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American and Vietnamese Cyclists Seek Fathers’ Downed Fighter Jet

Mountain biker Rebecca Rusch rides the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam in a new documentary that documents a personal journey of healing.

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.

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.


The film follows Rebecca and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, as they pedal 1,200 miles along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail through the dense jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Their goal: to reach the site where Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was shot down in Laos more than 40 years earlier. During this poignant voyage of self-discovery, the women push their bodies to the limit, while learning more about the historic ‘Blood Road’ and how the Vietnam War shaped their lives in very different ways.

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.”


“Initially our focus of the story was chronicling Rebecca’s intense physical journey on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but along the way we uncovered a much deeper emotional journey,” said the film’s director Nicholas Schrunk. “My hope is that regardless of a viewer’s background, political views, or personal feelings that they would see not just the physical and emotional scars that war leaves, but also how families, countries, and cultures can come together to heal those wounds.”

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.


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