Following his 2017 top ten finish, the former RBA editor re-thought his effort

In 2016 Jon Hornbeck was like many other aspiring American pro road racers; training hard, racing harder and struggling to get by. So  for 2017  he quit and came to work for Road Bike Action.  Less than a year later we had him signed-up for his first ever gravel race…a little ditty known (then) as the Dirty Kanza 200.

Although Jon didn’t know much about gravel riding, he did know how to suffer in the drops and in his rookie dirt run he finished an incredible 7th place – the best finish of any RBA editor ever.


For his follow-up performance in 2018, Jon’s gravel bike of choice was an Ibis Haka MX . And although he started with aspirations of another high finish,  it was at around mile 150 that things changed.  After riding the flint rock roads of Emporia, Kansas alongside former WorldTour pro Jens Voigt where the two discussed the meaning of life and what it meant to be a former road pro, Jon decided to enjoy the last 50 miles as rider and not a racer. 

As this year’s Unbound Gravel race is about to head-out of Emporia, Kansas this weekend, we thought to share this photo gallery from the 2018  event featuring Hornbeck as the main protagonist.  

Photos courteous of Ian Matteson / Enve Composites

The early morning start means the town comes to life with lights on.
With a morning shower riders took cover as they left their bikes in their respective rows.
After a 30-minute rain/thunder delay the clouds started to clear up.
Look for our first-person perspective video of the all-day event later this week from Jon Hornbeck.
Enve debuted their new Gravel-specific “G Series” at the event which a select few rode. Look for our review in an upcoming RBA issue.
Janel Holcomb came back to the event to ride the 100-mile route.
Most riders handle the ride on their own compared to a group which you will normally see at a road event.
The rest stops throughout the course are a busy site as riders look for their support crew.
By the afternoon the wet roads turned into dry dust.
If you completed the full DK distance your bike was in need of some much valuable R&R.
With no assistance out on the course, extra bags were needed. A CamelBak and fanny pack were a nice addition.
This about sums up your view for the 200-mile ride.
This rider shows off his way to take food on the go.
There were plenty of water crossings to handle as riders either rode or walked their way through.
Jens Voigt  (R) came all the way from Germany to take part in the gravel festivities.
Rebecca Rusch completed her 350-mile DKXL ride with a smile on.
This wraps up what gravel is all about.

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