The Mid South Gear Test: What Worked Well and What Didn’t
The Mid South is one of my favorite gravel races because it happily brings together such a wide variety of people who participate in the event, how they approach the whole weekend, and what bikes they ride. It all starts with and depends on the positive volcanic energy of race promoter and owner of District Bicycles, Bobby Wintle. You should go there next year.
This year, some 2,500 people signed up for one of the weekend’s five events: the 50 km race on Friday, the 12, 50 or 100 mile gravel events on Saturday, or the double which includes the 50 km and the 100 mile gravel race. . On top of that, there are several group rides, parties, and a general takeover of the city by bike for the weekend.
My colleague Betsy Welch finished 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 from 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 completely staggered when she arrived alone on the windy side. She rolled over there for a few minutes and chatted, her only aerobar flipped to her stomach. When she had had enough of our pedestrian pace, she set off down the road alone – and neither of us even tried to follow.
I tested some new gear while racing at The Mid South. While testing gear outside of racing certainly has many benefits, using it in events can reveal how things work in tougher or frantic scenarios.
My goals were to be in the top 10 overall and to win the 40+. I fell well short of 1st to 22nd, but caught 1st old.
Here is an overview of what I used and how effective it was.