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Posted: August 19, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Cycling: Rebecca Rusch is Overall Female Winner at Leadville 100

Rusch sets course record, shares podium with fellow first-timer Lance Armstrong

LEADVILLE, CO -- August 19, 2009 -- Rebecca Rusch, the reigning 24 Hour Solo Mountain Biking World Champion, has scored another high-profile victory. Rusch was the overall top female finisher at the grueling Leadville 100 mountain bike race, just three weeks after taking the title of winning the 24 hour Solo Mountain Biking World Championships for the third consecutive year. This was Rusch's first time racing at Leadville, and she finished in 8 hours 14 minutes 57 seconds -- earning her the women's title and 30th place overall. Rusch's finish set a new record for women's overall time.

The Leadville 100 is one of the most high-profile mountain biking races in the sport, as well as one of the most punishing, with steep climbs and harrowing descents totaling approximately 14,000' in elevation gain. This year, 1500 riders entered the race, but only 896 finished. Seven-time Tour de France winner and first-time Leadville racer Lance Armstrong shared the podium with Rusch, finishing first overall and also setting a course record.

Fighting near-freezing temperatures, a hail storm above the tree line and ice-cold rain on much of the course, Rusch had to stop at a first aid station to put on insulated gloves because her hands were too cold to shift gears. And as a first time racer, learning the course added to the difficulty. But Rusch increased her lead over her closest female competitor Amanda Carey at each checkpoint. Powering through sleet and a seven-mile climb to the 50 mile turnaround, Rusch hit the halfway point in about 4 hours 16 minutes, then brought home the victory. Carey finished 25 minutes back.

"This is a race I'll never forget," says Rusch. "For one thing, the weather was brutal. I've never been so cold. But the thing that I'll remember most was the crowd. I felt like I was riding in the Tour de France. So many people were on the course, cheering and urging you on. I've never seen that at a mountain bike race before. It was incredible. And sharing the podium with Lance was such an honor. I was so proud when he shook my hand and told me I did an awesome job."

The Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race covers 100 miles of high-altitude mountains and valleys in Leadville, Colorado. It draws some of the top names in the sport, as well as about 20,000 spectators. The race is an out-and-back course; 50 miles to the highest point on the course, the Columbine Mine Aid Station at 12,600'. Ninety percent of the race is on back-country dirt roads, with some short sections of paved road. The entire course is above 9,000' in elevation.

Adventure racing calls for a deep well of skills: paddling, rock climbing, biking, navigating, skiing, and more. Since turning pro in 2001, Rebecca Rusch has proven to the world she has what it takes to execute any of the above even after going beyond her limits in far flung places like Kyrgyzstan and Tibet. After winning adventure races became routine, she added 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike racing to her résumé and proceeded to dominate the sport, and is currently three-time World Champion. Rusch blogs daily about her adventures and training and her thoughts can be found here at


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