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Apr 20, 2021

Biking the Iditarod in Search of Pain

Rusch takes us through her hardest moments on the trail and explains why pushing herself to go way, way outside her comfort zone was essential for her progression as an athlete and as a human being. (Photo: Courtesy Rebecca Rusch)
Rusch takes us through her hardest moments on the trail and explains why pushing herself to go way, way outside her comfort zone was essential for her progression as an athlete and as a human being.

Among people who spend a lot of time in the wilderness, there’s a notion that the trail is our teacher. And if you talk to serious outdoor adventurers, you quickly realize just how powerful trail lessons can be. Take the case of professional endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, who was schooled over the last several winters while riding a bike across the Alaska Range as a racer in the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational. Rusch has long been lauded for her ability to push through the most agonizing of competitive events, but she discovered a new kind of suffering in Alaska—which is exactly what she was after. In this episode of our new series, The Wild Files, Rusch takes us through her hardest moments on the trail and explains why pushing herself to go way, way outside her comfort zone was essential for her progression as an athlete and as a human being.


This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, a 4x4 SUV with seven available G.O.A.T. modes that enable it to go over any type of terrain. Learn more at ford.com/bronco.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.