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Thick mud challenges Mid South gravel racers – Gallery

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The men's podium

The men's podium (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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A group of riders tackle the wet gravel

A group of riders tackle the wet gravel (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The race start

The race start (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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These wouldn't stay clean for long

These wouldn't stay clean for long (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Ashto Lambie at the race start

Ashto Lambie at the race start (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Payson McElveen waits for the start

Payson McElveen waits for the start (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Riders wait for the start

Riders wait for the start (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Riders, including Ashton Lambie, line up before the start

Riders, including Ashton Lambie, line up before the start (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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It was a wet day out

It was a wet day out (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The peloton rolls out in the rain

The peloton rolls out in the rain (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Spectators watch the peloton head out

Spectators watch the peloton head out (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Muddy gravel sections awaited the riders

Muddy gravel sections awaited the riders (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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A small group on the gravel

A small group on the gravel (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Two riders out in the Oklahoma countryside

Two riders out in the Oklahoma countryside (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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A group of riders out on road

A group of riders out on road (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The race

The race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Another gravel section for the riders

Another gravel section for the riders (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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(Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Rolling hills in the distance

Rolling hills in the distance (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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McElveen leads the way

McElveen leads the way (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Rain at the finish

Rain at the finish (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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McElveeen on the way to victory

McElveeen on the way to victory (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Hannah Finchamp takes the win in the women's race

Hannah Finchamp takes the win in the women's race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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McElveen crossed the line first in the men's race

McElveen crossed the line first in the men's race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Payson McElveen celebrates his win

Payson McElveen celebrates his win (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Celebrations for McElveen

Celebrations for McElveen (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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McElveen post-race

McElveen post-race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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It was a tough day out

It was a tough day out (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Refueling after a big day of racing

Refueling after a big day of racing (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The aftermath

The aftermath (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Hannah Finchamp after the race

Hannah Finchamp after the race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The celebrations after the race

The celebrations after the race (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Recovering after a hard day in the saddle

Recovering after a hard day in the saddle (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Third-placed man Jonathan Baker

Third-placed man Jonathan Baker (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Andrew Dillman

Andrew Dillman (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Jonathan Baker

Jonathan Baker (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Third-placed woman Kristen Faulkner

Third-placed woman Kristen Faulkner (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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Mark Currie

Mark Currie (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The women's podium

The women's podium (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)
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The men's podium

The men's podium (Image credit: Jessica Alexander)

While most of the cycling world faced a lockdown due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, Saturday saw riders take on the red mud of rural Oklahoma at The Mid South gravel race, a 160km adventure won by defending champion Payson McElveen in 6:23:05 and former US collegiate mountain bike champion Hannah Finchamp in 7:49:10.

Although the distance was intimidating and the circumstances of going forward in the face of a global pandemic were controversial, the biggest obstacle on Saturday proved to be the torrential rain that turned the roads around Stillwater into sloppy troughs of thick peanut-butter mud that made maintaining the machine almost as important as turning the cranks.

Peter Stetina had an early advantage in the race, but troubles with a mud-clogged derailleur slowed his progress and allowed McElveen and eventual runner-up Colin Strickland to pass.

The pros were only part of the story at The Mid South, however, as plenty of people pushed themselves well past the times of those riding for the win. According to the race website, 34-year-old Jared Anderson of Iowa was the final rider to finish the 160km course, covering the route in 15:45:39.

Click or swipe through the photos above for a glimpse of the action.