The Valley of Tears gravel race in Turkey Texas was my first real gravel race of 2024! I decided to travel down to Texas because I heard they were offering a $26,000 prize purse. Keegan Swenson and some other big name gravel racers would also be there. I was looking forward to seeing how I stacked up after a long winter of training in Colorado.
The course was very flat but did offer some technical selective sections in the beginning of the race. I was able to make it into the second group on the road after the first 30 minutes of the selective sand section. It was me and Brennan Wertz chasing Keegan and Chase who were up the road by about 30 seconds. After about an hour and a half of chasing we weren't able to pull them back so we decided to wait for the group of ten or so behind us. After we were caught the racing turned quite negative with such a big group and flat parcours so we accepted that we were racing for third place at that point. Towards the end I was able to force a group of four of us to go clear and we sprinted it out for places 3-6. I was able to win the sprint and finish third. Happy to come away with a podium here. Next big race for me is the first stop on the Lifetime Grand Prix at Sea Otter in California. 
Photo by Marcello Quieti MQ Studio
Photo by Marcello Quieti
March 14, 2024 — Zach Spinhirne-Martin

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