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Episode 52: Finding Handrails with REbecca Rusch

What do you stand for? We're honored to be joined this week by Rebecca Rusch - adventure athlete, 7x world champion, best selling author, activist, Emmy winner, and damn good person. Rebecca shares her personal manifesto and her guiding principles she follows in all aspects of her life. She also talks about asking for help, the power of pessimism, and what she looks for in a creative team.

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Episode Transcript

Lisa: What's going on all you outdoor creatives? Welcome to season 4 episode 15 of Outside by Design. That's a lot of episodes already.

Iris: Yeah, it is.

Lisa: This is Lisa.

Iris: and Iris

Lisa: From Wheelie, a creative agency for people who thrive outside. And before we dig into the podcast which is super special today. We just wanted to address a few questions people have been asking us a little bit more information on who we are and what we do here at Wheelie.

Iris: Lisa is the founder and CEO and principal and creative director. And what else?

Lisa: HR Director…

Iris: HR Director. Coffee cup stealer.

Lisa: Yep, fork-thrower-awayer.

Iris: She runs the show and does pretty much anything.

Lisa: Resident hurricane. I'm the messiest one at the office.

Iris: [laughs]

Lisa: Iris is awesome. If you don't know Iris, you should. She does all the social media at Wheelie for the Wheelie Instagram account and all our clients’ Instagram accounts. She books models. She is our gatekeeper at the front door of the office. She's a brilliant writer and all-around badass and Iris out biked a mama bear and her cub last night.

Iris: Yeah, it was stressful.

Lisa: She's all cool about it though, she’s like then I just saw the Bears that I just went as fast as I could and it's fine.

Iris: You never know what you're gonna get here in Montana.

Lisa: Yeah.

Iris: Should we tell everyone who's on the show today?

Lisa: Yeah, did that feel awkward for you to talk about ourselves?

Iris: No.

Lisa: [laughs] Iris looks awkward. But guess what, today is a super special episode because we get to talk to somebody I admire a lot as an athlete and a person.

Iris: Rebecca Rusch.

Lisa: [embarrassing sound effects]

Iris: I'm leaving that in.

Lisa: [laughs]

Iris: Rebecca's kind of like you Lisa where she has a lot of different job descriptions under her belt.

Lisa: She sure does only Rebecca's job titles are amazing.

Iris: Yeah, they’re pretty cool.

Lisa: She's an adventure athlete, seven-time world champion, best selling author, activist, Emmy winner, queen of mountain biking in general.

Iris: She’s a firefighter in all her spare time.

Lisa: Oh she’s a firefighter. Which I'm super jealous of, if you guys don't know how obsessed I am with firefighting.

Iris: Yeah, it's your dream.

Lisa: It's my secret dream.

Iris: So yeah, we have the queen of pain Rebecca Rusch on the show and she's here to talk about manifestation, how she found herself and determined her core values in her life. She talks about Be Good and…

Lisa: Her Be Good Foundation.

Iris: Her Be Good Foundation, her journey along the Ho Chi Minh trail to find where her father was shot down in the Vietnam War and what that meant to her. She talks about teamwork and being able to rely on other people and ask for help when you need it as well as working with creatives to shoot her film Blood Road.

Lisa: And full disclosure. We are lucky enough to call Rebecca one of our clients. We just did the branding and website for Rebecca's new website And it was a really meaningful project on our end. I think the best part about owning a creative agency is when somebody like Rebecca trusts us with their brand and when it's a personal brand that really is so personal, trusts us to honor all their thoughts and experiences and feelings and encompass that into like a visual identity. And just the amount of vulnerability and trust that takes and communication and back and forth and I'm not going to lie... nothing about the Rebecca Rusch project was easy, but in the end we are so stoked about it.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: And I feel like we really honored everything that Rebecca is about and the different pillars that create her Manifesto in the fibers of her being. So this is a special podcast. We should stop talking and just let Rebecca talk because she's smarter than all of us combined.

Iris: Sounds good.

Lisa: I'm so glad you're on the podcast today. I'm excited you're here, and the very first question we make everyone answer is where are you in the world? And what are you looking at?

Rebecca: I am in Ketchum, Idaho my home sitting in my office and I'm looking at... on May 21st at snow dumping outside my window. It's like a full-on powdered day happening, which shouldn't be happening in May. So I'm a little bummed because I wanted to ride my bike today.

Lisa: Yeah, it should stop doing that.

Rebecca: It's good, it’s mother nature. It's great to have the weather. But yeah, it's been raining and snowing for about a week here, which is unusual this time of year.

Lisa: Wow.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Lisa: And you just got back from something epic what did you get back from?

Rebecca: I just did a ride around Arkansas called the Arkansas High Country route that was a collaboration with their Parks and Rec and they're cycling community and it’s basically a huge circumnavigation of the state and all the mountain ranges and it’s a thousand miles. And basically I got to be the first one to go ride it and kind of check out all the maps and kind of test run the course and lay down a time. And so I did that self-supported. It was just over eight days. A thousand miles. Carrying all my stuff with me. And it was actually a really cool adventure around Arkansas and you know through the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozarks and it was a cool, really amazing bike adventure.

