Unbound Gravel Bike Check - Mark's GT-1 45
It's Unbound Gravel time. Take a look at what we're riding...
Unbound Gravel, the event in Emporia, Kansas this upcoming weekend almost needs no introduction. Just in case this is the first you've heard of it, Unbound Gravel is a 200-mile dirt road/gravel race throughout the Flint Hills surrounding Emporia, Kansas. It has widely become the "superbowl" of gravel racing, and an event that pushes the limits of everything we think to be possible on a bike including physical fitness, mental toughness, and it tends to deliver an absolute beat down on your equipment.
I have one Unbound finish under my belt, having raced and finished the race successfully in 2018. It left a mark on me, and to this day, it's still the most memorable, rewarding, and downright toughest day I've ever spent on a bicycle. I'm thrilled to be going back. The course is relentless, as the Flint Hills aren't exactly known for their smooth, velvety paved roads with sweeping cambered corners like you might find somewhere like Mallorca, for example... Instead, riders are faced with mile after mile of razor-sharp flint rock riddled roads, double track cattle paths, creek crossings, and the ever-present wind that rips across the rolling hills of central Kansas. Physical and mental preparation plays a huge part in the runup to Unbound Gravel, as you can't simply BS a 200 mile gravel race... Well, I can't. After a winter on the trainer and a Spring filled with long rides in the mountains around Boulder, I feel like I'm physically up for the task.
That leaves my equipment as the last piece of the puzzle, and it's something that I love puzzling over. This year, I'm running my tried and true GT-1 45 setup that I've ridden thousands of miles on, with a few minor changes specific for the Flint Hills. The GT-1 45 is the perfect tool for the job with clearance for big tires, and room to spare just in case we encounter any mud out there. The GT-1's double-butted titanium frame keeps things light, comfortable, and fun to ride as a gravel race bike should be! Tire choice is always at the forefront of the discussion when it comes to Unbound bike setup. I've opted for the sturdy 40mm WTB Venture SG2 tires set up on my trusty ENVE G23's that carried me through my first Unbound in 2018, thousands of miles since then and are still running absolutely perfectly today. You're almost guaranteed a flat or two at Unbound, so my Silca Impero frame pump will be making the trip with me to handle inflation duties should I find myself on the side of the road. I've got a bolt on top tube bag from Oveja Negra so that I've got easy access to my snacks and tools should I need them. Full details on my setup are below. Give us a shout if you have any questions, and if you're in Emporia this weekend please say hello!
Frame: Mosaic GT-1 45
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 AXS Mullet w/ 44t chainring and 10-50 cassette
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: WTB Venture 700x40mm with SG2 puncture protection.
Cockpit: ENVE Stem, ENVE Seatpost, and ENVE G-Series Handlebar
Cages: King Cage Ti
Saddle: Brooks Cambium C13
Frame Pump: Silca Impero Ultimate Bags: Orucase Saddle Bag and Oveja Negra Bolt-On Snack Pack