PHOTOS: Emporia shines during premier bike race, UNBOUND Gravel brings thousands to town

Sports

EMPORIA (KSNT)- The Unbound Gravel race in Emporia had quite the crowd on Saturday, welcoming riders completing 100, 200 and 350 mile races.

There were riders from all over the world. Even Lael Wilcox, a native of Anchorage, Alaska. Wilcox was the winner of the women’s 350 mile race.

Thousands of cyclist enthusiasts flocked to Emporia June 4 and 5 for the annual gravel bicycle race. UNBOUND Gravel is a major draw for the area. (Michael K. Dakota /KSNT)

“I’m just super grateful that all the locals have been kind to me and just cheering for me and just being so welcoming,” said Wilcox.

It was the first time ever visiting Kansas for men’s 200 mile winner Ian Boswell.

UNBOUND GRAVEL 2021 (Michael K. Dakota / KSNT)

“Cylcing is a growing sport and it’s awesome to see so many people from different areas get behind it and just really see the value of what cycling can bring to different areas like this,” said Boswell.

Stephen Hyde came from Massachusetts to win the men’s 100 miler.

“The whole thing is pretty amazing,” said Hyde. “I mean, I’ve done races all around the country and all around the world and you don’t get a lot of community support like this.”

Not all riders came from far away. Jamie Rogers made the drive over from Wamego to complete the 100 mile race.

“This has become an amazing event,” said Rogers, who had completed the 100 mile trek once before. “So neat to ride with people from around the country. Getting across the finish line, getting the cheers…”

All race participants must finish by 3 a.m. on Sunday. Sunday morning included an events ceremony for the 200 and 350 mile races.

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