Midwest Events for *2023*

Since everyone is updating threads for the new year, I thought I’d update my favorite thread from 2022 that several of us found super useful and lively throughout the year.

Link to the OG 2022 thread

Please share:

*Links to events and races you’re doing/want to do/have done
*Tire choices

For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll use the map below to define the “Midwest” — I’ve also included a cultural primer on the area. Have a great year, all!

Teeth to the wind🤘

Culturally, the Midwest = Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa and sometimes Missouri (St. Louis is a Midwest city, but the rest of Missouri is 50/50)

Geographically it’s larger, and could include the Dakotas, potentially Nebraska, but definitely not Oklahoma. I think of all of those as the Great Plains States.

Chicago is the capitol of the Midwest. Detroit is the alcoholic uncle who still takes pride in being more put together than Cleveland… Minneapolis is the younger brother with an inferiority complex. Indianapolis and Milwaukee don’t get into family politics. We invite St. Louis over for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not for summer barbecues. Columbus just wants everyone to knows it’s much cooler than Cincinnati. Cincinnati feels like it was born in the wrong family and stares longingly across the river at Kentucky and wonders what might have been …

Michigan is the most beautiful state (minus Detroit), but Wisconsin thinks that’s bullshit. No one knows what’s in Illinois besides Chicago. Indiana plays basketball, Ohio plays football, Minnesota plays hockey. No one goes to Iowa unless you were born there. Missouri has hills but not mountains and isn’t cold enough, warm enough, wet enough or big enough to be really interesting, be we like it anyway.

This is all unofficial, by the way. I’m not with the census bureau.


My Midwest event calendar as of now …

4/15: Barry Roubaix, gravel - already registered
6/3: Cherry Roubaix, road - anticipated, registration not yet open
9/30: Moran 166, gravel - registration opens today


My second year of structured training on TR. Aiming for …

May 20th – The Heywood 55 (Northfield, MN)
Aug 26th – Gravel Worlds 75 (Lincoln, NE)
Oct 7th – Filthy 50 (Lanesboro, MN)

Might add in a couple more events later.

The Heywood is a great little event. Pretty casual and not very expensive. Northfield is a great town. (I’m biased, went to college there.)

Gravel Worlds was such a weird ride as a first timer last year. So many, so many rolling hills. Wondering if the course for this year will be similar.

Wasn’t able to grab a spot for the Filthy 50 last year, but it appears to be quite the event.

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I am an adult onset cyclist and recovering workaholic. I started mountain biking because the doctor gave me the speech and I hated going to the gym. I tried the Iceman Cometh Challenge Iceman Cometh Challenge with some encouragement from my brother in law. It is awesome. There is no other event where an old, out of shape, fat guy can get cheered on like a World Cup finalist. Then watching the pros finish and cheering with the maniacal crowd is awesome too. I go back every year (though I’m significantly less fat now).

Iceman starts in Kalkaska MI and ends in Traverse City. They have a 5000 rider entry limit. It is a point to point race but they have the busing and everything dialed in that you can do it with no support if you want to. It is a very non-technical mountain bike race.

I raced Barry Roubaix last year which is a gravel race in Hastings Michigan. Barry-Roubaix . This was a beautiful place and a well organized event. They have a 100, 62, 36 and 18 mile option. I talked my wife into doing the 18 mile. I do this because it is an early season ride (April) and motivates me to keep my fitness over winter.


True story: I have registered for the Iceman 5 times and have yet to make it to the start line. Somehow that weekend is a black hole on my calendar and life’s always seems to get in the way. Can’t wait to ride home through those crowds one day…

If you raced the Barry last year and actually enjoyed it, you will really like the event going forward. That was a sub-zero, cratered slop-fest. I’ve never raced (or even ridden) in worse conditions. The weather is always far from perfect in Michigan in the spring, but that was a black swan event in 2022.

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‘‘Twas indeed a great thread last year….especially the discussion over what was or was not the Midwest. :crazy_face:

So last year I did the Rapha 10000 out in Stockton, IL, Kaarst Crusher in IN and then Dust Bowl 100 outside Indy (I live in the northern Chicago burbs)

I’m already in for the Dust Bowl this year….was a great event last year, even though my pre-race fueling the night before sucked and I tried to hang onto the front group for too long. Adjustments will be made this year. :crazy_face:

Kaarst Crusher was a bust for me…flatted 3 miles in and failed miserably to repair it right at the base of the singletrack climb. DNF. No word on race date for this year yet…but it may well conflict with me doing FNLD GRVL, so we’ll see.

Rapha 10000 was also a good event…low-key “unofficial” ride / race. Challenging course with a fair amount of climbing, but a lot of the gravel in that area has been chipsealed lately. A few years ago, nearly all those roads were gravel and now it is about 50/50.

I also signed up for the Driftless 100 in IA, but the weather forecast for that day was awful, so I decided to skip the event. I’ll likely sign up again this year and hope for better weather.

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Sharing some notes below for the 2022 events I did. My 2023 is very much up in the air at this point.

