Rebecca Rusch has had some incredibly challenging days on the bike considering she’s done Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 the past two years, ridden the Blood Road in Vietnam, not to mention winning Leadville 100 and Unbound (Formerly DK200) on numerous occasions. Through her own sporting journey, Rebecca knows the importance of having a goal in order to maintain motivation. With nearly every cycling event on the calendar for the first half of the year either now canceled or postponed, Rebecca personally needed something to shoot for and figured there were a lot of others in the same situation. That’s how she came up with the Giddy Up Challenge over Memorial Day Weekend that challenges you to one of four climbing goals with the ultimate being a 29,029’ Everesting. Since COVID-19 is keeping us from all just getting together to ride bikes with Rebecca, this is meant to be done on your favorite climb close to home, or even virtually. By signing up and paying a $20 entry fee, you’ll be eligible for prizes from a number of event partners, including ENVE, in addition to knowing that every one of those dollars is going to COVID-19 relief.
Here are Rebecca’s top four reasons for putting together the Giddy Up Challenge:
1- Motivate myself with a big event to train for.
2- Connect our community and ride together but separate.
3- Do something productive about COVID-19.
4- Fulfill the Be Good Foundation mission to use the bicycle as a vehicle for healing, evolution, and empowerment.
Frameset: Giant Revolt
Wheels: ENVE G23
Tires: Maxxis Rambler 45c or 50c
Tire pressure: 26psi
Computer: Garmin Edge 1030 with Garmin Power Pack
Velocio Concept Jersey and Shorts
Velocio Women’s Radiator Base Layer
Velocio Women’s Wind Vest
Velocio Women’s Ultralight Jacket
And hopefully, I won’t need a rain jacket or too many layers!
GU Roctane Drink
GU Gels, chews, electrolyte tablets, BCAA
GU Recovery Drink
Red Bull…lots and lots of Red Bull!
Real food snacks:
Homemade snacks like date bars, Allen Lim rice cakes, and maybe a burrito! Coffee, warm teas/drinks.
Are you making any equipment changes for your Everesting attempt?
I’m going from a 46t SRAM chainring to a 42t. I have the SRAM AXS Mullet Build with Eagle 10-50t cassette. I’ll also be changing to the ENVE Gravel Bar to widen my hand position and allow for a more comfortable ride along with double wrap bar tape along with gel installed underneath.
What climb are you Everesting on and why did you decide on this one?
Trail Creek Climb in Ketchum, Idaho
Length: 4.16 miles
Average grade: 7%
Elevation gain: 1,430 feet
Trail Creek is the first big climb of Rebecca’s Private Idaho (pictured below during RPI) and one of my main home training hills. I chose it because it’s close to home, has spectacular views that I never get sick of. It’s a mix of both pavement and gravel which makes it harder, but it’s such a beautiful climb. Since the Giddy Up Challenge is about supporting fundraising for COVID-19 relief and also Private Idaho bike charities that are doing amazing COVID relief efforts, I felt I must do the attempt on this climb as a nod to RPI and my purpose for launching this event. The climb is also in the flight path for Mountain Home Air Force Base and I often see fighter jets fly over this area as part of the pilot training. My Dad was a USAF pilot shot down over Vietnam when I was young. I launched the Be Good Foundation in his name to use the bike as a vehicle for healing, empowerment, and evolution. I’m riding my Everest attempt on Memorial Day weekend as a tribute to him and the purpose he helped me find with my bike.
Do you have a particular strategy in mind?
Consistent laps if possible. My fastest time up the hill is just under 30 minutes. I estimate 15 minutes down. So for a long event like this 1 hour lap times. I’ll have to do 20.3 laps to hit the elevation. My plan is to stay in that hour mark if I can for all of the laps. Nutrition and pacing will be key.
Have you ever Everested before?
No! I think 15k of climbing is the most I’ve done in one ride.
Are you doing any specific training?
I was already training for a big event in this timeframe, so I’ve picked up where I left off with my coach. Given the stay at home situation, I’m doing more indoor trainer time than usual with my new Tacx Neos smart trainer and Zwift that includes 2x week meet-ups with my coach for intervals. I’m able to be outside and doing longer rides on the weekend with as much climbing as possible. Consistency each week has been a challenge so this undertaking has forced me to get more specific with my intervals and pay more attention to my overall health.
What do you anticipate being the hardest part of the day?
Actually completing the challenge in under 24 hours is going to be super tough. That’s my biggest concern is being able to do it fast enough. I chose a hill that is two-thirds gravel so it’ll be slower, rougher on the descents, and just harder. But they don’t call me the Queen of Pain for nothing!
Follow Rebecca on Instagram at @rebeccarusch