The history of the Land Run is a sordid one, which you can read all about it our earlier Reportage from the 2018 event. This question comes up a lot these days: if we know better, are we supposed to do better? While local vernacular influences the discussion, the Land Run wasn’t exactly something you want to build a community upon in the modern age. There is a much larger discussion to be had about this and the Land Run founder Bobby Wintle did such a great job on the official announcement, that I’d prefer to let him explain it below.
One of our favorite gravel rides, the Land Run 100, just stocked up their webshop, featuring tons of co-branded goodies. Head over and see for yourself!
Fingers Crossed For A Fair-weather Forecast At Land Run 100
Photos and words by Jarrod Bunk
You ever have a ride that breaks you? My first encounter with the red dirt of Oklahoma did just that. 2017 was one of the muddiest courses that had ever graced Land Run 100 since its inception. Only 165 of 1000 people completed that ride, and you can read more about it over here.
You might be wondering, out of all the gravel events popping up around the world, what makes the Land Run 100 special? Why ride gravel in Oklahoma, in a place known as “Tornado Alley”? If you are wondering this, you are not alone.
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in my first Land Run 100 gravel race. Bobby and Crystal Wintle host the event from their shop, District Bicycles, in the center of historic downtown Stillwater, Oklahoma. The race attracts two thousand gravel cyclists from around the country and has some legendary stories attached to it. For instance, in 2017 rain soaked the red dirt roads to the consistency of peanut butter mud and only ~25% of the riders who started the race finished. Despite the treacherous conditions that bad weather can bring on race day, the Land Run 100 has established itself as a must-do event on the gravel race circuit. Before I talk about why I think that is and what I learned from my experience there, I’d like to acknowledge the history behind the name of the event.
“In Oklahoma, you learn to make a lot out of a little…. Turns out that the unfortunate weather that scrambled our storyboards helped us tell a truer story. Ask around about the Land Run 100, and you’ll learn that we know how to put together an epic ride or two in Oklahoma, but a more honest reflection of our community of bike riders is found in those everyday rides that go according to plan or don’t, while the people sharing them barely notice the difference.” -Seth Wood
After very little deliberation, the crew at District Bicycles chose Jay’s comment as the winner of our Land Run 100 giveaway. There were tons of comments to choose from but something about Jay’s comment really resonated with the team.
“One of the reasons why I want to attempt the Land Run 100 is because it scares the hell out me, but in a good way. For me, it’s like that horror movie thing when you’re a kid — you don’t want to watch, but you can’t stop. I’m the same way with Land Run. I don’t know if I can do it, I might not finish, but I can’t get it out of my head that I have to at least try. Another reason? The good vibes associated with Land Run and District Bicycles. You’ve got a great thing going on down there and I hope to be a part of it in March. Cheers, folks.”
We’re stoked to be a part of this and we’ll be sending Jay a package to make sure he’s kitted out for the weekend events. If you have some free time, head over to the post and read through the comments. They’re really great! If you commented, thank you! If you’re going to Land Run this year, make sure to give Jay some words of encouragement as he takes on 100 miles of Oklahoma dirt.
Land Run 100 is doing a pre-sale with these custom Rapha jerseys. The pre-sale is live right now and ends on Sunday at Midnight, but before it ends we’d like to do something special.
We’re giving away an entry to Land Run 100 AND one of these Rapha jerseys to someone who comments below. You’ve got some options here, so tune in. You can either tell us why you want to go to the Land Run 100 or what #UnlearnPavement means to you. Bobby from District Bicycles, the host of Land Run 100 and their team will pick the winning comment.
Now Go! We’ve closed this entry! See the winning comment highlighted below!
If you’re looking for a challenging ride, in a beautiful landscape, thrown by an Independently-owned bike shop, run by some of the nicest dang people ever, then don’t sleep on the Land Run 100 registration, which opens tomorrow at 8am CST! Head to Bike Reg to sign up! Don’t sleep, this event sells out fast! Available spots for each distance are:
100 mile – 1000
50 mile – 400
50k – 150
DOUBLE – 50
This year’s Land Run was a dusty and fast one, after years of soul-crushing mud. You’ve seen our extensive coverage, now here’s a video showcasing this fun event.
Leading up to the Land Run, I was advised by all to put 700c wheels and a fast rolling “dirt” tire on my bike of choice, that way, if it was muddy, there would be plenty of clearance. I knew I wanted to ride my Crema on the course, with its more upright riding off-road position, versus the Firefly which is more elongated as per a road fit. When carrying a camera pack, being more upright really helps out in terms of soreness and the Crema has been my go-to for such outings.
