Rebecca Rusch is among the greatest female ultra-endurance mountain bikers in the world. Although she’s used to pushing her body to its limit, nothing could prepare her for the emotional journey she took in 2015 when she pedaled 1,200 miles of the Ho Chi Minh trail in search of the crash site that claimed the life of her father during the Vietnam War. Joined by Vietnamese competitive biking champion Huyen Nguyen, Rusch travels through the dense jungles of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. While Nguyen helps Rusch understand the cultural context of her quest, the women forge a deep bond triggered by a shared experience of war and loss. They also glean the tragic history of the ‘Blood Road,’ which leads them through the heart of darkness and into the light of local villages and Buddhist monasteries still marked by the painful relics of war, and populated by generous townspeople who share their stories. Throughout her journey, Rusch continues to synthesize how her family’s story flows into the river of history that continues to define the lives of generations of Southeast Asian people.
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