Last weekend the town of Emporia, Kansas hosted the world’s largest gravel race, Unbound Gravel. When the event started in 2006, it only offered the milestone 200-mile route. With the growing popularity of gravel racing and in an attempt to make the race more accessible to all cyclists, Unbound Gravel now offers a total of six racecourses. Participants can now choose between 25, 50, 100, 200, and the big, bad 350-mile course. There’s even a High School event! While the 200 is still the marquee distance for the event, Unbound has something for everyone looking to get dusty out in the Flint Hills.
After coming off of an epic 2019 win at Gravel Unbound, Amity Rockwell reflects on the role of cycling in her life and how it has motivated and inspired her to push her personal boundaries.
With either 40 or 60mm travel, a new silhouette with tapered legs, and minimal branding, you could say MRP is “going for it” with their new Baxter gravel fork. Weighing in at 1,420g, the new Baxter clears a 45mm tire in the 40mm travel model or a 50mm tire in the 60mm travel option.
Stanchion Size: 32mm
Travel: 40mm or 60mm
Weight: 1,420 g
Spring: FulFill™ Air
External Adjustments: 3-position compression damping, 20-position rebound damping
Axle-to-crown Length: 430mm* (*40mm model with 45c clearance, +5mm for 50c clearance), 456mm (60mm model)
Steerer Options: Tapered (1.125 – 1.5″)
Offset: 40mm version: 40.5, 44, or 47.5mm, 60mm version: 41.4, 45, or 48.4mm.
Brake Mount: Flat-mount 160 or 180mm
Bottle/Accessory Mounts: 2 (one per leg, 3 lb. [1.36 kg] max load per side)
Tire Clearance: 40mm version 700x45c default (50c optional), 60mm version 700x50c (29×2.00”)
Axle: 12×100 or 12x110mm (Boost)
MSRP: $989.95 USD
Availability: July 2021
For pre-ordering, contact MRP directly.
In a few short years Trinidad, Colorado has gone from a relatively unknown adventure travel destination on the I-25 border with New Mexico to one of most talked about by Front Range gravel cycling enthusiasts. When the Colorado Tourism Office supported Explore Las Animas gravel cycling tourism campaign was launched in 2019 by Backshop Bicycle Travel Supply, an experiential agency, the goal was to make southeastern Colorado a worthy bike destination in tandem with the growing gravel trend. Now, as the Santa Fe Trail celebrates its 200th anniversary, a host of multimedia cycling tourism related content and ride events in 2021 are poised to carry that objective further down the path as Trinidad reclaims its old west mountain trail town heritage by welcoming gravel cyclists to a distinct travel experience on the Colorado-New Mexico border.
Boosting expected summer cycling visitation this year is the new Trinidad-Las Animas County Gravel Adventure Field Guide developed by the City of Trinidad to assist visitors wanting to sample the over 1,600 miles of county roads accessible from downtown. The guidebook is produced in partnership with Backshop Bikes, Beneski Design, and People For Bikes. Its 64 pages highlight the region’s distinct culture and history, and includes 11 curated Ride Spot routes that are downloadable. The guide intentionally fosters an online and offline user experience. This handy jersey pocket sized book not only helps navigate the remote southeastern Colorado terrain, but also helps make a more enjoyable trip by directing visitors to local restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums. Accompanying the guidebook’s release is a Beneski short film shot by Justin Balog detailing its contents in a fun and quirky way.
Warmer weather brings about seasonal demands for your riding kit and 7Mesh has just released new items for the springtime in their gravel lineup for men and women. Included are four new models of neck gaitors, long sleeve Sight Shirts, and the new Elevate Bike Tank Top for women. Head on over to 7Mesh to see all the details of this new drop.
Photo by Nathan Burnside
If you don’t follow Monumental Loop on Instagram, then you might have missed the details for this fall’s Dangerbird race/ride. We’ll be there in attendance to ride/tour the Full Bird. Check out all the details from Matt below and don’t miss the Bikes or Death Podcast interview with him too!
Two years ago Backshop Bikes introduced one of the first gravel cycling tourism efforts in Trinidad, Colorado. The perception was that gravel had already matured to the point where as a category it would evolve towards a destination model akin to mountain biking. If it worked, then suddenly rural drive-by towns had a chance to leverage gravel bikes towards social prosperity. This is why we created the Explore Las Animas campaign in 2019, which included a website with community and route information. Unfortunately, it came down and I’ve been brainstorming on ways to get one back up since…
Our friends at Giro have sponsored a new collective of athletes and brands that stand united in a common goal to introduce new audiences to cycling. Read the full press-release on this group below!
