‘Down But Not Out’: Payson McElveen returns to Gravel Racing after heinous wreck


After suffering the hardest fall of his career – and missing the No. 1 Grand Prix stop for life – Payson McElveen has made his return to Kansas.

On March 12, cyclist Payson McElveen fell off his bike, breaking his hand and his collarbone. Doctors told him it would take him 8 weeks to recover. That meant missing the Sea Otter Classic: the first stop in gravel racing Lifetime Grand Prize.

Despite continuing pain from injuries, McElveen showed up on June 4 for the second leg of the tour: UNBOUND Gravel in Emporia, Kan. It’s a notorious entry in the racing series, and McElveen calls it the toughest in a short YouTube documentary about his gravel riding come back.

“I know that moment will come during the race where there will be two voices in your head fighting each other,” he says in the video. “One shouts: ‘Let’s stop, it hurts so much.’ And then there’s the other voice that says, ‘No, you’ve worked so hard to be in this moment. This is where races are won.

Watch the pro fight his way back in this quick edit.

Duration: 4.5 mins

UNBOUND gravel racing: The gnarly proving grounds of cycling
UNBOUND Gravel is a race like no other – 200 teeth-chattering miles through Kansas. Read on for an explanation and how to watch. Read more…
Andrew McLemore
By Andrew McLemore

Award-winning journalist and photographer Andrew McLemore brings over 14 years of experience to his role as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber, and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as his home base for adventures across the Americas. When he’s not writing, performing or exploring nature, he hangs out with his dog Campana.

Subjects: bike, gravel

Key words: gravel bikes, unbound

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