EMPORIA, Kans., (Dec. 18, 2020) — Life Time, the nation’s premier healthy lifestyle brand which owns and produces the Garmin UNBOUND Gravel event, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Major Taylor Association as part of Life Time’s ongoing commitment to growing diversity at gravel cycling events. This partnership provides race entries, expo space, a platform to grow awareness and ongoing support and mentorship for Major Taylor riders.
Major Taylor Association is named in honor of Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (November 26, 1878 – June 21, 1932), the first African-American professional cyclist. Taylor turned professional at the age of 18 and went on to win multiple national sprint and track world championships, becoming the first African American to achieve this level of cycling.
“We recognize that more diverse representation is needed at events such as UNBOUND Gravel and are very proud to partner with the Major Taylor Association,” said Kristi Mohn, UNBOUND Gravel Marketing Manager at Life Time . “Their mission of giving, sharing and educating within the cycling community aligns with our commitment to amplifying inclusion at our events and within the broader endurance industry. Life Time events are a place for everyone, and we are excited to put those words into action. We can’t wait for the Major Taylor riders to come to Emporia and see the beauty of the Flint Hills.”
The two-year partnership will provide 65 entries each year for Major Taylor riders from the Kansas City chapter and surrounding areas, across all four distances (25-mile, 50-mile, 100-mile and 200-mile) of UNBOUND Gravel, including crew support for the riders. Life Time will also provide funding for travel costs for the participants. Additionally, Major Taylor will be given complimentary expo space to grow awareness about the work they’re doing with the gravel community, as well as lead a group ride during the event weekend.
As athletes are training and preparing for the June 5 event, the UNBOUND Gravel team will host group rides for the Major Taylor Kansas City Cycling Club in Emporia. This on-course experience will introduce the riders to the Flint Hills and the actual roads they will be riding on during the event.
“We, the members of the Major Taylor Kansas City Cycling Club, are excited about this partnership with Life Time and UNBOUND Gravel!” said Mitchell Williams, President of Major Taylor Cycling Club of Kansas City. “Major Taylor Cycling Clubs across the United States work diligently to promote the sport of cycling while honoring the life and legacy of Major Taylor. The opportunity to bring awareness to the sport is both exciting and impactful. Participating in UNBOUND Gravel gives us the opportunity to train for the event while promoting health, diversity and inclusion in this sport which we are so passionate about.”
This is just one step Life Time is taking as they continue their commitment to providing access and education to all individuals, while initiating industry shifts around inclusiveness at events. The organization has pledged to impact change across the industry, using their 30+ events as a platform. The team is continuing to take deliberate steps to enact change for riders and runners across BIPOC, LGBTQ+, gender-focused, economically disenfranchised and para groups, including lowering the barrier of entry to the sport and providing access to start lines.
The 2021 All Things Gravel Expo will kick off on June 3; Life Time will be supporting small and BIPOC businesses with complimentary booth spaces. To further amplify Life Time’s DEI efforts, 15% of proceeds from UNBOUND Gravel merchandise will be contributed toward DEI initiatives, including funding to Major Taylor to help cover travel costs.
For more information, visit unboundgravel.com or follow @unboundgravel on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.