Contest Winner!

Contest Winner!

We would like to congratulate Matt Breeden for winning our Race Report Contest! We'll be shipping him a FREE bag of Strate Superfuel!

Here is Matt's amazing story of conquering Unbound 200 this year!

Matt Breeden - Unbound 200 Recap
205 miles, 11,000ft climbing, 10,000cal burned, 5,500cal consumed and 17hrs of my life.

On a day where nearly 40% of the field DNF’d (715/1139),  I’m really just pleased to finish. …and being in the top half of those that did finish (340/715) makes for a day I’m really proud of.

My successful day came down to 3 non-training factors: pacing, nutrition and bike/tire choice. As I told several people before the race, the distance didn’t scare me, it was the peripheral bits. Thankfully, I also got over my illness from the week prior and felt very good going into the race.

Nutrition is first. I prefer liquid nutrition, especially on gravel, because solid food can be hard to eat and if I can kill two birds with one stone drinking my calories, it’s just more efficient. My target was 300-350cal/hour and I came in at 325. 5,500 cal total, of which 3,600 was liquid. This was in four 2L packs of 900cal each, plus one LMNT in each. I supplemented this with some chips, a few bars and even a hotdog (:man-shrugging:) at mile 125 because I really wanted the sodium.

Next is pacing strategy. I determined going in that I was going to shoot for low zone 2 overall (180w) with no more than threshold on the hills (300w). I felt like this was a sustainable model and it proved to be true. If anything, it was a little too conservative, as I finished with my legs feeling relatively good. In fact, the last 20miles were probably the most fun of the race. We had a group of 4, with two of us on the front trading pulls. It was super smooth and very fast. We passed a number of folks using this approach and it was a blast. I’ll also add that the number of people I saw standing on the side of the road just mentally and physically shattered was astonishing. Many looked much more fit than me, but I think they just overcooked it. This being my first Unbound, I really wanted to avoid that. While my back, shoulders and feet are wrecked, my legs don’t feel too bad.

I also followed the @Matt Tanner approved model of momentum and energy conservation. By limiting my power on the hills, I was able to continue pushing my normal power on the downhills and fly past a lot of people. Also, due to the rolling nature of the course, by pushing power on the downhills and into the flats it meant that I had more momentum for the next hill. It worked like a charm and I passed a TON of people this way!

Everyone is talking about the mud, and it was every bit as gnarly as has been reported. There were two completely unrideable sections. Miles 10-13 and another mile-ish at 175. There was another 2mile section around mile 130 that almost everyone hiked. However, thanks to my 1x drivetrain (less front mech issues from mud) and tire choice (45mm Schwalbe G-One Bite), I was able to look like a hero and made it through without putting a foot down. I noticed that most people were running much narrower (38) semi-slicks, which had no chance in that section and clearly were tough to manage in a lot of other sections. It really was very greasy even when it wasn’t pure mud. With my wider tires and more substantial tread, I was surefooted in the greasy stuff.

In conclusion, minus the hike-a-bike section at the beginning, which is completely avoidable and not really bike racing, the course is awfully spectacular. Every kind of gravel you can imagine from hard packed dirt to thick chunky Boone County, IN gravel. It’s also almost nearly 100% gravel. With the exception of a mile or so at the beginning and end, it is all unpaved; that is very rare.  Would I do it again? Maybe. The hike-a-bike was VERY frustrating and as I mentioned, not necessary. If that section was gone, I’d consider giving it another go.

Matt's Training Peak Data

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