Watch Now: Blood Road with Rebecca Rusch

Nov 12, 2017
by Red Bull Bike  


Ultra-endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch has won competitions all around the world in several disciplines, however, she faced her toughest challenge yet in new Red Bull Media House documentary Blood Road.

Rebecca Rusch rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00063 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
Rebecca Rusch and Huyen Nguyen ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00081 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.

The American, who is also known as “The Queen of Pain”, set out on an arduous journey of healing and self-discovery in search of the site where her father’s plane went down during the Vietnam War.

Rebecca Rusch rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00091 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
Huyen Nguyen rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00073 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.

Captain Stephen Rusch in a photograph used for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00057 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.

Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, pedalled 1,200 miles along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, including the dense jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, to reach the site where Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was shot down in Laos. The 48-year-old explained, “The most alarming discovery of the entire journey was learning about the vast amount of unexploded wartime ordnance that still remains and continues to threaten human lives. “I went there searching for my Dad and pieces of myself, but came home with the understanding that I can use my bike for a bigger purpose than just winning races.”

Rebecca Rusch and Huyen Nguyen ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00081 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.

Rebecca Rusch rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00063 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
Huyen Nguyen and Rebecca Rusch ride the Ho Chi Minh Trail for the feature film project Blood Road in Vietnam Laos and Cambodia in March 2015. Josh Letchworth Red Bull Content Pool P-20170523-00055 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.

Blood Road is not only a powerful story of a daughter’s love letter to her lost father, but also one about how two women forge a deep bond triggered by a shared experience of war and loss.

Looking for more insight into Rebecca's journey? You can read Vernon Felton's feature story on Rebecca Rusch's journey here.


MENTIONS: @redbullbike



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65 Comments

  • + 69
 Good stuff...as a novice Hmong mountain biker of 6 years late in life I am touched by this video and it also took me back to a time when I fled Laos to escape persecution. I had lost so many family members and distant relatives due to the secret war. Unfortunately not many realized that even into the middle 90s refugees of this war so many decades ago were still being hunted in the jungle of Laos. I was one of the many who was fortunate enough to leave early because my father and his brother served side by side with the Americans trying to hold back the enemy line that eventually made its way into Laos. I can relate to this article because one of my distant uncle was also shot down trying to defend freedom in the jungle of Laos. While it was a tragic war that left many like myself fleeing to other countries I feel bless for something good came out of the war. I can’t imagine how dull and hard my life would be if I were still in my native country of Laos. Would have definitely not known the sport of mountain biking. Many of us can enjoy the sport because of our freedom. The memory of me being shipped away from my parents back in 1975 to escape persecution still is engrained in my mind and I have this vivid memory of floating down the Mekong River to Thailand seeking freedom. To all those who lost their lives in this secret war including my uncle..RIP.
  • + 9
 Thanks for sharing your story.And sorry for your loss.
  • + 6
 @rideonjon: There are many untold stories from this war. There just isn't enough room in our history textbook. For example, many infants fleeing Laos into Thailand while crossing the Mekong River were sedated to keep them from crying while escaping in the dead of night on make-shift floats. Many refugees including my parents lived on whatever they could forage from the jungle including things you and I would never put in our mouths. Every Hmong who was not fortunate enough to escape initially endured this jungle forage life style while trying to stay alive and hope to make it to Thailand, a river away. I am very thankful to this museum cause in Wisconsin...for it gave tribute to the Hmong T-28 pilots including two of my uncles, one who was shot down while another was in training. ahcw.org/exhibits.php
Thank you all for reading my story for it's a story of many that the history books forgot to include.
One of the many missions of the Hmongs were to help rescue American pilots.
  • + 1
 Amen and respect to that brother. Peace!
  • + 1
 Great comment. Thanks.
  • + 43
 Why aren't there more videos like this? What a story. It encompasses so many things of intrigue and interest to me, like the Vietnam war, travel, food, culture but most of all mountain bikes. Very well done Red Bull. This is hands down the best mountain bike related video I've seen in a very long time, if ever! Epic!
  • + 3
 this was amazing!!!
  • + 2
 Yup. Make me nostalgic for a place I’ve never been to.
  • + 1
 @jfour: Me too brother. I'd love to do a bit of travelling with bikes. Such a cool, different video from Pinkbikes usual fare. Nostalgia, wishful thinking, dreaming,riding, this video has it all.
  • + 1
 @panchocampbell: Absolutely my friend, a mountain bikers wet dream. Excellent. I've watched it 3 times now, and I'm going in for another hit, after I make this joint and pour a can. Peace!
  • + 18
 I've always had mixed feelings about the "expedition for a cause" documentary; it's hard to tell whether they genuinely bring attention to a cause or are just a pretense for a really extravagant vacation. This one turned the ambivalence meter up to 11. On one hand, I have no doubts that Rusch was entirely sincere in her desire to find the place where her father perished. On the other, there was something kinda gross in how the suffering of the Cambodians and Laotians seemed to play second fiddle to her quest. That said, watching her riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, comment on this dichotomy was near brilliance. It was like a real life Christopher Guest movie.
  • + 10
 I think your ambivalence meter may be misdirected by categorizing this film as an "expedition for a cause." She said, “I went there searching for my Dad and pieces of myself, but came home with the understanding that I can use my bike for a bigger purpose than just winning races.” This wasn't initially a journey to help those affected by the war, but rather one of self-discovery and healing. Once that has been established, I think that Rusch definitely took notice to the devastation and living conditions of all three nations along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This is evident at the end of the film, where it says "Rebecca is currently leading group mountain bike trips on the Ho Chi Minh trail to raise awareness and funds in the removal of UXOs left over from the Vietnam war." So I don't know how you could call her reaction "gross" when she could have just as easily completed her journey and gone on with her life. But she didn't and I, for one, applaud her for taking the initiative to raise awareness in order to improve the lives of these people she encountered.
  • + 8
 I felt the same way. Towards the end there was a village leader who described losing nearly his entire family to the war, and yet when they located the crash site he was the one consoling her while she sobbed about the loss of her father (who, by the way, was in a plane bombing these people).

