Suunto athlete Rebecca Rusch is at it again -- she's traveling the world in search of awesome adventure and new tracks to ride. Right now, she's in Alice Springs, Australia for the Red Centre Enduro, a five-day seven-stage Mountain Bike Race.
Here are some updates from the first two days of the race from Reba's blog.
G’day! Stage one and two are in the books and I feel really good about my performance. The first stage was about 45 km of technical, rocky, sandy singletrack. It was actually a blast and I really enjoyed the stage. The riding was one of the best XC courses I’ve ever done. The scenery was really beautiful and I even had a kangaroo jump out in front of me! I’m satisfied with my placing and now know what type of riders I’m up against. The three women that were in front of me today are some of the best XC racers in the country, including the marathon national champ and world cup racer, and the U23 XC national champ. The women’s field is super strong, but I know there are still many more hours of racing and I hope to get some time back in the longer stage. There were multiple athletes carrying and walking their bikes due to flats, broken frames and mechanicals. There were also a couple of broken people who suffered crashes. The desert out here eats bicycles and people, so I feel really grateful to have made it through the day with no crashes, no mechanicals and in a decent overall position. I was about 8 minutes back from the leader, so it’s still anyone’s race. Stage two was in the afternoon. It was a 300 meter TT hill climb and it hurt! It was a traditional countdown and just over a minute of pain. It was sort of fun because spectators were lining the road and cheering the whole time. I finished up 3rd in the hill climb and got myself a 5 second bonus for that! I’ll take whatever I can get!
I’m sitting in my hotel room in the middle of Australia. Literally the middle of nowhere, Alice Springs. I’m as far away from home as I can get. They say it’s the Death Valley of Australia, but it doesn’t feel that hot to me yet. I’m sorting my bike, nutrition and gear for tomorrow’s first stage of the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro/Red Centre. It’s a five day stage race that is run by my adventure racing teammate, John Jacoby. John and I raced side by side for nearly 8 years traveling around the globe through Kyrgysztan, Vietnam, the ALPS, covering what seems like a million miles together. He’s like a brother to me, so when he invited me to come experience his race, I could not pass up the opportunity. The riding is super rocky, thorny, with sandy red dirt everywhere. The big topic of conversation for this race is the flat tires. The race website and other competitors all drilled it into me that this area rips tire side walls to pieces and that the thorns are relentless. This race is 7 stages spread over 5 days. The stages are all varied and range from a 45 second hill climb to a 100 km all day affair. Tomorrow’s stages are a 40 km mass start cross country stage and a 40 second hill climb in the town. The longer morning stage is rumored to have a section of the most difficult single track that we will see all week. It’s called the Hell Line trail, so I’m sure it’ll be rough. Since I’ve never raced here, I have no idea what to expect. What I do know from John is that he loves to challenge people and this race will be far from easy. Most of the stages are quite short for me, so this will be a great training week of lining up each day and pinning it from the gun. The field is stacked with the best racers in the country, so I expect a really tough bit of racing. I will do my best to keep you all up to speed as the week progresses.