Peanut Butter mud, the bottom of the barrel and some third-time charm at Unbound Gravel

Inside Jacob Rathe’s sub-11 hour ride at world's premier gravel race

The front group at Unbound Gravel 2022
(Image credit: Life Time)

Gravel racing is having a special moment, and Unbound Gravel in Emporia, Kansas, is the epicenter. The town is buzzing with energy with riders of all types, and the front of the competition is stacked with current and recently retired professionals from road, mountain, triathlon and the relatively new category of gravel privateers.

This is my third time coming to Unbound, which I started doing after retiring from road racing in 2018. When I was presented with the opportunity to give it another go this year, I didn’t have a good enough excuse to not come see old friends from bike racing, and go through a fair amount of suffering in the Flint Hills of Kansas. In 2019, I crashed out of the race and at my second attempt in 2021 I flatted early. This time I was hoping for a clean run. 

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Jacob Rathe

Oregon-native Jacob Rathe is a retired professional road racer who raced for teams like Garmin-Sharp and Jelly Belly Cycling. Rathe enjoys being mildly competitive in cycling with a focus off-road, and rides for Sage Titanium and OTTOLOCK. He is a bike fitter and cycling coach in Portland, OR.