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Challenged Athletes Foundation takes a team to Rebecca's Private Idaho in Sun Valley

Posted at 11:40 AM, Sep 01, 2022

Rebecca's Private Idaho is an intense gravel road bike race and a bucket list event for many cyclists, but it is also an inclusive event featuring adaptive athletes and a non-binary division.

This year the Challenged Athletes Foundation will take a team of 17 athletes compete in this extreme race that features four days of biking in and around the mountains of Sun Valley.

"Oh heck yeah, Rebecca's Private Idaho is one of the most iconic races in the United States," said Willie Stewart of the Idaho Challenged Athletes Foundation. "The people with a bucket list, a lot of those people want to do the RPI."

Willie Stewart lost his left arm in a construction accident in 1980, but it never slowed him down as he has kayaked the Grand Canyon, last week he did the iconic Leadville 100 and this week he turns his attention to the RPI.

"And maybe next week we will go out for the Smoke and Fire," said Stewart. "That's 400 miles all over the state of Idaho, it all depends on if my wife will let me."

Rebecca Rusch is an adventure athlete and a seven time world champion, she created this race and it has divisions for para-cyclists, hand-cyclists and also a non-binary division that was created last year.

"They want us here and that is priceless," said Bethel Steele who finished third in the non-binary division a year ago. "I swore off doing organized sports because I honestly didn't think there was a place for me."

Rebecca's Private Idaho features four gravel bike races in four days starting on Thursday at Galena Lodge with somewhat of a mountain bike course on the Harriman Trail covering about 50 miles, on Friday the stage two of the Queen's Race takes place.

"It's at the Limelight Hotel," said Stewart. "Roll out 30 miles to the base of Dollarhide and straight up a 20 percent grade for a four mile time trial."

Saturday features the Be Good Ride, which raises money for the Be Good Foundation and on Sunday the event culminates with a potato ride as riders can choose the Baked Potato, a 102-mile ride, the French Fry, a 56-mile ride or the Tater Tot, a 20-mile ride.

Saturday and Sunday will also feature and expo where people can come together in a party like atmosphere to celebrate cycling in Sun Valley at Rebecca's Private Idaho.

"Rebecca is the living legend of Sun Valley so we are excited to have here hang out with the team," said Stewart. "It is a fun weekend, it’s a really social weekend there will be some hard racing and hopefully there will be some hard partying."

It will be the first time the Challenged Athletes Foundation has taken a team to this event, this non-profit has helped so many adaptive athletes over the years get back into competitive sports.

"I have arms, I have kayak arms, I have mountain bike arms, I have triathlon arms and I have a road bike arm," said Stewart. "You name it, CAF helped me with everything to get back into the game."