'Lower tire pressure, lower life pressure': gravel pros offer tips for first-time Unbound riders

Ian Boswell, Alison Tetrick, Alexey Vermeulen offer tips on gear, nutrition and mindset

Unbound Gravel 2021
(Image credit: Wahoo/Andy Chastain)

Headed to Emporia and nervous about your first-ever Unbound Gravel event? You’re not alone! 

Whether you’re doing the 50-miler or the 350-miler, Unbound is a test of endurance, self-sufficiency and equipment. In addition to needing to fuel oneself for some very long hours in the saddle, the sharp flint rocks are notorious for slicing tires and dashing podium, or even finishing, aspirations. Along the way, riders also need to contend with the undulating terrain, exposed sun-baked roads, headwinds and, if at all wet, tire-sucking mud. 

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.