Nate Gratz, a long time Bishop local, was referred to us early during his rehabilitation process. He was in recovery from a cervical spinal cord injury, which resulted in quadriplegia. He came to our weekly cycling group to learn about sport opportunities available to him in his new life. On his first session, we introduced him to hand cycling and he introduced us to one of the biggest smiles of joy we’d ever seen! Nate and the staff and volunteers of DSES have learned a lot together, and forged strong, enduring friendships.
Nate is a father, husband and son in an amazing family! He and his family run an established business in Bishop and are very active in the community. Nate has become an advocate and role model for people with disabilities. Since that first day on the hand cycle, he has become a truly dedicated athlete with a strict training schedule, and continually sets and meets new goals. Last year his athletic milestones were riding in DSES’s Sierra Cycle Challenge in July and achieving a personal best of 20 miles. He beat this a month and a half later by riding 30+ miles in the High Sierra Fall Century and again the following October by riding 40+ miles in the Fallon Century! This year’s goals (after conquering the Sierra Cycle Challenge once again) are to ride 70 miles in the High Sierra Fall Century and to complete all 100 miles of the Fallon Century.
In addition to all of his cycling, Nate started cross-country skiing this winter and participated in a dry land biathlon. As an accomplished hunter and marksman, the sport of biathlon holds great appeal and presents a whole new challenge. Nate’s wife, Amber, and son, William, came out to learn cross-country skiing as well. We hope to see them all skiing together a lot next year.
With his incredible determination, charisma and athleticism and his amazing friends and family… I anticipate seeing him on the podium soon in hand-cycling races across the country! This summer look for Nate and his son William out on the road cycling behind their enormous grins!
GO NATE! And thank you for being such an inspiration and amazing role model for us all.