Not all athletes really understand that their athletic feats, that their wins, that their records, that their championships, are just numbers in a record book somewhere, numbers that don’t, in the grand scheme of life, really mean that much. So it’s refreshing when you meet one who is doing things to make sure that she leaves a legacy that is not just based on racing results, but rather on issues that really matter to her, like getting more women on bikes.
Meet Rebecca Rusch, 3 x solo 24 hour World Champion and 4 x Leadville winner, she likes to race her bike all over the world, but she’s even happier when she’s conducting one of her SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, or serving on the Honorary IMBA board as newly appointed Chairwoman.
To be honest, I must admit that Reba and I have spent quite a bit of time together this past season, starting in January at the six stage Trans Andes Challenge in Chile to last weekend’s NorCal High School League CycleFest fundraising event. Reba was the guest of honor at CycleFest, and I happened to be the one who interviewed her. She also hosted the great mountain bike ride with a small group of VIPs, including one of the athlete speakers from the night before. Reba nailed the trifecta of great cycling karma for the weekend when she helped coach/mentor at an all girls skills camp/clinic organized by Julia Violich, and supported by the NorCal League and Mike’s Bikes. Almost 50 girls showed up for some expert coaching from fourteen female coaches. This clinic was girl power taken to eleven. At the conclusion of the clinic, Reba left the participants, who were mostly beginner to intermediate riders, with the following three words of wisdom: 1) Finish what you start; 2) Cheer for yourself and teammates; 3) Have FUN!
Here’s to the Queen of Pain, Rebecca Rusch,for keeping the fun in it all. For being such a role model and inspiration;for being the athlete that gives back to their sport;for being the athlete that knows their actions and their deeds will speak louder, and leave more of an impression, than their results ever did. I, for one, can’t wait to watch her words of wisdom take on a bigger meaning for all cyclists.