Last month, we had the opportunity to race the Unbound gravel race in Utah. During the 350 of arduous miles in the Kansas heat, we learned some valuable lessons about ultra-endurance.

Here’s our definitive list, the ‘good, bad and ugly’ if you’re thinking of tackling a race like Unbound in the future.



The Good: First of all, an ultra-endurance event like the unbound takes a lot of physical training. Preparing your body with the help of a coach will be the best way of getting fit enough. If that is not an option, just making sure you’re jumping on your bike and spending lots of hours on it will be enough.

For example, it took Abraham over 13 hours to complete 200 miles, and Andres over 33 hours to finish his 350 miles. To get there, they each broke their training up into blocks, cycling over 100 miles each day with back-to-back rides.



The good: During those long steady miles, training your stomach is also very important. Eating and drinking the same amount of food that you are going to use on race day is key. Thanks to our friend and coach Katrina (from CCNS), we were provided with her homemade energy bars; 100% natural with no sugar added.


We also loved the Realbars and they made a big difference in keeping our energy levels up. In our bottles, we tested and enjoyed the Scratch Sport SuperFuel drink Mix, with 400 calories per bottle. It was a great way to keep the calories up and I highly recommend it for those long training rides.

The bad: There will be point when your body will not want to eat more bars or gels. Packing real food like P&J or ham and cheese sandwiches will be very welcome break.

The Ugly: Use the reststop wisely, water is a highly valuable commodity on an ultra endurance ride. On a hot day, you will get through your supply very quickly.


The good: we were extremely lucky with our equipment, we can’t thank our technicians enough at Signature Cycles who helped us prepare the bikes for the event.

We each used a different tire: Andres used the ReneHerse Steilacoom 700x38c tires, Abraham the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H (hardpack) 700x40c and Juan used the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M (mix terrain) 650B x 45. They all performed great. We also had different drive trains: Juan had the SRAM Mullet with a 44t Chainring with a 10-52 cassette, Abraham had the SRAM Red XPLR with a 40t chainring and a 10-46 cassette and Andres had a Shimano GRX/Dura-ace combo with a compact chainring and 11-42 cassette (yes, it works if you know how to use it!).

We also used different bike manufacturers, Abraham had the FiftyOne Assassin, Juan had his Custom Scarab Paramo and Andres had his Parlee Z-Zero XD. We can all tell you confidently that each bike is more than capable for the task. We didn’t use the bikes to get around this course, we absolutely abused them and they took everything we could give them in their stride.

The bad: The road conditions were 90% dry with some hard and sharp rocks, resulting in a lot of riders on the side of the road trying to fix their flats and the other 10% were extremely muddy! We all crashed at some point in the race due to the road conditions. Dismounting the bike before it’s too late will probably be the better tactic next time.



The good: Thanks to Juan who drove all the way from CT to Empodia (25 hours each way), we had our bike with us at all times, which made a huge difference as we didn’t have to worry about the airline losing our bikes or not arriving on time. We also hired another driver (Nicolas) to come along so we can take turns with Juan who also worked with us as the pit crew.

The bad: Kansas airport is pretty small with over 4000 people heading to empodia for the weekend. They max out the airport and lots of flights were delayed for hours. Be sure to arrive with a few days to spare before the race.

The ugly: Lots of riders arrived to Kansas, but their bikes didn’t. It was sad to see so many racers in distress. Traveling ahead of time or shipping your bike to a local shop would be a great idea. They can even clean your bike before shipping it back and trust me, it’s worth every penny!



The good: We were lucky to secure a dorm with 4 beds at the local university, which was only a few blocks away from the finish line and the town center.

The facilities were super clean and they provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we were very satisfied with the quality and variety of the food. Highly recommend you to book the dorm as soon as they become available.

The bad: The dorms were cold and they did not provide bed sheets or towels. It’s nothing major, but add it to the list of things you need to pack for the event.

The ugly: The local hotels and dorms get booked very quickly, and once they are booked it is very hard to secure a local place to stay. Book your room well in advance.


We had an amazing time at Unbound. Some call it “The Tour de France” of gravel rides and we’d certainly agree with that. We think that you should try this event at least once. Pick the distance that will challenge you (25-50-100-200 0r 350) and I promise you won’t regret it!


ENVE Grodeo 2022