Lisa: What kind of things do you think about when you're on trips that long just pedaling?

Rebecca: You know, I like to go... when I'm going somewhere I like to get books, either audiobooks or regular reading books, that are from the area, either from authors from that area or about that area. So the first day, first and second day, I listened to the novel True Grit. Which takes place in Arkansas and it's a really great book. So I listened to that, it kind of puts me in the zone and like when I was riding the Iditarod I listened to a book about the history of the Iditarod Trail while I was riding the trail. So it's kind of a way for me to immerse and learn something about the territory I'm riding through. I did listen to some podcasts but a lot of times I'm quiet and I'm just really listening to, you know, the sound of my wheels and my breath and it's sort of... those really long rides for me or my form of meditation and I really do find that if I'm quiet, you know, I don't have audio or anything going on that my mind starts to get really creative. I solve problems. I... you know, I think about things and so it is kind of a meditation space for me.

Lisa: That's cool. And you are on the podcast to talk about the month of May’s word, which is manifestation. So when we told you that word, like, what did you think about, what came up for you?

Rebecca: The first thing I thought is that how cool to have a word to focus on. I feel like in our world there's so much noise and distraction and you know, even being on a podcast and like oh, what are you going to talk about? So it was... my first thought was how cool to like hone in on something and focus on something because we so rarely... on one thing just like one word. And then it sparked a lot of curiosity of like, what does that word really mean? And how is it used? And so actually, you know, I did the old Google search and I looked up some definitions and looked up, like, there is... there is like the theory or the law of manifestation and so there's a bunch of cool stuff. But really, it made me think about you know, what do I personally stand for and who am I? Which I think is a question that a lot of people ask and perhaps don't get the answer. And so it was a very cool exercise for me and because it fits right in with, you know, I feel like I finally, at age 50, have figured out what I stand for. And I've been in the outdoor industry and an athlete for decades and it really was my ride down the Ho Chi Minh trail, a ride I did four years ago now, that was the catalyst for me to actually sit and think about things like my Manifesto or what is... you know, what do I stand for? And how did what I stand for manifest? How did it come to be? And I really do feel like it was instructions from my dad and from that ride. And so... so hearing that word was really cool. I feel like it's really in alignment with where I am right now in my career as it’s evolving.

Lisa: Yeah, and when I heard you were going to be on the podcast this week for manifestation, I was like, that's the perfect word for Rebecca.

Rebecca: Thank you. I mean, you've been part of the process with designing... when I came back from that trip, and the logo, and you know, really... I had to do a Tedx talk and that's where I really... it forced me to put together my thoughts of what… what did that trip mean? But really, what do I stand for and what's next and what are my core values? And… so... you've played a part in that too, which I really appreciate and we've sat down and talked about, you know, the map and the compass and where are people going. And what is the trail map. And so it's been a fun collaborative process. But you know for anyone who hasn't sat down and kind of written down their core values or they're like, what am I doing? And I've never been that kind of person. My sister like, she knew in high school she wanted to be a dentist, she wanted to go into the Air Force, she wanted to do this. She had her whole path lined out. And I've always been the kind of person that’s like, I don't know where I'm sleeping next week! And I'm still a bit of that way. But now I feel like with the exercise, you know, and the... the really sort of heavy trip of doing that big ride to find my dad and the biggest Expedition of my life it... you know, you come back from something big and you're like cool, and well now what?

And it really was a forced exercise for me to answer some questions, but I'd never done that before in my life. And I don't... I don't know if a lot of people do. I mean I hear more about friends who are journaling and they're processing and they're writing down some of these things, but I'd never done that. I was just going climbing and going and doing that and going to do stuff that seemed fun and you know building my business, but now I feel like I have a little bit more, like a set of a trail map. It's not to say I know what I'm doing next week. I know where I'm sleeping next week, but it's just a little bit more like... like handrails. So in navigation when you look at a paper map and compass if people still remember those, you know, when you're trying to navigate somewhere you look for what is called a handrail and so you look for something like that won't change, you know, and that's really easy to find like a river or a ridge top or a peak. And those are basically things that you... you might be bumping around in between navigating through the trees and the hills and things but you've always got those handrails to kind of keep you sort of in line. And so I feel like, yeah that... that ride down the Ho Chi Minh trail really was, it was a manifestation of me figuring out my core values and what I stand for.

Lisa: And what... do you want to tell our audience kind of what... what that process came out... like what came out of it?

