Rebecca Rusch is the Queen of Pain
“Affecting my physical body is a way for me to reach inside my soul. Suffering allows me to access who I am emotionally.”
This week I sit down with Rebecca Rusch – one of the world’s greatest adventure athletes.
Rebecca is a 7-time World Champion, best-selling author, activist, and Emmy winner. In addition to superhuman success on a mountain bike, she has performed at the elite level across a multitude of disciplines including rock climbing, white water rafting, and multi-day adventure events like Eco Challenge.
Still crushing it at 50, Rebecca is redefining human capability in real time.
Beyond athletics, Rebecca is a TEDx speaker, author of Rusch To Glory* and the founder of the Be Good Foundation. In addition, she is the event producer of Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a bike race in her hometown of Ketchum, and the protagonist in Blood Road, an extraordinary documentary that chronicles her 1,800 km mountain bike adventure along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to reach the site where her U.S. Air Force pilot father was shot down in Laos more than 40 years earlier during Vietnam.
Dubbed ‘The Queen of Pain’ by Adventure Sports magazine, Rebecca was named #6 on Active.com’s list of the World’s Top 100 Athletes, Singletrack.com’s Mountain Biker of the Year, Sports Illustrated Adventure Racing Team of the Year, and Outside magazine’s Top 20 Female Athletes of the Year.
Rebecca’s accomplishments are beyond impressive. But today’s conversation lives beyond elite performance to explore things like curiosity. The richness of adventure. Feeding the soul. Continuous personal growth. Redefining age. Contributing to the greater good. And giving back.
But most of all, this is about what can be gleaned by leaning into the unknown. And living outside the comfort zone. Because there is so much more to this incredible woman than athletic prowess.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Rebecca. My hope is that it leaves you re-evaluating your personal limits. And inspired to live more adventurously.
Peace + Plants,
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Photos courtesy of Ali Rogers
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Check out Rebecca’s film: Blood Rood* and her book: Rusch to Glory: Adventure, Risk & Triumph on the Path Less Traveled*
Background, Context & Reference:
- Connect With Rebecca: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
- Rebecca’s Non-Profit: Be Good Foundation
- Rebecca’s Film: Blood Road | Official TRAILER
- Rebecca’s Cycling Event: Rebecca’s Private Idaho
- TEDx: Navigating Home | Rebecca Rusch | TEDxSunValley
- Red Bull Athlete Profile: Rebecca Rusch: MTB XCO
- Garmin: Women Of Adventure: Rebecca Rusch
- Strava Professional Athlete: Rebecca Rusch
- The New York Times: Vietnam ’67 | Bicycling the ‘Blood Road’ by Rebecca Rusch
- JoinTheRusch: The Iditarod Trail Invitational by Rebecca Rusch
- Marin Museum Of Bicycling: Rebecca Rusch
- Pinkbike: Rebecca Rusch Finishes the Brutal 350 Mile Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska
- Outside Magazine: Rebecca Rusch Never Lets Herself Get Bored
- Outside Magazine: Rebecca Rusch’s 1,200-Mile Journey to Find Her Father’s Crash Site
- Bicycling: Rebecca Rusch Wins Emmy for Her Documentary ‘Blood Road’
- Active: It’s (Really) Not About the Bike: A Q&A with Rebecca Rusch
- Adventure Sports Network: Mountain Biker Rebecca Rusch Is Shattering Expectations for Female Riders
- Outdoor gear and events: Adventure 16
- Rock Climbing Gym: Rockreation Los Angeles
- Documentary: Free Solo Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
- Documentary: Valley Uprising* Directors: Pete Mortimer, Nick Rosen
- Documentary: 3100: Run And Become Director: Sanjay Rawal
- Recycled War Shrapnel Jewelry: Article22
Notable People Discussed:
- Colin O’Brady: pro endurance athlete, mountain climber, adventurer, professional speaker. Two-time world record holder for the Explorers Grand Slam and Seven Summits speed records; first person to traverse Antarctica alone and (3x) podcast guest
- Alex Honnold: professional free solo rock climber (Free Solo the Movie) & podcast guest
- Sanjay Rawal: human rights activist, runner, documentary filmmaker (3100: Run And Become) and podcast guest
- Chai Vasarhelyi: documentary filmmaker, co-director of 2019 Academy Award winning documentary Free Solo and podcast guest
- Jimmy Chin: photographer, filmmaker, professional climber, skier, co-director of 2019 Academy Award winning documentary Free Solo and podcast guest
- Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Sharon Bannister: (Rebecca’s sister) Deputy Assistant Director, Education and Training, Defense Health Agency, Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia
- Dean Golich: (Rebecca’s coach) head performance physiologist at Carmichael Training Systems
- Huyen Nguyen: Rebecca’s cycling partner in Blood Road
- Martin Buser: champion of sled dog racing, began mushing at age seventeen in Switzerland. In 1979, Buser moved to Alaska to train and raise sled dogs full-time. His training operation, Happy Trails Kennels, is located in Big Lake, Alaska
- Mark Burnett: television producer who is the current Chairman of MGM Worldwide Television Group. Burnett-produced TV series have been nominated for a total of 143 Emmys
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP #364: Hilaree Nelson On The Virtues Of Living An Adventurous Life
- RRP #439: Freeze Solo: Colin O’Brady Is The First To Cross Antarctica Alone & Unassisted
- RRP #351: Alex Honnold: The Free Soul Of Free Solo
- RRP #417: Kílian Jornet: Summiting The Mind Of The World’s Greatest Mountain Runner
- RRP #307: Big Mountain Skier Lynsey Dyer On Sport As Art
- RRP #424: The War Inside: Combat Veteran Sarah Lee
Thanks to Jason Camiolofor production, audio engineering, interstitial music and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics. Ali Rogers for portraits. Theme music by Ana Leimma.
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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