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While most Unbound Gravel competitors are fretting about tire pressure and tapering ahead of this weekend’s race, Ted and Laura King are juggling far more important and unpredictable matters with the imminent birth of their second child.
Ted King, who won Unbound Gravel in 2016 and 2018 and finished fourth last year five weeks after breaking his collarbone, is adamant that he will not head to Kansas this weekend unless the birth of his son comes within the next 48 hours.
If the birth doesn’t take place by Tuesday, then he will choose to stay at home and skip the second round in the Life Time Grand Prix series.
“It’s up in the air. It’s to be decided,” he told VeloNews in a call on Monday morning.
“First and foremost I don’t want to miss the birth of my son,” King said. “We know that we’re having a boy. In order to make it happen we have to have the baby in the next couple of days so we can have the child, come home, settle in, make sure that mom and baby are happy, and then escape to Kansas for the race. As opposed to not having the child, going there and running the risk of missing it. It’s a substantial risk in that sense.”
Laura, who is a competitive racer in her own right, and c0-founded Rooted Vermont and the Women’s Clinic, is keen for her husband to head to Kansas, but the couple are putting a provisional cut-off point in place.
“It’s probably tomorrow, Tuesday,” Laura King said.
In terms of how missing Unbound would affect King’s Life Time Grand Prix standings, the points-based series uses the best of five out of six races. To miss Unbound, where he has historically performed very well, would be a disappointment for King, but it wouldn’t spell the end of his potential in the series.
“It’s unfortunate, from my perspective, because you get one throw away race, for Ted to throw this away as it’s one of his best,” Laura said. “I would love for him to go just so he could throw out some other race. It’s just out of our control.”
King has rediscovered form in the last few months after a being ill with severe food poisoning in the spring. His numbers are pointing in the right direction, but any plans to race are secondary.
“Backtrack about eight months ago when we found out that we were pregnant, you do a bit of estimation for the due date so in the back of your mind you think it might have an effect on Unbound, and here we are in that juggle,” he said.
“I was just catching up with a handful of sponsors on some other things. Cannondale, WHOOP, Velocio, and ROKA. Everyone has been awesome and understands the situation. The SRAM happy hour would be a fun time to see friends. There’s a lot of ‘wait and see’ when asked how I’m planning things. Everyone is hopeful that I’m there and that everything is healthy with the birth, which takes precedence. I’d like to win, I’d like to move up in the standings but to a degree it’s just another race.
“It’s been a slow start to the season but everything is starting to hit now. I had more illness in the spring than I’ve ever had, so it’s been a slow start. The accumulation of racing, big hard training days, and events like Gravel Locos has given me good form.
“In terms of power numbers, it’s certainly promising. Coming out of last year and getting fourth there, the combination of experience and fitness give me a good bit of confidence for this year. Last year I was happy to have completed my fifth Unbound, so I joined that 1,000 mile club.”