Rusch has traveled from continent to continent for over 20 years, so her number one bucket list trip for avid mountain bikers may come as a surprise: her home, Ketchum, Idaho.
"It’s just paradise," Rusch says. "In just our valley alone, we have over 450 miles of singletrack mountain biking. I’ve lived here for 11 years now and there are trails I haven’t ridden yet. It really is a mecca just for the sheer volume."
The scenery isn’t too shabby either—the area is blissfully short on people and big on forests, meadows, and empty valleys rimmed with peaks. Even on rides right from town, it’s not uncommon to see mountain goats, deer, and even the occasional bear.
For those who have never been, consider riding a selection of trails and gravel roads handpicked by Rusch: Rebecca’s Private Idaho. The one-day 50-mile and 100-mile bicycle rides set off in early September every year and hit some of her favorite areas, like Copper Basin, a wide bucolic valley with trout streams and wildflowers. Or choose another weekend, and you’ll have the place all to yourself.
Plan This Trip: Rebecca’s Private Idaho will start in Ketchum, Idaho. The Sun Valley area has plenty of options for accommodations and good eats, plus more than ten bicycle shops and outdoor outfitters for details, rentals, and repairs.
Rebecca Rusch has won a flock of adventure races, the whitewater rafting national championships, and the masters cross-country skiing world championships. But that was all before she started biking. In the last seven years, she has become a cyclocross state champion and the 24-hour solo mountain bike national champion. She has also won the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, a preeminent endurance test, four times in a row.
- Nat Geo Expeditions