Road to Recovery, One Step at a Time

Jul 14, 2021

For Team USA Paracyclist, David Rose, returning to Mammoth is almost like a homecoming. As as a kid growing up in Jackson, Wyoming, smack dab in the middle of the Grand Tetons, he feels that familiar sense of home just being surrounded by the Eastern Sierra and staying at the Mammoth Lakes Crib, temporary digs for athletes in training, near the Sherwins.

“Coming back here is like coming back home for me. There are so many things I like about Mammoth. I love the relaxed feeling  of it: the coffee shops and cruising around town. It’s way more chill and relax than being down south,” said Rose, who has spent the last decade in Southern California—he’s lived in Orange County, Los Angeles, and now hangs his bike helmet in Santa Barbara.

As a child, Rose practically grew up schussing down the nearby mountains. Every Tuesday and Thursday he and his classmates had a half day and they would ski at the locals’ mountain, Snow King. On weekends, he often found himself at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or Grand Targhee.

But, he was partial to the backcountry, first going off piste at seven years old. He and his stepdad would head out on snowmobiles and take turns giving each other rides to the top of the pass after the other had skied down.

This spring, Rose is recovering from surgery. Doctors recently removed two inches from his femur and inserted a rod. There was a complication with the first surgery: the rod was too small. Another surgery was necessary at the end of March.

Post-surgery, he’s still on crutches. But, rehabbing in Mammoth Lakes has its benefits. Just living at altitude for a spell is training, by virtue of living in and around 8,000 feet above sea level.

“My red blood cell operates on its own schedule, whether or not I train. So, a lot of my rehab in Mammoth is low intensity and focused on balance and core work.”

He usually knocks out his one-two punch of balance and core work at Snowcreek Athletic Club. His workouts are mellow, consisting of stretching, mild strength training, and a nice soak in the jacuzzi for good measure.

“Snowcreek is awesome because they have all the equipment you could need and everyone is super friendly and the guy has good hours: I really like that place,” explained Rose.

Being at altitude also helps Rose accomplish something his injury is making difficult: creating a base. Because before athletes can start heavy and intense training it’s necessary to lay the groundwork of a base, or what some call a foundation.

“Races are won long before you’re racing. The sooner you have a good base for building a good engine, the better it is,” said Rose. “I’ll be back on the bike in three or four weeks, so I want to make sure my blood cells are ready to go. It gives a really good structure to training.”

A track cyclist, he regularly races at ADT Track Center Carson and also trains at Encino. Although track cycling has many different events, Rose concentrates on shorter races. Some of his longer events are 3 km and he says that he sees an advantage from his altitude training during these events.

“Any time you have more red blood cells, it’s always going to be an advantage, no matter what you’re doing” said Rose, adding another reason he likes to come to Mammoth Lakes: the high altitude helps his body create more red blood cells.

“In short, having more red blood cells lets you hurt a little bit more, which gives you an edge,” said Rose.

And if you’re surprised that you’re short of breath for longer than you’d expect during your trip to Mammoth Lakes, you’re not the only one. Rose says his body takes about two weeks to acclimate fully.

For the first five days, “I don’t know what my body is doing. Not making very many red blood cells, though,” joked Rose.

But after that, usually, around the seven day mark, he starts feeling better.

His ultimate test? Steps. “They’re the money makers: they let you know how you’re doing,” said Rose.

Like a lot of athletes, Rose likes to cook for himself so he can track how many calories he’s consuming. But, when he wants to treat himself, he goes to Angels. “Man, do they have some big portions. That lasted like three meals,” said Rose.

Conversely, on the other side of the food spectrum from BBQ, he also enjoys the vegetarian-friendly spot, Lynne’s Garden of Eat’n.

And although he’s ridden most of the roads and trails in the 93546, just don’t ask him which one is which.  “I can describe any trail, but if you ask me to name it, I can’t.”

But he loves the riding Mammoth Rock. “That’s a fun one, just to sprint down and back up, especially if you’re doing a 20 minute interval.”

Click here to read more about other visits David has made to the Mammoth Lakes Crib.

Photo caption: David regains his strength in the Snowcreek pool. As he says on his Instagram page: “Walking is one of those taken for granted things. Never again. Relearning the trade. Glad to have the right people, tools, and resources to get it done the right way up here @visitmammoth.”

Author: Stephen Krcmar Stephen Krcmar is a journalist, marketing guy, and former Copywriter, Social Media Director, and Associate Creative Director at Mammoth Mountain. During his tenure at Mammoth, he rode his bicycle outfitted with studded tires to Main Lodge on most winter days. And he never skipped a meal.  

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