Rebecca Rusch, one of mountain biking’s top endurance racers, will ride the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos to raise awareness for unexploded ordnances (primarily land mines) November 13-20. The seven-time world champion accomplished a similar ride in 2015, but this time, she’s leading a group of U.S. cyclists with a mission to help efforts to remove the mines that remain from the Vietnam War.
“It’s a special place, but the issue of UXO’s [unexploded ordnances] remains very real. This journey is an opportunity to share the route with other cyclists and educate the public about the urgent need to eradicate UXOs,” Rusch said of the planned 550-kilometer ride.
A portion of each rider’s fees will be donated to the Mine Advisory Group, which provides risk education and UXO removal worldwide. They expect to raise $3,000 for the cause and encourage fans to make additional donations to the non-governmental organization.
Rusch has a personal connection to the region as well. Her father served in the Vietnam War as a fighter pilot and was shot down during the conflict. For her 2015 ride on the Ho Chi Minh trail, Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner rode 1,200 miles of the trail to locate her father’s crash site. Red Bull House Media will release a full-length film in 2017 that documents the ride, called “Blood Road.”
In addition to her exploits as an adventure racer, endurance mountain biker, and advocate for causes such as this and PeopleForBikes, Rusch is a VeloPress author, who wrote an autobiography “Rusch to Glory” in 2014.