The second annual Gray Duck Grit recently took place in Northfield, Minnesota with distances of 69, 111, 222, and 333. We caught a few different perspectives of how the day went from three different riders. Enjoy their recaps here then stay tuned for a few more Gray Duck Grit stories.
To learn more, visit Gray Duck Grit.
Brian Turk - 2nd Place in "The Cow" (333 Mile Race)
This tops my lifetime accomplishments list for sure. Still not sure what made me decide to try the Gray Duck Grit 333 mile race known as the Cow, but I did. With 14 starters my goal was to finish, not compete for a podium. I was last to leave the start and was somewhere in the area of 7th at 55 miles and 5th at 110. Never passed anyone else - but three ahead of me dropped and I was 2nd at 165….and never gave up. The 2 that I passed, and rode with for a while in the 55-110 section ended 3rd and 4th.
I battled the cold and rain. I battled the 30 mph head and cross winds that took out a lot of riders. I had no mechanical issues. A lot had to go right. I spent the last 2+ hours unable to hold my head up.
The most important difference in this race was having Candace Turk as my support. She was able to meet me at every aid station every 55 miles. This meant I had all the food and hydration I needed when I needed it and she had it ready for me. It meant I had every clothing option I needed for changing conditions. I could add and drop batteries and lights as needed. Most important was having her support - I never anticipated the difference that could make. She sacrificed a lot to do this on no experience. Luckily we connected with another rider right before the race - Shawn Wynn and his partner Casey. Casey had also never been support before so she and Candace connected.
At 110 miles, Shawn was in 4th and beaten by the cold and wind and figured he couldn’t podium so dropped out. He and Casey stayed with Candace through the overnight hours. Their support to help Candace was such an unexpected help. The Gray Duck grit organizers support was also huge.
Pretty sure no one expected this out of me….including me. I couldn’t have done it without the support of others….and everything working in my favor.
Gravel is a placebo for one’s current place in life. Gray Duck Grit allows one to clear the space between their ears. There are no boundaries or restrictions within their motto “Ride Your Ride”. It’s you against yourself. How far can you go? The beauty of this particular race is nobody knows the outcome. A good year. A bad year. All that matters is one tried their best. Nobody can ever take that away. And in the end, all the effort is worthy of the experience & friendships made.
My Gray Duck ride was definitely the highlight of my year! With all the awesome athletes posting insane times sometimes it's easy to forget all the intangibles that these events and biking in general brings. I have struggled with mental health myself and I've never found a medication or counselor that is as effective at reducing anxiety as a long bike ride.
Also I invited my best college friend to come ride with me. We don't get to see one another much anymore due to our busy lives and this was a perfect opportunity. We rode our ride and never separated the entire 70 miles. (we took about a mile's worth of wrong turns:)) We talked and laughed almost the entire way. At one point we stopped to help a distressed rider, giving him more water and food and gave him a pep talk.
We rode partly as well to honor my friend's son who has autism. My friend Greg devotes almost all his free time to his son and a ride like this to re-focus means more to us than we can possibly describe.
Thanks for hosting this great event and can't wait until next year.
To learn more, visit Gray Duck Grit.