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Rose Grant: A Category of Her Own

Champion mountain biker Rose Grant talks about defending her Leadville title this summer, balancing motherhood and bike racing, and the tote bag she won’t leave home without.

Rose Grant says she didn’t find mountain biking; mountain biking found her. Almost like divine intervention. It is her calling, her purpose. Her results suggest she may be right about that: She’s a five-time Mountain Bike Marathon National Champion, a four-time World Championship National Team member, and the 2019 winner of the Leadville 100 MTB. She’s also a mom. Her daughter, Layla, is eight. We spoke to Grant, who lives in Columbia Falls, Montana, as she prepares to return to Leadville this August.

So, how did you first get into mountain biking?

My older brother worked at a bike shop when we were growing up in Montana. I tagged along with him, went to some local races, but I never thought there could be a future in that. I was always athletic, always had a competitive spirit. I took up running, went to college and got my elementary education degree. I was recovering from overuse running injuries when I got my bike out and found this great cycling community and started doing some local races. I got invited to ride for a local shop team and that opened my eyes to this whole new world of bike racing.

You’ve called mountain biking your calling.

The way things tended to work out in the end, I do feel like there was divine intervention. This is where I’m meant to be. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know how I just won that race. Who am I to have a performance that stands out? For whatever reason, I’ve been blessed that way a lot of the time. That has helped me preserve through the difficult times. Like I was placed here for a reason.

Motherhood is the hardest and most underappreciated role but it’s the most powerful in all of society.

Motherhood is the hardest and most underappreciated role but it’s the most powerful in all of society.

Your daughter was born pretty early in your bike racing career, right?

I was 28. I was winning everything. I raced as an amateur in 2011, then got upgraded to pro in 2012. I did a couple of races, then found out I was pregnant. I was walking through these open doors with so much curiosity. It all felt exciting. I mean, who has a baby and pursues racing at the beginning of parenting? I was just embracing all of it. I started racing again when Layla was about three months old.

How does being a mom make you a better bike racer?

I feel like I have always been in a category of my own. It’s true what they say: Motherhood is the hardest and most underappreciated role but it’s the most powerful in all of society. There’s no way of understanding what it’s like until you’re in it. I have had to step away from any kind of comparison from my peers who I race with who have more flexibility. In the end, racing is very shallow. The depth that I have been able to experience through being a parent makes bike racing just not that big a deal. I tend to take on a mom role with my teammates and the younger racers. I feel like part of my racing journey is also being encouraging and a mentor to others.

Take us back to winning Leadville in 2019. You won that race by 17 minutes. What went well at that race?

It was my first 100-mile race and at altitude. There are so many factors that could go wrong. But things went right. My body seemed to naturally know how to race that distance. So much of that race is just focusing on yourself. You can’t really try to pace with someone else. You are racing them, but at the same time, it’s very focused on your own pacing strategy and your own nutrition. It’s really freeing. If something happens in a race, you have the controllables and the uncontrollables. It’s surrendering to the process of that race and letting that race come to you, in a natural way. It’s so much easier to paddle with the current than against it.

I’m used to having to push through fatigue and keep going. That’s when my body can adapt.

I’m used to having to push through fatigue and keep going. That’s when my body can adapt.

What’s your plan for returning to Leadville this summer?

I’m doing some things differently. I’m sleeping in an altitude tent at home, I plan to show up a week and a half to two weeks early to adjust to the altitude in Colorado. It’s really increasing the training volume and intensity, doing multiple hard days in a row. I’m used to having to push through fatigue and keep going. That’s when my body can adapt. The day after Leadville, I’m going to be racing the Breck Epic, a six-day mountain bike stage race out of Breckenridge. I won’t get a rest day in between. I will be crossing the finish line and hopefully someone can carry me to my bed.

Navigating injuries taught me that I don’t need to be racing to be happy.

Navigating injuries taught me that I don’t need to be racing to be happy.

You’re used to spending much of the year at mountain bike races. What was it like for you when COVID shut all of that down?

Navigating injuries taught me that I don’t need to be racing to be happy. There was a point where I was dependent on races and receiving accolades for good performances and thriving on that aspect of being a professional racer. But in 2018, I broke my fibula and had a chronically dislocated shoulder and ended up sitting out the whole season after getting surgery. I had to change my perspective, my value as an athlete wasn’t dependent on race results. With injury, it can feel isolating. But when COVID hit in 2020, it wasn’t just me. Nobody was racing. At that point, too, I developed an appreciation for bonus time at home. It was such a special time with my family.

What pieces of Flylow Gear do you use most regularly?

I love the Tia Shorts, which are low profile, stretchy, but still give that comfortable baggy sensation for a fun ride. When I’m in spandex, it’s all business. When I’m in baggy shorts, I’m out to have some fun. The Davis Jacket may be my favorite and most critical piece: It’s lightweight and breathable, very compact, and is the perfect layer to be always prepared for alpine rides and variable weather. I never leave home without a Remnant Tote. I used it at the lake yesterday. It works great as a gear bag.

Tia Short

Streamlined women’s mountain bike shorts built for the uphill and down.
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Sure, going downhill on a bike is fun and all, but you actually enjoy the climb, too. These light and fast MTB shorts are for you. Called the Tia Short, they’re built with wicking, quick-drying fabric that have enough stretch for high-motion sports but are still casual enough in style to wear after the ride, too. A low-profile waistband stays in one place even when you don’t.

Features

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-94.5% nylon, 5.5% spandex
-Intuitive™ IQ MTB fabric
-40+ UPF
-Moisture wicking, quick drying
-Comfort elastic waistband
-Low-profile, no-bulk fly w/ Velcro closure
-Two hand pockets
-Zippered pocket fits phone
-12.25-inch inseam
-DWR Treated

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Davis Jacket

The Davis Jacket is the air-permeable windbreaker you (yes, you, especially if you’re a mountain biker) need all year long.

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Some days, you need protection from the elements—wind, rain, sun. Maybe you’re spring skiing, mountain biking in the fall, or trail running midsummer. But you don’t want to overheat. Enter the Davis Jacket, the lightweight, air-permeable windbreaker you need all summer long. This durable, bike-ready shell adds a layer of defense with supreme breathability, so you don’t have to take it off even when your temps go up. This packable, simplified design is made for those days when skies look iffy, but it’s the one chance you have to get out.

While the Davis is a unisex style, it is based on our men's sizing. We hope you enjoy the best fit so if you have questions give our staff and resident gear experts a shout!

Features

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-Intuitive™ S/G Lite

-100% nylon ripstop 62 g/m2

-Air permeable 22.8 CFM

-DWR treated

-Low profile hood

-Cuffs constructed with lightweight elastic

-Stows into zippered chest pocket

-Drop tail

-Elastic wrists

-31.5-inch center back length

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Remnant Tote

A large zip-top tote bag made from tough leftover Oxford fabric for hauling your gear around.
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When we're making our ski pants, sometimes we end up with scraps of leftover fabric, sheets of hardy, scuff-resistant 500D and 1000D Oxford fabric. It'd be a shame to just throw that good stuff away, right? So we created the Remnant Tote, which solves two problems at once. First, it utilizes this leftover fabric to create less waste and secondly, it's the ultimate solution for how to get your all your gear from point A to point B in one tidy, spacious container. Whether you're hauling ski boots, helmets, and jackets to the mountain, groceries home from the store, or all your gear for a weekend at the beach, the Remnant Tote can carry it all. Plus, we added a full-zip top to keep things in place and it's tough, water-resistant, and washable. W 21" H 15" D 11.5" or 61 Liters
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