4,000 riders hit the dirt for Emporia’s UNBOUND Gravel
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More than 4,000 riders put pedal to the gravel Saturday in Emporia.
“We love Emporia,” Ann Savage, a rider from North Carolina, said. “The gravel here is unlike anything we have at home or that we’ve seen otherwise, and it’s just beautiful. It’s such a friendly community and it feels like everybody supports everybody.”
Cyclists came from all 50 states and 44 different countries for the ride through the Flint Hills.
“Emporia is a beautiful town,” Gretchen Burke of South Dakota said. “It’s so fun and the people are so welcoming.”
“This is an awesome atmosphere,” Jay Werner of Wichita added. “If this doesn’t get you jazzed to go ride 50 miles, there’s nothing. So it’s good.”
“I love the town, the community has been extremely welcoming of every single cyclist that’s been here,” Kai Luan, Chicago resident, said.
Riders chose between the 25-, 50-, 100-, 200, or 350-mile rides.
The latter, the “XL,” was the challenge of choice for William Harrison of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“A lot of work,” he said after finishing the race. “It’s been my main focus all year.”
The 350-milers took off at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.
Harrison crossed the finish line Saturday afternoon in first place with a time of 20 hours and 17 minutes.
“Nothing went wrong, no mechanicals, so it like all came together,” he said. “It was like hard to believe for a lot of the time how good I felt.”
Marius Karteusch of Germany followed five minutes later in second place.
“I started cycling two years ago, and it’s my second bicycle race - and now I got second in the Unbound XL, biggest gravel race in the world,” Karteusch said.
Both riders beat last year’s first-place finisher by more than 2.5 hours.
“Longest ride of my life,” Harrison said. “First time out here to Kansas, so it was epic.”
You can view the full results from the UNBOUND Gravel here.
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