Mammoth Lakes, California has a special place in my heart. I’ve spent time there nearly every year of my life: annual cross country ski trips with my family as a child, high school running camp, summer as a collegiate runner, and this time as a professional cyclist on Team TIBCO. Each trip has been special, almost magical, in it’s own right.
On my calendar, this appeared to be an altitude camp leading up to a series of bike races, but really it was a chance to gather some happiness watts. Happiness watts are a boost to performance from things that bring you joy, and Mammoth Lakes has always brought me lots of that. Every morning as I rode out from the Snowcreek Resort to stunning lakes and mountain views, I found my stress level dropping and my mental state improving. And, although four training days isn’t long enough to allow for the physiological adaptations that athletes traditionally seek from altitude training, I find that high altitude allows me to keep up the cardiovascular training load that I enjoy while resting my legs for upcoming races.
After riding in the morning, afternoons were for relaxation and a mental escape from the usual pro athlete regiment. I went to a concert at the Village, strolled through the local shops, jumped in the pool at the Snowcreek Athletic Club, and listened to the wind thought the trees. Nothing feels better after a long day of training than laying down, taking some deep breaths of mountain air, and counting your blessings.
One of the many blessings in my life has been the opportunity to spend time at Mammoth Lakes at every time in my life. When I say goodbye to the mountains and return to sea level, I bring with me memories and happiness that last far longer than the trip.