Second up in the Distict Bicycles crews’ personal rides is Crystal‘s Scissortail single speed ‘cross bike. This build came together at the absolute last minute before she raced the Dirty Kanza. Crystal didn’t have any time left to paint the frame before building it up for the race. What are ya gonna do? Even if you paint a bike, racing the DK will leave it chipped, with paint damage from all the dirt and gravel pinging off the frame, so Crystal built it raw, raced it and liked the way the patina looked, so her and Bobby got it clear coated with a nice, thick coat, to ensure this “pain patina” would remain.
I love bikes with a story, and this one, in particular, made me excited to document the bike!
While in Stillwater, Oklahoma, I got the grand tour of a few of District Bicycles employees’ personal bikes. Included in this mix was Bobby’s own custom Moots Farwell 29’r. Custom in the sense that Bobby didn’t like the swoopy tubes. Luckily, he convinced the crew there to make the straightest Farwell to leave the Steamboat facility. He also didn’t want raw or bead blasted titanium.
For that, he pinged Rudy at Black Magic Paint to coat the frame with an Oklahoma Red Dirt-themed wet coat. Topping the build off with XTR Di2 and a build kit tuned for Oklahoma singletrack, this MTB actually looks damn good clean. Usually, I prefer them good’n’dirty!
I last saw this kick-ass woman at the first Grinduro. That’s over three years ago and in that time, she’s continued to crush races with what always seems to be such finesse. Hell, even at the start of this year’s Land Run 100, I hooped and hollered at her in the first few miles, to which she returned a smile and pedaled off into the dusty abyss.
Dani‘s endeavors in the cycling industry are proudly supported by Tenspeed Hero and Firefly. This year, she’s upping the ante by starting a team of all-female dirt road racers. These ladies are looking to travel to events like Land Run 100 and others, in search of competition and glory. The team is dubbed Bitch ‘n’ Grit, and is sponsored by BitchStix, a company that makes lip balms and sunblock, while donating all net proceeds to organizations that raise awareness for domestic abuse and sexual assault prevention programs.
This is the bike Dani will pedal as she joins her teammates in races. It’s Firefly number three for her, hence the SHRED SL3D and is the bike that’s dedicated to dirt road racing. I could go on for a bit longer about the bike, its integrated seat post, and her perspective, but I’d rather send you to her blog to read all about it.
Oh, and she got third place in the women’s category on this bike… Dani, we’ll see you again soon – sooner than three years! – and good luck this season!
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Mud. It’s hell. A catalyst for catastrophe and the end game for any bike event. Honestly, it’s been the one thing grating at my conscious since first accepting the invitation to the Land Run 100 late last year. For six years now, Land Run 100 has been put together by Bobby Wintle and the team at District Bicycles in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It’s a challenging race on a challenging course, yet the entrants must adjust their own psyche to determine what mental state they will choose to enter these dirt roads. Be it personal grit, the desire to complete the course in its entirety, glory, or to be the fastest group of racers in one of many categories. Racers register for the event to conquer their own goals.
The story of competition is as old as the ages, yet the history of the Land Run was one formed long before the existence of dirt roads as we know them today.
The Land Run 100 draws people from all over the world, including Texas. Austin drove in from Austin, with his brand new Chumba Terlingua, ready to roll 100+ miles single speed. With no rain in the forecast – #RIPmud – he packed in a big tire and got ready to ride the rolling hills, through the red dirt countryside.
While there were many exceptional builds at the event, I have to say, this was one of the most original I saw. With Onyx Racing Hubs, an Absolute Black ring, Paul Klampers, Hope Rotors, WTB Riddler tires, matching spoke nipples and a mean, race fit, this bike looked as good in motion as it does sitting here.
Austin, great to meet you, pardna’, tell the grackles I said I miss them!
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Stu made the trek from the wintery north to Oklahoma and the Land Run 100. He’s the owner of Freeport Bicycle Co, a shop in Illinois, and this is his Moots Routt 45 with a Lauf Grit fork. Stu and Bailey, the new mechanic at District Bicycles throw an event called the Ten Thousand. It’s a dirt road race that combines dirt roads in the Driftless area of Northwestern Illinois. The elevation gain of the event exceeds 10,000′, making for one tough day on the bike.
Stu is here in Stillwater to support Bobby from District Bicyce’s event, the Land Run 100, because Bobby has frequented Stu and Bailey’s event in years past. It’s always interesting to see how bike shop owners equip their bikes for events like this and I love seeing bike shop owner’s supporting each other’s endeavors. Roll safe, Stu!
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… and it looks like we’re bringing the sunshine with us.
There’s nothing better than an injection of humor into a very hard ride. That’s what Salsa aims to do with their Chase The Chaise campaign. Head on over to read all about it!