The AT50: X-Country Biker Rebecca Rusch (#19)
Todd Meier/Red Bull Content Pool
Sports: Mountain Biking
Highlights: 4-time Leadville Trail 100 MTB winner and current record holder (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012); national XC single-speed champion (2011); world master’s XC champion (2010); 3-time 24-hour solo mountain bike world champion (2007, 2008, 2009); 24-hour team mountain bike national champion (2008 and 2009); USA Cycling Ultra Endurance Series winner (2006, 2007, 2009); masters cross country skiing world champion (2008); 24-hour orienteering national champion (2006)
Quote: "I take the good days with the bad. If racing was always wine and roses, it wouldn't be nearly as addicting."
Fact: Rusch is also a volunteer EMT and firefighter with the Ketchum, Idaho Fire Department.
AT50 Point Total: 42
Rebecca Rusch, one of the world's best endurance mountain bikers, knows pain. She knows how to endure it, how to channel it, how to shut off her brain's protests and set her body on auto-pilot hours and miles into a race. That's how the 44-year-old competes against—and crushes—women half her age in grueling mountain bike races where she rides up and down rugged singletrack courses for 24 hours (or hundreds of miles) without stopping. Her incredible endurance has taken her to four straight victories at the Leadville Traill 100 MTB—a hellish, 100-mile race across the high-altitude (9,200'–12,424'), oxygen-deprived terrain of the Colorado Rockies—as well as seven different national and world mountain biking titles.
Before she found her niche in cycling, Rusch was a professional adventure racer, competing at the highest international level for a decade. During that time, she led several teams, including a groundbreaking mostly female team and another that won the 2003 Raid Gauloises Adventure Racing World Championships. In 2010, she won the Masters Cross Country Skiing World Championship. All of this is to say that you's be very hard-pressed to find a more driven athlete. Rebecca Rusch simply doesn't stop, knows that all pain is only temporary. And that's why she's so unstoppable.