Cyclocross

Garmin Unbound Gravel 2021: Cyclocrossers and World Tour Racers Converge in Kansas – Cyclocross Magazine

Formally named the Dirty Kanza, it’s now known as Garmin Unbound Gravel and is promoted as the world’s premier gravel event.

The bumpy name change process is now history, and the bumps and climbs are now reserved for participants waiting to line up in Emporia.

This year is stacked with riders from every discipline of cycling, including world tour, mountain bike, cyclocross, triathlon, and ultra-distance athletes alike.

The start line of the 2017 Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race. © Christopher Nichols

Starting this Friday on June 3rd, they will kick off a weekend of multiple distances ranging from a 25-mile jaunt to the mind-boggling XL at 350 miles!

You can follow riders here: Live tracking: https://www.athlinks.com/

The full rider start list is here, but here is a shortlist of a few of the well-known, and not-so-well-known or recognized athletes that will take the start on Saturday. Of course, we tried to call out the big-name mudders taking the start.

UNBOUND 200 Male:

HAUSWALD, Yuri (Petaluma, CA.) Yuri Hauswald was the 20 winner of the DK 200 and was recently given the nickname; the “Gandalf of Gravel.” Hauswald has raced all disciplines of off-road including cyclocross and mountain biking and has been instrumental in the growth and popularity of gravel racing. Hauswald turned pro at the age of 36 and is currently focused on everything gravel.

KING, Ted (Richmond, VT.) Ted King retired from professional cycling in 2015 after riding for Cannondale–Garmin only to jump into the gravel scene and quickly become one of the top competitors in the sport. King now resides in Vermont with his wife Laura who will also compete in the Unbound 200 event.

MCELVEEN, Payson (Durango, CO.) Payson McElveen is originally from Texas and now resides in Durango, Co. A five-time collegiate mountain bike national champion for Fort Lewis College, and two-time national XC champion, he also hosts the popular podcast The Adventure Stache speaking with a variety of athletes from different disciplines. He has also recorded numerous FKT times. Other stand-out results include 1st place in the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge, and 1st place Raid Tucuman Argentina UCI C3 2018. In 2020 McElveen won the Mid-South 100 mile event beating Colin Strickland and Pete Stetina. McElveen is coming to the event on antibiotics and some unwanted taper time:

SIMMONS, Quinn (Durango, CO.) Quinn Simmons from Durango, Co was signed by Trek Segafredo at the tender age of 19 after having won both the Jr. world road and time trial championships in 2019. Simmons is said to be the best chance of an American to win the coveted cobblestone at Paris Roubaix. Sadly due to the cancellation of this year’s “Hell of the North” due to Covid-19 we didn’t see what could have. The controversial racer has plenty of miles in his legs, including some gravel miles from Strade Bianche.

STETINA, Peter (Santa Rosa, CA.) Peter “Pete” Stetina is another former world tour rider turned “gravel cowboy.” After several seasons with Trek Segafredo, Stetina turned his focus to off-road adventure racing where he found his new calling. Stetina now even has his own event, Stetina’s Paydirt, and has a busy schedule for 2021.

STRICKLAND, Colin (Austin, TX.) Colin Strickland was raised on Texas farmland and actually turned down a world tour contract to focus on his love of gravel and off-road cycling. Going from single-speed alleycat races to Redhook crit races and then to gravel racer seems like an unusual path, however as the defending Unbound champion, he’s got plenty to prove.

TEN DAM, Laurens (Oudorp, NH.) Laurens Ten Dam is yet another world tour racer who raced at the highest level of professional cycling, the Tour de France, while also finishing 8th overall in the 2012 Vuelta a España.  After a very respectable career with several pro teams including Rabobank, Giant Alpecin, and CCC, Ten Dam retired as a professional in 2019 and moved to Northern California where took part in several local events such as the Rock Lobster Cup cyclocross race, and the Grasshopper Series, where he placed fourth. Ten Dam has clearly been bitten by the ‘gravel bug’ and now even has his own event, the LTD Gravel Raid this September in Hellenthal, Germany.

Road pro Laurens ten Dam sampled the local racing scene at the 2016 Rock Lobster Cup. © Cyclocross Magazine

WELLS, Jake (Avon, CO.) Former single-speed cyclocross national champion and retired pro, Jake Wells been a personal trainer and coach for over 10 years. After several years of competing in multiple disciplines of cycling including gravel, mountain bike, road, and cyclocross, Wells has stepped away from elite racing and traveled as much as possible to spend more time with family, however, he will be lining up this weekend for the Unbound 200.

WHITE, Curtis (Delanson, NY.) For cyclocross fans, Curtis White needs no introduction. The two-time Pan American Under-23 Champion, and 2018 Elite Pan American Champion, White has been a major force on the North American cyclocross scene for some time now. In 2019 it was a Curtis White vs Kerry Werner battle in nearly every race. White has raced at the professional level for four seasons on the road with Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies, Rally Cycling, and Jelly Belly, as well as seven seasons with Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.

