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One of the athletes that I’ve always been following is Rebecca Rusch, one of the strongest woman in the world

When I’ve read Rebecca’s career highlights, the first things that I got in my head were: how many incredible things she did and how many ones is she going to do? I’ve been riding 24h solo races as well and I know how hard it’s an endurance competition, especially for the mind, and I couldn’t do it for a long time. Rebecca Rusch is an incredible athlete who loves her sport, this is her life. She won a lot in the past years and I’m sure she will be on top of the podium for many years to come. She rides differently: from the normal mountain bike races to the fat bike USA nationals which has just happened, that’s probably the reason why Redbull sponsors her. But let’s Rebecca talk about it…

First of all, where are you from and when did you start riding?

I live in Sun Valley, Idaho. It is a mountain ski resort town with world class riding in the summer. I started riding mountain bikes when I was doing adventure races like Eco Challenge and Raid Gauloises. I didn’t start mountain bike racing until about 9 years ago, and then focused mostly on riding.

What kind of training do you do in the winter season?

Cross country skiing, backcountry skiing and now fat biking in the snow! I ride an indoor trainer a couple of days a week, but I really prefer to be outside.

Many athletes are vegetarian or vegan… What is your type of diet?

I do not have a specific diet other than to try to eat fresh and healthy foods.  My body doesn’t do well as a vegetarian.  Everyone is different but for me, I need protein to feel at my best.  I also cook a lot at home and make my own bread. When traveling for races, sometimes I can’t be that picky and just have to do the best with what is offered.

What do you fear the most when you’re racing long distance events and what do you do to overcome those fears?

Once an event starts, I don’t have a lot of fear. The fear seems to be more in the days and hours leading up to the start, “Have I trained enough, am I ready?”. Once the gun goes off, then the goal is clearly laid out in front of me and I go into auto pilot. Of course, there is always technical mountain bike terrain that is hard, but mostly those fears go away when I’m in the moment of racing.

rebecca rusch

Do you have any fear outside cycling?

I do have a fear of falling, like sky diving or bungee jumping. That is something I will never be able to do.

How do you manage your private life and mountain biking?

My life is mountain biking and my husband also rides. However, I do try to make sure that every day is not always 100% about my job or racing. It’s important to spend time together with him that is not training specific. We go on a lot of walks with our dog, cook meals at home and we are both on the fire department. I also make sure that I do other sports like skiing to take a break from riding and share time with my friends.

Your nickname is “The Queen of Pain”, and you wrote a book about it, too. What’s the most incredible story that you can tell us?

You have to buy the book “Rusch to Glory to hear all of the stories!!! I wrote the book with the hope of inspiring other people to get outside and live their own adventures, no matter how big or small. My nickname was given to me during my adventure racing days and it refers to the perseverance I have for ultra endurance events. The best part about writing the book was re-visiting some of the old stories of adventures I have had. It was a great process to go back down to the memory lane and talk to teammates and look at all of the old pictures and videos. It inspired me to keep living an adventurous life too.

Rebecca's Private race in Idaho

Rebecca’s Private race in Idaho

Big change this year from the big family Specialized to Niner… What happened? Did you feel the need of some new motivations?

Yes, I was with Specialized for 12 years and I am grateful for the time I had working with them. I would not be in the position I am now without the great bikes and support they provided me over the years. The move to Niner is also really exciting and new. I’m looking forward to being a big part of their brand development. It’s exciting to try something new and bring my experience as an athlete to the table. My mission is still the same, to continue to push my limits and inspire other people to do the same.

Do you do something to motivate women to go outside and ride?

I host the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour and have done this for 4 years. It’s a series of free women’s events that I put on around North America (and hopefully Europe soon). The goal of each event is simply to get more women riding by providing knowledge of gear, great coaches to teach skills and the opportunity to ride with other women. It has been a great success and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job.

Have you ever raced or traveled here in Italy?

I did some adventure racing in Italy more than 10 years ago on the border of France and I was only in your country for a short time. I also went there for some beautiful road riding many years ago. I fell in love and need to get back there for more riding, but this time on a mountain bike!

What’s the best endurance mtb event in Italy? Let me know and I would love to put it on my calendar. Iron Bike maybe?

Photo credit Corey Rich

Rebecca Rusch in this amazing shot captured by Corey Rich during a travel to Mexico, Utah and California. Three atheletes and answer the question “Why”.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I’m not sure where I will be next year and for sure not in 10 years. I do know that I will still be exploring and being active. That is in my blood and will never change.

A dream that you would love to see real?

To ride the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam one day.


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A proposito dell'autore

Chiamata dagli amici "acqua e paltan", proveniente da sport completamente differenti, ora dedica cuore e mente al mondo delle due ruote offroad. Poliedrica nel suo lavoro: un'ottima fotografa, sa mettersi a disposizione anche dall'altra parte dell'obiettivo! Attiva come "social specialist" non smette mai di pensare a dove la bici la porterà ad infangarsi la prossima volta!