Man of many talents: Turner Howard relives cycling career

Sports

Turner Howard has done it all.

“I’m kind of the Forrest Gump of Knoxville, I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff,” Howard said.

When he started the Law Offices of G Turner Howard III 19 years ago in Knoxville, the Vietnam veteran was in the middle of his professional cycling career. He didn’t start racing until the age of 50 because he has truly done it all. Before becoming a Presbyterian Minister for 17 years, Howard focused on athletics. He first love was Tennis. A member of the Tulane Hall of Fame, Howard went on to play in four U.S. Opens while travelling all across the world on the Junior Davis Cup team, even making a stop at Wimbledon. A shoulder injury turned his attention to running. He’s run in three Boston marathons and nine total, his best when he averaged six minutes a mile.

“Eventually, because I had worn out my body through tennis and marathoning and running in general, I took up Masters Road Cycling,” Howard said. “I can speak from experience, it’s a very tough sport, the toughest sport I’ve ever competed in.”

Tough but not tough enough for Howard. The Knoxville native, who turns 72 in July, won several Tennessee State titles before taking gold in the cycling national championships in his 60s, a few years prior to racing to a bronze medal in the U.C.I. World Championships in Austria.

“It’s exhilarating,” Howard said.. “It’s also addictive because you get to a certain level and you say I’ve got to that level now I can’t quit because I’ve trained so hard for so long to get this fit and get this skilled at riding. After ten years with that kind of intensity, I thought I’ve got to go back to being a human being again.”

While he’s no longer racing competitively, Howard loves to see the sport in the spotlight in his hometown.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Howard said. “I was surprised that they came to Knoxville. They had been in Chattanooga for three years which is a sports oriented city. It’s great for Knoxville. It’s great for road cycling and I noticed that they extended it through the year of 2022 which is really good news. It’s a great chance to go out and see some of the world’s best athletes compete. It’s a very tough course in the road race. It’s a great course. If you like to see people suffer, go out and watch them.”

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