Rebecca: Yeah. I'm... what came out of it, and mean, it's been a long sort of struggle of a process. So I do want everyone understand that you know, life is a bit of a roller coaster and we don't really have the answers. Everyone's making it up as they go along. But me being able to sit down... and it was during sort of a dark time that forced me to sit down and ask myself some hard questions, like what the hell am I doing? But, so it's not an easy process, but it was kind of a relief to… to sort of pull those out of my psyche. And really the kind of the essence boiled down into two words, are the words that you know, have been in my life for a long time. My dad signed all his letters home from the Vietnam war with the words be good. Every single letter. And he died when I was three, he was shot down when I was three, so I don't know his voice. I don't know him. We just have some music from him and his letters. And they all signed off with the words be good. And really, that has become my Manifesto and I can define it in a lot of different ways, of being good to the environment, being good to myself, to my family, being good as an athlete, just being good as a person, and it seems really simple but it has become... it has become kind of a guiding light for me. And, you know, I've broken it down a little bit more into kind of equations that I looked back through my career and there's sort of four... four equations or you know, kind of guiding principles that fall under that be good, but I kind of looked back and like well, what were the things that worked for me? And I can go through those if it's not too boring if you want.

Lisa: I don't think they're boring. I think they're awesome.

Rebecca: Well, the first one is risk equals reward. And it's... it maybe sounds a little bit cliche because everyone's like yeah, you got to take risk, but really I can look back at, you know, the coolest things or the most pivotal moments and things I've done have all involved taking a risk. Whether it was moving into my car, you know, leaving a really great job and living out of my Bronco for a while so that I could climb and adventure race. Or you know, buying a house in Idaho and you know, not being sure how I could pay the mortgage. So kind of all the things that I've done that have been pivotal all required... required me getting uncomfortable and taking a risk. And often time the reword that came out of it isn't what I thought or what was expected, and even in the failures, you know, there's been there's been reward in that too. So... so that first principle really is risk equals reward.

The second one is passion equals payoff, and this is really, you know, I used to have it written down as pain equals pay off. And really, if you look up the word passion, I mean, it is actually rooted in the word pain and it not in a bad way. It's more that passion is really giving of yourself and you know, it's easy to say, oh find your passion. And people don't necessarily... I don't... I haven't always known what my passion is. But if it's something that you you care deeply about, you're willing to suffer for, you know, you're willing to... to sacrifice for, then there has always been a payoff. And I mean a good example of that for me is… is when I turned to mountain biking at age 38, 24-hour racing. I was a really bad mountain biker. Super, super bad. Like literally couldn't ride my bike, but I could go for a long time and I won races that way. And there was even an article written about me called Winning Ugly, because I still remember and the author was like man, she looks terrible on a bike. She has to get off and run all the technical sections, but she's winning. And it was kind of proof that like, if you want something badly enough and you can throw your heart into it. You may not be the most prepared, you know, the most qualified the most whatever. But it kind of doesn't matter if you've got the... sort of the grit to go for it. And I feel that same way with my business. You know, people ask me all the time how have you done all this? I’m like, I just tried really hard and I've pivoted to things that you know when I was… sort of got tired of 24-hour mountain bike racing I started doing stage racing. When I got tired of Leadville 100 and those kind of races I started doing more bike expeditions, which is where I am now and ultra endurance cycling. And so there is always, you know, your passion is not always going to stay the same and I do think it's important to listen to those tiny voices that are like, oh that sounds interesting. Maybe I should try that or I'm a little bit bored with this one thing maybe I should try something different. And... and so this is... it's not like these equations or sort of rules that I live by are... once I figure them out I'm like, okay, I'm done. I'm going to do this kind of cycling. It's going to change all the time. And I definitely think there are people, all of us, who limit ourselves by saying I'm not prepared enough. I'm not this enough. I'm not that enough. And I... I don't think it matters. You know, I'm not the best cyclist. You know, I have asthma, I have all these reasons why I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing, but I guess I just tried harder and stayed in the game longer and often times that's enough. With the passion and doing something that you love.

And then the third... third core value is give equals get. And that's been a cool part of my career and it's been going on for a while. I mean, I've always loved to to share what I know because I get real... I get really pumped up with seeing other people, you know, have the lights go on whether it's teaching somebody to mountain bike or you know, helping somebody, you know, figure out how to navigate or plan their next adventure. And that, the give equals get just... it's not just about me. I mean, I've stood on a lot of podiums and that's really fun and it's intoxicating and it's amazing to win races and have people cheer for you. Like I'm not going to lie. That's awesome. But at some point it goes beyond just your own success and... and that pivot has been really cool that... not to say I'm not competitive and I'll race anybody anytime but I'll also cheer for them and give them advice and you know, it's part of why I launched Rebecca's Private Idaho. I have a new Be Good Foundation and I'm using my bike in ways now that are a lot bigger than just me and that's that's really powerful that it makes me feel good and it... you know, it makes me feel like I'll leave something lasting, a lasting legacy that's that's a lot more important than just my name on some record books here and there.

