This author also called for a separation of the amateurs and Pros/Elites in a post published here last June. Not that Life Time, nor anyone connected to UNBOUND gave any credence to my opinions, or even knew about them, but this is important to what I wanted to say today. That is- "Okay, but you didn't go far enough!" UNBOUND is answering the critics, but what they have done isn't as effective as it could have been.
The issues can be traced back to what this event eventually evolved into being about 8 years ago now. I described it in my June post thusly: "I made a comment that the Unbound Gravel was a "Pro road race on gravel at the front with a fondo that follows it.". Perhaps I should have said that there is a mixing of the waters between Pro, paid, sponsored riders and the amateurs, which is probably closer to the truth, at least at the start."
So, keeping that in mind, what has UNBOUND done to address this? (Again, it's linked in the first paragraph) Well, separating the Men's Pro/Elites by 10 minutes from the field and the Women's Pro/Elite field by 8 minutes is the big deal here. I would assume that this will work to keep most of the Women and Men Pro/Elites away from the remainder of the racers well enough. I have no problem at all with that bit.
But was that ever really a problem at UNBOUND? There has been voluntary seeding of the field since, oh....the early twenty-teens, and after about ten to fifteen minutes, anyone that wasn't a Pro/Elite rider was spit out the back. Certainly by the first big climb, that was true. And that wasn't any issue. Additionally, UNBOUND is vetting the Elite/Pro fields, so sneaking in shouldn't be an option for someone thinking they have what it takes but do not. Okay, maybe that's settled, BUT the mixing of the Women Pro/Elites with the male Pro/Elites? THAT was where the issues have always arisen with regard to UNBOUND.
In my opinion, a two minute differential will not be enough to dissuade some male riders from pulling Pro/Elite women racers at that event. It could be by design, easily, I mean, just soft pedal for a bit until you find the woman you are working for, and then go. Or- It may be just women catching the back end of the Pro/Elite men and drafting and then you have that whole issue happening again.
Life Time/UNBOUND needs to separate these elite/Pro fields by a LOT more than two minutes, in my opinion, but we'll see.
|Elite/Pro riders will not be able to use aero bars at UNBOUND|
In another inconsequential move, they banned aero bars for Pro/Elites. Not a big deal, but I get it. Less liable to have a catastrophic issue in tightly packed bunches of riders if they haven't got aero bars. Interestingly, the article hinted that no Life Time event may allow anyone to use them on gravel in the near future and gave the Leadville event as an example of that already.
Again, good moves, at least in intention, but will they be effective? I have serious doubts, but we will find out in June.
For a discussion on this subject listen to the latest podcast on Guitar Ted Productions Podcasts HERE.