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Rebecca Rusch Wins USA Cyclist Season Opener in TX

The 2009 cycling season has begun, and Rebecca is off to a great start. Read her race recap of the season opener below…

Out of Hibernation – February, 2009
by Rebecca Rusch

Valentine’s day was the first race in the USA Cycling ultra endurance series. This 100k race held in Terlingua, TX was rumored to be fast, fun and full of personality. The snow’s still falling in Idaho and the majority of my current training consists of Nordic skiing, backcountry skiing and pushing steel in the gym. My mountain bike went into storage in mid November and my only cycling in the last few months has consisted of going nowhere in my living room on the trainer. The Mas o Menos 100km race presented the perfect opportunity for me to get some early season time on the dirt and to get a gauge on my winter training.

Pre-riding the course in the desolate West Texas landscape.

Despite the remote location, this is one of the biggest mountain bike races in Texas and boasts a huge turnout each year. The Texas riders are in the peak of their riding season, so I was full prepared to go down there and have some stiff competition. My riding skills are also pretty rusty and I was completely un-acclimatized to the heat. I was ready for some cramping, crashing and early season suffering. The course consisted of 2 laps on a 50 km course. The lap was relatively flat, fun single track for ¾ of the loop. The one exception was a 1500 ft climb call Tres Cuevas. This loose, rocky hill has a stout reputation for being the crux of the race and a deciding factor in the results.

Even though 100 km is a relatively short race for me, I was thankful that the race wasn’t even 1 km longer. Since I was running scared the whole race and not knowing time splits or placing, I pushed hard right to the finish line. Running scared worked in my favor. I won the women’s race, won the Queen of the Mountain cash and broke the female course record by 6 minutes!

I also got some great points for the USA Cycling ultra endurance series. I was ecstatic to have such a positive measure of my early season fitness and it felt really good to be back in race mode again. I came home really motivated for the 2009 season and on a high from being at such a great race with such a colorful group of cyclists.

It’s still mid winter back home, so the skis and the trainer must stay for a bit longer. However, being in Terlingua at Mas O Menos was precisely the kick I needed to keep me focused and psyched while the snow is still on the ground. All I have to do while I’m on the trainer is close my eyes and envision that fast, flowing Texas single track!

For full results and a few photos of the race, check out:
Desert Sports Report

Cycling News

Cheers, Everyone…and thanks for your support,

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