Joe Grant – Self-Powered Alpine Adventurer

Joe Grant is a highly accomplished professional ultra-runner and all-around endurance athlete who has completed some of the endurace world’s most challenging events—several Hardrock 100s, UTMB 100, Western States 100, and Bighorn 100, as well as the Arizona Trail Race (750 miles on mountain bike), Iditarod Trail Invitational 350, and many, many more. He most recently completed the “Tour de 14ers,” a solo, self-supported and self-powered link-up of all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, by bicycle and on foot.  For those of you counting, that’s climbing 57 fourteeners, accessed all by bike, in 31 days.

Joe Grant

But Joe’s career as a professional athlete makes up only a small portion of his personal identity. He is a talented writer and photographer, as well as a voracious reader. He was born in England and grew up in France, so he has a global perspective that gives him a unique point of view. He is obviously driven to pursue challenging goals, yet he has always been focused more on the process than the end result. Joe’s athletic achievements seem to combine his desire for continued personal growth with a genuine love of wild places and a strong conservation ethic.

Because he has such a depth of knowledge on so many interesting subjects, talking with Joe solely about running would only begin to scratch the surface. So after a rundown of his recent 14er adventure, we went deep into his thoughts on adventure, endurance, and pushing one’s personal boundaries. He talked about his upbringing and how family and friends have helped shape his outlook on life, giving him the confidence to pursue an unconvential, yet extremely fulfilling lifestyle. We of course talked a lot about books, as well as goal setting, daily practices, and his thoughts on conservation.


Joe during the Arizona Trail Race

I’m obviously biased, but I loved this conversation and really appreciate Joe taking the time to chat. I encourage you to check him out on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), and read some of his columns. If you like people who are passionate, humble, deep-thinking, and all-around interesting, you’ll enjoy getting to know Joe. Enjoy!


All photos courtesy of Joe Grant

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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

3:00 – How Joe describes his work
5:00 – Tour de 14ers
7:30 – Thoughts on choosing to travel by bike
8:20 – Self supported bike-packing ethic explained
10:00 – High points of the trip
11:08 – Thoughts on expedition preparation
12:45 – First days of the Tour de 14ers
15:45 – Various challenges during the trip
17:33 – Low point of the trip
20:30 – Techniques for digging out of fatigue-enduced “dark places”
21:25 – Arizona Trail Race
22:45 – More on pushing through fatigue
24:25 – Parallels between mediation and endurance sports
26:41 – Benefits of observing your mind and body from an outside perspective
28:25 – Personal growth through endurance sports
30:20 – Goal oriented versus process/moment oriented
32:40 – Comfort versus happiness
36:30 – Joe’s early years in Europe
37:15 – How living internationally shaped Joe’s perspective
39:10 – Benefits of gap year travel
43:10 – Lessons learned from international living
44:10 – Story behind Joe’s mother running a 100-miler
46:40 – Mentors and role models
48:40 – Joe’s reading recommendations
52:15 – Joe’s definition of conservation
55:00 – Favorite books about the American West
56:55 – A personal interest that would surprise listeners
57:37 – Craziest outdoor experience
59:50 – Joe’s favorite piece of gear
1:01:10 – Favorite spot(s) in the American West
1:02:00 – Biggest challenge facing the American West
1:03:45 – Joe’s request of listeners
1:04:40 – Connect with Joe online

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