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The Mid South gear test: What worked well and what didn’t

SRM power-meter pedals, new S-Works tires, Cadex carbon-spoked wheels, and more.

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The Mid South is one of my favorite gravel races because it happily brings together such a wide diversity of people who do the event, how they approach the entire weekend, and what bikes they ride. It all starts and hinges on the volcanic positive energy of race promoter and District Bicycles owner Bobby Wintle. You should go next year.

This year, some 2,500 signed up for one of the weekend’s five events: the 50K run on Friday, the 12-, 50-, or 100-mile gravel events Saturday, or the Double that includes the 50K and the 100-mile gravel race. On top of that, there are multiple group rides, parties, and a general bike takeover of the town for the weekend.

My colleague Betsy Welch got second in the 50-mile race (yeah, Betsy!), which she did so she could be back at the finish in time to cover the men’s 100-mile race. I did the 100-mile race, and covered the women’s race. I got to see a few points of the women’s competition from inside the race — including Lauren De Crescenzo catching and passing the group of five men I was riding with in the howling wind. We were fully echeloned when she came up alone on the windy side. She rode there for a few minutes and chatted, her one aerobar flipped back towards her stomach. When she had had enough of our pedestrian pace, she motored on alone up the road — and not one of us even tried to follow.

I race-tested a few pieces of new gear at The Mid South. While testing gear outside of racing certainly has plenty of merits, using it in events can reveal how stuff works in rougher or frantic scenarios.

My goals going in were top 10 overall and to win the 40+. I fell well short on the first one at 22nd, but did nab 1st old-guy.

Here’s a rundown of what I used and how it fared.