UNBOUND Gravel 200, Female:

CERRA, Jessica (Encinitas, CA.) Jessica is no stranger to gravel events having recently tied for 2nd with Alison Tetrick at the Gravel Locos race in Hico, Texas. Jessica currently rides for Pinarello and Eliel cycling.

CHARITY, Amy  (Steamboat Springs, CO.) Amy is a professional cyclist, coach, published author, and speaker. Her racing palmares are impressive and include 1st in the 2013 Colorado State Road Race Championship, 5th in 2015 Tour de Feminin stage race, 3rd in the 2019 Rebecca’s Private Idaho, 4th in 2019 Crusher in the Tushar, and 7th in the 2019 Dirty Kanza. Look for Charity to have a good finish this weekend.

CROMWELL, Tiffany (Chinnor, OXF.) Tiffany Cromwell is a UCI Women’s World Tour professional cyclist for the Canyon//SRAM Racing team. Her racing palmares are extensive, to say the least. However other than competing in Strade Bianche’, gravel is a new challenge for the Australian.

DILLON, Olivia (Fairfax, CA.) Originally from Ireland, Dillon was in the finance world before becoming a bike racer and is currently director of sales at Velocio Cycling Apparel. Dillon stormed to a victory at the Lost and Found gravel race in 2018, then migrated east to tackle the Kansas race in 2019. Dillon suffered several flats in 2019 allowing Amity Rockwell to take the win. She will no doubt be looking to better that finish.

DVORAK, Andrea (Longmont, CO.) Dvorak, a former pro road racer who finished 2nd at U.S. Road Nationals and was on the 2012 Olympic Long Team, Dvorak, now retired is involved in building the NICA program in Virginia while also training to take on the Unbound 200.

FAHRINGER, Rebecca (Bend, OR.) Becca Fahringer is one of the top female cyclocross racers for the U.S. and is obviously very comfortable when it comes to racing on dirt. Fahringer posted some of the best results of any North American rider in  international cyclocross competition, taking a very respectable 8th place at Namur at one of the toughest courses on the world cup circuit. The Unbound Gravel is a tad longer than the 40-50-minute cyclocross events she tackles in the fall and winter, but “Go Fahr” should have no trouble going the distance in Kansas.

ROCKWELL, Amity (Oakland, CA.) Rockwell finished second at the 150-mile Gravel Worlds in 2018 and is the defending Unbound champion. Rockwell a former collegiate cross-country runner, returns in 2021 to repeat her solo win. This year Rockwell will pilot a Pinarello Grevil for the Scuderia team and Easton Overland.

TETRICK, Alison (Petaluma, CA.) Former road racing pro and self-proclaimed “Cowgirl,” Tetrick was the winner in 2017 and second in 2019 behind Rockwell. With a third at the 2018 DK200 and third at Belgian Waffle in 2018, Tetrick who seems to be on great form, will no doubt be looking to take the top spot on the podium.

UNBOUND Gravel XL 350 mi Male:

STAMSTAD, John (Seattle, WA.) John is a legend in the ultra-endurance world. Having competed in and won the Iditasport event numerous times, this will be his first attempt at the 350 mi Unbound XL, and according to him his first cycling event in 20 years.

VICKERY, Sam (Durango, CO.) Sam is out of Durango, CO, races mountain bike, cyclocross, and single-speed for the Segment 28 Team, as well as being a coach for the Durango Devo program. This will be his first attempt at the 350 mi Unbound XL.

KERKOVE, Jeff (Buena Vista, CO.) Jeff is out of Buena Vista, Colorado, and an athlete and team manager for Team Topeak-Ergon.

UNBOUND Gravel XL 350 mi Female:

CARELOCK, Ashley (Dolores, CO.) Ashley is out of Southwest Colorado and had competed in long-distance cycling events since 2015. This will be her first attempt at the UNBOUND Gravel XL 350 mile event. https://www.instagram.com/p/CPoFmxpBB8g/

NAUMAN, Amanda (Lake Forest, CA.) Amanda “Panda” Nauman is a former winner of the 2015 200 mi event. This will be her first attempt at the UNBOUND Gravel XL 350 mile event.

WILCOX, Lael (Anchorage, AK.) Wilcox may well be the ‘queen’ of ultra-endurance cycling. Known for racing events such as the 4,400-mile Trans-Am Bike Race and 2,750-mile Tour Divide, Wilcox decided to race the second edition of the DKXL as a “training ride”!

UNBOUND Gravel 100

Mountain bike legend David Weins, a six-time consecutive winner of the Leadville 100, and 2000 Hall of Fame inductee, Weins will compete in the Unbound 100 with son Cooper in the Unbound 100.

Three-time cyclocross national champion Stephen Hyde who has plans to take on more gravel events this year will also be on the start line in the Garmin Unbound 100.

All racers are in for a warm weekend and some heated racing: