With a lead role in the 2010 Leadville 100 "Race Across the Sky" documentary, Rebecca Rusch will discuss her record-breaking 2010 Leadville win alongside other top placers. The mountain bike race documentary will be showing simultaneously at 500 theatres across the United States on November 4, with an encore presentation on November 9.
Prior to a VIP screening in Denver on November 4, the two-time Leadville winner Rusch will join the 2010 men's champion Levi Leipheimer and other top racers in a live athlete's panel. Last year, the live panel only included male riders.
In its second year documenting the stories and challenges of the 100-mile Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, "Race Across The Sky 2010" delves into the boom in the race's popularity among amateurs and professionals and illustrates riders' most inspiring stories of trial and triumph. The race is notoriously difficult for being run at terrain at up to 14,000 feet altitude. In 2010, approximately 1,500 athletes from 48 states and 21 countries took to the start line.
After appearing in the original "Race Across the Sky 2009" film, Rusch is featured more thoroughly in the 2010 documentary with a film crew following her in the days leading up to the race and throughout the entire competition.
Rusch won Leadville for the first time 2009 and then again this year. Speaking of her experience the second time around, Rusch told Cyclingnews, "The big difference was that I knew what was going on this year. Last year, I did the race as an afterthought. The 24-hour solo Worlds was my priority, and Leadville was three weeks later.
"I didn't know the course, I hadn't pre-ridden. I didn't know anything, but what was on the printed out course profile. Yet, I rode blind but had a good ride and surprised myself."
In contrast, Rusch chose to focus her 2010 season around Leadville. "This year it was my 'A' race for the year. I'd pre-ridden all the climbs and had my splits all planned. I had more knowledge of what was coming."
With Leadville as her priority, Rusch altered her training and pre-race plan. "I went earlier in the year to check out the course. I figured out what kind of effort I could put out on each part of the course. I also went out earlier to acclimatize."
The funny thing is that Rusch learned something for 2010 from watching the 2009 movie. "I noticed in last year's movie that Lance [Armstrong] and the others were using musette bags. Last year, I stopped and got my water bottle. Watching them, I figured, I could make up a couple of minutes - three to four - right there.
"My boyfriend Greg came out and brought his motorcycle, and he supported me from his motorcycle. He gave me musette bags. They said he wouldn't be able to get between aid stations in time, but he pulled it off. We had it really dialed."
Rusch's 2010 win also shattered the Leadville women's record by 11 minutes. "The record had been standing since the 1990s. From my time last year, I was 27 minutes faster. Some of it was due to the conditions. It had snowed last year on Columbine, but still I was shocked that I went that much faster this year. I didn't think I'd get it. I didn't realize I could go that much faster."
Rusch will see the 2010 movie for the first time on preview night. "I'm a little nervous. You never know how you're going to look in a race like that."
Despite the absence of Armstrong, Rusch said the race felt just as big this year. "There might have been a few less spectators, but for a mountain bike race, there were so many people. Especially at the aid stations, everyone was yelling for me. Besides, Levi [Leipheimer] is a big name and it was fun having the roadies and mountain bikers go up against each other.
"I think both the men's and women's races were more interesting this year. For example, Amanda [Carey] was with me for 40 miles. Last year, I didn't see her after the beginning."
When asked if we can expect to see her on the Leadville start line again next year, Rusch said, "I think I'll probably do it again. After getting to know the course and the people locally, and after spending time in Leadville and riding there, I've become more enamoured of the place."
The VIP showing is at the Paramount Theatre at 1621 Glenarm Pl. in Denver, CO 80202 at 6:00 pm on Thursday, November 4. Find out more information about the movie, including a list of theatres showing it and how to buy tickets at www.raceacrossthesky.com.