PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE / BEST-SELLING AUTHOR / EMMY WINNER / ACTIVIST / KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Rebecca Rusch is the “Queen of Pain” with a heart of gold. Whether she is on a cycling expedition in a remote part of the world or teaching others at her namesake gravel bike academy in Idaho, she inspires people to be their best with energy, positivity and passion.
A 7x-world champion and celebrity in the ultra adventure/endurance realm for nearly 3 decades, elected to the prestigious international Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame, her status as a fierce competitor and inclusive influencer motivates millions. Recognized by Outside Magazine among the Top 40 Women Who’ve Made the Biggest Impact, and by Men’s Journal with the 25 Most Adventurous Women, she’s a maverick characterized by her grit, determination, and perseverance.
Known for seeking the toughest challenges imaginable, pushing herself into unknown territory has yielded Rebecca a first female ascent on Yosemite’s 3000-ft. El Capitan Bermuda Dunes route, a first descent river boarding 300 miles of the entire Grand Canyon in 18 winter days.
On two wheels, she is the only female competitor to win the iconic Leadville 100 four times and has won the renowned Unbound gravel grinder in 6 of 7 attempts (including the notoriously demanding 350-mile XL). She crossed the line as the first female finisher in her first attempt at the Iditarod Trail Invitational, pedaling 350 self-supported miles through the Alaskan wilderness, and was the first person to complete the newly developed Arkansas High Country Route, completing 1,041 miles and 84,373’ combined elevation gain. She led a charitable cycling expedition up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro, and perhaps most notably, was the first person to ride the entire 1,200-mile length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, documented in the Emmy-winning film, Blood Road.
Even with all of these accolades under her belt, her inimitable brand and redoubtable resumé continue to expand. Combining ongoing athletic pursuits with entrepreneurial endeavors as CEO of Rusch Ventures, she oversees an impactful network of events, products, and experiences designed to elevate possibilities for people and their bikes.
Whether through print like in her best-selling autobiography Rusch to Glory, or on the trail, via her popular digital platforms or even as a highly requested keynote speaker, Rebecca inspires and emboldens countless fans. Her marquee event, Rebecca’s Private Idaho, is ranked a top 5 gravel event by Global Cycling Network, and one of the top 25 rides in the world by Outside magazine. Her Rusch Academy full-spectrum cycling retreats boost skills, confidence and performance and her MTB Lao adventure travel excursions expresses Rebecca’s desire to use the bike as a catalyst for healing, empowerment and evolution.
The Be Good™ Foundation creates opportunities for outdoor exploration, personal discovery and humanitarian service at local, national and global levels. Priorities include removal of UXO, or unexploded ordnance, throughout Laos, protecting public lands for recreation and access to all, and partnering with other cycling related nonprofits to fund impactful change in their communities.
A gravel bike race for everyone- that does good. With four different events, RPI allows all different ability levels to experience the joy of riding the gravel of central Idaho; from a four-day stage race, to 100, 50 and 20 mile events. Every registration automatically benefits the Be Good Foundation- dedicated to using bicycles as a catalyst for healing, empowerment, and evolution. In 2020, RPI raised over $50,000 to support groups promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in the cycling industry.
Another Be Good Fundraising event, The Giddy Up Challenge tests riders and runners on their ability to “Everest!” The annual event takes place on Memorial Day weekend. Rebecca challenges herself and others to #GiddyUpForGood by climbing the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest (29,092’) in a single day. In 2020 she brought together 890 participants to motivate each other and pedal for purpose while raising over $130,000 for Covid-19 Relief funds.
Climbing Kilimanjaro for the Power of bicycles – In March of 2016, seven-time world champion, author and volunteer firefighter, Rebecca Rusch, and adventurer, Patrick Sweeney, summited Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit organization, World Bicycle Relief. Rusch and Sweeney rode, carried and pushed their bikes to the summit at 19,341 feet, then braved the journey back down, with the goal to ultimately raise one dollar for every foot of elevation, equaling 131 new bikes for students in Africa.
Epic Riding on the Ho Chi Minh Trail – This trip was time to use my bike for a purpose much bigger than winning championships or breaking records. Through my contacts from the first trip, I was able to assemble a small, but mighty crew with my trusted bike mechanic, motorcycle support friends, logistics team, guides like my husband and a local connection who knows the history of the trail like the back of his hand. I hand selected a group of 15 riders from the US that I knew could handle 8 days of jungle riding in unpredictable conditions. They all needed to have physical skill, mental tenacity, patience and appreciation for far away people and places. They also had to be sensitive enough for me to feel reassured while sharing this very personal journey..
REBECCA's Partner Organizations
World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles. They are committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive.
The Mines Advisory Group is a non-governmental organization that assists people affected by landmines, unexploded ordnance, and small arms and light weapons. MAG takes a humanitarian approach to landmine action.
People for Bikes
PeopleForBikes supports US local, state and national initiatives to improve biking through programs like the Green Lane Project, which helps US cities build better bike lanes to create lower-stress streets. By helping to unite millions of voices across the country, PeopleForBikes empowers riders everywhere to work towards the dream of safe, bicycle-friendly environments for all cyclists, regardless of experience or fitness. PeopleForBikes works to enhance the efforts of cycling advocacy groups throughout the country by bringing reinforcements, money, inspiration and positive publicity to local organizations.
Wood River Trails Coalition
The Wood River Trails Coalition works closely with national and local groups and agencies to create, maintain, and sustain the trail network in the Wood River Valley, Rebecca’s home.
National Interscholastic Cycling Association
NICA promotes high school mountain biking programs in the United States. NICA provides governance, leadership, and program support to regional high school mountain biking organizations. NICA’s mission “develops high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States”.