Rebecca Rusch is a longtime pro mountain biker, a lover of all things outdoors and a friend of Velocio. She talks about her latest adventures, her book and her plan ahead. (Also riding in the same two bibs and jerseys for weeks at a time.)
You‘ve made the transition from racing to a life on bikes with a bit of continued racing, a bit advocacy and a bit of adventure. Could you talk about that and how that move has gone? How do you organize your life around cycling?
Let’s face it, being a professional athlete is damn hard work. Being a female professional cyclist is another level of dedication. People always say things like “you are so lucky, you just get to ride your bike all day and get paid for it.” Well, that’s sort of true, but what most don’t see is how much hustling, creativity and just plain hard work go into piecing together a career racing bikes. Even though I’m still racing well into my 40’s, I’ve always been planning on ways to create a sustainable career around what I love: riding and being outdoors. My competitive spirit will never die, but I’m also really passionate about mentoring the next generation, making cycling more accessible while still feeding my need to explore my own perceived limitations. No matter what age, it’s essential to keep exploring, growing and being curious. It’s taken more than 20 years as a pro athlete to arrive where I am now. The relationships and programs I’ve developed were years in the making. Patience, hard work and consistently delivering on and off the bike are what have helped me build a healthy, evolving, fulfilling career. Shameless plug: you can read all about my adventures (not just cycling ones) and how I did it in my book
Rusch To Glory. Your recent trip to Cambodia was a great example of this life seeking experience on the bike. What was the scoop with that journey? What did it entail?
Early this year, I planned and took part in the most important ride of my life. I spent a month with my husband in Southeast Asia exploring Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. There was no race, no record, no podium. It was a personal journey and a moving meditation. Cycling has been an ongoing lesson for me in who I am and what I’m made of. This trip was no different. I was challenged in ways I never dreamed of and wore the same two Velocio tops and bottoms for an entire month! They are still my main go-to pieces, even after living in them for a month. The full story of this journey will come out once I’ve gotten it all from my head and onto the page. The trip did make me realize that exploring by bicycle is truly the best way to see the world.
Rebecca’s Private Idaho. Give the skinny for folks who may never have heard of it.
3 years ago, I took a big risk and put name on the line to create a signature cycling event in my home town of Ketchum, Idaho. I’m a mountain biker at heart, but I train on road bikes and cyclocross bikes too. One season, I got inspired after taking part in a gravel road race and a road grand fondo event. I decided it was time to show people why I think Idaho is heaven on earth. Rebecca’s Private Idaho is a 100 mile and 50 mile gravel road event. I chose gravel because Idaho has a lot of it and the discipline brings skinny and fat tire riders together. We’vejust finished a successful third year with nearly 500 riders. We have elite level racers and first time mountain bikers take part. It’s truly an event for everyone and people will leave Idaho falling in love with the remote beauty, the small town hospitality and the great riding. The bigger picture is the event is a fundraiser for bike charities close to my heart : National Interscholastic Cycling League, our local IMBA Chapter Wood River Bicycle Coalition, People for Bikes and World Bicycle Relief. The event is so rewarding because I can host hundreds of riders in my hometown for a weekend of riding and celebrating and also make a difference to provide more cycling opportunity everywhere.
Any bits to add?
I have to say the Velocio kit is hands down the most comfortable cycling gear I’ve worn. Here’s what’s amazing: it fits impeccably and is super flattering. It feels good and looks good. The fabric is form fitting without being constricting. Every detail is designed with intention. It is the ultimate in simplicity with everything you need and nothing you don’t. I’m sure I have more to say, but honestly I reach for Velocio in my drawer of cycling gear almost every time.