace a gravel race anything like a time trial if you want to be competitive with folks who have similar abilities. That fastest way to the finish is almost always going to require a hard effort to start to get with fast groups. Gravel racing tactics have a lot more in common with a road race where it’s critical you don’t let the group go. If you ride a steady pace from the gun, that’s like letting the peloton ride away from you in a road race the first time it surges. That doesn’t mean try to hang with the pros (or any group way outside your ability), but it’s common to be in the red for the first 20-60 minutes if you want to get the benefits of being in a fast group. The longer the race, the more you might measure that initial effort, but you’ll almost always be faster if you give a little extra at the start to get with the fastest group you can hang with. It always settles down once you get into the race.

I like to keep an eye on my NP to help keep me from going too far in the red at the start. I’m OK with up to ~1.0IF for the first hour if it’s a ~3 hour race. .9IF if it’s ~6 hours. The NP for the rest of the race is always going to drop way down from that as the groups are settled and folks stop hammering every hill and turn. I’ve never done anything over ~9 hours, so I’m still debating how to pace my first Unbound, but plan to push a bit early and try to get with good groups. I’d be happy to see .80-.85IF at the end of the first hour.


I’ve done three Unbounds. My fastest time was when I started out slowly with a group well off my targeted time. The one year I didn’t finish I started out too fast and then the heat got me. I think for anyone shooting to “beat the sun” then a much more measured pacing is better. If you are shooting for 12 hours, then sure go with a faster group for a while. Anything over .8 IF in my opinion is asking to crash and burn in the latter part of the race. You see a TON of rides on the ride of the road or lying down at aid stations who started out too fast.

I totally agree with you on a 3 hour gravel race. Maybe agree on a 6 hour. But once you are getting to 10+ hours, that’s a whole different deal. I’ve never once gone to that “dark place” on a 3 or 6 hour ride/race. I’ve cramped and bonked. But all three Unbounds, I’ve hit a period around mile 110-130 where the mind really places tricks with me. The year I DNF’d my body was wiped from starting to fast and that combo wrecked me.

Just my $0.02 from a 56 year old male around 3.7 watts/kg. If you are over 4.0 watt/kg, maybe it’s different


My fastest time was when I went out like a bat out of hell and was top 60 through first check point. With that also being the first and only time doing unbound. I blew up and had to be towed the final 20 miles by a lady. Still had a good result, but I messed up and could have finished higher.

Thanks for feedback. Yeah, I’m in uncharted territory and really have no idea how my body is going to respond past 9 hours. I’m still leaning toward pushing early and rolling the dice, my strength as a cyclist is more endurance than speed, so I’m usually going pretty easy with a fast group once we get 3+ hours in (and others start to fade). Famous last words…

I’d like to beat the sun and hoping I can sniff an AG top 10 as a big stretch goal, but I really have no idea if that’s reasonable. I’ve looked at some power/weight stuff on strava and I think 220w NP for the day would have me in the ballpark if things go well. I know it would require some luck, plus having a really good day. w/kg is right at 4, maybe a bit over, but endurance is pretty good right now. I’m ready to get on the course and find out.


Oh, I think you’ll definitely beat the sun with those numbers…as long as you pace and fuel properly.

Only a few more days!!! I spent today packing and getting equipment dialed, driving to Emporia on Wednesday morning.

After a test run packing framebag, kit pockets, and hydration pack it’s looking like I’ll be bringing a little over 8k calories with me on the start. 2x (5 scoop) servings of Flow Formulas high sodium flavorless in bladders to start, 5x bags of flow in framebag to mix at gas stations, 24x Untapped maple gels, and 12x Untapped maple waffles. Bike is going to be heavy to start but I’ll make that trade for fuel I know I can handle on long days.

Decided to not bring the entire spare tire, but am bringing 4x tubes, 4x Co2, mini pump, a bunch of patches & plugs, and an entire lil bottle of Orange Seal. Multitool with chain breaker, quick link and pliers, and Leatherman to round out my tool kit.

Rain jacket and shoe covers, battery banks/cables/etc as well as headlamp, various medications, sunscreen, and chamois cream packets in remaining framebag space.

This is gonna be tons of fun! Anyone think of anything glaring I am missing?


Boots for sidewall slashes that plugs won’t handle?

Spare tire sure seems like a need vs luxury though.

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Lube, small chain brush, piece of cloth to wipe chain, small plastic scraper for mud.

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8k calories…I assume you are doing XL?


Good call, I have a lil bottle of Squirt chain lube in the framebag that I forgot to mention, and am currently 3d printing some mud scrapers

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