  • Barry-Roubaix - batwood14 summed this one up pretty well. I think the 62-miler is a good distance for early spring when the fitness might not quite be there. They are making some course revisions for 2023 by adding an additional segment similar to Sager and bringing the finish line back to downtown.

  • Driftless 100 - Like Power13 said, the forecast leading up to it was ominous. I made the trip anyway, and weather held out mostly, but it was a brutal hard day in the Iowa driftless with almost 10,000 ft of climbing and a very muddy b-road section early on. I did not make the 8 hr prize… I would still consider this ‘grassroots gravel’ size event.

  • Ironbull Red Granite Grinder - I did the 85 mile course, which was diverse and scenic for much of it, but also had long stretches of exposed farm roads. Early on you ride up Rib Mountain followed by a mandatory ~ 1 mile hike-a-bike down. This was one was a cold and snowy start in October.

100% will be at Iowa Wind and Rock for my 3rd attempt and hopefully my second finish.

Beyond that my year is gonna be pretty fluid, likely won’t sign up for much before 2 weeks out.

Driftless 100 takes place in my wife’s hometown, but is the weekend after IWAR so I likely won’t race, but probably will go help out. My wife may race one of the shorter distances.

If you like Driftless 100, check out the Colesburg Back 40 as well.

Depending how long it takes to recover from Silver State 508, I’ll do the 200 mile at Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra

If I’m back from crewing RAAM for a good friend in time I’ll do the Iowa Gravel Classic

Other notables include Snaggy Ridge in Tipton, IA. core4 in Iowa City. Filthy 50 in Lanesboro, MN.

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Definitely doing Chequamegon again for the 3rd time. On the fence about doing the Lutsen49er again - hated the course last year!!

Might try to find a couple “gravel” events that I could do with 32s. New gravel bike not in the cards this year.


Filthy 50, is AMAZING. Likely the best course I’ve ever ridden, and Trenton is what every race director should strive to be.

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You have to get to Iceman. It is a party atmosphere like you can’t believe. Register and get there!

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Signed up for dust bowl


Just signed up for heck of the north September 30. Flirting with signing up for le grand du nord and the fox, both put on by heck of the north productions. I really want to do the fox but I don’t think I can get away with doing a bikepacking race the weekend before the 4th of july.

Will be signing up for Chequamegon, lutsen 99er (although I might do 49er this year), core4 in Iowa city, and a couple other odd gravel/mtb races.


This is my personal tentative schedule with a focus of racing close to the Chicago area.

Race Location Race Date
Santa’s Sufferfest Valparaiso, IN 18-Dec
Frozen Frenzy Valparaiso, IN 15-Jan
Snowmass Valparaiso, IN 29-Jan
Fat Fest Valparaiso, IN 12-Feb
Barry Roubaix Michigan 15-Apr
Waterloo Michigan 29-Apr
Dino - Winona Lake Trail Winona Lake, IN 20-May
Dino - Brown County Brown County, IN 4-Jun
Dino - Potato Creek State Park South Bend, IN 23-Jul
Little Apple Gravel Race Manhattan, IL 14-Aug
Lord of the Springs Yankee Springs 9-Sep
Creekside MTB Championship Valparaiso, IN 23-Sep

Frozen Frenzy - Great Series race for fat bike with 4" or larger tires

Snowmass - Great Series race for fat bike with 4" or larger tires

Fat Fest - Great Series race for fat bike with 4" or larger tires

Barry Roubaix - I would run a 38-40 tire with slick center and knob sides. The race in my experience doesnt have any real moves until sager road with attacks through crowds of people.

Waterloo - I have not done this race, will be my first time

Dino - Winona Lake Trail - this is a MTB race in Indiana, for it being in Indiana it has a fair amount of steep stabbing but short climbs. This race IMO is best on a full suspension 2.2 tire bike

Dino - Brown County - this is a MTB race in southern Indiana, if you have not ridden brown county you are absolutely missing probably top 10 best mountain bike trails in America (my opinion). This race is most definently a Full suspension bike with a 2.3 tire.

Dino - Potato Creek State Park - this is a MTB race in northern Indian - very fast hardly any technical trail. The trail is probably fastest on a Hard Tail with fast tires.

Little Apple Gravel Race - this is a gravel race outside of Chicago, it is a small and newish race. It has some very deep gravel sections but for the most part is a fast flat course. I would say 38 race tires if you have the technical skills to get through 3-4 miles of really deep gravel.

Lord of the springs - this is a gravel vs mtb race with a course that offers both semi-technical single track and then very fast gravel. Ride your mtb at this race, its just faster overall.


Thank you for the map. Anything below ST.Louis and the Ohio is not the Great Lakes/Central/Mid-west though - it’s some version of the south.

I might try the Rough Road Classic - https://www.roughroad100.com/

DINO series! :+1: :+1:

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Fantastic!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Dino Series is awesome!

They have such a good longstanding series and truly does a great job!

I’m pretty jazzed about The Wolf bikepacking stage race in Northern Minnesota. Three 100 mile days in a row over my birthday weekend will be a fun celebration.

I’m debating the Moran 333, did the 166 last year and really enjoyed the course and the people. But thinking maybe 3 300+ mile races in a year is a lot (with non-midwestern ITI in February).

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