I've seriously enjoyed sharing excerpts from my book Rusch to Glory with you all. Even from the time my book came out, it's incredible to see how far we have come and how many more incredible adventures (like the one I wrote about below) we have yet to take on. Each time I take on a challenge I discover something new about myself that I didn't know before, and I hope this section inspires you to take on your own adventure too.
In 2001, I took the single most life-threatening, no-holds-barred, insane, challenging water adventure I could dream of—actually, I never would have dreamed of anything this extreme. But of course I had friends who dreamed big, and they invited me to join them. World-class river guide and white-water rafting pro Julie Munger, whom I had just raced with in Chile, called and explained her outrageous plan. She wanted to run the entire length of the Grand Canyon on river boards (picture a 4-foot boogie board with handles) in the dead of winter. That’s some 300 miles of Class II (basic) to Class V (seriously advanced) rapids in 18 days. And she wanted to do it with me and our teammate, friend, and fledgling filmmaker Kelley Kalafatich. Not only that, but she also wanted to tackle the journey unsupported, which meant we’d have no safety measures and no raft following us as backup. We’d tow all of our gear and food on additional boards behind us. Nobody had ever done it or even attempted it before, let alone three women, self-supported.
I’ll confess, this was one of the few times I agreed to do something when I actually didn’t know what I was committing to. I’d never done anything remotely like this, nor did I understand the magnitude of what Julie was proposing. The three of us had never even done an overnight trip of this nature, let alone spend nearly three weeks river-boarding on high water in winter. But I trusted Julie. I’ll always have an image etched in my brain from our white-water training days: Julie, standing alone on a rock in the middle of a rapid on the American River. The team had wedged our raft against that rock and we’d all climbed out to safety onshore while Julie braced herself against the angry river, an open knife clenched between her teeth, and single-handedly freed the bucking raft. She is the best in the business and a rock solid, self-reliant woman, which is why I agreed to the Grand Canyon adventure without the foggiest notion of what I was getting into.
Want to #JoinTheRusch for your own adventure? My team and I have planned ways for riders and adventurers of all levels to stretch your limits, challenge yourself, and see parts of the world that will amaze and inspire you. Celebrate my hometown with a Labor Day Weekend ride of 20, 62.5, or 100 miles at Rebecca's Private Idaho, or travel with us this December to experience the epic trails, impactful history, and beautiful people of Laos on the MTB-LAO trip.