What does it take to win the notoriously difficult Unbound Gravel (Formerly DK200) ? Perfectly dialed equipment, a finely tuned nutrition plan, and a ton of fitness. Meteor x Giordana and Red Bull athlete Colin Strickland checked all those boxes on June 1st to be crowned the new King of DK. Not only did Colin take the win in his first attempt at the 200-mile gravel race, he put his stamp on the race by becoming the first ever rider to go sub-10 hours after spending 90 miles off the front solo.
Riding an Allied Able with our new SES 3.4 AR wheels mounted with 42c Specialized Pathfinder tires, the setup was dialed for the unforgiving roads filled with flint rock, and a long solo breakaway. His equipment choices made clear his objectives for the day, and that was to go fast, solo. An ENVE SES Aero Handlebar, SES Aero Bar Clip On, and the 3.4 AR’s deeper rim compared to a G23 gave Colin the confidence in having the outright fastest setup out there.
“The beauty of the race is the details. Over the course of 10 hours, every small detail is amplified and adds up to a lot”, Colin told us. “Having a fast rolling tire and a wheel like the 3.4 AR probably saved me 500-700 kilojoules throughout the day and that makes an enormous difference.”
With a number of notable World Tour riders in the field this year, going into the day Colin’s strategy was one of riding conservative and letting the pros set the tone of the race. But before the midway point that plan was upended when his teammate Kevin Girkins crashed out of the lead group.
“Once Kevin crashed I had to just go for it. I thought guys would underestimate me and I’m more comfortable riding solo, so I went for it. Plus, carrying speed into the hills is the most beneficial and fastest, but if someone’s on your wheel they are the ones benefiting.” said Colin.
A ninety-mile solo ride to the finish saw Colin take the win back in Emporia more than nine minutes ahead of second place finisher Peter Stetina of Trek Factory Racing. “This is the race I targeted the most for the season. Last year and I didn’t get to compete at DK, so I put a lot into it for this year. Pulling off the win is a real sense of relief and it shows that the formula I’ve devised with a small, three rider team that’s sustainable is working.”
Frameset: Allied Able
Wheels: ENVE SES 3.4 AR
Hubs: Chris King R45 hubs
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra Di2 Hydraulic Disc
Handlebar: ENVE Aero Road Bar
Stem: ENVE Road Stem
Seatpost: ENVE Seatpost
Aero Bars: ENVE Aero Bar Clip On
Tires: Specialized Pathfinder 42c w/ Orange Seal sealant