Unbound Gravel 2023

2021 the year they did it in the fall?

So 2 crashes in the finish if thats the year.

Yes the fall Barry. The crash I saw I don’t think was a hybrid bike, must have been two separate crashes.

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My faster half and I were joking after seeing Keegan’s IG story on if the race-associated folks woul be calling him a weak ass b* or not :grimacing:

I see the original post with that directed toward Sofia seemed to have been smartly deleted.

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Deleted it like a weak a** bi**h. :grin:


They changed the name of the race, and they banned aero bars for the pros, and they separated the starts so I wouldn’t say they won’t change anything. But they do seem oddly selective about what to change. If they can say with a straight face that aero bars were a safety issue for the pro field, then I think it’s safe to say the finish is also a safety issue.


Well, they changed the name because the previous organizer turned out to be racist a-hole…and the other changes were made because the pros were complaining.

But for a race that is supposedly about the masses, they sure seem unwilling to make changes that the masses are asking for. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:


But Keegan is asking for something to be done about the finish. I’d be willing to bet they will try something new next year. I was just countering the idea that the organizers don’t listen to anyone and only do what they want. I think they do listen but they also try to balance what the event has always been with changes that need to be made as it has grown.

This is the dilemma lifetime has albeit self created since they want the hype and attention pros bring to the race. But lifetime has to balance what the pros want with what amateurs want including amateurs who would rather the event go back more towards the race’s roots.

They clearly need to do something about the finish. That seemed more important than the aero bar ban for the pros.


Not based on their comments so far…they ahve basically said “welp, nothing we can do! :man_shrugging:t2:

But it was the disconnect between what the purport to be and who they seem to be listening to that I was highlighting.

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Your masses are not my masses. You can’t really get a pulse on this stuff via social media. I’ve seen it overwhelmingly in the “HTFU” camp (again, that’s my masses). Lifetime isn’t dumb, they know what sells and they aren’t going to change their formula because a bunch of monday morning event organizers have opinion on how an event should be run. They sent a survey to everyone who attended the event and there will probably be some learnings they have from the event. They talk to people individually and get feedback. Social media is the last place you want to have these kind of discussions. They have made it very clear that they aren’t going to make the event less challenging and that’s a good thing from my perspective, but time will tell if that’s what “the masses” want. I’d bet on this event continuing to sell out for the foreseeable future.

If I were running the zoo, I’d certainly address some of the safety things (finishing sprint), but I’d double down on harder and more epic. That sells. There are plenty of events where you can have fun riding your bike with others. They are a great way to spend a saturday and you can even get some of that at unbound with a shorter distance. But some people are drawn to events that are a life challenge where the outcome is in question. There aren’t enough of those and demand outstrips supply (ie - look at the line to get to the peak of everest these day as the most extreme example).


Yeah, I don’t think I’d be trying to kowtow to the social medias. I certainly wouldn’t volunteer that I had created (or failed to prevent) potentially dangerous conditions. They have a whole year to make any changes they want for this particular event, and most of this buzz will be forgotten by then. Raise the issues again right before sign-ups.

There is a difference between “epic” and “hard” and knowingly putting riders into situations that destroys their equipment.



Every race puts riders in situations where you can destroy your equipment. Riding in mud/rain/grit will always cause extra wear and tear on equipment, but you can’t blame the mud for ripping off RD’s, wearing holes in frames, etc. If someone destroyed their equipment at unbound, it’s because they made bad choices, had bad luck, and/or did not have the experience/preparation to deal with the situation. Bad stuff happens during races, it’s not the race director’s fault just because they put you in conditions that increased the likelihood of you breaking something.

For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed the early mud section, but I thought they probably should have re-routed it (at least for the 100). But I can see it either way and I’m not in the business of course selection for lifetime. It’s fine that people agree or disagree with lifetime’s course selection, my heartburn is with the lack of accountability people seem to have. If you didn’t finish or you destroyed your bike under the given conditions (mud, running out of water, heat, lightning, etc.), own it rather than blaming others. I’m not faulting anyone for pulling out, especially if you are putting your safety at risk, but own the decision. Yeah, crappy things happen in races (often as a result of the actions of others), there is no shame in trying your best to work through them and failing. If you aren’t failing or breaking stuff from time to time, you should probably try some harder stuff.




:roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


I think the issue this year wasn’t the mud. It was the expectations they set in the pre-race meeting that they would reroute around the problematic section if it was muddy. And then they didn’t.

Happiness = the difference between reality and expectations.

Had they said during the pre-race meeting “it’s muddy, we are not rerouting, be prepared” there wouldn’t have been much fuss.

As a comparison - IMO, Leadville is more difficult than Unbound. Everyone knows to expect that Powerline inbound will be brutal. And very few people complain.


I heard a rumor next year will go a route they have never done

Nah…it was the mud and it being 4mi. So many peoples comments I see online about how it was “Epic” didn’t have to go through it after the first 1000 people tore it up. Riding Haleakala or Alpe D’huez is Epic. Hiking 4mi in torn up peanut butter mud is just BS.

I am also convinced it was a “Spirit of Gravel” bro pro who convinced them to keep the mud section. Probably the same one who got aerobars banned. :slight_smile:

Interesting, maybe their survey results were not what they wanted. I know I let them have it. :slight_smile:


I get your point, but I don’t think that is a good comparison. Powerline is Powerline…it is there every race and is a known obstacle. They also don’t discuss rerouting around it if conditions warrant it…and then when conditions actually get worse, keep it in anyway.

Posting this here since it covers unbound at the start, but also gets into Ian’s days at Sky, his view on gravel racing, etc. Pretty good watch. He gets into the finishing chute challenges at unbound a bit. Sounds like widening the chute has been discussed, but it’s a problem with the fire department needing a full lane on either side of the chute. He also makes some interesting suggestions about limiting pit crew support (requiring riders to do their own work in the pits vs. having 3-5 person “F1” crews).