Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rusch races around the globe

Adventure athlete in New Zealand

Team Montrail-Revo captain Rebecca Rusch is again Ketchum's furthest-flung athlete, this time on New Zealand's South Island for this week's Adventure Racing World Championships.

The race, being held on the west coast of the country's Southern Alps, will cover 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) in six days and nights, nearly non-stop. Sleep is had in carefully scheduled, brief respites between the various adventure disciplines of rafting, sea kayaking (through rough waves on Monday), trekking, mountain biking, caving and rope skills.

Rusch is joined by new Kiwi additions on her Team Montrail, Tim Pearson, Neil Gallatly, and Karl Strode-Penny. She is the only member of the team that raced for Montrail in the Raid Series championships in the Alps this past August.

The addition of the Kiwis should be a timely one for the team as their local knowledge will compound their navigation skills through the mountains and canyons of the rugged South Island.

Rusch's specialty is trail-running and trekking, legs that look specifically rough in this latest series installment.

For the next three days, Team Montrail will continue to race across rugged mountains, beaches and rivers of New Zealand.

By Tuesday night, the foursome was 36 hours into an event expected to take 106 hours to complete. Thirteen of the 50 teams had been eliminated and Team Montrail was hanging tough, anywhere from 14th to fourth place. Today, they're into a mammoth 89-kilometer mountain bike ride.

The opening 30k trekking stage was tough and the nights were chilly.

But Rusch said, "We're really happy with our position at the moment. It's only the first day and look how much has changed in one hike. Teams are going to fall apart. We've just got to take care of ourselves."

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