Self-proclaimed “desk jockey” William Harrison wins Unbound Gravel XL

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EMPORIA, Kan. (VN) — William Harrison better rest up after winning Saturday’s 350-mile Unbound Gravel XL.

He must return to the office on Monday.

Harrison, 34, completed the grueling trip in a downpour in downtown Emporia, stopping the clock in 8:17:29 p.m. He won the longest race in the Unbound Gravel after a fierce battle in the leading group, chasing second Marius Karteusch in the final 30 miles.

It’s not too shabby for a cyclist who also works full time.

“I’m just a desk jockey,” Harrison said VeloNews. “I ride my bike for fun. I just tend to do better in the longer stuff.

Harrison works as a financial advisor in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is relatively new to the world of ultracycling, having previously competed in Ironman triathlons and collegiate cycling events.

“I’ve done 150 miles already,” he said. “I came here just to finish, and there were a lot of strong guys there.”

Still, Harrison was strong enough to be part of the lead group of six riders who split on the night stage of the Unbound Gravel XL. A runner crashed, bringing the group down to five. Then, as the leading group approached the last pit stop, Karteusch attacked and pulled a big gap.

“I was doing most of the pulling and we let the gap open up,” Harrison said. “So I attacked and closed in and immediately attacked second and third, and found [Kartesuch] at the top of a climb and he had exploded.

Harrison feared getting caught in the final 30 miles, so he put his head down and rode as hard as he could to the finish. In the end, it was good enough to win. A look at his Garmin bike computer reveals the true pain of the effort: 352.6 miles, 16,068 feet of ascent, at an average of 17.8 miles per hour.

Still, Harrison said the toughest part of the whole race was the 30-mile drag race to the finish line.

“Usually something goes wrong and this time nothing went wrong. Everything fell into place. It was hard to believe how good I felt,” he said.

Cynthia Frazier wins the Unbound XL women’s race

Cynthia Frazier after winning Unbound Gravel XL. (Photo: Fred Dreier)

After crossing the line to win the 350-mile Unbound Gravel XL, Cynthia Frazier immediately kicked off her shoes.

“The last 50 miles were the worst because my feet were really hurting,” Frazier said. VeloNews. “Other than that, things went pretty well.”

Frazier, a wedding videographer from Lexington, Va., won the event on her second attempt at Unbound Gravel XL, stopping the clock at 10:28:18 p.m. In 2021, she finished fourth overall and said she learned valuable lessons on how to go fast in an ultra-distance event.

“I learned how to eat and make quick stops,” she said. “It’s all about consistency. I tried to ride regularly.

Frazier said she rode with other women all night, but at mile 240 she found herself in a small group of men as the lead woman in the field. It went on all morning and kept going, despite the pouring rain soaking the riders at midday Saturday.

XL unbound gravel


  1. William Harrison, 20:17:29
  2. Marius Karteusch, 20:22:28
  3. Ernie Lechuga, 20:35:08


  1. Cynthia Frazier, 22:25:18

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