More events, more riders, more doping control and a $250,000 prize purse: the Life Time Grand Prix returns in 2023

Applications to compete open December 1st

Scenes from the 2022 Unbound 200
(Image credit: Life Time)

Following a successful inaugural year, the Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda adventure race series will return in 2023 with an extra, seventh race, 10 additional riders and another $250,000 prize purse. 

Introduced in 2022, the Life Time Grand Prix is a season-long gravel and XC mountain bike race series in which a cast of handpicked competitors travel throughout the United States in pursuit of a $250,000 prize purse.

This season’s cast included WorldTour roadies, gravel pros, mountain bike Olympians, track world champions, a pro triathlete and even, a former elite rower

The series’ goal is to increase cycling fandom in the United States, and showcase some of the best and unique off-road events throughout the country. 

With the extreme distances, challenging terrain, high altitudes, and a variety of racing disciplines to master, those who’ll emerge as the winners will have to be very well-rounded cyclists indeed. 

This year's series was won by three-time national mountain bike champion turned endurance cyclist, Keegan Swenson, and Canadian Olympian, Haley Smith. Each athlete took home $25,000. 

The 2023 Series

For 2023, the series will expand to seven races —instead of six— with the last being a ‘Wild Card’ event that will be announced January 11. 

With this change, athletes will have the option to drop up to two events versus just one last year. 

“Over the last year, we’ve seen phenomenal progress in accomplishing our objectives to bring more fans to the sport of cycling domestically and advance positive change in the landscape of professional and recreational cycling in the U.S.,” said Kimo Seymour, President of Events and Media at Life Time. 

“Building on last year’s solid momentum and the extremely positive sentiment we heard from athletes and brand partners, we’re very excited to host this season’s group of athletes representing diverse backgrounds. We can’t wait to see how the 2023 season will play out.”

The Races:

The Application Process

Only 35 men and 35 women will be chosen to compete in the race series, each of whom will be hand-selected through an application process. Riders interested in competing must submit an application between December 1st and 7th, detailing not just their race resume and why they wanted to compete, but also what they’re actively doing to grow cycling in the U.S.

Athletes applying from outside of the U.S, will be required to show that they have proper travel logistics (visas) in place to be in the U.S. for all 7 events.

This year's contestants included some of the best elite cyclists from the U.S. and beyond, including retired and current WorldTour roadies Lachlan Morton, Laurens ten Dam, Ted King, Logan Owen, Kiel Reijnen, Peter Stetina, Ruth Winder, Emily Joy Newsom and Amber Neben. There was also a fierce pro mountain bike contingent including ultimate winners like Keegan Swenson and Haley Smith, and Unbound winner Sofia Gomez Villafañe, Payson McElveen, Erin Huck and Lea Davison, and a host of gravel experts.

 We will announce the final selection of 35 women and 35 men on December 15, 2022.

The Rules

The series contestants are joined by thousands of other riders at each individual event. While these other riders aren’t contesting the series, they can still contest the individual event in which they’re entered. Meaning, a non-series competitor can still win Unbound or Leadville, etc. 

While not a UCI or USA Cycling regulated event, the rules state that all athletes are subject to random doping controls at these events, and those riders serving a current doping ban are not eligible to compete. For the 2023 series, Life Time announced that doping controls will be expanded to include more races and athletes.

2023 Rules:

- Participants must start 5 of the 7 events in order to be eligible for an overall prize

- The final event in the series will be mandatory for all and serve as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie on points

- All prize purse eligible athletes must attend the awards ceremony

- Athletes are eligible for overall prizes and awards at each individual event 

Entry Fee Dues & Prize Money

- All athletes receiving payouts of greater than $600 will be required to fill out a W9

- Entry Fees for all seven events will be covered by Life Time

Doping Control

- No participant in the Life Time Grand Prix can be under a current doping ban

- All athletes are subject to random doping controls at Life Time Grand Prix events

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