Following a “socially distanced” year and a 2020 edition overshadowed by COVID, The Mid South returned with a vengeance for its tenth anniversary.
VeloNews photo director Brad Kaminski was on course and captured the action below.
After a neutral rollout on the pavement out of town, the 100-mile group was turned loose. The front group stayed together until a muddy jeep road at mile 25 that required running.
Race organizer Bobby Wintle’s energy is legendary. One of his many signature actions at The Mid South is hugging every finisher he can get his hands on.
Dennis van Winden had two reasons to celebrate: One, he finished second. And two, the only rider ahead of him was his teammate Cole Paton, whom he coaches.
Adam Roberge, who tangled with some barbed wire through the cyclocross section, finished third.
Cole Paton sends it on the course.
Paton enjoys the fruits of his labor while Wintle does what Wintle does.
Following Payson McElveen’s crash around mile 90, the front group eased a bit to let Brennan Wertz rejoin, as Wertz had been caught up in the crash. Then, Paton rolled off the front, and no one in the group immediately chased. It would be the last they saw of him.
Aero bars are very much allowed at The Mid South. Colin Strickland follows Innokenty Zavyalov.
The front group came apart after a dry river crossing, which forced riders to dismount and go singlefile. After the crossing, the strong riders splintered the group on a series of short but sharp climbs.
Early in the day, a tailwind and the size of the group made for a relatively tranquil pace. “Social racing,” Colin Strickland said before the neutral feed zone at mile 42. It didn’t remain that way.
Lauren De Crescenzo gets welcomed home by VeloNews senior editor Betsy Welch and race organizer Bobby Wintle.
De Crescenzo (in red) rides behind Ryan Cross of Life Time, organizer of the Life Time Grand Prix gravel and mountain bike series that launches this year.
After wining three races already this year, Moriah Wilson rode to second at The Mid South.
Payson McElveen (in Red Bull helmet) early in the race. He crashed out at about mile 90.
McElveen, the two-time winner and defending champion, at the start.
Kiel Reijnen (in orange vest) rides behind Van Winden and Spencer Powlison.
Reijnen took a spill, but kept it going and finished 36th.
Ruth Winder (in flower jersey) skied in Colorado Thursday, drove all day Friday to Oklahoma, and raced to seventh.
Savilia Blunk finished third — and celebrated with her partner Cole Paton who won the men’s race.
The Mid South course was surprisingly dry after snow on Friday.
Most of the 103-mile course felt well removed from the start/finish town of Stillwater.
Brennan Wertz (in blue) at the sub-freezing start of The Mid South, which was pushed back by an hour to let the temperature warm up a bit.