Joe Grant sure does love the mountains, so Colorado’s Hardrock 100 is a perfect fit for him. Perhaps, that’s why he’s back to run it for the third year in a row after taking sixth in 2011 and second last year. In the following interview, Joe talks about his running year to date, what shoes he’ll be wearing out there, and whether he’s got his eye on winning the race.
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Joe Grant Pre-2013 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Joe Grant before the 2013 Hardrock 100. How are you doing, Joe?
Joe Grant: Great, thanks.
iRF: This is your third trip to run Hardrock, yeah?
Grant: Third trip to run it. Seems like I’ve gotten lucky every year with the lottery.
iRF: You were sixthback in 2011. You were second last year, just a handful of minutes “Hardrock time” behind Hal (Koerner) last year. It’s got to have you thinking positive goals for this year, right?
Grant: Yes, definitely. I’m feeling really good. Training has been going well. I really love it out here. I’m just kind of ready to have a good time in the mountains.
iRF: I can’t say you’ve taken it easy this year because you had the Iditarod Trail Invitational at 350 miles in Alaska pulling your sled. Then you had Transvulcania and you didn’t have a good day there. How has your training been?
Grant: It’s been good. Obviously the ITI was a big question mark in terms of recovery. So I actually only committed to doing Transvulcania after I saw that the recovery was going okay. I had never done something that long, and I didn’t sleep much for the whole week. Yeah, it was surprising that my recovery did go pretty well after that. I got the flu for Transvulcania which made for a miserable day. Other than that, I’ve been able to get up high. I was helping Tony (Krupicka) on his Nolan’s 14 project, so we were getting up in the Sawatch Range a lot getting up 14’ers. So that was good.
iRF: You’ve spent a lot of time up high, hiking the vert.
Grant: Yes. That’s kind of all this race is about. Hike the vert; jog downhill; repeat.
iRF: Yes. You know the course well. It’s headed counterclockwise this year. How do you like that course compared to the clockwise last year?
Grant: I prefer clockwise. Typically, well the idea is that counterclockwise you run the ramps and go down the steeps.
iRF: So Camp Bird, you’re running all the way up to Virginius, or attempting to at least?
Grant: Yes, you’ve got Sherman Road, you’ve got Engineer Road, you’ve got Camp Bird Road—so those all have runnable sections in them. I think it just makes it harder. Whereas in the other direction, you’re definitely hiking all the ups, so you can kind of just coast the long downhill roads. I think the other direction may suit my strengths a little better, but it’s the same amount of vert anyway. So it doesn’t really make much difference.
iRF: You tend to err on the side of more minimal shoes. I remember at Zegama last year you wore some road flats that didn’t work out so well. What are you going to shoe-up with on Friday?
Grant: I’m going to use the Inov-8 X-Talon 212 for this. Actually, it’s the newer model, so it’s kind of an updated version of that shoe. I think, given the weather predictions where it might storm and rain, that will be a pretty good choice. It’s nice to have the lugs on some of the loose stuff up high. It’s definitely a trail race as there’s a lot of trail. But there’s some loose stuff and some off-trail stuff so I think the lugs will come in handy.
iRF: It’s a pretty good draining shoe if I remember correctly—at least the old version was?
Grant: Yeah, definitely, it’s the same upper.
iRF: What were the changes? I know there was an update, but I haven’t heard the details.
Grant: Cosmetically—just the color. They also changed the EVA, so the midsole is now an injected EVA instead of blown EVA which makes it a little firmer and a little more plush ride. I think it will be really good for this.
iRF: Obviously the goal of Hardrock is always to finish.
iRF: Do you have a… you were close last year. Is possibly going for the win on your radar this year?
Grant: No, I mean, for sure, you want to line up and have your best race. Like you said, training goes well, preparation goes well, but then it kind of has to happen on the day. Last year was a really good experience. I had a great race. Hopefully that can happen again this year. Definitely trying to get around the mountains is the priority this year.
iRF: More than a lot of races, this race can become a team race—a race that your crew and pacers play a role in. Who’s got your back this year?
Grant: Yes, my wife is always my number one crew member. She comes down and definitely has a good time crewing. For pacing, I’ve got my buddy, Nick Triolo. You know him. He’s coming out from California; he’ll be taking me from Ouray to Telluride. Tony will be taking me from Telluride to the finish—the last 30 miles and hopefully a night section.
iRF: Nice. Tony obviously knows the course quite well. You do, too, at this point.
Grant: Definitely. He ran that section last year just as a training run from Silverton to Ouray going clockwise. Yesterday, he ran Grouse to the finish just kind of in case one of these years he does get in. Then he’ll know the whole thing.
iRF: Over the last number of years, you’ve done some great work with your photography and words. I assume this is one of those days where you’re leaving your camera at home?
Grant: On the race—yeah, for sure, although I’ve been playing around here for the past week heading up on some of the passes this past week. I’ve probably got a couple of good shots. It’s hard not to out here.
iRF: Yeah, I’ve always wondered if you just go out on peaks here and play “dizzy bat” and shoot blindfolded, you’d probably get some pretty darn good pictures.
Grant: Definitely. No camera during the race.
iRF: Well, enjoy taking the great views in and best of luck out there, Joe.
Grant: Thanks a lot, man.