When you talk to Joe Grant, you get so inspired that after five minutes you want to drop everything and go climb a 14’er. The sheer amount of adventure he’s packed into his young life is breathtaking. From biking across the USA in 2007 to his Tour de 14’ers last year, when he biked consecutively to all of the 58 mountains in Colorado that are above 14,000 feet in elevation and ran up each one.
He started running ultras 12 years ago and quickly progressed to longer and longer distances. In 2007 he finished his first ultra race, the Where’s Waldo 100 km. His passion got fully ignited the following year when he won the Caballo Blanco 50 mile race. It was there, in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, that he realized how deeply he loved ultra running and it opened up a new world of possibilities to him. Since that time, he’s run, biked or skied in over 50 ultra races globally.
The iconic Hardrock 100 has been a defining race for Joe. In this ultramarathon with a total elevation change of 66,100 feet, he felt the sweet taste of victory and the crushing pain of defeat. Out of the six times that he participated in the event, he finished 3 times – in 2nd place in 2012 and 3rd place in 2017 – and dropped out an equal number of times. He had some pretty good excuses for dropping out, though. Once he tore his quad, another time he passed a kidney stone and the third time he banged his head coming into Ouray and got a concussion. We’ll give him a pass.
Joe almost exclusively uses Tailwind as his source of fuel during races and training. During the 25 hours it took him to finish last year’s Hardrock 100 he used only Tailwind plus three nutrition bars. “It’s easy on the stomach, I get everything I need without thinking about it and I like the mild flavor.” Tailwind “simplifies the whole equation. I just plan out my sections and fill my bottles.”
Currently, Joe is preparing to do Nolan’s 14 route, a roughly 100 mile run through fourteen 14,000 foot peaks in the Colorado Rockies. Since Tailwind fuel is a powder, he appreciates how light it is to carry on the extremely long course. “On Nolan’s there’s a lot of water on route, so I can just bring the powder which reduces the weight. Also, it doesn’t melt and get gooey.”
During the past six months, Joe has been using Tailwind Rebuild as well. “I love it. I have it ready in my car and it has proven quite effective.” Moreover, he’s really “psyched to support a good, honest, local brand made by good honest people. I want to thank the Tailwind team for all their support over the years.”
When asked what motivates him to keep striving for new challenges and fresh adventures, Joe gets philosophical. “There’s not one thing that makes this activity meaningful. On the surface of it, the mountains and nature are beautiful. On a deeper level, you get more in tune with your body, mind and the environment around you. Plus the community around each event is incredible and has allowed me to make the best friends of my life.”
Inspiration comes from “a beautiful sunrise or mountain view. Out on the trail you realize how small and vulnerable we all are, it exposes the most raw and real emotions and gives moments of clarity.”
“You want to feel it?” he asks, “Go out and run.”