Overall i just never got a sense of any kind of real empathy out of Rusch. She always seemed distant and strained, and annoyingly driven.

I enjoyed the history and the scenery much more than the mountain biking or the conversation.
  • + 1
 Nothing “gross” about paying homage to her heroically, dead father by riding her bike.
  • + 2
 The bit that i took away from this is the seeming transition between it being a personal journey for her, to a revelation that these countries are still effected by the war even after all this time.
  • + 8
 Looks like it was an epic journey physically and emotionally. Very well filmed and recorded too given how remote a lot of these locations are. Having been to Vietnam I can vouch for what kind and friendly people the Vietnamese are and I think that comes across in this film. Hard to believe the US justified the killing of 3 million people there only 40 or 50 years ago. What a terrible waste of life for both sides.
  • + 9
 There will be a lot of countries in the future for trips like this :-(
  • + 4
 What a powerful story and breathtaking cinematography. I was horrified about the actual amount of bombs dropped and civilians killed. A horrible piece of history but a heart taking way of dealing with it. The message can not be mistaken. Thanks for sharing!
  • + 4
 I watched this at a recent film festival and it is brilliant. The historical perspective presented in this movie is incredible. Highly recommend watching!
  • + 2
 Wow, awesome movie. I am 46 years old and my Dad was in the US Air Force between 1962-1968. My Dad was able to make it back. Rebecca seems like a great person and one hell of a animal as far as endurance goes. Would love to meet her and ride with her, but probably couldn't keep up with her !
  • + 1
 You can go ride the Gravel Race she puts on up in Idaho, it's a great event.

www.rebeccasprivateidaho.com
  • + 2
 Ok, this was so well done. Good job Rebecca, good job on RedBull media house. This film simply drips with heartfelt honesty. This one should at least get an Oscar nomination in the documentary category. The real deal here.
  • + 1
 What a beautiful movie! Shows how the world can be so scared by war so many year after it is over. Humans animals, plants the geography of the whole place. People should see more documentaries like this so they open their minds and eliminate discriminatory views and desire to harm others for having different opinions/views. What really touched me was the compassion and willingness to help from the same people that were bombed by her father. It is really the best of humanity! This movie was beautiful made. Well done to Red Bull and the the people involved in producing it.
  • + 3
 Doh missed the link at end of the redbull article - my bad
  • + 3
 I held back tears at the end! This is by far the best mountain bike film that I've ever seen!
  • + 1
 Vietnam is developing fast nowadays. Obviously a lot of catch up to do but the war vestige aside it's a great country to visit. We are doing our best to make it a recognized MTB destination as well.
  • + 1
 wow,floating part of the trail in a jet fuel tank. Doesn’t get much more authentic ,seemed like a journey of a lifetime for her!
  • + 2
 Wow, what a Incredible Journey. Thank You Rebucca for sharing. One of my Favorites.
  • + 1
 one of the best movie I've ever watched, very well filmed. Well, finally Rebecca can see personally her father in such a way. Congrats to her!!
  • + 4
 Wow. This is so great!
  • + 3
 such a great documentary. Must see it.
  • + 3
 This is really inspiring, very good movie!
  • + 1
 It looks interesting, but the video player doesn't work Frown

Google Chrome 62.0.3202.89 on MacOS 10.12.6
  • + 0
 Try Redbull.tv or the Red Bull TV app
  • + 3
 Amazing Film!
  • + 1
 Enjoyed this! Very moving. Makes me want to travel and share the medium of mtb! Thanks red bull and Pink Bike!
  • + 3
 Thanks for sharing!
  • + 2
 I emember when the first trailer for this came out. Incredible.
  • + 3
 Video of the year 2017!
  • + 1
 great vid going to NAM for two weeks in April.
  • + 1
 Thank you @rebeccarusch and @redbull
  • + 1
 Thanks for all the folks that made this film possible
  • + 1
 A great documentary, what a challenging journey, really inspiring!
  • + 1
 Thank you for this tremendous movie
  • + 1
 this puts trail building into a whole other perspective.
  • + 1
 Best cycling related film I've ever seen!
  • + 1
 Great movie and journey ..very informative, powerful and emotional..
  • + 0
 This is epic. A Must see. I don't care for too much flagsturbation but great tribute on Veterans Day.
  • + 1
 This is a film I won't soon forget. Incredible!
  • + 1
 Such a movie!
  • + 1
 Epic movie!
  • + 0
 don't google S4 Queen Of Pain
  • + 0
 Meh
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