Mountain biker Rebecca Rusch to receive Trailblazer MVP Award at gala

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Mountain biker Rebecca Rusch’s trip to Laos was documented in the movie “Blood Road.” (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Mountain biker and adventure sports athlete Rebecca Rusch will receive the inaugural Trailblazer MVP Award at the Women’s Sports Gala on Oct. 20, 2017 in Sarasota, Florida.

Rusch, whose nickname is the “Queen of Pain,” is a seven-time world champion who has competed as a professional athlete for more than three decades.

She has shattered through the glass ceiling in whatever sport she tackles, and has helped redefine the team dynamics of adventure mountain bike racing. Among her sporting achievements is the first female ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

Rusch was named No. 6 on by’s World’s Top 100 athletes. She also was named to Sports Illustrated’s Adventure Racing Team of the Year and Outside Magazine’s Top 20 Female Athletes of the Year.

Her autobiography, “Rusch to Glory,” put her in demand nationally as a motivational speaker. Rusch stars in “Blood Road” an award-winning documentary from Red Bull Media House that came out this year. “Blood Road” captures her inspiring journey along the 1,200 mile Ho Chi Minh Trail to find the place where her father, a U.S. Air Force Pilot, was shot down during the Vietnam War. Rusch’s Gold Rush Tour features events and rides aimed at getting more women and girls riding bikes, and her Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel race is a perennial favorite in her hometown of Sun Valley, ID.

She joins Lesley Visser and Donna Cheek as Trailblazers being honored at this year’s gala.

Click here to make your reservations for the second annual gala, which is being held for the first time at Michael’s on the Bay in on Sarasota Bay in Selby Gardens.

Watch highlights from “Blood Road,” a movie about Rusch’s quest to find the crash site where her father died in the Vietnam War.