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Why You Should Do The DAMn & Tips From 6 DAMn Champions Who Did It [DAMn Part 1]


After taking two years off, The Day Across Minnesota (The DAMn) 24-hour ultra gravel event is back for 2024. Here we check in with 6 people who completed The DAMn in previous years as they share why they did it and what tips they have for people who want to give it a try. Registration opens on Jan 6 at 8am.

The DAMn is a 24 hour border-to-border gravel event across the state of Minnesota. The event starts at midnight in Gary, South Dakota and finishes in Hager City, Wisconsin with a 24 hour time limit. Riders also have the option to Double-DAMn for 480 miles by going back and forth in 48 hours. To learn more or get registered, visit The Day Across Minnesota.

Meet These 6 DAMn Champions & Hear Why They Did It

Since 2017 when The DAMn first started, 1,746 racers have attempted it and only 755 have finished. Racing midnight to midnight, The DAMn is an incredible physical and mental challenge that invites the average human being to discover something deep within themselves.


Photo by Scott Rokis

Here are 6 of the 755 DAMn Champions who lined up at midnight in Gary, South Dakota and share why they did it what they want to share with those who are considering this challenge for the first time.



Kesha Marson

DAMn'd in 2021


Photo by Todd Bauer

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

I’ve had a few friends complete The DAMn in the past and always wondered whether it was something I could do. The thought of 240 miles and the uncertainty in those 24 hours had me itching to try the challenge. I wanted to see what I was capable of. I wanted a chance to learn more about myself and to put myself in a position of being an ordinary person doing something extraordinary. I wanted other women to say, “if she can do it why can’t I?”


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

You can literally do anything you put your mind to. You can train and have your fueling/hydration plan on point, but it’s your mind that will get you through those peaks and valleys of the day. Train your brain to have positive self talk. And by all means keep moving forward no matter how slow. Slow is still moving forward and one pedal stroke closer to a finish line Trenton hug.



Scott Weimerskirch

DAMn'd in 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021


Photo by David Markman

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

I'm always looking for a way to challenge myself and when I first saw this event in 2017 I figured it would be perfect. Prior to this I had never ridden further than 125 miles in a day and let alone across an entire state. Gives me a lil bragging rights when people ask what's the furthest I've ever ridden in a day I can throw out, "246 miles." It's truly an epic event and allows me to be around like minded people that like to push their limits of physical and mental abilities to complete an epic course.


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

Besides the obvious to train, I tell everyone to ride your ride! Many people start in Gary, SD but not all finish. Don't ride above your ability and flame out and DNF, but also if you're feeling good keep your pace and if that means going solo, go solo...



Kimberly Breuer

DAMn'd in2018 and Double-DAMn'd in 2021


Photo by David Markman

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

I met Trenton (and Charles) during TransIowa 13, my first gravel race, and he invited me.


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

Mental toughness is as important as physical strength.



Michael Lehmkuhl

I’ve participated in some way in each of The DAMns. As support in 2017, when I thought riding the route was an insurmountable challenge, as a rider in 2018 (geared), finish line volunteer in 2019, rider again in 2020 (self-supported singlespeed), and finally in 2021 (tandem stoker).


Photo by David Markman

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

I keep asking myself the same thing. I guess that’s part of why I’m planning to do it once again. Maybe I’ll find the answer.


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

As Ben Weaver wrote, “When in the dark, do not forget this is where the stars live. Look up!”



Kate Ankofski

Started all five DAMns, and finished two


Photo by David Markman

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

For the challenge and the community (and the kittens).


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

Figure out your logistics early on! So many drop last-minute because they can't figure out transportation. Once you have a ride/support dialed in, you'll have greater motivation to get it done.



Mario Muro

DAMn'd in 2017, 2019 (DNF), 2020, and 2021


Photo by Laura Broadwater

Why Did You Do The DAMn?

For the experience and I thought if would be a good mentally and physical challenge for me .


What's Your #1 Tip or Advice For Someone Considering The DAMn for the Very First Time?

Do long 100+ plus mile rides at least once a week. Spent lots of time on the saddle . Do a few night ride to get the feeling of riding through the night. Drink lots of fluids and find the right foods.

 

To learn more or get registered, visit The Day Across Minnesota.

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