Maude Goes Max at Mid South
05 April, 2024

Maude Goes Max at Mid South

By: Allied Cycle Works


After winning the Mid South double in March, ALLIED factory team athlete Maude Farrell found time between riding, running, and chocolate milk to break down the race for us. From her approach to training to her strategy in the race to fueling and the all-important recovery phase, no topic was off limits.

She also got a little real with us, discussing recent life changes that close the door on one chapter of her life but offer the opportunity to see just how far she can push her career as a professional athlete. Transitions like this can be rough going, sure, but in Maude’s case, the outcome is happy and hopeful.

Read on to get the dirt on the double – and to vicariously experience the joy of the double Bobby hug.

Photo: Tilly Shull


First, congrats on the double win. Running a 50k, then waking up the next day to spend 100 miles jostling around on rutted dirt and gravel is hard enough. Doing it at race speed, even harder. Doing it at winning speed – yeah, don’t get us started. What was your approach to the weekend? How did you manage to turn two back-to-back ass kickings into a kick-ass demonstrations of dominance?

Hard lessons learned in pacing and nutrition in other 50k’s gave me a basis for my strategy on the run: Go out at your own pace, something moderate and tempo, but not hard; “let them go” was the motto.

At halfway and heading into mile 18, my motto flipped to “let it rip.” I knew this is where it was going to really challenge me (as it had in past races), so I wanted to fuel well in the first half and then just dig as deep as I could in the second half of the race. I did exactly that!

I really had no idea what it would feel like on the bike on Saturday. I’ve run plenty of 50ks, but never tried to race the following day. Turns out, it might be a recipe for hero legs! Kind of kidding…

In this kind of event, recovery is everything, even to us mortals. How do you prepare to ride 100 miles the morning after running 50km?

Sleeping on Friday night was painful. We ice bathed after the race, which helped ease the achiness, but I still woke up at 2:00 a.m. hungry and achy, so I got up to eat Caro [Poole]’s and Amity [Rockwell]'s potatoes from the fridge. I knew sleep was going to be bad on Friday night so I didn’t stress about getting great sleep. I was well rested going into the race weekend.

On Saturday morning, once I finally got some food and coffee in and started pedaling my bike to the start line w/ Danni [Shrosbree], I felt... normal. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but when we finally kicked off the bike race I was like, "Oh, this is fine. I feel amazing." I hadn’t given much specific thought to strategy for the bike, because I wanted to decide based on how I felt Friday. Turns out, I had plenty left in the tank!

My legs felt incredible, my mind was clear, and I felt calm and composed – that’s not usual for me in a mass-start bike race. So my strategy was just keep going, don’t get complacent, don’t tune out. stay present, stay in it until the very end. I just told myself to stay in that zone, not backing off too much, not gassing it too much.

Photo: Tilly Shull

Photo: Tilly Shull


What was the highest high point of the race?

Am I allowed to say the finish line? Haha…

Yes, we’ll allow it!

But for real, rolling into Stillwater on Day 2, coming over that little hill and seeing the banner – that was a moment.

I really believed in myself going into this thing, but – like I said – anything can happen! You can’t convince yourself of an outcome before it happens, you can only do everything in your power to prepare.

Crossing that second finish line knowing that I executed my plans well felt amazing. I put my heart and soul into getting there – not just a training plan for a few months, but really a culmination of many years of experience and training. I felt so incredibly proud and also relieved I could finally sit down and be a vegetable.

Plus I got TWO Bobby hugs in a single weekend. That’s reason alone for everyone to do the Double!

Any dark moments?

During the ride, I rode with Caro and an awesome group for most of the day until I got a flat with 18 miles to go. The whole day I told myself "it's not over until it's over. stay here, stay present, stay in your body."

I've been in races that are going all too well and then something catastrophic happens towards the end. It's always a possibility! So when this happened, I was somewhat mentally prepared for the worst already.

I was able to quickly plug the gash, gas it up, praying the sidewall would seal if I just got the wheel spinning, and miraculously it held. I chased like a mad woman to make sure I didn't lose too much time, and – again – I couldn't really quite believe how incredibly strong and capable I felt. So, yeah, it was a low point for that to happen and put this whole effort at risk, but somehow it managed to also be a high point where I really surprised myself, too.

Photos: Tilly Shull


And now for the obligatory question about tire size/PSI, drivetrain spread, etc. What were you running? Anything you’d change?

My ECHO at Mid South was perfect, truly. It felt like a knife cutting through butter the entire day – I felt immensely confident and comfortable. I’m a relatively low-maintenance person when it comes to gear, but I suppose that’s because I’m fortunate enough to ride on the best across most of my components! For that I am really grateful.

For my gearing, I was really happy with a 2x road setup. The Mid South course is very pedal heavy, with almost no coasting because of the rolling hills. The 2x offered me the perfect gear options for the sharp kickers and long pedally descents.

I ran 700x40c Pirelli RC tires. Mid South is still definitely hardcore gravel! The course was rutted and loose, marbley dirt roads. On the spectrum of more tread vs faster rolling, I prefer tread. I personally need the confidence over the marginal gains. Call me crazy, ok!

For wheels, I had a pair of more traditional Easton SC90 gravel rims (so not super aero), but I think I would have been happy with a deeper set given the dry conditions. Good lesson for next time!

Video: Jared Sluyter


Another critical piece of gear is, of course, fuel and hydration – especially in this brave new world of high-carbs. You mentioned your focus on fueling earlier, alluding to some… misses in the past, particularly on the run. So what’s the difference between running and riding?