Moksha Patam is a game based on traditional Hindu philosophy. It was designed to teach players the Hindu concepts of Karma and Kama: virtue and desire. The virtues of generosity, faith, and humility are the ladders that carry you up the board, upwards towards enlightenment and to the end of the game. But if you follow the path of vices—lust, anger, murder, and theft—the snakes will pull you back to the beginning of the game. Up and down. Enlightenment and rebirth. Making it to your destination or being pulled back to the start.
In its first year, Dead Man Gravel is the newest race to join the gravel racing circuit. Today, the DMG registration is open for women and BIPOC participants – and general registration opening on March 23rd for everyone else. The event is scheduled for July 31, 2021 in Nederland, Colorado. This unique event strives to be both inclusive – as organizers believe everyone should feel welcome, regardless of experience, race, gender, or sexual identity/orientation – and challenging – as very few other races have as much climbing, technical sections, and sustained elevation.
To strike a balance between challenging and inclusive, Dead Man Gravel will feature three courses: the 66 mile Tungsten loop, the 41 mile Gold loop, and the 25 mile Silver loop, providing three distinct experiences for riders of all levels.
DMG is also partnering with Ride for Racial Justice and Shark Tooth Cycling, two non-profits doing incredible work in bringing new, and typically disadvantaged, athletes into the sport by helping to increase awareness and reduce barriers to entry.
Register today if you’re BIPOC, or female at Dead Man Gravel.
As part of the new Endura Gravel line, dubbed GV500, the Foyle t-shirt is a lightweight, wicking jersey that is woven with stretchy fabric on its sleeves for extra durability and flexibility. The Foyle T has a single zipper side pocket and has a fit described as relaxed, but flap-free fit.
See the entire GV500 line at Endura.
In my opinion, you don’t need racing shoes to do rides. Back when we started riding ‘cross bikes on singletrack and fire roads, the only real options were stiff ‘cross racing shoes. Footwear tech and ideologies have come a long way since with the case in point being the latest from the Rapha apparel line, the Powerweave Explore Gravel Shoes. I’ve been lucky enough to get my grubby hands on a pair to check out and post up a quick first impressions review of these beautiful shoes.
If GoodYear’s gravel tire offerings are as robust as their mountain offering, then the Connector tires are going to be a great option for gravel riding and racing. The Connector tire comes in 120tpi casing, a fast-rolling tread pattern, an anti-puncture belt beneath the tread, and in sizes 700×35, 700×40, 700×50, and 650b x 50. These tires are available now with two more models on the way in a few months. See more at GoodYear.
This Reportage took place a year prior to the pandemic… please be considerate and avoid traveling to small towns during the pandemic.
Some trips stay with you more than others, and this trip is one of those. Nebraska isn’t often touted (read: never) as a cycling destination, but the truly unique and varied geography we encountered offered some of the most quality riding I’ve had the opportunity to experience. The state’s remoteness—a combination of the incredibly low population density and vast, often exposed, landscapes—was initially a concern but in actuality lent a heightened sense of adventure to our days. This is also still the longest tour I’ve taken and being able to fully settle into the rhythm of passing the days—sun up to sun down—on the bike for a week straight was a pretty intoxicating experience.
Maxxis has a new gravel tire in their lineup. The semi-slick Receptor is a 650 x 47mm, 120 TPI, 484g tire that is designed to roll fast over pavement and hardpack while having bite on loose corners. See more at Maxxis.
With the release of their aluminum gravel bike, the Atlas, Focus has started supporting video projects like this one. Follow along as a group of friends ride from Stuttgart to Basel, through the Black Forest… See the full story at Focus.
You might recall a few years back, WTB had an extensive MTB and gravel wheel lineup. Well, after a few years hiatus, it’s back, a bit more dialed, with a bit more options. The Proterra wheel lineup is hand-built in California and has something for just about anyone’s needs. On the 29er and 27.5 MTB side, the light option is a 27mm wide rim with alloy nipples, while the tough is 30mm with brass nipples. Both wheels use 3-cross spoke lacing. Meanwhile, the gravel options come down to a 700 or 27.5 Proterra light in a 700 x 23mm rim or a 650 x 25mm rim. You’ll most likely be seeing these wheels in an OE application, rolling out under familiar bike models from big brands but should you be on the hunt for a $295 wheel, they do look like a great option. See more at WTB.
Drawing cycling portraits admittedly started as a self-serving venture. Looking for a breather from the largely geometric aesthetic I gave my illustration work, I dug down deep to my formal college Drawing 2 class and after a seven-year hiatus, I gave realistic portraiture another shot. After some hesitation, I decided to publish them but still didn’t have the courage to tag the people referenced. The internet can be a small place and they were quickly tagged for me but this served as the little form of validation I needed. I figured if people could be recognized, then they couldn’t be that bad right?