Life Time reveals the 2022 Unbound Gravel courses

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Unbound Gravel is heading south out of Emporia this yr, with approximately 10,000 feet of elevation obtain in the Flint Hills of Kansas on faucet for the 200-mile contest that is the anchor of the six-race Lifetime Time Grand Prix sequence.

“People who have ridden the south training course from 2016 to 2018 will be familiar with a good deal of these roadways,” explained Unbound Gravel function manager Ben Sachs, who built this year’s class, and who tipped his hat to the race’s early program designers.” LeLan [Dains] and Jim [Cummins] did a whole lot of exploring down there, and they found a lot of the good kinds. I located a few little hidden gems that have not been used before, or at least in around a decade, and I remixed the buy in which we do factors.”

The 100-mile, 200-mile, and 350-mile XL courses overlap. The 100-mile study course is the 1st 40 and previous 60 miles of the 200-mile function, for occasion, with a shorter 1.5mi link. And the XL makes use of about 190 miles of the 200-mile race. This is performed largely to make a scaled-down footprint for emergency services to access riders, if important. There are also 25- and 50-mile activities that nest into the exact roads.

Sachs reported he expects this year’s 200-mile version to be rapid, not essentially simply because of the street variety, but “because far more and more rapid individuals are showing up and competing.”

Ian Boswell gained the 2021 Unbound Gravel 200 in 10 hours and 15 minutes — with an average electrical power of 247 watts and a normalized ability of 280 watts.

Ian Boswell won the 2021 men’s edition, and Lauren De Crescenzo received the women’s race for the marquee 200-mile distance.

Unbound Gravel by the figures

Unbound Gravel options checkpoints where by riders can receive help from their assistance crews, and also neutral water oasis stops where any person can get h2o. Riders can’t receive personalised exterior aid at other factors. (Riders are permitted to acquire drinking water from locals who normally go out bottles by the roadside.) In the XL, there is zero outside support permitted, so riders must be self-ample, but can quit at merchants or fuel stations.

  • Unbound Gravel XL — 352 miles — 14,219ft — checkpoints
  • Unbound Gravel 200 — 204.6 miles — 9,703ft – 2 checkpoints – 2 drinking water oasis
  • Unbound Gravel 100 — 104.8 miles — 5,271ft — 1 checkpoint – 1 oasis
  • Unbound Gravel 50 — 52.2 miles — 2,054ft — 1 support station
  • Unbound Gravel 25 — 25 miles — 777ft — 1 help station

Associated: Colin Strickland’s key sauce for Unbound Gravel? Remaining chill and assured

Hills, h2o, mud, and rocks

The southern route does not have any climbs as prolonged as the northern options, like what was applied in 2021, but there are a handful of climbs of 150 toes or so with double-digit gradients.

“The tougher, steep climbs are Teter, what is affectionately recognized as The Biatch, Canyon Hill, and Decide Hill,” Sachs stated. “But what the south has that the north does not have is ridges that make for these seriously extensive rolling climbs that put on on you.”

“Some of the coolest terrain is out on top of the ridge at Texaco Hill. In the 2016 edition, they climbed up and above this ridge in the initially 65 miles,” Sachs mentioned. “In this route, we shoot straight via it, and arrive back again into the section of the program at about mile 140. This splits up the for a longer period climbs, and will make it extra enjoyable.”

There are not mountains in Kansas, but the rolling Flint Hills incorporate significant elevation around the study course of 200 miles. (Picture: Tim Mohn)

Sachs stated he minimized the water crossings.

“While I definitely love the experience element, with extra and extra individuals in the race, which is a protection piece that helps make me nervous,” he mentioned.

That explained, mile 27 at Camp Creek attributes what Sachs calls a “significant” h2o crossing, then there are a couple reduced-h2o bridges that could conclusion up underwater if the location receives a good deal of rain.

Riders who did or study about the 2015 version recall how mud ended the races of numerous riders in just the initially pair of miles. That part has been pulled out.

“I even now required to have a piece like that — a renowned or an infamous aspect of the south training course — but set it later on in the working day when men and women are much more distribute out as a substitute of in a massive mob,” he claimed.

All the Unbound Gravel routes go south this year. This is the 200-mile route.

Speaking of infamous, the sharp flint rocks of the space have normally been a signature aspect of the race. Flat tires are not assured, but they are probably for lots of riders.

“Nothing is guaranteed, but the roads to the south are frequently smoother than what you get up north close to Alma, for instance,” Sachs stated. “There are even now some rough spots close to Texaco Hill, the for a longer time climb. And one cool place all over Willow Creek at about mile 125 has some major, fist-sized rocks scattered close to the road. So that’s a place to be watchful.”

You can look at each route on UnboundGravel.com now.

VeloNews will be covering Unbound Gravel on-website and the lead-up to the world’s most important gravel race again this calendar year.