I can drink and eat way more on the bike than running because in running your stomach bounces all around, without a break (downhills? no thank you), so they definitely require different approaches. On the run, I’ll veer towards drinking high-carb mixes, whereas riding I’m able to eat more chewable foods.

Carbs are a hot topic these days. How do you approach high-carb fueling?

For high carbs, I always try to go a little overboard in training to acclimate my stomach to the volume. In racing, time passes so fast it’s hard to hit those high numbers! But I always try to eat a lot before and afterwards. That was especially true after the run at Mid South.

I really enjoy NEVERSECOND products, because they are always appetizing, and my gut has never had issues with them (which I struggled with a lot as a runner in the past). I like to do a combo: carbs in the bottle, gels, and some bars just to mix things up. I dump 2-3 scoops of the Never2 C30 mix in a single bottle, making a mixture that matches better to my sodium needs.

I find I'm really happy and perform well when I hit 75-80g/hr, so I try to stay true to what works for me. There's a weird sense of bravado when people talk about how many carbs they can consume in an hour – similar to comparing resting or max heart rates. However, just like with heart rate, everyone is built differently and things that work for one may not apply to someone else.

You said the importance of refueling after the run was an “especially true” instance – what’s the emergency recovery booster you opted for?

Same thing I choose at every finish line: Chocolate milk. Always.

I executed my nutrition well on the run so I don’t feel like I dug myself into a glycogen hole there, and after the race, I prioritized getting lots of food and re-upping my glycogen stores. Massive thanks to Joshua for bringing me a huge chocolate milk in that critical time after I finished. I was able to eat a lot in the hours after the race, but it’s almost impossible to entirely refuel everything you use up in that kind of run.

Photos: Tilly Shull


Earlier, you mentioned that pre-race prep for an event like the Mid South double is a months/years-long period. You’ve also mentioned the benefit you get from using those months/years to mix up your endurance training. What does your approach look like?

My foundation in sport stems from having parents with the rule that if it was light outside, you should not be inside. I love doing a variety of activities to keep my training fresh, exciting, and also continue to stay true to my roots as an avid outdoorswomen who now just happens to also be a professional athlete.

You might say I race to train. I love the process, I love watching myself get stronger and faster, regardless of sport or style. I also love just spending all day outdoors, and I’ve found every sport that allows me that privilege – long-distance running, cycling, and skiing to name a few.

Do you find that there’s a compounding benefit from training to run and ride (and… ski?) at the same time? Does running in training give you an extra edge on the bike?

I don’t delude myself that taking a varied approach to training will somehow mean I have a better chance of competing in this insanely deep field of pros in gravel. The benefits of training for running and cycling simultaneously are probably mostly emotional and mental. At a certain point, there’s not really a secret to unlock – riding is riding, and the more time you do it, the better you get (mostly).

Photo: Tilly Shull


You definitely still run, and you’re running very well (understatement) at the moment. You probably also saw that Jasmin Paris just became the first woman to finish the Barkley Marathons – 99 seconds under the 60-hour cut! You’ve got some history with that race. Feeling the drive to revisit TN?

Careful, I might start crying again. I don’t have the words for what that moment meant. What an achievement! What a person to achieve that achievement!

It fills me up knowing a woman has finished it, but it means immensely more that it’s Jasmin Paris – a deeply humble, legendary, and talented athlete. It’s really incredible. The ensuing thread on Keith Dunn’s tweet when she finished: go read it. It will really give you faith in humanity again.

But no, I have no desire to face the yellow gate or the wild boars in the dark of night in the wilderness Out There.

You’re entering a pretty dramatic new phase in life, one that’s probably jarring, but that may offer an opportunity to really focus on your athletic career. Want to discuss that now/here?

Yeah I’m ok with sharing! At the end of February I was laid off from my job at Rivian. It was my dream job, dream company. But I had been toying with the idea of being a “real” pro for a bit. There’s only so many years we get in life, and, in the last 1.5 years, it started to feel like, if not now, maybe never?

I’m sad to leave my amazing co-workers and team, but I’m also genuinely stoked for the opportunity to do this athlete thing for a bit. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a supportive partner and family and the financial ability to do this. I’m not sure what will happen in the next few months, but my goal is to just really savor and indulge in the time I have now to go all-in on training. Like I said earlier, I thrive on variety, so let’s see how this mix-up pays off :)

That idea – If not now, then when? – is extremely relatable. Not many athletes have your talent, obviously, but those ideas of life balance and the “what if” question are so central to endurance athletics for so many of us.

So looking forward (and speaking of the next few months): What’s next? What are the next big targets for the year?

I’m home and getting stoked about racing Sea Otter Fuego! I had such a fun race there last year, and I’m hoping for something similar this year. I love a separate start and (mostly) separate race for our pro field. It’s also a relatively short drive from home, so it's always a good feeling to have easy logistics. After that, I will race UCI Fayetteville, and maybe Rule of 3. But with a much clearer schedule, there will be so many more adventures for this summer!

Photos: Tilly Shull

Maude’s custom ECHO is one of the coolest bikes we’ve ever painted, and we’ve painted a lot. Interested in customizing a knife-through-butter all-road machine? We’ve got you. Check out the ECHO in its online corral, and hit us up in chat to discuss your own 100% unique paint scheme. We’re ready to outdo Maude’s custom paint job. Are you?

A quality human being doing unconventional things on the bike, and acting as a great ambassador for this thing we all love so much. #ALLIEDfamily


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