After dominating the Israeli mountain bike scene and racing successfully in Europe under Tel Aviv Cycling Club and later Spider Cycling Club, Rotem decided to pursuit both academics and cycling at a high level. There was no better place than Fort Lewis College in beautiful Durango Colorado– the leading collegiate cycling program in the United States. Setting new home in Durango turned out to be a pivotal point in Rotem’s development as a cyclist, scholar and a person.
In spite living far from his family, cultural differences and language barriers at first, Rotem molded into the charm of the Durango community and his path on and off his bicycle keeps reaching new peaks: racing internationally at the highest level, numerous top 10 finishes at U.S. Pro XCT series including one podium, top 50’s at World Championships and Cups, racing with the professional Team JAMIS Bikes, member of the long-term team towards Rio 2016 Olympic Games, graduating with Cum Laude honors as an Exercise Specialist, publishing his Exercise Physiology Senior Thesis, gathering seven collegiate Div. l national championships, and nine Israeli national champion titles.
During his years at Fort Lewis College, Rotem deepened his passion and knowledge of exercise physiology and gradually expanded his involvement with Durango Performance Center under cardiologist and exercise physiologist Dr. Bruce Andrea. At first by testing and training at the lab as an athlete himself, later as a lab intern and a researcher of his senior thesis (effects of supplemental oxygen training) and nowadays by directing the lab to new standards as a center of sports cardiology, exercise physiology research facility and high altitude testing and training location. It’s easy to understand how Rotem’s balance between his passionate work at Durango Performance Center and professional career as an endurance athlete are integrated together.
Rotem has a unique and timely opportunity to become the first ever Israeli mountain biker at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, as the qualification criteria is closer than ever. At the end of 2014 season, Israel’s national UCI ranking was standing at 19th place, and top 23 nations in the world by May 2016 will qualify for at least one Olympic spot. On a personal level, Rotem feels he is reaching his “prime” timing in life to tackle a lifelong dream – Rotem is in the “golden age” of endurance sports with over 12 years of racing, long loyal relationship with JAMIS bikes, balanced lifestyle, academic background in exercise science and endurance physiology in specific, working in a center of endurance excellence and living in Durango Colorado is without a doubt an ideal home for mountain biking heaven.
Stay tuned for news and updates on my website as well on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/rotem.ishay) and Twitter (@Rotem_Ishay).