Midwest events for *2024*

The Midwest is the New Black ???

We normally like to start out the new year with a “Midwest Primer” on this thread, but the fun got started a bit early.

However, I saw this article in the WSJ today, and I figured it was time for a hard reset:

Sorry, I can’t really include a link because it’s behind one of the more sophisticated paywalls in digital media. But if you have a WSJ subscription, you should be able to find it.

Some of the more notable, misguided graphics/quotes are included below —

  1. Sorry, Idaho … you need a better map, or are testing well below the national average in geography. You, too, Colorado and Wyoming(??).

TL;DR Yellowstone is not in the Midwest.

  1. At least the Idaho Statesman is grounded in cultural/geographical reality.
  1. Negative. Sorry, Paul - it’s not open to interpretation.

”The geography of the Midwest may simply be more open to interpretation than other regions.

The West Coast, the South and New England have more clear boundaries, says Paul Fehribach”

  1. The Great Plains identity crisis is not my problem.

Lauck, the Midwest scholar, says the big surprise of the study is that many people stretch the Midwest to the Front Range of the Rockies. “I think this just shows you how weak of an identity the Great Plains has. I never really encountered any real people in the world who say, ‘Yes, I’m a Plainsman.’”


… THIS is the Midwest, with a written overview I’ve included in years past for those interested in both cultural and geographical accuracy.

Lastly and importantly, from a cycling perspective … Unbound (the artist formerly known as the Dirty Kanza) is NOT a Midwest race. And to the West Coast goofballs who created the Belgian Waffle Rides, the ‘BWR - Kansas’ is NOT “The Hell of the Midwest” … they’re from San Diego, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised they don’t know better.

For these two reasons (among others) Kansas is permanently excommunicated from Midwest consideration. Best of luck to you in future endeavors.

Furthermore … the following are all about 86.4% true as far as Midwest racing is concerned:

  • Illinois (mostly Chicago) rides crits and cyclocross (which makes me a pilgrim in an unholy land)
  • Michigan is the capitol of gravel
  • Wisconsin is the home of mountain biking
  • Iowa is made of wind. And hard-as-nails riders. You know the crazy person that goes out for an additional hundo after the group ride? They race in Iowa.
  • Minnesota is made of ice. And these people seem to ride in anything. And I mean, ANYTHING. You know the crazy person who is never on a trainer and rides outside year round regardless of weather? They race in Minnesota.
  • Missouri rides some crits - at least in St. Louis. And I think they get up to some decent mountain biking as well. We never really know what they’re up to. Crazy kids.
  • Indiana is getting up to a lot of different things in a lot of different places. And I gotta tell you … I like it. Good job, Hoosiers … I see you.
  • Ohio needs to pick their game up a little bit. Or maybe they’re all just going to Michigan to ride. Might be time for a sit down with Ohio.

Other items …

  • The Trans-Iowa (RIP) was the most OG of all OG gravel. True story — you used to have to send in a postcard to enter and wait for a response via mail to see if you were accepted.
  • In its place, the Barry Roubaix is the granddaddy of gravel races.
  • I don’t want to hear any sh*t about The Iceman … it’s awesome. And if you don’t like it, if you think it’s not a MTB race, if you think it’s not long enough, or if you think it’s too cold — stay home. Please.
  • If Michigan is the capitol of gravel, the Driftless region is it’s spiritual home. As they say: if you know, you know🤘

Glad I got this off my chest.

@Power13 @teddygram @Cory.Rood @MI-XC @koalb