Blood Road

Synopsis: The mysteries surrounding her father's death in the Vietnam war lead ultra-endurance mountain biker Rebecca Rusch on an emotional journey as she pedals 1200 miles of the Ho Chi Minh trail.
96 min


There's a place I've

been avoiding for a long time.

It's been in my thoughts

for more than 40 years.

What happened there long ago

set me on this path.

There are still lots

of unanswered questions

and I'm not sure I'll find

what I'm looking for.

And this journey, it all

started with my father's story.


We have made a national pledge.

My father was a pilot

and he was shot down

during the Vietnam War.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON: We did not choose

to be the guardians of the gate.

MAN 1:
Communism is a threat

we cannot afford to ignore.

The spread of

communism is imminent.

I was just 3 years

old, and I never knew him,

and he was missing in action

for a really long time.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON: We do not want an

expanding struggle with consequences

that no one can perceive.

My mom raised my sister

and I as a single parent.

MAN 2:
A nation divided.

MAN 3:
This war will have ramifications

on this country for generations.

And we never really

knew if he was alive,

if he was a prisoner of war,

or if he died that day.

All American prisoners of war

will be released.

MAN 4:
They will soon join

the army of the forgotten.

Over 30 years later,

a search and recovery mission

identified the crash site

and found my father's remains.

And now I feel drawn

to go looking for answers,

to a mystery that's been

with me my entire life.


I've been a professional

athlete for most of my life,

and that involves

continually prepping, training,

preparing for some sort

of adventure or race.

I'm pretty much always getting

ready for the next thing.


Rebecca, growing up, was

always attracted to challenge,

and she was always

doing things outside...

Riding a bike, roller-skating,

ice-skating on the pond,

riding ponies at the fair.

We went camping all the time.

It might have, at an early age,

started instilling the love

of what you can appreciate

out there.


Everyone who competes

at really extreme sports

like adventure racing,

climbing, ultra biking,

all these kind of sports,

requires a very high

tolerance to pain.

And consequently,

to participate in these races,

it was mostly by passion

and sacrifice.

No matter how good you are,

people who do these sports

have another job

because they just don't pay.

Back to my other job,

riding bikes.

Four-time Leadville

100 champion, Rebecca RUSCH!

Rebecca has

become a top athlete,

whereas I went

into the Air Force,

but yet you look

at our similarities.

We're both very, very driven.

We both have

probably more energy

than a lot of people

can tolerate.

We're both on a path

to find our dad.

All of my life, I've

learned if I prepare properly,

I can do almost anything

that I set my mind to achieve.

But this challenge,

this is totally different.


My father's plane was shot down

over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The trail is a massive

braided network

that runs through Vietnam,

Laos and Cambodia.

There are a ton of unknowns

I'm gonna need help with,

so I'm putting together

a team with a support crew

and a riding partner to piece

this whole thing together.

It'll be good to have somebody

that knows the area,

speaks the language.


I've known Rebecca

for over 10 years.

She's had

a great deal of success

as an athlete

in multiple sports.

This trip is something different

than anything she's done


and I hope she finds

what she's looking for.

The logistics for this

journey are incredibly complex...

The time on the bike,

distance traveled,

the heat of the jungle.

This'll be one of the more

difficult undertakings

that Rebecca's gone through.

My father's plane went down

on March 7th, 1972.

My goal is

to find his crash site,

and be there on the anniversary

of his death,

as my way to honor his memory.

By riding my bike there,

I will see more,

discover more,

fully immerse myself

in the place, in...

In some sort of way

to connect with him.

You driving?

I'll drive.


This trip, hands down,

will be the biggest undertaking,

the most ambitious thing

that I've ever attempted,

and I hope I'll actually be

able to find his crash site.

(AS STEPHEN) "June 5th, 1971.

"Dear Judy, Sharon, and Becky,

"I left California on Tuesday

"and spent 18 hours

"getting to the Philippines

via Alaska and Japan.

"It is not a trip

that I would care to do again.

"I have almost a week here

for survival school,

"and then I'm off to Da Nang

and serious stuff

"for most of next year.

"I'd like to hear from you

"a little more often

about the children.

"This is not easy for me

and that'll help.

Be good. Steve."



In order to get to the site

on the anniversary

of my father's crash,

we arrived in Hanoi

during the Vietnamese New Year.

I was anxious about

meeting my new teammate

and embarking

on such a big adventure

with a total stranger.

But I knew that riding

with someone from this area

could be a bridge to the

culture and really help me

understand what went on here.



When I heard about this project,

I felt excited,

because, for the nation

and people of Vietnam,

the Ho Chi Minh Trail

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Mark Anders

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Blood Road" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <>.

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