Race Recap The Mid South
With all the COVID-19 drama happening around us in hindsight racing my bike probably wasn’t the best idea but along with 1400 plus people I did. I raced The Mid South (formerly Land Run 100) last year in totally opposite conditions. Last year was cold still but dry mostly and really fast. This year was one of the worst conditions the event has ever had. I talked to 2017 winner Rob Bell during the first 5 or so miles and asked how this year’s weather compared to 2017 (the last time it was wet) and he said it’s far worse this year. That was unsettling because I knew the real bad spots on the course came later mostly all past mile 60 and we were already hitting really hard to ride sections in the first 15 miles. I later found out I had no idea how bad it was going to get.
[Photo: Adam Koble]
Thanks to The Bike Route (shout-out Jesse) for getting my bike swap and new bike built up on Thursday before the race. On Friday Tanner Ward and I drove to Stillwater to pick up race packets and meet up with HED wheels to get some new wheels for the race then straight to District Bicycles to get the wheels setup. Later after we got all set up at the house we were staying at we did a short 1 hour ride to make sure the bikes were working. That was my first ride on my newly set up bike.
1x Shimano with a 44t Wolftooth up front and 11-42 in the rear
Shimano Ultegra Hydro Brakes
HED Eroica Carbon Wheels with Vittoria Terreno Zero 37 (Blown out to 41s)
At the start it was mid 40’s and raining. The race is neutral until we get out to the edge of town but it’s one of those neutral starts where everybody is shuffling around trying to get into a good position for the first gravel section. The race was extremely fast early with so many quality racers. I found myself getting dropped multiple times within the first 10-15 miles and I was already working very hard. I had over 260 watt average (19.4 MPH) for the first hour of racing. After the first really technical section I got distanced because I made an error and had to put a foot down and that was enough for me to not be able to get back to the small group in front of me. After this section there was 2 groups, the front with 7-8 riders, then a small group of 4-5 riders, then me by myself. Those two groups got mixed around and eventually it was a lead group of 6 going into Perkins at the halfway point. I mostly rode alone from mile 15-40. I would catch riders one at a time but wasn’t able to work with them. Around mile 40 I got caught by John ShalekBriski and we rode into Perkins together in 12th and 13th. At the mid way check point I got my bottles filled, drive train rinsed off and lubed up. Coming out of Perkins going back onto the gravel we passed a few guys and jumped into the top ten. Somewhere just after mile 62 John dropped me and I continued to push alone. Around mile 70 I started having issues with my bike not clearing mud and decided to hop off and finish up this roller on my feet. As soon as I hopped off my bike it completely clogged up and wouldn’t roll so I tried to carry but it was too heavy to lift. I had my paint stick that was given out at packet pick up so I broke that out and cleaned the mud off as good as I could. From mile 70 to 75 I did this a few more times and at mile 75 I was done racing. I called the jeeps who were running SAG support for the event to come get me but it went straight to voicemail. I waited around a few minutes and then Tanner rolled up. He had been having more issues then me and then I decided to ride with him and at least finish. At this point we were just trying to make it back to the finish. We had an extended stop at mile 80 Skratch Labs feed zone. Mile 90 when we got to the big creek/river crossing we washed/dunked are bikes as well as we could. The last ten miles was just about getting to that finish line. I eventually made it in just over 7:30 hours ride time and 8:05 elapsed time for 40th place.
My setup was near perfect and my equipment didn’t fail. The only equipment change I would make would be tire choice. I would opt for a narrower tire with higher pressure but would still race a slick to semi slick. I raced a little too ambitiously from hour 1 to 4 and didn’t eat enough which was detrimental to my race in the final hours. The Mid South is an event I’ve done twice and will definitely do in 2021 no matter what the forecast.
Thanks to my sponsors that help make it happen:
First Internet Bank Cycling Team
Motion Cycling & Fitness
[Photos: Adam Koble, Johnny Purvis]