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Rebecca Rusch

Making a Difference

Rebecca Rusch is an American ultra endurance professional athlete, seven-time World Champion, author, entrepreneur, Emmy Award winner, and motivational speaker whose career has spanned numerous adventure sports including rock climbing, adventure racing, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

Rusch was nominated to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2019, as well as the inaugural class of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame in 2022 and has laid claim to seven World Championship titles in multiple disciplines - she is also a Liv Ambassador.

Liv: How would you describe how you are currently helping the community?

Rebecca: I help the cycling community by showing up and being unapologetically and enthusiastically present. I use my world championship leverage to create events, videos and content that inspires and activates others to join in and explore on two wheels. I bring others to cycling through education, inspiration and scholarships / grants through the Be Good Foundation.

Liv: How did you get into Gravel and/or MTB racing?

Rebecca: I found cycling through other competitive sports. I was already adventure racing, paddling and doing multi-sport expeditions. Cycling was a tiny part of those races. I started focusing on cycling more specifically 15 years ago when adventure racing was drying up but my competitive spirit was not. As an ultra-endurance specialist, I knew how to go long and 24-hour solo mountain bike racing was the longest race outlet I could find, so I started there and won the overall in the first event I entered. And so, my cycling career was born!

Liv: Why do you feel it is important to create more opportunities and inclusive space for women in biking?

Rebecca: This sport truly is for everyone and until we have equal representation and a safe space for all, we aren’t doing what is best for the sport. There is profound value in having participants from all walks of life.  We often talk about our goals around connecting people, celebrating place, and using the bicycle as a catalyst for that purpose. Our objectives and learnings can’t come from a singular group of people if we aim to truly connect, understand the places where we recreate. It is our collective knowledge that will create true progression.

Liv: What would you say to someone who is just getting into the sport to encourage them?

Rebecca: ​​Bikes are a beautiful freedom tool! Most of us found bikes as kids, and some of us just forgot. So don’t be intimidated by the bike, harness that inner child and just revel in the freedom of movement on two wheels. Be a kid, find some friends, and know that bikes are for everyone!

Liv: Tell us a bit about your event, Rebecca's Private Idaho, what sparked your interest in creating a gravel race?

Rebecca: I always knew I wanted to host a bike event in my hometown, to give back to my Idaho community, my cycling community, and to show people this magical place. As a mountain biker first, I always planned to launch a mountain bike event, but when I discovered gravel as an elite racer, it became really clear that hosting an event on our dirt roads would be more accessible to more people, so the decision was easy to widen the invitation for more folks to find the magic of exploring by bike.

Rebecca's Private Idaho (RPI) offers up to four days of racing and riding over nearly 200 miles of pristine gravel right in the center of Idaho's heartland, in Ketchum, and it's become one of America's longest-running, mass-participation gravel races, RPI supports the charitable efforts of the Be Good™ Foundation.

You can follow along with Rebecca's journey on her Instagram.