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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
Black Diamond athlete Joe Grant was looking for an experience. He wanted it to be hard, and he wanted to push himself to “that edge” where he’d have to make difficult decisions. That’s why he chose to run Nolan’s 14 in Colorado’s Sawatch range. Only 15% of people who attempt Nolan’s 14 complete it. Needless to say, Joe found what he was looking for. “I find it interesting to get into that place where I’m on the edge and I have to elevate myself and I don’t have anything to rely on other than myself,” Joe said. “I think there’s just a real sense of curiosity, for me, when I know I’m going to get into a difficult situation. Growth ultimately does come with a certain amount of struggle.” Joe ran Nolan’s 14 unsupported, with no aid along the way. “Really, if your motive is purely to go fast, then supported would be the way to go. But the aesthetic of setting off with everything you need on your back and just going out into the mountains speaks to me more. There are creeks with water in them, you have some food, a headlamp for the night and away you go. There’s a real sense of freedom around that.” Joe wore Black Diamond’s Merino Rhythm Tee (see opposite page) throughout the Nolan’s 14, but he had also been wearing it for the previous year through every season. “The Rhythm Tee is all I’ve been wearing on all my runs. It’s soft to the touch, very light Before Black Diamond released its ultralight Merino Rhythm Tee in April, its performance was extensively tested by staff and athletes while climbing, back-country skiing, hiking and running. One of those people was ultra-runner Joe Grant, who wore it on his record-breaking 491⁄2 hour run spanning ‘Nolan’s 14’ in his home state of Colorado, a journey of roughly 100 miles across 14 mountain summits each of more than 14,000 feet in height. 100 MOUNTAINOUS MILES IN MERINO Joe Grant wearing Black Diamond’s ultralight Rhythm Tee during his record-breaking 491⁄2 hour 100 mile run in the mountains of Colorado. and breathable, and has plenty of stretch to not hinder movement. It also doesn’t smell so it’s the perfect shirt to bring along when traveling light and I can wear it day in day out sometimes for several weeks straight without needing to wash it. “Living in Colorado, I experience a broad variety of weather conditions from dry, hot summers, to snowy winters, and everything in between. The more versatile my gear is the better. Wool is very effective in helping me regulate my temperature in these weather variances. It performs perfectly in the hottest conditions (wicking moisture away from my body and keeping me cool), as well as in the cold providing warmth and insulation. That range of performance helps considerably in simplifying my gear and preparation.” So how did the Merino Rhythm Tee perform on the Nolan’s 14? “Flawlessly! On my Nolan’s 14, Merino wool was critical because of its superior breathability. I was able to wear one lightweight piece that worked impeccably day and night in the mountains.” And how did Joe himself perform on the Nolan’s 14? Well, he set a new unsupported record for the route. “But in the end, the ‘time’ doesn’t define the experience. The things that happened along the way are much more interesting and meaningful, rather than just the number at the end,” Joe said. “Overall I really enjoyed the whole route, even the tedious stuff. I never doubted that I was going to get to the finish. There are definitely highlights, like the sunset on Missouri Mountain during the first night was pretty incredible. The same goes for the sunrise on Mount Columbia with the full moon. There’s just a vastness to the route that you can really feel on that peak because you’re midway. “Next-to-skin, I wear wool exclusively for all my activities in the mountains. It meets all my criteria for a high-performance garment.” Joe Grant, ultrarunner “That being said, I did have some incredibly low moments on the course. There are approximately two hours during the first night that I still can’t seem to remember. When I finally came to, I was lying on a steep slope at 13,000 feet, slowly sliding down. My shoes, which I didn’t remember taking off, were sitting about 15 feet above me! “These experiences force me to be the best version of myself. It forces me to elevate my game as much as I can and really dig deep to the depths of myself.” And after he finished, what did he do? “I had a Subway sandwich [laughs], went and hopped in the Arkansas River – which was divine – tore a blister off my foot and then went to have some Bolognese, and then... drove home.” OFF FARM 11
In the Shops - September 2019