Before she sets out on the trail of her father, Rebecca Rusch
has a race to run. The 11th Raid Gauloises, which begins on
April 27 outside Hanoi, will likely feature the usual sleepless
nights, Mao-like long marches through grueling terrain, and
myriad creature discomforts, including (sorry, Rebecca) leeches.
However, competitors envisioning the Vietnam seen in war footage
and depicted in Platoon will be disappointed--or relieved.
Though event organizers won't divulge the precise route of the
450-mile course, they say that water, not the country's infamous
jungles, will be the predominant landscape. In addition to
navigating the Red River Delta and the Sea of China, the 50
five-member teams will cover plenty of remote countryside in
northern Vietnam, where the absence of roads will force the
field to mountain-bike over rough paths carved by villagers and
trek through some of the region's many caves. Racers have 13
days to be counted as finishers. They are free, of course, to
take more time, though by doing so they run the risk of brushing
up against Vietnam's famously ferocious monsoon season, which
begins in mid-May.
--Kristin Green Morse
B/W PHOTO: COURTESY OF JUDY RUSCH Seeking SteveRusch plans a postrace trip to her dad's crash site near Saravane.
COLOR MAP: MAP BY STEVE STANKIEWICZ