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Event Series Event Series: Life Time Grand Prix Series

Unbound Gravel 2024

May 30 - June 2

Unbound Gravel Riders
Last Updated May 16, 2024

In the Flint Hills and Kansas Prairie, Unbound Gravel is the granddaddy of Gravel events and a true bucket list event for gravel aficionados.  Formerly known as Dirty Kanza, the popularity of Unbound Gravel continues to grow from 34 participants in 2006 to well over 4,000 riders annually. The event was founded in 2006 by Jim Cummins with the assistance of fellow cycling enthusiast Joel Dyke and is now produced with Life Time Events. At that time, gravel grinding was beginning to catch the interest of the endurance cycling community, and these two gravel junkies had no idea how gravel riding and events would grow, nor did they give it any real thought. That wasn’t what motivated them. They both felt their lives had been enriched through cycling. And DK200 was their attempt to give back to the cycling community.  And while that growth has brought a few changes to the format and certain aspects of the event, one thing has remained constant… a grass-roots event organized and managed by folks passionate about cycling and done so for the primary purpose of providing life-enriching cycling experiences for our event participants. Unbound Gravel is a signature event in the Life Time Grand Prix Series and rated by Strambecco as one of the Best Gravel Events in the Midwest.

Event & Course Info

The event features different routes, including 25, 50, 100, 200, and 350-mile options.  The terrain is predominantly gravel roads and includes steep hills, rolling plains, and winding roads.  The 2022 event routes below are illustrative of what you can expect.  The routes are updated every year and announced just prior to the event date.

The event takes place in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, which is known for its scenic beauty and rugged landscape. Cyclists can expect to encounter stunning vistas, wildflowers, and diverse wildlife along the way.  The overall ambiance of the event is one of camaraderie and community, with cyclists from all over the world coming together to push their limits and share their love of the sport. The event attracts both professional and amateur cyclists, as well as spectators who come to cheer on the participants.  In addition to the cycling itself, Unbound Gravel also features a variety of other events, including live music, food and drink vendors, and a vendor expo.

Due to high demand, the event cannot accommodate everyone who wishes to participate. Therefore, a random selection process is utilized to determine who will be allowed to participate, details of which can be found on the event site.  Entries for the upcoming events in the XL (350 Mile) category are accepted in December, and then for all other routes in January for the upcoming year’s events.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

The host city of Unbound Gravel is Emporia, a city of approximately 25,000 in east-central Kansas. Emporia is known for its historic downtown, which features many buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also home to Emporia State University, which is a public university that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. The city has a strong agricultural base, with crops such as wheat, soybeans, and corn being grown in the surrounding areas. Additionally, Emporia is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with the Flint Hills and Cottonwood River providing opportunities for hiking, fishing, and other recreational activities.

Finally, you will need to plan ahead for accommodations.  Please refer to the organizer’s page here for options. There are also numerous opportunities for camping and other outdoor activities in the surrounding area.

Related Events

Life Time Events, UNBOUND Gravel’s producer, is a premier US event organizer.   Life Time also produces  Life Time Grand Prix; a national series that features 6 of the most iconic cycling events and the best cyclists in off-road cycling. The challenge combines mountain biking and gravel riding disciplines. The events are all around the country, including the Sea Otter Classic, UNBOUND Gravel, Crusher in the Tushar, Leadville Trail 100 MTB, Big Sugar Gravel, and Chequamegon MTB.  The biggest prize purse in U.S. cycling, $250,000, will be split evenly between men and women.  Each series event will be streamed live and on-demand on FloBikes, part of the FloSports network.

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