Alexey Vermeulen at Unbound 2023 Alexey Vermeulen at Unbound 2023



No soul was left untouched by this years Unbound. Whether the almost 5000 riders thought it was a as a fantastic occasion or an unfavorable encounter, these cycling routes through the Flint Hills of Kansas delivered an unforgettable experience for both seasoned cyclists and passionate adventurers alike. With its unrivaled spirit of camaraderie and exploration, participants tackled a diverse array of gravel routes, encountering a treacherous 4 mile long muddy section to and battling the humid weather Kansas had to offer on race day.  From start to finish, the event embodied the essence of resilience, pushing riders beyond their limits.

"Unbound 205 is going to be a battle and I can only hope we come out looking like last year." Alexey Vermeulen commented on Instagram before lining up at the start at 5 am on race day along side of some of the best gravel athletes in the world. 

Alexey has been representing Kenda Tires as a sponsored rider for nearly three years. Throughout his journey, he has acquired an in-depth understanding of Kenda's entire tire lineup, having personally tested each model. Initially, he chose the Alluvium and rode them during his shakeout rides due to their reliability and performance. However, when the opportunity arose to race on a new gravel prototype for Unbound, he eagerly embraced the chance. 

Kenda Tire USA sponsored gravel bike racer Alexey Vermeulen at Unbound 2023
Kenda Tire USA sponsored gravel bike racer Alexey Vermeulen after Unbound 2023

Despite the intense competition, Alexey poured his heart and soul into the race, leaving no reserves as he fought his way to a 12th place finish. His dedication and effort were evident throughout the event, underscoring his relentless pursuit of success.

"That was a race. That was awesome. I think we all thought there was a chance of absolute carnage last night. We got to mile 9 and that's what it was." Alexey expressed during and interview at the finish line after taking a few moments to process what happened to him in those 205 miles.

Amidst the challenging terrain of the Kansas heartland, the conditions proved to be unforgiving. Emotions ran high, with a mix of tears and smiles reflecting the rollercoaster of experiences. Countless mechanical issues plagued the participants, including even the seasoned professionals who, despite their expertise, found themselves caught off guard by the unpredictable nature of the "Spirit of Gravel."

Kenda Tire USA sponsored gravel bike racer Alexey Vermeulen finishing Unbound 2023