Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reflections of Grit

Grit (noun): the tendency to work strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. (Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit).

Most of us think we have grit.  Certainly we can recognize its value when it comes to the pursuit of personal accomplishments and, well, anything else worth having.

Career.  Relationships.  Health.

But once in a while it's good to look outside of ourselves to see what Grit looks like from someone else's perspective.

Enter Peter Kraft Sr. (age 50) and Peter Kraft Jr. (age 20), from Gainesville, FL.  This father & son team just finished the Tour Divide, but not before it nearly finished them.

The Tour Divide is a grassroots mountain bike race tour that begins in Banff, Canada, and follows the continental divide to the Mexican border.  2700+ miles, and over 200,000 feet in elevation (i.e. climbing).  Anyone who finishes this non-race has some considerable measure of grit.

This year's event began on June 14th.  The guy who finished first, Mike Hall, did it in less than 15 days.


Forest Baker and Eric Foster are going for the so-called triple crown of endurance mountain biking: having already completed the Arizona Trail Race in April, they've finished the Tour Divide, and are now headed to the starting line of the Colorado Trail Race, which starts on July 21st.

Double serving of Grit.

Peter Kraft Sr. & Jr?  They rolled up to the Mexican border last night around 9 p.m., 31 days after they left Banff.  Not exactly a course record.


Consider that these two have been preparing for this event for three years.  Anyone who makes it to the starting line deserves a medal, and these two lined up in Banff with the rest of the pack.  Then they rode for 2000+ miles to New Mexico, where disaster struck.  First, Kraft Sr. crashed.  Kraft Jr. accompanies Sr. in the ambulance for the hour-plus ride to the hospital, where Sr. is stitched back up.  Then, they hitch a ride back to the course, get back on the bikes, and they KEEP GOING.  Then, Kraft Jr. gets violently ill.  Throwing-up-all-night ill.  In the middle of nowhere.  They find a park ranger, who assesses the damage and tells them they're in trouble.  Another ambulance ride to another hospital.

At this point, I'm almost hoping they throw in the towel.  "It's been a heck of a ride boys.  You've earned your battle scars.  Now go on home and lick your wounds."

Do they quit?  Nope.

Jr. recovers.

     The go back to the course.

          They get back on the bikes.

              And they finish the race.


Off the charts.  They ought to make a movie about these two.

Well done Krafts.  Whenever I think about bailing on, well, anything, I'm gonna remember the name Kraft, and think again.



  1. Marion E / PollyhoundJuly 16, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Lovely words about two very courageous riders. I hope you don't mind but I've put a link on PK Snr's tracker page.

  2. Thank you Marion. Mind? I'm honored.

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