Racers huddled around a firepit in the pre-dawn rain awaiting an 8:00am start.
Racers huddled around a firepit in the pre-dawn rain, awaiting an 8:00am start. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Steady rains the night before and in the hours before the scheduled start left the streets of Stillwater, OK, flooded in areas. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Racers huddled for shelter from the rain as start was delayed by 30 minutes to allow a nearby lighting storm to pass. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Mid South race organizer Bobby Wintle was fated with the extra complication of the coronavirus pandemic which included rapidly-changing guidelines and public opinion. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Racers and their entourage scrambled to get to the line, to make the delayed start, once weather started to clear. Photo: Wil Matthews
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The mystique of gravel was on display at The Mid South — where it doesn’t matter if you have a Red Bull logo on your helmet or just bull horns — everyone is in the same group at the start. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Different gravel events have different strategies on neutral race support. SRAM NRS was on hand before the race, but once on course, riders were left to their own except for a support station at the midway point. Photo: Wil Matthews
The group hit the dirt just two miles in to the 100+ mile day.
The group hit the dirt just two miles into a 100+ mile day. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Pete Stetina prepared to dismount to cross obstacles after leading the way across an otherwise out-of-use bridge in the early miles. Photo: Wil Matthews
The amateur riders found The Mid South to be anything but a straight-forward ride. Photo: @photosuze
Grass, mud, bike, rider all looked the same.
Grass, mud, bike, rider all looked the same. Photo: @photosuze
The Oklahoma landscape had a Belgian look about it in the opening miles.
The Oklahoma landscape had a Belgian look about it in the opening miles. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Colin Strickland crossed another sketchy, out-of-use bridge on course. Strickland said that the cold and wet conditions gave him difficulty. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Masters cyclocross champion Jonathan Baker slogged through the mud to third place overall. Photo: Wil Matthews
Peter Stetina at an early stream crossing in the red Oklahoma mud.
Pete Stetina attacked after a stream crossing in the race, in the red, Oklahoma mud. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Despite Payson McElveen’s searching, there wasn’t much difference in one line from the next in the Oklahoma mud. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Sixty miles in, Payson McElveen found himself chasing leader Peter Stetina as the lead group began to come apart. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Despite the conditions, Payson McElveen covered 104 miles in just 6:23 to take the win. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Payson McElveen’s winning Trek Checkpoint, equipped with SRAM eTap and ZIPP 303 tubeless wheels. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Payson McElveen, and many of the elite riders, chose wider, file-tread tires despite the mud. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Second-place Colin Strickland (left) with winner Payson McElveen. The two represent a growing model of ambiguous team dynamics in gravel events, as they’re independent racers sharing some of the same sponsors. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Peter Stetina finished just off the podium. “There’s glories and there’s stories, and today was all about the stories.” Photo: Wil Matthews
Hannah Finchamp approached the finish after almost eight hours of mud.
Hannah Finchamp approached the finish after almost eight hours of mud. Photo: Ansel Dickey
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Hanna Finchamp crossed the finish line as the overall women’s winner in her first gravel race with a time of 7:49. Photo: Wil Matthews
Hanna Finchamp after her finish.
Hanna Finchamp after her finish. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Hanna Finchamp’s winning Trek Checkpoint with SRAM eTap and ZIPP Service Course 30 tubeless wheels. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Hanna Finchamp’s Garmin displayed normalized power of just over 200 watts for the 100+ miles. Photo: Wil Matthews
Past Mid South winner Amanda Nauman at staging.
Past Mid South winner Amanda Nauman at staging. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Second-place Amanda Nauman gets a social-distance correct elbow bump from organizer Bobby Wintle. Photo: Wil Matthews
Second-place Amanda Nauman.
Second-place Amanda Nauman. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Tour Divide winner Alexandra Houchin, left, with Susan Beth Sloan. Alexandra rode her usual single-speed fat tire bike from Chumba. Photo: @photosuze
Mid South and WD-40 BIKE teamed up for post-ride wash facilities.
Mid South and WD-40 BIKE teamed up for post-ride wash facilities. Photo: Wil Matthews
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Tibco rider Kristen Faulkner said, “this is my surprised-as-f*** face,’ following her third-place finish. Photo: Wil Matthews
The Mid South handed out its own locally-brewed IPA at the finish.
The Mid South handed out its own locally-brewed IPA at the finish. Photo: Wil Matthews