The Reign of the Queen of Pain
Rebecca Rusch is among the world’s top endurance athletes. In August of 2012, Rusch cemented that position by winning her fourth straight Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, setting a new course record in 7 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds.
Rusch’s dominance in Leadville is only the latest in an unbeatable string of titles, including three 24-hour Solo Mountain Bike World Championships. Rusch is the 2010 World Champion for Master’s XC mountain biking, the 2011 National XC single speed champion, and is a three-time national champion in 24-hour team mountain biking. Back home in Idaho, Rusch has won the state title in cyclocross and the state’s Short Track State Championship twice.
But Rusch’s victories extend beyond two wheels: Long before she was a mountain bike racer, Rusch joined and led professional adventure racing teams for a 10-year span of racing at the highest international level, including at the Eco Challenge series. Rusch led several teams, including a groundbreaking mostly female team and another that took the top prize at the 2003 Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships. And in 2010 Rusch won the Masters Cross Country Skiing World Championship.
Rusch’s dominance in endurance racing inspired a magazine editor to give her the nickname she carries today: The Queen of Pain.
But even as she continues to dominate endurance racing, Rusch has turned her attention more than ever toward growing the sport.
“I’m inspired by the people I meet and the places I get to visit,” said Rusch. “It blows me away that I’ve turned a thing I love into my career. I can’t imagine a more rewarding job.”
Rusch is the driving force behind the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, a rolling series of dynamic events aimed at growing female participation in bicycling. The nationwide program emphasizes female participation across bicycling disciplines, from cross-country to road and even downhill and freeride. Each event includes race and training clinics as well as social events aimed at drawing more women to sporting events. The SRAM Gold Rusch Tour has been at the Sea Otter Classic, Dirt Rag Magazine DirtFest, and Whistler Crankworx and at Levi’s GranFondo in California. And Rusch heads up media camps for women sports writers, and leads the Wheel Girls – an all girls MTB camp set in her hometown of Ketchum, Idaho.
In 2012 Rusch was recognized for her leadership by the International Mountain Bike Association by making her chairman of the group’s Honorary Board of Directors, a group that includes numerous luminaries of mountain biking, including her Specialized teammate, the legendary Ned Overend.
Rusch is an active part of the Ketchum community, working for more than six years as a volunteer emergency medical technician and firefighter for the Ketchum Fire Department. Rusch has contributed her time and expertise to the Blaine County Recreation District trails program and regularly picks up tools to repair and build trails with the Wood River Bike Coalition.
- 2010 Singletrack.com Mountain Biker of the Year
- Sports Illustrated Adventure Racing Team of the Year (2003)
- Outside Magazine’s Top 20 Female Athletes of the Year (2003)
- Adventure Sport Magazine’s “Queen of Pain” (2004)
- 4x Leadville 100 winner and women’s record holder (2009,2010,2011, 2012)
- 2 x Dirty Kanza 200 Women’s Champion (2012, 2013)
- Kokopelli Trail Women’s Record Holder (2013)
- 24 Hours of Moab solo mountain bike race, 2nd (2007)
- Mountain X-Games Adventure Race, 1st Women’s Team (2007)
- 24 Hours of Moab Women’s team, 1st (2005)
National & State Championships
- 2 x National XC Single-speed Champion (2011, 2013)
- 24 Hour Team Mountain Bike National Champion (2008, 2009,2011)
- 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike National Champion (2006)
- USAC National Singlespeed Champion: Sun Valley (2011)
- USA National Marathon Championships, 4th (2008)
- USA Cycling Ultra Endurance Series Winner (2006, 2007. 2009)
- 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike National Championships, 2nd (2007)
- 24 Hour Orienteering National Champion (2006)
- US Whitewater Rafting National Champion Team (2001 and 2002)
- Idaho Short Track State Champion (2008 and 2009)
- Idaho Cyclocross State Champion (2009)
World Races & Championships
- World Master’s XC Champion (2010)
- 3-Time 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike World Champion (2007, 2008, 2009)
- Masters Cross Country skiing World Champion (2008)
- Eco Challenge Adventure Races (1997-2002)
- Primal Quest Expedition Races (2002-2006)
- Raid Gauloises Expedition Races (2000, 2002, 2003)
- Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships, 1st (2003)