Opinion: The UCI doesn’t have anything to offer the gravel community that it doesn’t already have

As the UCI gears up for its first-ever UCI Gravel World Championships, not everyone is so keen on their involvement

Yuri Hauswald
(Image credit: Yuri Hauswald)

I wasn’t looking for a new cycling love but that’s usually when it finds you, right?! Not sure if it was the vastness of the tall grass prairie that stretched as far as the eye could see, the punchy little green hills that rolled off into the horizon or the chunks of menacing flint that littered the roads, but it was love at first ride when I first set tires on it. I’m talking about Kansas gravel, endless miles of it, and I fell head over wheels for it ever since that fateful day back in 2013 when I did my first Unbound 200, considered by many to be the toughest gravel race in the world. 

The gravel phenomena has been sweeping across the United States, and other parts of the world, for the past decade or so, and my passion for flint was further flamed when I won the 2015 Unbound — one marked by the worst conditions in the race’s history and came down to a two-up sprint. A sprint between me and a kid 20 years my junior named Michael Sencenbaugh. 

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Yuri Hauswald

Yuri Hauswald grew up on a farm in rural Petaluma, CA without a tv, which meant he spent plenty of time outdoors roaming the hills looking for adventure when he wasn’t doing his ranch chores. After a successful collegiate career playing lacrosse for UC Berkeley, and armed with a degree in American Literature, Yuri discovered the joys of mountain biking while teaching English at a prep school in Pennsylvania and hasn’t looked back since. A former two-time solo winner of the 24-Hours of Adrenaline and 9th place finisher at the 2006 24-Hour World Championships, Yuri has crisscrossed the country the past 20 years seeking out his next two-wheeled adventure. He turned pro at the tender age of 36 and in 2015, at the age of 45, won the 2015 Unbound 200.