Gravel
Bobby Wintle, founder of The Mid South, formerly...

Pro(moter) bike: The Mid South founder Bobby Wintle’s Moots Routt 45

The Mid South founder Bobby Wintle says the best gear for his race depends on the weather. His own bike, a Moots Routt 45, features prototype tires and Shimano components.

What is the best bike and tire set-up for The Mid South, the Oklahoma gravel race formerly known as Land Run 100, where the red clay can turn to Quikrete-like mud? Well, ask the founder, Bobby Wintle, who co-owns District Bicycles with his wife Crystal.

Wintle’s titanium Moots Routt 45 features a mix of Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifters with XTR cranks, pedals, and derailleur.

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The key question for any gravel race is, what is the best tire? At The Mid South, the answer depends tremendously on the weather.

“If it’s wet, you want clearance between your tires and your frame and fork, so a 35mm is best,” Wintle said. “If it’s dry, put in the fattest, funnest thing you want!”

Wintle is currently testing prototype Vittoria Mezcal Graphene 2.0 tires, which have a healthy tread pattern. He’d recommend that or a Vittoria Wet for muddy conditions.

Vittoria Mezcal prototype tire
Wintle is testing Vittoria Mezcal prototype tires

For dry conditions, Wintle recommends a 40mm Vittoria Dry or Zero, which have file-tread and completely smooth center strips, respectively.

Wintle is far too busy working at The Mid South to get to race. He is at the start / finish line from before dawn to 16 hours after the start. And, every year, he hugs each and every person who comes across the line.

For his own racing adventures, the longer the better for Wintle. Dirty Kanza 200? Of course, but that’s child’s play. How about the DKXL, the 350-mile odyssey he was happy to do. Or the Tour Divide, from Canada to Mexico?

“I love to compete, but I’m not fast,” Wintle said. “So I compete against the course.”

Scroll through the pictures below for a closer look at Wintle’s set-up. And no, he doesn’t use a computer of any sort. For rides or races that require navigation, he’ll use his phone on airplane mode with RideWithGPS.

Bobby Wintle’s Moots Routt 45 with Shimano Di2 shifters and XTR rear derailleur.
Wintle cockpit
Wintle runs a bell and a light – but never a computer. 
Unlearn Pavement bike
There’s not much asphalt at The Mid South.
Brooks C13 saddle
The Brooks C13 saddle is a mix of old school (Brooks) and new school (carbon rails).
XTR derailleur
An XTR derailleur pairs just fine with a Shimano Di2 shifter, and the clutch keeps chain slap to a minimum.
One gravel ring to rule them all
One (42t) ring to rule them all.
Gravel pedal?
Gravel pedal? A tried-and-true mountain bike standard works just fine.
Stem and bar
A 70mm stem clamps to a 46cm Salsa bar.
Bobby Wintle
Bobby Wintle has hugged each and every one of the thousands of finishers of The Mid South.