On Friday, November 15, John Mosey and Jon Conkling, the dynamic duo and newly appointed Race Directors behind Grand Rapids’ top endurance triathlons, Michigan Titanium and the Grand Rapids Triathlon, announced the launch of a new event for the fall of 2020. Appropriately named The Dirty Mitten, this unique format of racing will debut as West Michigan’s only Gravel Triathlon. It will be composed of a swim, gravel bike and trail run that will span over the grounds of the YMCA’s Camp Manitou-Lin in Middleville, Michigan.
The Dirty Mitten is set to take place on September 27, 2020 with courses being offered up in Sprint and Olympic distances as well as a Duathlon, Aquabike and Relay format. The race boasts an exciting and new type of triathlon racing that encourages athletes to “Forget pavement, Tri to Get Dirty!”
With the success and popularity of the triathlon community in West Michigan, Race Directors Mosey and Conkling introduced the idea of the gravel triathlon after looking for ways to grow the sport in the area, yet offer a unique and challenging format for multisport enthusiasts.
Mosey, a triathlete turned gravel cyclist himself, loved the idea of combining two of his favorite things. “I sat down to make it happen early this year, but I wasn’t able to put the pieces together fast enough. Fortunately, a random comment from a buddy led to my life taking a complete 180-degree turn. Even more fortunate, I have a friend who is equally nuts and was willing to join me on this crazy adventure,” he said. “We spent most of this year learning as much as possible about how to put on races from an amazing group of people, but the idea of The Dirty Mitten was never far from my mind. A few months back I mentioned it to Jon (Conkling), who is usually the reasonable one in our partnership, and was shocked to hear he was all in. Since then we’ve been working hard to make this dream a reality and cannot wait to bring the best of both the gravel cycling and triathlon worlds together.”
Another exciting aspect of The Dirty Mitten is the race date. Debuting in late fall of 2020 allows for endurance athletes to enjoy the event as a means to an end of a season, or a reprieve from grueling training schedules that center around 140.6 Full-Distance races. The Dirty Mitten aims to have athletes smiling out on the course as they splash through puddles or stomp through the mud.
“By late September, a lot of my triathlete friends are pretty shot after training and racing all year. Some still have weeks ahead of them yet with a late-season IM on their race calendar. The Dirty Mitten is a great way to end your season, or at least give you a reprieve, and do something fun and truly unique to West Michigan. We encourage people to have a good time, get dirty and embrace the spirit of what The Dirty Mitten is all about,” said Jon Conkling.