And then the last one that I'm really still working on tried to master of the four sort of pillars is less equals more. And this is where I'm really challenged, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs are, because I want to do everything. And I have all these great ideas and I get excited about stuff but then what happens is, I sacrifice myself and I sacrifice my time on the bike and you know my time with my family and my dogs and... and… So I'm really trying to say to be more selective and say no to things and spend some time just doing what I want to do. That isn't always working. Because as an entrepreneur, business owner, you know, we could work 24/7 and there'd still be a to-do list left to happen. And so it's hard to say no to things. But that's where I am right now. I feel like. If I do less at a hundred percent, you know that's going to be better than doing a whole bunch of things that fifty percent. So so those are the kind of the four pillars that really all fall under under the main Manifesto of Be Good. And I have to thank my dad for you know, even though he died when I was three and he hasn't physically been a part of my life, going and riding that trail and learning about him and reading his letters. He really has been fathering me and teaching me even though he's not here and I think that's really cool.

Lisa: Yeah, I think that's so cool.

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Lisa: I love that Rebecca has these guiding principles and we always have clients fill out really intense brand worksheet packets. And I know that when Rebecca sent hers back to us with all these different pillars and thoughts and I mean it was so much. And the fact that she's got all her entire history of her... her dad and her life and her experiences and she's got it all boiled into basically four core values is astounding. And I mean, I think to our audience, like, you got to give it a shot. Like, how can you put what you stand for into like pillars and guiding ethos because it's incredible.

Iris: Yeah, she's able to use these core values as something to rely on always. they’re always there through everything she does in her life, which is a lot. And I think this is a great way to look at manifestation because if you're trying to manifest something whether it be in work, in life, in relationships, you always have to stay true to yourself. And so it is a good idea to sit down, figure out who you are. Maybe it's not going to be as in-depth as Rebecca's core pillars are but a great practice to do every now.

Lisa: And I love how humble Rebecca is when she's talking about everything, too. Like what a freakin boss.

Iris: Yeah. She's awesome.

Lisa: Back to Rebecca.

Lisa: And you know something else that I think is a really big part of your mission and who you are and what you do is.. And I read your book, and... and like I really identify with you in a lot of ways because we both have like really, really high self-efficacy and like we’re competitive and think that we can just like power through things. But really, the thing that I really took away from your book was you mentioned teamwork constantly and like learning how to trust other people and learning how to lean on people and even though the sports that you do are so dependent on you being self-sufficient, you talked a lot about teamwork and letting people in.

Rebecca: Thank you for reading my book and for recognizing that, and I think it's probably one of the hardest things I do. Because I am this strong, independent, type A, Virgo. Yeah, I think I can do everything. And... and it's... it's hard to ask for help. And it's hard to admit you need help. Every single time I've done that including even reaching out to you guys for website and for logo design, every time I've asked for help, it's been received and people are willing to give it. And... but it's hard. It's much easy... anyone, any like, you know, normal person is willing to give help. If they see someone in need and someone, you know, needs a hand, it's really easy to extend a hand and pull somebody up. It's not so easy, as somebody who thinks they're, you know as an overachiever, strong person, it's not so easy to reach your hand up and ask somebody else to pull you up off the ground. And I still haven't mastered that yet. I still think that you know, I should be able to do this. I should be able to design a website, or I should be able to run this whole business by myself, but I can't. And, and I think that's the hard part, is reaching out and asking for help. But... but the people are there and they're willing to give it and I mean... it's even, even talking about it on this podcast is actually getting me stoked to... I'm hiring some new people and I'm really excited about that. But I'm also scared and thinking oh man. Well, I'm going to have to train him. I'm gonna have to do more work. I'm going to have to do this. I'm going to have to do that. But ultimately they are going to be a support network that I need.

Lisa: Absolutely, and even like opening yourself up to kind of learn from your dad and I mean just kind of like leaning on other people and other ideas. I think... I think you're really good at that.

Rebecca: Thank you. That's really nice to hear. I don't think I am. I feel like... I, yeah, I... I think we're all hardest on ourselves. Most of the really high achieving people I know, there's sort of what I would call the power of pessimism and the fact that you think you're... you can always do better and you can always work harder. The really successful people I know are a little bit pessimistic and maybe, you know, not overly confident about themselves. I mean you, you know, I never hear you brag about how amazing your business is and how rad you are. Instead, you're going to be like, I could have done that better. I could work harder next time. And so thank you for saying that I'm really good at that but I feel like I'm still working on it. I'm a work in progress.

Lisa: Yeah, I recognize that because I really struggle with that. You know, I'm like, oh wow, how does Rebecca do that? Or like, I don't know. Do you think that you attract the right people just by doing your thing, or do you have to look for the right people to support you as a team... as a team behind you, or how does that work for you? Is it organic?

Rebecca: Well, this is when I looked up the law of manifestation. This is, that's really interesting that you ask that, because what that says, is that what you put out you get back. And so I think the more clear I am, now that I'm you know more clear on what do I stand for and the things that are important to me, I feel like I'm attracting that kind of a person back. Because the energy is, you know, is going out there in the world. And so I really don't think there's a how-to other than just staying true to who you are and, you know, people use the word, you're so authentic. It's like well, I don't know how to be anyone except for me. And I have found that the more honest I am, and in my book I was pretty honest and pretty vulnerable and the same in Blood Road. It's like I was just like well, yeah, they're making a film but... I don't care. I'm just, I'm just going to be me. I'm not going to, I can't be anyone else. And that has served me well, and the people who are not attracted to the type of person I am, they just don't show up to my events or my social media or whatever else it is. They probably just aren't around. And the people who do resonate with that gravitate towards it. And I think it's the same like with your clients. You put out the kind of company that you're running and the kind of energy that what Wheelie stands for, and you attract the kind of clients that fit you. And I think it's the same with our friends or people that work with us or people that would come to Rusch Academy or Private Idaho.

