We have always been unabashed Rebecca Rusch fans. We were fortunate to spend time with her while she was on tour for her book Rusch to Glory and some of my teammates even participated in some of her famous mountain bike camps in Idaho.
So when we were invited to attend the New York premier of her new film Blood Road at the Intrepid Museum we weren't about to miss out. Blood Road tells the story of Rebecca's journey via bike along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in search of the Vietnam War crash site of her father's plane. From the film's official website:
raBlood Road follows the journey of ultra-endurance mountain bike athlete Rebecca Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, as they pedal 1,200 miles along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail through the dense jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Their goal: to reach the crash site and final resting place of Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot shot down over Laos some 40 years earlier. During this poignant voyage of self discovery, the women push their bodies to the limit while learning more about the historic ‘Blood Road’ they’re pedaling and how the Vietnam War shaped their lives in different ways.
We were fortunate to spend a few minutes with Rebecca before the film and she was as charismatic and gracious as ever. Part of what makes Blood Road such a great film is that it transcends her incredible athletic achievements and provides insight into who she is as a person.
The camera work for the film is beautiful. The landscape of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia is magnificently captured and the storytelling provides an emotional depth to the piece: weaving in notes sent home from Rebecca's father alongside multiple perspectives of the war. Huyen Nguyen offers important insight into the Vietnamese perspective of the war and the film casts the ongoing costs of the war from unexploded ordinance (UXOs) in a revealing light. After bearing witness to the destruction the war caused and continues to afflict in the region, Rebecca is also raising money, in her father's name, to help clear the trail of remaining UXOs.
In short, Blood Road is a moving film and one that we highly recommend - for cyclists and non-cyclists alike. A big thank you to Jeanne Meyer for the invitation to the premier!
To learn more about the film visit the Official Blood Road Film Website. The film is also officially available for purchase via iTunes. To help in the bomb clearing efforts, donate to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) or purchase a Rebecca Rusch edition Article 22 bracelet made from bomb scrap metal found in Laos.
Lisa is manager and co-founder of the CityMD Women's Racing Team, a NYC based road and cyclocross racer, former board member of the CRCA and always planning her next travel adventure.