A Different Kind of Win

August 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

A Different Kind of Win

The Queen of Pain’s usual mode of operation heading into the Leadville 100 MTB race is being well trained, rested and ready to give 110% when she toes the line in the wee hours of the morning on race day. Her game face says it all, she's riding to win.

This year as she packed her car and headed into the thin air of Leadville she was looking for a different kind of win. 

Instead of focusing on her coach’s well developed, and organized training and race plan she spent countless hours, 9 months actually, writing a book, Rusch to Glory. This experience put her in a much different pain cave and flying without a specific training plan for this endeavor.  She knows to well the importance of dedicated time to train and plan for this very special race.  Finding herself short on time to prepare to challenge for a conventional win she wanted to help others achieve new PRs. A coveted PR is the sub 9hr mark. She teamed up with Lisa Nelson aka The Hammer to do just that. This was going to be Lisa's 10th Leadville 100 MTB and she was really gunning for the sub 9hr, her previous PR was 9:27:00. Lisa was hopefully that being able to tap into Rebecca's knowledge of the course and other logistics that she would finally ride away with the big gold belt buckle. The duo crushed the previous PR and crossed the line with a time of 8:39:38. 

Rusch to Glory is not due to be released until October, but Rebecca wanted to share it with her Leadville family first. It made perfect sense since she was going to be an open book very soon why not do a pre-release in Leadville where she knows people understand and share her passion for endurance riding.  She held book signings and a heart felt book reading at the Tabor Opera House. Selene Yeager co-author was also in the audience and toed the line on race day, for the first time, finishing under the sub 9 hr mark. Rebecca’s winning ways suit her well on and off the bike evident by the standing ovation at the end of the evening.

Most often winning is equated to getting across a finish line first, but honestly winning is achieving a goal. It's safe to say that Rebecca Rusch left Leadville with a few different wins. If I was a betting girl, I would lay odds that this year's wins will lay a foundation for The Queen of Pain to dig even deeper in the Race Across the Sky for a fifth win.

The 2014 Leadville 100 MTB race was all about bikes, books, and celebrations for Rebecca Rusch and her co-author, Selene Yeager.

Book signings have not been on the pre-race agenda in the past for the 4X winner of Leadville but this year they became a highlight as it gave her time to connect and get inspired by all of the other racers in the Race Across the Sky.

The historic Tabor Opera House was the place for laughs and tears as Rebecca shared the stage with Selene Yeager and Elden Nelson, the Fatcyclist during the book pre-release and readings. 

The race plan that Lisa and Rebecca adopted was one that highlighted each others strengths. As they descended Powerline Lisa was attentive to Rebecca's line down the narrow spine.

The Queen of Pain used her adventure racing background to pace Lisa through all of the different sections of the course. At times the coaching words were to "Let It Rip" like in this smooth flowing singletrack section of Pipeline.

Rebecca would check in with Lisa by riding side by side to exchange a few words of encouragement. She was also was checking Lisa's body language which could indicate how far in the pain cave she was or could she push her a little harder to reach their sub 9hrs goal.

The pain train had only one destination in mind the infamous red carpet at the finish line.

The Powerline climb is often times where racers lose a large chunk of time Rebecca took the lead to ensure the pace would remain brisk and steady.

Sweet taste of victory crossing the line at 8:39:38. This was truly a team effort, together they were able to get Lisa her coveted sub 9hr mark and the large gold belt buckle. 




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