June 8th, 2022
Words & Photos: Taylor Chase | Lezyne

Black and white photo of three cyclists

Thunderstorms and flooding set the stage in Emporia, KS for Unbound Gravel 2022. Every type of rider quickly filled Commercial Street at 5 AM on June 4, 2022. WorldTour pros, first timers and five-time finishers all lined up shoulder to shoulder at the start. A train blows through town and the race begins. 200 miles to win, to ride, to have fun, to get lost and to find your way. Unbound tests all and favors none. The following 50 photographs are my experience of Unbound 2022, chasing athletes and Lezyne products for 200 miles.

cyclists at race starting line

The start line fills out early and fast. Signs are posted in 100-yard increments with expected finishing times for the riders to stage at. Racers enjoy one last moment of stillness before the next 200 miles of effort.

close up of Lance Haidet and L39ion of LA teammates are starting line

Lance Haidet and fellow L39ion of LA teammates stage at the front of the start; strategizing to the last second if they are carrying too much food, not enough or just the right amount. A top tube bag is tossed aside right before they roll out, proving the fuel wasn’t worth the weight.

close up of bike with a lezyne saddle bag

A KTV Drive Rear and M-Caddy accompany Lance’s Specialized Crux

alison tetick with a big smile at starting line

Alison Tetrick is all smiles, a Queen of Unbound. Her goal this year was to lead a group on a pace to “Race the Sun” and raise money for the local NICA Coyote Composite team with the sale of her bandanas.

the race begins after a short delay

Due to a train delay (not rain delay) the race starts seven minutes past schedule. Alison is excited despite knowing the path ahead is anything but smooth.

cyclists crossed a muddy part of the course

Course conditions were anything but ideal. Mud and water were a plenty, as seen here from the Sunrise Spin for Mo Wilson held the day before the race. 

black and white photo of the hilly course with dozens of cyclists

The course is never really flat, you’re either always going slightly up or slightly down. Snaking through the hills, the racers slowly spread out.

Shot of riders with rear LED lights on some bikes

The race tip toes through open roads, and some riders adorn LEDs alongside their helmets for extra safety.

side profile of 4 racers

Maybe he was bored, maybe he was delirious, whatever it was, this racer gave me a power slide and a smile before tackling another hill.

photographers taking photos of racers

The race wasn’t only for cyclists. A horde of image makers were racing the leaders in jeeps, motos and drones, all trying to get “The Shot.” Navigating the Flint Hills seemed just as hard for the media, getting lost and popping tires, just like the cyclists.


bottle cage and portable bike pump on a bike

The winner's bike spotted with the Pocket Drive Pro.


rider fixing a puncture while other riders continue past

An early puncture left this racer no option but to throw a tube in his front tire. Helpless, he watches the race leave him behind.

back and white photo of riders and puddles

Water crossings were plentiful thanks to the rain. Luckily this one had a bridge. Unluckily, a sharp lip on the concrete popped many tires and deflated more egos.

rider catching some air on track

The racer here noticed the sharp lip and hops over the obstacle. The Aero Energy Caddy helps him maintain a steady flight while also carrying some tasty snacks for later.

riders with front leds shining bright

Riders from the Unbound XL (350 Miles) had the time to put on their rain coats and turn on their LED’s to keep them moving forward through the quickly worsening conditions.

alison tetrick racing

Alison Tetrick is looking strong at the front of her pace group. No aerobars needed!

lance haidet racing

Lance Haidet had a slow rear tire leak which he was able to seal shut after using a CO2 with the Lezyne Control Drive. Although the stop meant that he now had to push solo to catch the lead group.

lance riding turning on track through a puddle

Lance cuts the apex hard, shaving off seconds of ride time but picking up plenty of mud and water.

riders covered in mud

The rain thickens and riders slowly all start resembling the same shades of mud.

lance haidet racing in muddy conditions

Lance plunges through a mud puddle, 30 miles to go.

shot from behind lance haidet racing to finish line

Is he motivated by the win, or the hot shower afterwards?


close up of lance haidet

Lance Haidet crosses the line 11th overall, 9th in the Life Time Grand Prix with a race time of 9:39:29.95. This result puts him 5th overall in the series after two races.

close up of ivar slik at finish line

Ivar Slik wins the 2022 Unbound Gravel 200.

muddy saddle bags

Remember the KTV Rear and M-Caddy from the start? This is them now. Fully functional with just a “little” extra mud. 

rear bike light in dark

Alison Tetrick beats the sun to the finish. Her KTV Rear LED illuminates the way for her pace group.

two bottle cages mounted on bike

Not even the Kansas Mud can dull down the shine of Ali’s Neo Metallic CNC Cages.

profile photo of lance
side profile of lance's bike covered in mud

"It was uh... dude, it was such a hard day out there..." – Lance Haidet

OVERALL: 5th place
UNBOUND: 9th place

side profile of alison's bike covered in mud
alison smiling at finish line

"...the day was amazing, I really enjoyed it, and you know what? I was using the Lezyne Mega XL GPS . BOOM! I have like over 70% battery life still left and I just did a 14 hour ride!" - Alison Tetrick 

Alison Tetrick served as a pace leader for Race The Sun, raising money for Outride and the Coyote Composite (Emporia's local NICA Chapter)