Lisa: Totally. And Blood Road, our audience will love this because Blood Road was a film where people followed you with cameras and drones and a lot of our audience is, you know, photography or videography based. So what was that like for you? What's your advice to someone when they're following an athlete and in their space during emotional times? Like what can you say about that?

Rebecca: Yeah, I... well I have to really give props to Red Bull media house and especially the Creative Director Nick Schrunk and the Director of Photography Ryan Young because I didn't know them before this Expedition. And going into the biggest expedition of my life with strangers, I was really uncomfortable with that. And normally I, you know, I choose my team, I know exactly who I'm working with. We have a relationship. But I didn't know these guys and I didn't know, one, if they could survive along the Ho Chi Minh trail, you know, they're from California. They're from LA. I'm like, I don't know if these LA guys are going to make it in the jungles of Laos, but they really surprised me. And just kind of for the technical aspect, you know, the filming, the Ho Chi Minh trail is super remote. There's there's a lot of places, most places are inaccessible by car. And so we had a super small team of six people and they were on motorcycles. And so they were basically having an expedition along the trail the same way I was, and they had to carry each day, you know on on their bikes, on their backs, the equipment that they needed for the whole day. And that was, it was really intense for them. I actually think it was probably harder for them than it was for me and there are many places where the mountain bike was much more nimble than than a loaded down motorcycle. But what I will say is they became teammates and I learned to trust them that, one they were going to be fine. I didn't have to take care of them. They were all really good riders and you know, obviously super great camera operators and they were bringing equipment into the field that is not meant to be, you know, they're bringing sort of Hollywood type really nice cameras and drones, drones were kind of just coming into existence at the time. So they were bringing some pretty cool equipment out there. Obviously was getting trashed in the jungles and but made for a really high quality film.

I think the biggest part that is, you know, and the, the best advice I can give to camera operators is I learned to trust them and they became friends but more often than not I forgot they were there. And they were so respectful of letting me have the experience, you know, of finding the place where my dad died and the really special moments in the film that are really intense and you know, there was no reshoots. They could shoot it one time and then we were heading on, and so, you know, like meeting the village Chief whose dad buried my dad, you know that can... in his little hut, that can only happen once. And in those really intense moments, I actually forgot the film crew was there. I couldn't tell you where they were standing or who they were or you know who was shooting what and so they were so quiet and so respectful and they had done so much preparation ahead of time. They'd been to Laos and Vietnam and Cambodia. Nick Schrunk had gone, I think four or five times before I even got there. And so his level of preparation allowed me to really, really just experience the trail as I would experience it along the way without getting in my face very often. I mean, of course we did interviews each night and you know, there'd be stuff like that, but in the really emotional moments and really just letting me ride the entire Trail, 1200 miles, which was really important to me. They let me have the space to do that. And yeah, they had a camera on, but I couldn't tell you where they were standing in those really important moments and that speaks a lot for them being there but not not infiltrating or affecting the scene.

Lisa: Yeah that... you got so vulnerable in that movie and I was, the whole time watching it, like how... how are you able to do that with a film crew around you?

Rebecca: I just let go. I didn't care. You know, I didn't care. I... the... the ride was so important to me personally that... I didn't care what I looked like, I wasn't thinking about what I was saying. I really just you know, and I have to give Nick credit for that and that he would guide me a little bit and ask me questions and you know, but he never told me you know, hey, can you stand here? Can you do this? Can you do that? It was, it was, he had a very unique way of guiding what, you know, he hoped would unfold but then letting me naturally react to it. Like before- the day before we went to the tree and the spot where my dad was shot down. He he just kind of asked me you know, what what do you... what do you want to do? You know, what are you thinking? And it was good of him to ask me that question because I'm like, I don't know and I said, well, I think I'll write a letter. Because all I have for my dad is letters. And, and so he... he kind of pushed me and didn't say, Oh you should write a letter, but he made me think about it. And so I did, and I wrote a letter and ended up reading it at the tree, but I think if he hadn't guided me gently and that way I might not have prepared, you know my own mind. And so it was... it was very special gift and I mean for camera operators and filmmakers, I mean, you're much more than a technical person who's pushing a button and capturing a scene. It's almost like you become... especially with an athlete, someone's doing something scary or emotional or intense. You become a teammate and... and almost a therapist in a way of wanting to support that person, but also not affect what they need to go through in their heart and their head and their body. And so anybody I think can be technically a good camera operator but not everybody can be the right kind of human to really capture the really special moments.

