“…a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside of him, allowing him to grow. Without change, something sleeps inside of us and seldom awakens. The Sleeper must awaken.” — Duke Leto Atreides, from Frank Herbert’s Dune
Welcome to Long Live the Fighters, the accounting of my [mostly] unremarkable feats of adventure and athleticism. My name is Glenn Cratty and I am a professional photographer and an amateur racing cyclist and mountain climber.
In 2009, fed up with the congestion and cost of living in Los Angeles (my home for 18 years), my wife Lisa and I pulled the trigger on an exit strategy that was three years in the planning by moving with our two daughters to Louisville, Colorado. By almost total coincidence, days before our move, Louisville was named by Money Magazine to be the 2009 #1 Best Place to Live in America.
I had found my groove in life 10 years prior as an amateur road racing cyclist. For most people, being a good bike racer means a certain amount of sacrifice to the sport, even at the lowest level. After three years of restrictive nutrition, going to bed early on Friday and Saturday nights, sleeping on motel floors in Fresno and other exciting towns, sacrificing work, money and any meaningful interaction with the opposite gender for what amounts to a hobby…well, eventually I wanted to have a life.
So for nine years I pretty much went hardcore in the other direction. I arrived in Colorado happily married with two great kids. But I was soft, nearly 50lbs over my weight of a decade before and facing a personal reality: without a challenging athletic goal to train for and the time to do it, I’m prone to at least two of the seven deadly sins–sloth and gluttony–and in grave danger of losing my footing on the slippery slope of middle age.
This reality was a huge influence on me when Lisa and I had gone about choosing a new place to live and the decision quickly payed dividends. The view of the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains from our back deck inspired a latent desire to climb mountains, which would become a full-blown obsession in 2010. And that fall, having regained some semblance of basic fitness, I inevitably began the metaphorical uphill climb back into competitive cycling.
Since then, I have taken a few steps toward the casual goal of climbing all the nation’s unofficially recognized 14’000′ peaks, having summited 33 of 74, and five seasons of road racing under my bibs. In 2014 I tried cyclocross for a first time and was instantly hooked.
This blog is the story of these ongoing pursuits and the good-faith attempt to balance them with a happy family life and the earning of an honest living. A wise man once said “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” In that spirit, I make no claim to being an expert in any of these endeavors, but if anything offered inspires just little bit of insight to even one person, then that would be the frosting on a cake baked primarily to entertain myself. Thanks for reading.
Cyclocross image by Mahting Putelis. Sierra’s image by Michael McGinnis.