Friday, 9 November 2012

One Armed Pete

It's safe to say that most guys, and maybe some gals, aspire to BAMF-hood (badass mother f***er). It's no secret that guys enjoy watching movies like Die Hard, James Bond, the Terminator series and other such action movies. What self respecting guy doesn't want to be the smooth talking, ass kicking machine that is John McClane? Fictional characters aside, our society and history is full of BAMFers that did the exceptional and lived exceptional lives.You find though, that behind the hype and legend are actually ordinary people doing the extra-ordinary.
Showing this year at the Banff Mountain Film Fest is a story about three guys who together climbed the El Capitan rock wall in Yosemite. What separates these guys from your average Joe climbers, is that all three of these dudes have a disability. In fact these three guys were the first to do an all disabled ascent of El Cap. "We're climbers first, disabled second." Now in the realm of Bad Ass these guys have got to be up there. Missing a limb? No prob, let's go climb a 3,000 ft granite rock face. Ordinary dudes doing extra-ordinary things.

The stage is 1974, and the annual Western States 100 mile one day ride is about to start. Unfortunately for Gordon Ainsley, his horse had been suffering from chronic lameness and he decided that his horse was unfit to compete in the ride. Rather than let something small like not having a horse in a horse race, Gordon decided to tackle the ride on foot. Astonishing both himself and everyone else involved in the race, not only did Gordon finish the 100 mile journey but did so under 24 hours and won the silver belt buckle award for a sub 24hr finish. From this minor mishap grew the world of trail ultra-marathoning as we know it.

Greatness, or the extra-ordinary is nothing more than ordinary people overcoming setbacks, with a can do attitude and a bit of zaniness. Missing a limb? Horse gone lame? Shit son, that's peanuts! Get out there and give'er. Instead of waiting for adventure and the incredible to come to us, how about we find the incredible in the ordinary circumstances of life?

"All men are ordinary men; the extraordinary men are those who know it." - G.K Chesterton

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