Lisa: I think that was really well said. I think the audience is going to love that nugget of information, because that... yeah, that was a great movie.

Rebecca: Thank you.

Lisa: It was a beautiful film. And you guys, is that what you want an Emmy for?

Rebecca: Yes. Yeah, it's Emmy award-winning film which is kind of crazy and we did the whole red carpet thing. And yeah it was... It was very cool and an awesome celebration for all of the people that worked on the film. But more importantly, for me, all those Awards and Film Festival Awards and things like that, just means the story gets out there more. And... and it helps people heal and this kind of goes back to the given the get it’s... It's my story but it's not my story. It's... it's kind of an evergreen story of healing and family and connecting with people and connecting with cultures. And so the Emmy was super cool and fun to hold up, you know, the statue on the red carpet, but it just makes me happy because it means the film will be seen more and it helps veterans heal. And it's been, it’s actually been cool, like some schools are using it in their Vietnam, you know War sections and to teach... teach kids about the Vietnam War. And that's so... that makes me really happy is that it's gone beyond a project that's just about me and my family.

Lisa: Yeah.

Ad Break: Say Iris, do you want to know a weird fact about me? / Yes, of course. / I don't like going to yoga classes because I really struggle with group relaxing. / Yeah, like that stresses you out. / I don't like how everyone's laying on the floor and it's supposed to be relaxing. / Huh. / But you know what? I do like subscriptions where I can do yoga from the privacy of my house, which is 11 miles from anything. / Oh, yeah. There are a lot of websites that you can subscribe to and they send you yoga classes to do in the comfort of your own home, which is much more relaxing. / Yeah, you pay a monthly fee and you get unlimited yoga. It reminds me of when you sign with a creative Agency on retainer and you pay them a certain amount per month and they just handle shift for your business. / Yeah, do you know any creative agencies that offer that oddly enough? / I do:, the greatest creative agency. Sometimes when you first start doing yoga you get discouraged because you can't, like, reach your arms behind your back or grab your back, but guess what? With a great creative agency like Wheelie, Wheelie’s always got your back. / Here at really we're really flexible and limber and we'll make a strategy that fits your business. / Damn. Right Iris was a good one. We'll get your business into a sweet vinyasa flow. /

Lisa: So Blood Road, for those of you that don't know is an emmy-winning film made by Red Bull Media House and it's awesome. It follows Rebecca as she peddles 1200 miles along the Ho Chi Minh trail to reach the crash site of her father who was shot down 40 years earlier and it's a beautiful journey and it is a gorgeous, gorgeous film. And I don't even know how they got most of those shots. So the cinematography on it is incredible.

Iris: Yeah, what a difficult journey, I can't even imagine the planning process and creative process that goes into that and it really speaks to the professionalism of the creative team that she worked with and that's probably the highest praise that she could have given is saying that she forgot that they were there. That's really hard as a creative to be a part of some- like, especially a really emotional journey, to be a part of a journey like that and capture everything. And not get in the way.

Lisa: Yes. It's really difficult and important to capture something without inserting yourself in the story. And you know at Wheelie we always talk so much about photography and videography and we call it custy serves instead of customer service, but we always talk about the custy serves that's involved with being behind the lens. Because it really is such a human experience. And it requires you to have your head right and be solid and let the story tell itself instead of making it known that you're there.

Iris: Yeah. It's so much more than than just the technical aspect, than capturing an image.

Lisa: or pushing a button, so much more.

Iris: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Let's get back to Rebecca.

Lisa: And other things you do to kind of give back and make it about, you know, the people's experience themselves is all the different camps you do. Rusch Academy. And then Rebecca's Private Idaho. Do you want to talk about those?

Rebecca: Yeah. Those are, I mean, I love riding with people and I love Idaho and I love sharing this place. And so, you know, Rebecca's Private Idaho was launched seven years ago now, it's a big gravel event that's grown to 1,200 people everything from Twenty Mile event, the 20-mile tater tot, up to three days stage race and the impetus for that was really when I travel around and people like Ida, Idaho, Iowa? Where do you live? And I just wanted to show this beautiful place and let people kind of get off the beaten path and and also support my community. So it was sort of three-pronged in that selfishly I wanted to bring some work home and share this place and support my community. But also that it's a it's a fundraising ride for, for cycling nonprofits that I feel strongly about. And that's World bicycle relief, people for bikes, the high school cycling league in Idaho, naica, and then also our local Trails organization. So it's local, National, and worldwide cycling nonprofits that really help provide more access and more bikes for people around the world. And so it is this, this really fun party on wheels in my hometown, but it's also a kind of a way to make a bigger impact. And Rusch Academy kind of launched off that, the same smaller training camps to bring people here to Idaho and... Selfishly I get to ride bikes in a place that I love but then also share what I know with other people and kind of the third tier of the offerings that I have for riding with me is is a Mountain Bike Lao trips, and those are really special. So I have every year since I've been back since from Blood Road taking a small group of 15 mountain bikers back to ride 10 days on the Ho Chi Minh trail and do a really cool section of the trail in Laos where I rode. And so that's coming up again in December and there's there's some slots open if you want to come.

