Unbound Gravel 2023

I agree. Once you walk for an extended time it’s now an adventure race


If not challenging then why did so many quit? The people slogging through the mud at the back of the field weren’t really racing to win. Expecting someone to wave a magic wand to make sure the course was hard but not too hard is ludicrous.

I don’t know about the magic wand part but the rest defines a race director’s actual job. But I’d argue the magic wand in this instance was the simple reroute option which the race director pointed out in the pre race meeting.

Removing that early mud section would have still left lots of challenges over the remaining miles.


Would we even be having this discussion if at the race meeting the day before, the race director said “if it rains tonight, there will be a mud section at mile 10, be prepared to walk, hike, carry your bike, etc for 3-4 miles. we do not plan to reroute”


I doubt it.

They have shown of you tell someone about an issue rather then just having it pop up it’s easier on that person to deal with

I wouldn’t plan to do any other races from that director. “There is a known issue in the first 5% of the course that will add more than an hour onto your race times, destroy a ton of equipment, and create massive time gaps throughout the field.”

Even if that type of muddy section was appropriate for the course/event the placement as an early pinch point/race decider ruins the appeal of racing a long day. In the same way a Marathon XC race doesn’t go straight into the big technical descent, a gravel race shouldn’t have an early section with a high probability of walking. Especially given the size of the Unbound fields.


I agree on the downside of early “pinch points” where everyone is doing stupid stuff to get to the single track or a certain feature that only allows single file. But the earlier you can have “safe” features that break the field apart, the better. A climb is really the safest feature (as much as I hate those), but a muddy section or chunky/rocky section works as well. When you have a group of hundreds all trying to be in the lead group, you need something to rip the race into small groups as early as possible to make it safer.

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Great video. Hats off to Vegan for correctly calling them out. “Do Better” indeed.


Time to change this to
Unbound 2024

New year. New thread…


Yup, whoever wants to can get it started, same title as above with the new year in.
Please choose the Racing category and Gravel tags to match as well, thanks :smiley:

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One possible starter thread already exists…