“Rusch To Glory” on Literary Podium for LT100 Champ
When you live in a town like Leadville, it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement of racing. After all, the world-renown Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) has left behind thousands of compelling stories about “the thrill of victory” and “the agony of defeat.”
But “Rusch To Glory,” recently released by LT100 Mountain Bike Champion Rebecca Rusch, has quickly taken its place on the literary podium. The racer’s first book, written with Selene Yeager, details the endurance athlete’s stories of “adventure, risk, and triumph on the path less traveled.”
Rusch’s talent on two-wheels is impressive, including record-setting victories at the Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race (MTB), the Dirty Kanza 200, and the 24-Hour MTB World Championships. Readers will be surprised, however, that a bicycle doesn’t even roll onto the pages until mid-point, mimicking Rusch’s career, which didn’t include much bike riding until she was 38-years-old.
From the beginning, Rusch is revealing. In 1973, Rusch’s father was shot down in Laos, Vietnam, leaving her mother to raise her and an older sister alone. Eventually, she turned to sports; specifically a Chicago high school cross-country track team. Lessons learned there, Rusch would bring onto the world stage.
One of those involved the sting and lingering regret of quitting, which Rusch recounts from her senior year. Giving into the pain, she drops out of a regional cross country meet, jeopardizing her teams’ qualification for the Illinois State Championship.
Having learned from her youthful indiscretion, Rusch continued to gain confidence in her self-described tom-boy ways. Pursuing athletics full-time, she moves to the West Coast, worked at a local gym, and eventually transitioned into adventure racing with a paycheck.
For adrenaline junkies, the book’s compelling action takes readers along for the ride: through Class V rapids in the Grand Canyon, scaling the face of Yosemite’s El Capitan, and setting records for solo mountain bike rides on the Kokopelli Trail in Utah.
As Rusch’s athletic prowess expands, so does her stage, from the peaks of Patagonia, jungles of Vietnam and trails of Brazil. One of the more comical excerpts comes from 1998, when after putting together the first predominantly-female “Eco-Challenge” race team, Rusch sets out to take on the rugged Atlas Mountains.
Her description of the camel-riding leg of “Eco-Challenge 1998,” as teams cross part of the Saharan Desert with the largest number of hump-backed beasts since the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia,” is particularly entertaining.
There she crosses paths with TV producer Mark Burnett, best known for smash-hits “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” In his introduction to “Rusch To Glory,” Burnett notes that “in a world that all too often settles for mediocrity and conformity, Rebecca knows that the secret to success is being your best in all that you do.”
Reading her accounts of racing through exotic locales, with peril waiting at every twist and turn, will have racers setting some new goals of their own. For the legions of Leadville Race Series fans, Rusch does not disappoint. She takes readers across the finish line again and again, as she continues to set new course records with nearly every return to the legendary start line.
But it was that first victory in 2009 that would catapult Rusch into a different level of notoriety and fame. Sharing the winner’s podium with the biggest name in cycling at the time, Lance Armstrong, had people sitting up and taking notice.
Rusch doesn’t dwell on her glory, however. In fact, it’s her honesty about the days of poor performance, hitting the wall, and failing to meet goals, that will resonant with weekend-warrior racers, most of whom are just glad to cross the finish line.
For those who may think the book too “bike techie,” it isn’t. In fact, most will find only a few segments containing racers’ jargon and training statistics that could cause some eyes to dance over details.
So while the literary trek is engaging for athletes, it will also resonate with racer family and friends. “Rusch To Glory,” takes readers on a journey far beyond the winning medals to some of life’s most valuable lessons: facing fears, pushing past pain, and reaching a hand out to others.
Taking readers to the heart of the matter, Rusch leads by example when it comes to the “lift when you climb” philosophy. Today, her schedule includes countless free clinics, especially for women and young girls.
Rusch’s first book of real-life performances takes fans across the literary victory ribbon again and again. Her plain, simple ability to relate to people will have readers of all genres taking their part in the “Rusch to Glory.” Buy it. Download it. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.
Cyber Monday? How About LT100 Lottery Monday!?
Well, it’s a big day in Leadville sports! Today, December 1, the lottery for both the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race and Races opens. Registration for your chance to race in one of these iconic Leadville Race Series events, remains open through December 31, 2014. Lottery results will be announced sometime in early 2015.
While the LT100 MTB has been a lottery entry race for a number of years, this will the first lottery for the Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across The Sky” Run.
You can find all the details and links to registration at the Leadville Race Series website.