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200 miles at 88 years old: Frederic Schmid gears up for Unbound Gravel

Frederic Schmid
(Image credit: Unbound Gravel)

The Unbound Gravel field is bound to be a varied affair, but one rider will certainly stand out: 88-year-old Frederic Schmid. 

Despite his age, the Texan is doing the signature full-length 200-mile route this weekend. 

While seasoned gravel racers and former WorldTour professionals like Pete Stetina compete for the victory out front, he'll simply be aiming to reach the finish. 

"I feel that I can physically survive the time and distance," Schmid said. 

He has reason to believe; last year, when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic, he did his own 200-mile ride in under 17 hours.

That said, he's aware that he may struggle to make the cut-off times at the two checkpoints, the first in Alma at mile 69 and the second at Council Grove at mile 156.

"I just don't believe in giving up. If they [time] cut me I’m going to keep riding," he insisted. 

"I’m just going to do the 200. I’m trying to maintain 11 miles per hour. I just gotta get up those doggone hills."

Schmid only took up cycling in his sixities but he has since carved out a decorated career as a master's racer. 

He has more than 30 national titles and two world titles to his name, but will be out this weekend to bask in the camaraderie of the event. 

"I’m not a competitive person, I’ve just ridden my bike," he said. 

"When I’m in a race, I just do what I can. I’m not trying to beat people, I just want to have a good ride."