Today I am sharing some words and images from the 2022 Mid South gravel bike race & ride. It’s been a few years since I’ve ridden this event. I wish I could entirely blame covid for that but I can’t! I went to Mid South on a mission to ride 1st and take pictures 2nd. I needed this ride and event. I can also tell you from my personal experience that I think a lot of other folks needed it too.
Originally for Plan A, I had planned on taking the whole week to drive down, hang out and ride. At last minute I decided to just do a focused get in and get out trip. For me and my old body, this approach generally isn’t the best plan, especially given the 11 hour car drive. I set forth on Plan B where I intended to drive to KC, stay and have coffee in the morning with a friend and then complete the drive. However, just after crossing into Missouri on I35 I got a call from my friend and he said keep going to avoid the winter weather and snow. OK….Onto plan C! But before I moved onto plan C, I did make a quick stop to stretch my legs before the snow hit and captured a few images in downtown KC.
Before I get into my Mid South and Stillwater, OK pictures, I wanted to share a few images from the drive down as I ended up pulling off the freeway in Emporia to rest and had coffee in Wichita at Reverie Coffee, a must stop for a coffee fan. I also walked a bit as it is located in a picturesque part of Wichita. I also shot some film on my trusty Yashica. Can’t wait to have that developed!
So onward to Stillwater for the festivities. Lot’s going on in this town. It was obvious by the tone and the mood that this was going to be a coming out of sorts. Mid South 2020 marked the start of the Covid lockdown a few years ago and two years later this event appears to be the coming out. Folks were hungry for fun, camaraderie and friendship. To be honesty, I didn’t take too many pics. I spent my time getting caught up in seeing people and getting caught up on the last two years since I have seen most of the fine folks that I ran into. I honestly missed endless photo opportunities but here are a few I like from just walking around and snapping away! I do wish I had taken a bit more time to snap portraits of both my old and new friends. Dang it. Truly a missed opportunity.
But I was there to ride my bike. This event had some significance for me. Most know this, but for that do not, I quit job 8 months ago to focus my energy on creating a new life that better suites me and my desired path. This event was important and a marker of my health coming back. I easily could have gotten caught up with the fun, but I was focused on riding.
The race/ride went extremely well. I finished the 57 miler feeling strong and healthy. I was so happy. I had a plan and I worked the plan. I took very few photos though. Part of that was intentional and part of that was the Coca Cola that exploded in my pack and got all over my camera rendering it useless. But here are a few pics….And for those wondering I did carefully clean the camera, removed the sticky Coke residue and the camera again works fine. But here are some pics from the day of the bike race/ride.
Lastly, a note on the custom camera bags I made for my ride and weekend walking Stillwater, OK. These are 1st photos & prototypes of two bags that carry very specific cameras that I love, my Ricoh GRIIIX and my Yashica T4. These two bags are super light weight and crafted from the finest of materials. I love designing and fabricating them in my work shop. Still learning and still waiting on some gear that is tied up due to supply chain issues, along with everything else in the world! But for now I will continue to create, refine and test.
A special shout out to Bobby, Crystal, the Mid South staff, the District Cycles staff, the City and the Volunteers. You all did something special and gave everyone what they needed and have been longing for. I am forever grateful. Love you all! See you next year!