Lisa: Oh man, I actually was talking about it the other the other week. I was like I should go do that.

Rebecca: It's really special. It's life-changing. And I mean, you really are immersed in a culture that doesn't see many tourists and doesn't see, you know traffic. And you're really you're riding through history on the Ho Chi Minh trail and there's bomb craters, you know, to your left and your right and these small villages and people who live through the war and it really is a special way to kind of ride through history, but also look at the current culture of you know, the unexploded ordnance that still is left. And that, that is part of the Be Good Foundation and that ride and a lot of the work I do is you know, I feel my dad brought me there to show me that all these bombs still exist. And so the foundation, actually part of the mission is to clean up the unexploded ordnance that are still there from the Vietnam War and I mean, there's bombs there that are… they're still killing people, you know, every day. And the people in the villages are still affected by the bombs that the u.s. Dropped 50 years ago. And so part of that ride is experiencing that but then also cleaning up the bombs that are still there. So it's a pretty cool trip. If you're... if you're interested, and if anyone listening is interested, you can apply. It's basically an application process and I hand select the clients. But that's open mow. I'm taking, taking clients right now.

Lisa: So our audience, you guys should check it out. It's and we'll have, we’ll put a link in the show notes too.

Rebecca: But you should come Lisa, that would be cool.

Lisa: That would be a really cool trip.

Rebecca: You could take some beautiful pictures.

Lisa: I sure could. If I'm not too exhausted. Can I selfishly ask you about Flow State and just like what is, what is that for you when you're riding and accomplishing all these goals and what is like, what is Flow State look like to you?

Rebecca: Yeah, well since you've been running we were talking ahead of time. I'm like, have you ever gotten into that flow state with running? And running is hard. It's a bit of a slog.

Lisa: Yeah.

Rebecca: And I call myself definitely more of a jogger than a runner.

Lisa: I call myself a mountain biker trying to run.

Rebecca: [laughs] I mean for me, Flow State, it's... it's kind of, we talked about it a little bit earlier, but for me these long-distance physical activities, whether it's running or biking or you know Backcountry skiing, hiking, those... those things are, they’re kind of a moving meditation for me and it's you know, I get into a place where… where you know, you lose track of time. You're no longer like, oh, this is hard. How much time do I have left? Oh, I'm going to look at my phone. You know, when you get past that initial... and usually for me it's about 20-30 minutes of you know, the first beginning of any sort of bit of physical activity where I don't feel very good and I'm just like, this is hard, I'm struggling. And then all of a sudden I think there's... there's chemical changes in your body and your brain that happen and endorphins that are released that take a little time to get to. And once that starts flowing and you let it, you know, your brain does switch into a different place where, where things suddenly feel easier and you do lose track of time and you, you lose the distraction of like, oh I need to do this email. I need to do that. I need to do that. My foot hurts. How much further do I have to go? You know, and you can even find that, you know, when you're doing long-distance driving, you know across the country and, and all of a sudden you forget about the distractions and the noise in your head and then you're really just doing the activity and it was after I came back from Blood Road and sort of going through a little bit of a struggling period like I said, trying to decide what it meant, what I stood for, I started to get into still meditation and you know have the Headspace app and... but I started trying to sit still and meditate and what I came to realize, you know, when it would work. You know, it stopped being like Oh my God, how long has it been? It's only been two minutes. Oh my gosh, like I have to do 15 minutes of this. Like, I don't know if I could get there. And it happens in yoga class too, but eventually I was able to find a place where, you know, even if I was meditating 15 minutes, I thought it had been like one minute or had been shorter and I lost track of time and it suddenly occurred to me that I have been meditating all along because it's the same feeling that I do get when I'm on long distance bike rides or runs. And it was kind of a revelation for me to realize that the place where your mind can go when you are undistracted from... from the rest of the world and whether you're doing that still or moving, I try to do a little bit of both everyday to quiet the mind and... and I do find I'm not in my best... I'm not my best person when I haven't gone out and had some sort of moving meditation or exercise because then I haven't experienced that sort of moment of quiet and stillness. Even though I'm actually moving and working my body.

Lisa: Do you focus on time when you're racing at all, or do you…

Rebecca: No. When I'm racing, I actually... this is kind of interesting, is I use a power meter for training and heart rate and all that stuff, but I don't look at those. I have those things running and recording but I don't look at them when I'm racing. And I don't race by you know, what's on my Garmin, I race by how I feel and what's going on around me. The one thing I will look at when I'm racing is average miles per hour. And I'll have that up on the screen and use that as a challenge to myself like okay, I'm going 12.1 miles per hour. Can I go 12.2? You know, and it's kind of I'm in this like personal little competition with myself to see if I can get that average miles per hour to bump up a little bit and I was using that in Arkansas is you know, can I maintain 10 miles per hour average for a hundred fifty miles today? You know, and a lot of days I couldn't but I kept trying to hit those... those markers for myself. And so it was kind of the combination of a long-term goal for the whole day or the whole race, but an in-the-moment focus of like what does that number say right now?

