Three weeks ago Ted King crashed and broke his collarbone while riding in California and it looked as though the gravel racer and former WorldTour rider would be forced to dial back his schedule, but the American is back and heading towards Unbound Gravel with new-found confidence.
King was unsure whether to race last weekend’s epic 155-mile Gravel Locos in Hico, Texas, but the 38-year-old made the journey from Vermont and finished sixth in grueling, wet conditions behind winner Laurens ten Dam.
“All things considered it went really well. I’m about three and half weeks post collarbone. I was talking to Laurens a few days ago and he was telling me to be careful with my comeback, and the thing is if I was coming back to a WorldTour peloton I would have waited many more weeks before getting back into competition but there’s so much more control in a gravel race,” King told Cyclingnews after the race.
“So about two hours into the race Laurens turned to me and said ‘OK now I get why you’re back’. We started with about a couple of hundred riders but then after a couple of hills and a couple of attacks we were down to maybe 20. Then it was 10. When my day effectively ended though we were down to seven and that was at mile 125.”
King, who won Unbound Gravel, then called Dirty Kanza, back in 2018, was pleased with his performance in Texas, especially given the difficulties from the last few weeks which meant that he was forced to hold off training and riding outdoors due to his surgery.
“Given what I’ve been through over the last few weeks I was really OK with that outing,” he said. “It was an awesome event and this was a good confidence boost after coming back from this broken collarbone.
"This is the last race before Unbound so from here we’ll head home to Vermont for a bit because we’ve been on the road for about five weeks. We got about five hours of dry racing and I was just on high alert because of the collarbone.”
King won’t be the only member of his family racing Unbound on June 5, with his wife Laura also lining up on the start line in Kansas.
“My wife Laura is racing which is super exciting. She’s been part of my support crew at Unbound for the last few years and while she’s not raced professionally I’m really excited to see how she goes because I think she could finish top 10 or so but the entire family is going out to Unbound.”
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