Epic Rides has announced that the 21st annual 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo presented by Tucson Medical Center on February 14-16, 2020 is dedicated to endurance cycling legend and Red Bull professional athlete, better known in cycling circles as the ‘Queen of Pain’, Rebecca Rusch.
In addition to her seven World Championship titles as a cyclist and an adventure racer, Rusch is also the author of ‘Rusch to Glory’. She is the main character in the Emmy Award-winning documentary ‘Blood Road’, a public speaker, outspoken public lands advocate and entrepreneur. Rusch is also the founder of the gravel cycling event Rebecca’s Private Idaho and the Be Good Foundation.
Recently returning from her fourth annual MTBLAO mountain bike adventure to Laos riding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Rusch and her Be Good Foundation started the trip to raise awareness and funds for clearing unexploded bombs still left from the Vietnam war.
The film ‘Blood Road’ documents Rusch’s original trip to Laos in 2015, and her 1,200-mile mountain bike journey on the Ho Chi Minh Trail to find the crash site of her late father’s fighter jet that was shot down during the Vietnam war.
“I go there as my annual pilgrimage to connect with my dad and reinforce my purpose to Be Good and follow his instructions,” said Rusch. “The bike has become a catalyst for me for healing, evolution and change in myself and now for others.”
Part of Rusch’s evolution was found in 24-hour mountain bike events, starting with the 24 Hours of Moab in the early 2000s. This form of endurance mountain biking launched Rusch’s professional mountain biking career, and in 2014 as a Red Bull-sponsored athlete, Rusch fielded a team at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. All her teammates were teenage girls from around the United States who rode for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
Rusch will return to 24 Hour Town in the Sonoran Desert for the first time since 2014. “Considering all that’s happened in Rebecca’s life since her last visit – a book, an award-winning film and public appearances around the world – Epic Rides is honoured to have the Queen of Pain return to the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo,” said Todd Sadow, Epic Rides President and Co-Founder.
“She’s become an inspiration to millions both on and off the bike, and I know everyone in 24 Hour Town is excited to play bikes with her for a weekend.”
The 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is billed as the longest-running 24-hour mountain bike event in America, ‘filling to capacity within minutes of registration opening and attracting more than 3,500 attendees annually to the Sonoran Desert northwest of Tucson, Arizona.’
Epic Rides add that the event is considered the ‘Burning Man of Bike Races. It adds that the 24 Hours has become as much a colourful celebration of community as it is an endurance mountain bike event.