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Ketchum athlete to traverse Iceland by bike

Rebecca Rusch just won the Iditarod Trail Invitational
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 6:19 PM MDT
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A volunteer Ketchum firefighter and Red Bull sponsored athlete is gearing up to traverse Iceland by bike. This, after just winning the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska.

At 52 years-old, she’s proving that if you have the right mindset, anything is possible.

The land of fire and ice is living up to its name, after a volcano erupted over the weekend in southwestern Iceland...

Ketchum athlete Rebecca Rusch plans to cycle across 350 miles of the central portion of the country.

“I am taking myself to a level where you are in a environment that is very committing,” explained Rusch.

As part of the protect our winter’s #CrushIt4Climate March Challenge, photographer and videographer Chris Burkhard and his friend Angus Morton invited Rusch to be part of the journey.

“You load up your bike like a hotel on wheels, you’re self-supported in Iceland, we need to carry eight days worth of food, fuel, stove,” Rusch said.

Rusch and her husband, full-time firefighter, Greg Martin just finished the Iditarod Trail Invitational fully self-supported.

“Which was a new level for us, so that meant we didn’t go into any of the shelter cabins, or get water or food from outside sources,” Rusch exclaimed.

It marked her third Iditarod, his second, much better experience, than what they endured in 2020.

“So snowy, I mean we were pushing our bikes for nearly half the event last year instead of riding them and so this year it really came all together,” she said. “He had a lot more experience, I had a ton more experience, the weather was beautiful, it really did unfold as a well executed expedition.”

The seven-time world champion started professional bike racing at the age of 38.

“As an athlete, I feel like I’m evolving now too and it all directly relates back to ‘Blood Road’.”

“Blood Road” is an Emmy award-winning documentary, showcasing Rebecca’s 1,200 mile journey across the Ho Chi Minh Trail in honor of her father, Stephen Rusch, whose plane was shot during during the Vietnam War.

“That ride changed my life,” Rebecca explained. “Obviously, when I came back, I connected with my family and my dad and really found a purpose and launched a foundation in his name. It was a revelation that I could use my bike for a lot more good than just winning trophies.”

And while she’s relatively new to winter expeditions, she knows the consequences of not succeeding in Iceland.

“It’s like you are doing a very big goal where you know can’t fall down. You rise to the occasion!”

Her journey begins April 1.

Meanwhile, Rusch’s foundation, “Be Good”, helped raised $130,000 last year for COVID-19 relief, as part of May’s Giddy Up Challenge.

This time around, the challenge will center around land conservation and access, due to the growing interest in outdoor recreation.

Special courtesy: Footage of the “Blood Road” documentary is provided by Red Bull Media House, while pictures and videos of the Iditarod Trail Invitational are from Rebecca Rusch.

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