Top photo credit: Corey Rich/Red Bull Content Pool
Logging 1,041 miles over 8 days, 3 hours, 33 minutes, renowned athlete Rebecca Rusch set the fastest — and first — known time on Arkansas’ new High Country Route bicycle trail.
“Arkansas better get ready for some cycling.” Rebecca Rusch’s cautionary words actually carried a congratulatory tone following her epic ride of the state’s just-completed 1,041-mile trail network, the High Country Route (HCR).
The 50-year-old American multisport phenom became the first to ride the entirety of the route, which comprises pavement, gravel, and singletrack. And her time of 8 days, 3 hours, 33 minutes now stands as the time to beat.
“It was the longest ride of my career, but I was not bored at all,” Rusch said after crossing the finish line. “It was so beautiful with so much to look at. The trail they built here is world-class.”
In total, Rusch logged 107 hours in the saddle and endured more than 84,373 feet of elevation.
Rebecca Rusch: High Country Route FKT
Originally expected to take 2 years, HCR first took shape last year when the Walton Family Foundation donated $100,000 to help build the trail network. Made up of equal parts pavement and trail, and roughly 5 percent singletrack, the route meanders through three national parks, eight state parks, 15 Forest Service campgrounds, and nine Corps of Engineers parks.
“Arkansas is a beautiful place to ride your bike,” Rusch said on Facebook after the ride. “I highly suggest you plan a bike trip out this way.”
To conquer the terrain, Rusch piloted a Niner Bikes RLT 9 RDO. She “mulleted” SRAM’s road eTap AXS shifting with a mountain-ready Eagle 1x setup in the back. See the full build below.
Rebecca Rusch High Country Route Gear
- Frame: Niner Bikes RLT 9 RDO
- Drivetrain: SRAM eTap AXS + Eagle (MTB)
- Wheels: ENVE Composites SES AR 3.4
- Tires: Maxxis USA Rambler 38cc
- Saddle: Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) Koda
- Tech: Garmin Edge 1030 and inReach
Our congrats to Rebecca Rusch for christening one of America’s most epic bike trails. And stay tuned — GearJunkie will interview Rusch on her accomplishment next week.