Gravel Racing Turned Mud in OK

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I was up early this morning, so at 5 am, I wished my team mate, Brian Jensen, good luck at the Land Run 100, an 100 mile “gravel” road race outside of Stillwater Oklahoma.  I guess the course travels through the territory that was part of the 1889 Land Run, which kind of stole land from the Indians.  He texted me back and said it rained a ton last night and it looked to be pretty muddy.

And he was right.  He said he was going to stop if there was a bunch of walking, but I’d say that would be 50/50% truthful.  It just depended.  Then I saw a few photos pop up on Facebook and thought it would probably just be better to stop and not destroy a ton of equipment and still not finish.  It will be interesting seeing how it all turned out.

Doesn’t look like much fun if it’s all like this.

This is Nick Frey, founder of Boo Cycles, all clogged up.  He came a long way from Colorado to be bogged down in this red muck.  I know, by personal experience, how ugly Oklahoma mud can be.

This is Nick Frey, founder of Boo Cycles, all clogged up. He came a long way from Colorado to be bogged down in this red muck. I know, by personal experience, how ugly Oklahoma mud can be.

(null)A little thick.

16 thoughts on “Gravel Racing Turned Mud in OK

  1. Stu

    “Gravel race” is a misnomer for anything held not on pavement in Oklahoma. They only put gravel on the roads near the towns that get some traffic. Everything else is just compacted red clay. When it rains just cancel the damn thing and save everyone a few hundred dollars in equipment and stained kit. A bike doesn’t exist that can function in that soup of sticky shit. This is a glorified mountain bike race on flattened trails used by farm trucks to feed cattle. Cancel it.

  2. Jim

    This is also the second year that the race has been a broken derailler festival due to the mud. Maybe hold it sometime other than the rainiest month of the year?

  3. Jamed

    .28 in Stillwater, points north .10. Watch the radar – we have these phone things – and n & w didn’t get the rain. Mile 15 ish to 30 ish sections of unrideable mud. So 30 to 107 rideable. No broken derailure & the chain was due anyway. Hell the crazy AC guys were on road bikes & shoes! You TW guys dont buy equip anyway?

  4. Stu

    Did they hand out cute little finisher medals and stickers that say “Gravel Race Finisher” that you can stick on the back of your mini van too?

  5. James

    Well technically, no. ” If you leave the course you must re enter at…”? Or something like that.

  6. Jim Cummins

    I guess everyone has their own definition of “fun”. Personally, I had a BLAST. The first 25 miles was a slog-fest. Having the mental strength to push on when the going got tough was its own reward. As for all the broken derailleurs… that simply comes down to making good choices. Walk, rather than ride. You’ve got to know you limits… and the limits of your equipment. Good bike choice also comes into play. I brought two bikes with me, and wound up riding my second choice, based on the current conditions. My most sincere appreciation goes out to Bobby and Crystal Wintle (and their crew of volunteers) for hosting an excellent event, and giving us all the opportunity to challenge ourselves.

  7. Don Loveless

    I finished Land Run 100 this year and had a blast. Sure, there was lots of mud. The ones that got past the early mud sections were probably more in tune with their equipment. There was even a bicycle built for two that finished. The thing that makes events like this special is that finishing is not just about raw power. It is about knowing when to back off at the right time. We may be short on gravel and long on dirt (mud) in Oklahoma but everyone rode on the same course. Unlike the promoters of the National Cyclocross Championship in Austin, Texas, we don’t cancel races because of rain in Oklahoma.

  8. Steve Tilford Post author

    Guys-I agree with not canceling an event because of mud. But, when there are 15 miles of mud, which may involve walking and you came to a bike race, then it is a little different. I, personally, right now, can’t walk/jog that far.

    I am wondering how much actually off the bike mileage there actually was? Was it really close to 15 miles? What was the longest section of walking at one point? Were you told that it was going to harden up and it was rideable at some point?

    It would be very hard continuing a race after you have been on and off the bike for 10 miles and still have 75 miles to ride, not knowing whether you were going to have to walk in mud or get to ride.

  9. Jim Cummins

    Yes, we were told at the pre-race meeting the road conditions would improve as the day went on. Bobby Wintle (Race Director) did an amazing job of making sure everyone knew what he/she was getting into. We went down there for a challenge. And that’s exactly what we got. Can’t ask for more than that.

  10. James

    We had the first part of the route at 3 pm. Cross that with the radar/rain & you knew once we got off the more maintained roads around town & headed south east into the watershed it was going to be tough. However, once it moved to the north the rain gauges got consitantly less. Like .10 in. So I had hope & Bobby’s “its going to get better…”.

    How much you had to carry over the 15 miles of bad mud depended on equipment & how much chain suck you were willing to risk. Guy on single speed rode first ck point in 4:18. Everyone else 4:30 & beyond. Prolly walked once or twice? And once was designed you had to walk. Me? Maybe 6-8 & the longest was maybe 1/8 of mile. Those saying they walked mile stretches? Maybe a bit distance challenged on what a mile looks like imo? Agree with you Steve, I had in my head a limit how much I was going to walk & a time limit. I wasn’t going to blow my ankles out or sit in Perry eating so I could finish in 12 hrs.

    Which brings me to the “finisher” point some bash on. I sat and watched those that finished later & they are amazing. They dig deeper & are way more hammer than the fast guys. And what are they doing it for? 70th? They often don’t see anyone to chase. They typically do it all alone. I think many are underprepared food & water wise for the time. Doggin on “finishers” is just bs.

    Disc brakes, big clearance & tires that didn’t pick up the goo were big adv, but still no absolute you wouldn’t go snap.

    So at mile 30 or so we were off. Heading north & elevation going up. After that you figure wind & temps & 16 hrs to dry out. And hope no more creeks/watershed stuff, which there wasn’t. That’s what kept me going.

    Great race! Kudos to Bobby & crew!

  11. James


    Your question made me curious so I took a look at the Garmin file/graph.

    First dismount at 10.5. Last at 23.5.
    7 total. Many who hit that first area rode it. The real bad sec was 11.3. I walked .8 of a mile here, so stand corrected. Selective memory block! By far the longest & where much of the damage and bailing occurred. Up to 15.5 was up & down, on & off with a .4 walk being longest. Then rolling again, but at 22 was back off for the river crossing. At 23 ish no more dismounts for mud.

    It took me 1:59:50 to ride 12.3 miles. Save the derailure & finish.


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