Unbound Gravel came back, grittier than ever, over the weekend and we at The Emporia Gazette could not have been more excited to welcome the thousands of visitors from around the world back to Emporia.

We want to take the time to recognize the hard work of just some of those involved in making Unbound Gravel weekend a success.

First, we need to recognize the OG Unbound Gravel crew for working so hard throughout the day to make this race a continued success. You worked with Life Time to bring Unbound together into a familiar, yet new, experience.

To Life Time for investing in Emporia and the surrounding communities — another huge thank you. By recognizing the importance of keeping the race right here where it all began, you are continuing a legacy that will only continue to grow and thrive from here.

Many volunteers took time out of their busy lives to run checkpoints, help out downtown and more. We have heard many times over the years that the event would not be possible without you. That is certainly still true today.

Emporia Main Street hosted another fun finish line block party. It may have looked a little different due to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time it was being planned, but we think it was laid out nicely. It flowed well and we heard nothing but positive feedback while we were out reporting on the events Saturday.

And the newsroom staff cannot say enough about Rob Gilligan and Tina Khan running the mics at the finish line throughout the day Saturday. You were both pumped, energized and kept the excitement going well into the night.

Then on Sunday morning during the awards ceremony, they were running on probably no sleep and yet they were there handing out awards.

It’s clear that, once again, the community came together in a big way to welcome these athletes to the area ahead of their respective races.

And of course, Unbound Gravel wouldn’t be a thing without the thousands of cyclists who come out to test their might in the Flint Hills. Your endurance of body and mind is something to be proud of and admired.

Thank you to everyone who made Unbound Gravel what it was this year.

We can’t wait to see you in 2022.

Ryann Brooks

News and Online Editor

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