6 things I learned from my first gravel race — a Spotify playlist

Music-inspired tips for your first gravel event

Rolling hills of Kansas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I am not a “racer” or even self-identified “cyclist” but I found myself this January 1 (or, thereabouts, because I’m a procrastinator ) in a scene familiar to many racers and non-racers, cyclists and non-cyclists, alike: looking into a new year and looking for a new challenge on two-wheels. 

The resolution I landed on was a cycling classic: to ride a century ride. And, to spice things up, I set out to tackle this century on the roads less traveled to see for myself what all this “gravel” fuss is about. For my event, I decided on Unbound Gravel in Emporia, Kansas — the poster-child for the U.S. gravel scene. And so, on June 3, I undertook the 100-mile race as my first-ever bike event, my first gravel event and the longest ride I have done to date. 

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Samantha Nakata

Hailing from Hawaii, Samantha Nakata is a recreational cyclist now living in the Pacific Northwest.