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The Mid South

March 9, 2023 - March 11, 2023


Since 2011, Mid South has turned into a South-Central US Winter classic.  The surrounding rural roads of Stillwater, Ok, offer virtually limitless potential for gravel cycling. Mile after mile of gravel roads ranging from smooth, hard-packed dirt to rutted, gnarly mud revealed themselves to the growing community of cyclists who ventured out to explore the beautiful country surrounding Stillwater.  Strambecco rates the Mid-South as one of the best gravel events in the South-Central region for 2023.

The Mid South links roughly 107 miles of red, rutted roads and features more than 6,000 feet of climbing with Carney, Oklahoma, as its halfway point. The event now attracts 3,000+ participants, with entrants coming from nearly every state in the US and entrants from  Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, England, and Australia.  The main gravel events are 100 miles and 50 miles, along with a 12-mile inspiration ride.  For the ultra runners in the family, there is also a 50k Ultramarathon event.

Every year, the weather has been a defining characteristic of the event. When rain falls on Oklahoma’s red dirt, the roads become unforgiving and, in some cases, unrideable. Stories of ruined derailleurs and miles-long sections of hike-a-bike through “peanut butter mud” that can swallow a shoe have become staples of the experience. But even when Oklahoma gravel is hard-packed, dusty, and fast – as it is most of the year – losing yourself on these country roads can evoke strength, grit, and resolve that you never knew you possessed.  For the local gravel riding and running community, the term red dirt brings up images of beautiful country roads that, with the right amount of rain, can transform from fast, hard-packed surfaces into gooey and sticky “peanut butter mud.”  If the forecast is wet and cold, prepare to descend into uncomfortable conditions. These factors combine to make for an event day that can be a true test to finish!

Mid South includes a fantastic festival and after-party.  If you aren’t familiar with Stillwater, it’s home to Oklahoma State University and has a great college vibe, including a well-known music scene in the historic downtown.

Routes change annually, but you can get a sampling from the 2022 routes here.


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