Lauren De Crescenzo has come a long way since she spent her days walking the hallways at Craig Hospital wondering if she would ever be normal again.
During a cycling race in April 2016, De Crescenzo was involved in a horrific crash and suffered a fractured spine and a traumatic brain injury. It was uncertain whether the Broomfield native and Olympic hopeful would regain any semblance of her life prior to the crash, let alone ever get back on a bicycle again.
But one day at the hospital, fellow racer and Boulder native Timmy Duggan, who recovered from a traumatic brain injury to reach the Olympics, asked De Crescenzo if she wanted to go on a bike ride to get ice cream.
Since that day, De Crescenzo has pushed far beyond a miraculous recovery to accomplish incredible things. Most recently, while raising money for the Craig Hospital Foundation for TBI patients on May 31, De Crescenzo set the women’s Everesting world record at 9 hours, 57 minutes and 29 seconds.
“Cycling and seeing the results was a really a great, objective measuring stick for getting back to normal,” De Crescenzo said. “I always feel like I have this inner thing that helps me push myself and find a way to take it one step further. Getting that record was amazing. In 2016, I never would have thought my life would be like this now.”
Everesting is a popular new form of cycling in which riders repeatedly climb and descend a hill as many times as it takes to have ascended 8,848 meters – the equivalent height of Mount Everest. De Crescenzo, 29, set this brutal endeavor’s new standard by over four minutes, completing 24.5 repeats up Hogpen Gap in North Georgia, which has over a 9% average grade and is over two miles long.
Though she retired from professional cycling in 2016, De Crescenzo still competes in as many races as she can. Last year, she took first place in the individual time trial at the USAC Collegiate National Championships while competing for the University of Colorado-Denver.
It was during the two months she spent in Craig Hospital following the crash that De Crescenzo decided to pursue a degree at Colorado School of Public Health. Her final thesis was on traumatic brain injury trends in Colorado.
Now living in Atlanta with her fiancé, Jim, De Crescenzo works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the division of injury prevention. She completed a 60-day deployment with the coronavirus task force less than a week prior to breaking the Everesting record.
In the four years since De Crescenzo willed herself out of a hospital bed at Craig Hospital, the Broomfield High alumnus, Class of 2008, has built a spectacular and inspiring new life for herself as a promising young epidemiologist and world record-holding cyclist. For some time now, De Crescenzo has been known in the cycling community as, “The Pride of Broomfield.”
She has more than earned it.
“I didn’t realize how many people doubted that I would get back on the bike,” De Crescenzo said. “Even at the hospital, I decided that I hated bikes because that’s why I was there. But after a while I got kind of bored.”