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Choose the Hard Way

Aug 14, 2019

Known as the Queen of Pain, Rebecca Rusch is a 7x World Champion in sports ranging from adventure racing to whitewater rafting to 24-hour solo mountain biking. She has won the biggest monuments in off-road bike racing including four Leadville 100 mountain bike titles and five total wins at the Dirty Kanza in the 100-mile, 200-mile and 350-mile XL races. She holds the fastest known time for mountain biking the Kokopelli trail from Moab to Fruita, was on the first team to summit and descend Mt. Kilimanjaro on mountain bikes and she was a member of the Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Champion Team. She’s also an entrepreneur, author and has her own world-class gravel race, Rebecca’s Private Idaho.

In 2016 she was the first person to ride the entire length of the Ho Chi Minh trail. That trip was captured in the feature-length documentary Blood Road. It tells the story of Rebecca’s journey to try to reach the crash site and final resting place of her father, a U.S. Air Force pilot shot down over Laos during the Vietnam war, 40 years later on the anniversary of his death. 

I’ve written about Rebecca before as a journalist and have had the chance to hang out with her a few times at gravel events and at SXSW where we both spoke a few years back. She’s not just one of the most accomplished endurance athletes in all of sport--she’s an incredibly humble and thoughtful person. My dad also served in Vietnam. He came back alive. Watching Blood Road truly moved me on many levels, and after I saw it, I knew I wanted to explore the film and the impact that the process had on Rebecca. In this interview, we talk about the many ways that experience has transformed her as an athlete and human.

You can  learn more about the film at Catch Rebecca on Insta @rebeccarusch and at

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