‘Down But Not Out’: Payson McElveen Returns to Gravel Racing After Heinous Wreck

After taking the hardest fall of his career — and missing Stop #1 of the Life Time Grand Prix — Payson McElveen made a comeback in Kansas.

On March 12, cyclist Payson McElveen took a fall from his bike, breaking a hand and his collarbone. Doctors told him he’d need 8 weeks to recover. That meant missing the Sea Otter Classic: the first stop of gravel racing’s Life Time Grand Prix.

Despite continued pain from the injuries, McElveen showed up on June 4 for tour stop two: UNBOUND Gravel in Emporia, Kan. It’s a notorious entry in the race series, and McElveen calls it the hardest in a short YouTube documentary about his gravel riding comeback.

“I know that moment will come during the race when there’s two voices in your head fighting each other,” he says in the video. “One yelling, ‘Let’s quit, this hurts so badly.’ And then there’s the other voice that’s going, ‘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.

Runtime: 4.5 minutes

Lauren DeCrescenzo wins the 2021 UNBOUND Gravel
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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position 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 a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.

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