Check out the bikes, gearing, and equipment Shimano athletes and ambassadors will use at UNBOUND Gravel
Gravel’s marquee event of the year brings thousands of top professionals and everyday athletes to Emporia, Kansas to take on grueling roads and unpredictable conditions of UNBOUND Gravel. Whether racing for Gravel King and Queen status at the 200-mile event, going long for the 350-mile unsupported UNBOUND XL adventure, or sharing the gravel experience and community on the 100, 50, or 25-mile courses, the weekend of racing offers something for everyone.
Lining up for UNBOUND of any distance requires planning and preparation on many levels, but none more so than for your bike and gear. Deciding on what gearing to use, what width of tires and pressure to run, how to carry enough food and water, and what tools you’ll need in case the sharp flint rocks snag your tire, it’s all part of the planning process.
With such diverse conditions, ever-changing terrain, and unexpected weather all thrown into the mix, every rider is different in their choices and gear selections. We caught up with some of Shimano’s athletes before hitting the start line at UNBOUND to talk about their gear and how they made these tough race-day decisions.
Whitney Allison – UNBOUND 200
Fort Collins, CO
Bike: Ibis Hakka MX
Gearing: 50/34t chainrings with an 11-32 cassette
Tires: WTB Resolute 700x42c with SG2 protection
Pressure: 28 psi front, 30 psi rear
Bike setup priority: Tire choice and contact point comforts (saddle, bars, bar tape, bike fit)
Special checkpoint snacks: A Payday or two! Salty, sweet, and can't melt
Any special equipment: Chapstick with sunscreen
Post-Race Food: A Fat Tire! One and done. Good night!
What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: Last year, I had a bunch of flats but still managed to end up fourth. I'm looking for some redemption with hopefully fewer mechanicals.
Peter Stetina – UNBOUND 200
Bike: Canyon Grizl
Gearing: 50/34t chainrings and an 11-30t cassette
Tires: IRC Boken Doublecross 700x42c
Pressure: 30 psi
Bike setup priority: storage options and tire choice
Special checkpoint snacks: Guayaki Yerba Mate, fresh hydration packs, PBJ sandwich
Any special equipment: Nothing. As minimalist as possible while carrying enough to cover all my bases
Post-Race Food: An Athletic beer immediately at the finish line, then a traditional beer and tacos
What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: The hype of it all. The big show of gravel.
Marley Blonsky – UNBOUND 100
Bike: Cannondale Topstone
Gearing: 1x11 with a 40t chainring
Tires: Panaracer Gravel Kings 700x43c
Pressure: 45-50 psi
Bike setup priority: Comfort over the long miles
Special checkpoint snacks: Pickle juice and a Dr. Pepper
Any special equipment: My “With These Thighs” sticker. Reminds me that I’m capable of hard things
Post-Race Food: Chocolate milk
What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: The start line and pushing myself both mentally and physically for 100 gravel miles
Heather Jackson – UNBOUND 200
Tucson and Bend
Bike: Waterfall Bank
Tires: Still deciding.
Bike setup priority: How it fits and how comfortable it is for 200 miles. Also gearing, weight, and hydration options.
Special checkpoint snacks: Pickles
Post-Race Food: Pizza and beer
What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: I'm most excited to have absolutely no pressure going into a race and to have fun and just enjoy what will be an epic adventure
Lissa Muhammad – UNBOUND 100
Bike: Cervelo Aspero 5
Gearing: 48/31t chainrings
Tires: WTB Resolute 700x42c
Pressure: 30-35 psi
Bike setup priority: Tire size
Special checkpoint snacks: My favorite JoJe bars (white chocolate coconut blondie, espresso chocolate almond, and peanut butter chocolate chip), dried mango, and trail mix
Post-Race Food: Any and everything so long as it's vegetarian
What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: Getting back together with the Shimano Gravel Alliance crew. This will be my first Unbound so sharing the experience with them is going to be super exciting!