Rick Miller (right in the image below) and two friends drove to OK to participate in the Mid South 100. For those interested, you can make a double out of it by running a 50k route the day prior to the 100 mile gravel event. The woman, Wendy, standing to the right of Rick, did the double and won the combined female category. Below is Rick's story and a good one it is.
A small group of us returned to Stillwater, Ok to ride the Mid South 100 formerly known as the Land Run 100.
A couple cool notes about the weekend, I was told of a celeb that was going to be staying with us for the weekend, Selene Yeager aka fitchick, funny story how that all came about.
You never know what the weather will hold and you have to be mentally prepared for what ever it is. We had premium weather my last 2 years, perfect dry conditions. This year things would be different, the exact opposite of what we have had in the past. This year it was a ride of attrition, the elements were not on the bikers side.
The ride is supposed to start at 8am but it was postponed 1/2 an hour due to lighting. Starting temps were 42 ambient which feels 34, with and a cold rain. It had started raining the evening before. Just trying to set the stage for the journey that we were about to embark on.
This year I made my way to into the starting corral staging about 2 rows back chatting with the likes of Matt Acker (he finished 8th overall on a single speed). I try to start towards the front, not that I am looking to rub shoulders and think I will be racing the front group but to add separation from the back pack and stay out of harms way. We rolled out of town with the rain coming down. There is no avoiding the tire spray in the tight group, the pavement ended and the gravel started, well the mud started.... once in the sludge, it was pretty funny to watch how quick the peloton splintered.
Everyone’s face was quickly covered with the rust colored mud. I ride with my Garmin on the map, just so I am not paying attention to the numbers, just riding my bike and following the course, riding my ride. Maybe around mile 40ish my chain would not stay on the front chainring due to the small grit that filled the inner openings. It required jamming the chain onto the ring to clear the debris, a little water bottle clean and I was off and pedaling again. I won’t lie, I had thoughts of quitting, But I knew that I could not do that, as I had seen the carnage of fallen bikes as I trudged thru. My equipment had not let me down and I needed to see this thru. I was going to finish and see Bobby Wintle all jacked up by each rider coming across the finish line. About 4 miles out from the halfway point, I had a guy tell me this, which is not good when you know you have been riding for a while and thinking you should had been finished already. I made it to the pavement section right before the halfway town of Perkins and felt better about continuing. I reached the SAG stop where I quickly refilled my bottles and headed back out. I am a very consistent rider and normally can keep my pace all day, with out slowing much. Selene (fitchick) was getting ready to head out and asked her if she needed or wanted company. I told her I would try to stay with her, but earlier she had caught me at mile 15 and then had been to Perkins for about 25 minutes before I arrived. She knows people and had a bag of dry clothes to change into.
We rolled out together, first hitting the free power washer to remove the first round of mud from the bikes. I guessed right, about 2 miles out of town, she rode off. I kept my pace and just kept moving. It’s always nice to know you are more than half way and on a count down to the finish. I got to the Oasis(Mile 80) and discovered Selene was there. I had half a beer, refilled my bottles one with water one with coke.
I polished off a bag of BBQ chips and a coke.
We set off and rode the last 24 miles, finishing together. For the people who do events, it’s always nice to have a conversation to make the miles go by quicker.
Everyone in our group finished!!