Rebecca's Private Idaho draws top cyclists to four-day gravel road race

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Posted at 4:16 PM, Sep 04, 2022

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — Top cyclists are drawn to Sun valley every year to participate in one of the most unique cycling events in the state. Rebecca's Private Idaho is a four-day long gravel road race through the mountains that was started ten years ago, but it's drawing more racers than ever before.

Griffin Easter of Opicure Foundation crossed the finish line first, winning the men's division race. It was Easter's first time participating in the race and he said he's never done anything like it. "Totally unique, it is not like other races, the stage race was new for me I didn’t do it last year but I did it this year. I mean you get to chill at a hot spring after a time trial I don’t know any other race that does that," said Easter.

Hailey Smith of Maxxis Factory Racing out of Canada finished first in the women's division.

The race was started by Rebecca Rusch who was convinced to move to Ketchum by Muffy Ritz. After the move, Rusch became a coach, and the rest is history. "She just accelerated in the adventure racing scene and then the biking scene," said Ritz.

Ritz has participated in the race every single year since its start, so she can speak to the race's difficulty. "You know I was suffering out there. I was like uh and I was screaming a little bit, not screaming but moaning," said Ritz.

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But as one of the few people who has been involved since the beginning, she gets to bang the gong at the finish line ten times. "It’s really fun and I’m really proud to be one of the ones that has done all ten races," said Ritz.

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

The race also features non-binary athletes, para-cyclists and the Challenged Athletes foundation. Even Easter, the winner of the elite race, rode for a cause. "Our team raises awareness for opioid use disorder and that’s a reason to bike, to help people in recovery," said Easter.