And I like focusing on how average miles per hour because it is that larger goal but in the moment goal, but it's also not tied to your heart rate, your power meter, your whatever, it's tied to, can I do this and how do I feel? And so I don't like having the power meter up, one because I don't want to be limited by it. If I'm like, Oh, you know, I'm putting out too many watts I need to slow down or I don't want to be bummed out by it. Like, oh, I'm only putting out a hundred watts of power. I suck, this, that, and the other. And so I just do like to use that kind of miles per hour which ends up being a time goal. Like can I finish in 15 hours or 10 hours or whatever it is. And I think that that's a lot more productive and motivating for me personally than just sticking to one metric like power and I know a lot of people they raced and they ride in these stare down at their computer and that's all they're looking at. But for me, you know, I need to look around. I need to be inspired by the terrain and often when I do intervals. I won't... I'll do them, like, I'm going to ride to the top of the hill to that tree. Over and over again, and I'll look at the time later and see if I was consistent. But sometimes I like to choose natural motivating factors like that instead of digital ones.

Lisa: That's awesome. I really like that answer.

Rebecca: You can do that on your runs. You're like, I'm gonna do intervals. I'm going to run all the uphills hard and recover on the downhills. And so you may not know, one uphill might be five minutes, one uphill might be 30 seconds, one uphill might be 20 minutes and I just feel like that's a more it's more fun and... and a more natural way for me to train and push myself.

Lisa: Cool. That's awesome. Is there anything... I'll let you get going after this. But is there anything that you want to tell our audience that I haven't asked you about?

Rebecca: Um. You know, I do, you know, would encourage people to sit down and write down what they really stand for and what are their sort of guidelines or handrails, but then also, you know, I know there's a lot of creatives that listen to this. And one of the things that I found really rewarding but really challenging about the creative process and this happened when, when I wrote my book and when I do other writing or other things that require a creative a creative output, it's really amazing when it works. But creative work is the one thing it was really eye-opening. It's the one thing where if you try harder you... it doesn't necessarily produce a result. You know, I could sit down trying to write this book and just like try really hard to write a sentence and it just wouldn't happen and it wouldn't happen. And it was really frustrating for me because my whole life has been like just try really hard and you'll get results. Just try really hard and stay in the game and you'll get results. And the creative process is not like that. And I really found I had to walk away and I had to go on a bike ride or I had to walk the dogs. And then I felt like once there was blood flow in my body. There was also blood flow in my brain and I was able to solve problems or think of that sentence or ideas would come to me when I wasn't looking straight at the problem. It was almost like I was taking a peripheral look at the problem, too, kind of taking the blinders off instead of staring at the computer and the sentence needing to be written or the creative thing that has to happen. I had to go away from it and then the answer came. And I don't know if you've experienced that as a creative, but it was very strange for me to learn that trying harder didn't necessarily produce results and that I had to try differently or kind of walk away from it to actually find the answer.

Lisa: Yes, exactly. It's like a little bit like yoga where you can't like stretch harder, you know, like you have to just kind of settle into it and... and like almost do it with ease when the time is right in a way.

Rebecca: Yeah, that's hard to acquire, I mean, especially as an athlete, that kind of patience and trust and like, okay, I'm gonna step away from this thing or just you know, not worry about it. That's that's a hard process to learn. I really admire you and people who are super creative and that it seems to just flow naturally. I really admire that.

Lisa: Well, we had so much fun working on your brand with you and you know, it was a big honor that you trusted us with it and I am so stoked on how everything turned out, so.

Rebecca: I am too, and that was one thing that it would actually was a little struggle in a create- creative way because we were kind of, you know going around in circles a little and talking through and I probably wasn't being super clear. But I mean in the end, you guys listened and listened and listened and we came up with exactly what I wanted, but I didn't know what I wanted, you know in the beginning. I just... I just kind of knew the... the manifesto of be good and this is what I stand for and that you were able to visually represent that is so cool. It makes me so happy.

Lisa: Cool. Me too.

Iris: Thanks so much to Rebecca. We love talking to you, what an inspiration.

Lisa: Yeah, and just what a good person, like the whole Be Good Foundation and be good, Rebecca embodies that and lives it and her actions align with her words and her thoughts. Just yeah, again Rebecca. What a boss. Thanks. Thanks for trusting us with your brand and yourself.

Iris: You can find Rebecca's brand new website in our show notes as well as the link to sign up for her MTB Lao trips and the link to purchase Blood Road. We really recommend you watch it.

Thanks Rebecca, and we'll see all you lovely folks next week.

Lisa: Yeah, and thank you to you for listening to the podcast and supporting women in sports and supporting outdoor creativity and supporting the hard work and professionalism that goes into being a creative person in the outdoor industry. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being a badass.

Iris: Yeah, keep crushing it. Bye.

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