This past weekend brought gravel riders from across the country to Stillwater, OK for the 2018 Land Run 100 gravel ride and race. Known for its red dirt roads and oft inclement weather, the race’s popularity has boomed since its inception in 2013. This year’s event brought out a number of cyclocross stars and familiar faces to tackle the course that goes from Stillwater to Guthrie and back through the hills of Oklahoma’s Red Bed Plains.
The Land Run 100 derives its name from the famed 1889 Land Rush to settle the Unassigned Lands in Oklahoma. On April 22, 1889, settlers gathered in Guthrie and other towns to rush out into the Oklahoma plains and claim their homesteads of 160 acres. Nefarious settlers who jumped the gun and hid out on potential homesteads ahead of the Land Rush became known as “Sooners,”, which is a nickname still shared by athletes at the state’s flagship university. Jumping the gun in a gravel race is a no-no, and with the advent of chip-timing technology, becoming a gravel Sooner was probably not part of the Land Run 100 racing.
This year’s race did not have the rain and thick mud of past years, leading organizers to dub it “The fast AF year.” With 106 miles and 6,000+ feet of racing, riders were in for a heated day of racing through the hills of Oklahoma’s Red Bed Plains.
Nauman Runs The Table
Amanda “Panda” Nauman is a SoCal woman of many talents. Since this is Cyclocross Magazine, we know her best for her ’cross exploits, which recently included a fifth-place finish at the 2018 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Reno. We also cover gravel racing, where Nauman has established herself on a short list of the best gravel racers in the country. Nauman won the 2015 and 2016 Dirty Kanza 200 races and finished a tough second in 2017. She has also offered gravel riding advice on our pages several times.
This year was Nauman’s first try at the Land Run 100. To win, she would have to beat out former champions Karen Pritchard (2017), Katherine Stempke (2016) and Desiree White (2015), among others, to make her run on the Red Bed Plains pay off.
Nauman captured the win and joined a podium that had a very cyclocross-y vibe. She navigated the red dirt roads and hills in 5 hours and 57 minutes to take the Women’s title by over 7 minutes, and her result was good enough for 27th overall.
Kae Takeshita, who had raced a lot of cyclocross in the Chicago area in recent years, finished second, and Danielle Arman, who also raced in the Chicago area a few years ago (and who has kept up an international cyclocross schedule), finished third. The former champions also raced well, with Katherine Strempke finishing 6th, Desiree White 7th and Karen Pritchard 11th.
Top 20 results for the Women’s race are below.
Mat Stephens Lands Redemption
Last year, Mat Stephens had a gravel season to remember. He won the Barry Roubaix and then topped Jake Wells to win the Dirty Kanza 200. One of the few blemishes on his record was a second-place finish at the Land Run 100. This year, Stephens was looking for some redemption on the Great Plains before he defends his DK200 title a little over two months from now.
For Stephens, the 106-mile trip from Stillwater to Guthrie and back was the redemption tour he was looking for. Stephens took the win in 5 hours and 21 minutes, 5 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Michael van den Ham.
That Michael van den Ham? As it turns out, the Canadian Cyclocross National Champion, Pan-Ams podium finisher and Major Taylor CX Cup winner has a (very friendly and polite) gravel alter-ego. Van den Ham ground his way to second and finished five minutes ahead of Oklahoma native Brandon Melott, who won the 30-34 Baby Masters race at the 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals.
The Men’s top 20 finishers are below.
Women's Top 20: 2018 Land Run 100
Men's Top 20: 2018 Land Run 100
|2||Michael van den Ham||19.5||5:26:18|