To begin, it is important to say that I am not a doctor, a data analyst, or an economist. Am I an expert regarding the growing pandemic that is becoming one of the defining events of our lives? No, I am not. I am a bike mechanic who likes to take photos. There are smarter people out there who could (or should) be writing about this, but as it is, you have me. And I find it extremely difficult—even inappropriate—to talk about this year’s Mid South without acknowledging the massive elephant in the room. For some of you, these images or just the thought of a large group gathering may be upsetting. You would be right to feel that way, and I get it. If this were any other year, it would have been a widely celebrated event, filled with love and excitement from the greater cycling community. In a lot of ways, it still was. But given that upside-down is the new normal, here we are.
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.