Last year, in those waning days before the Covid-19 pandemic fell hard upon the world, I spent a week documenting Rebecca Rusch’s fat bike adventure on Alaska’s Iditarod Trail, and the result is Rebecca’s brand new short film, Distant Dharma: Teachings From the Iditarod Trail.
This was her second time attempting the Iditarod Trail Invitational ultra winter endurance race, it was also my repeat to film and photograph her during this incredibly challenging event.
The previous year, in what was essentially my first professional video project ever, I covered her 2019 rookie ride in the ITI, which earned me a Director of Photography credit in the Outside TV film called Rusch to Alaska: Iditarod Trail Invitational.
For last year’s 2020 race, Rebecca was anticipating a strong start. However, a mere 30 minutes into the race, she made a critical navigational error, which set her back and suddenly shifted her entire perspective and set the tone for the incredibly brutal conditions that she would face during the coming week.
As with the 2019 race, I was her principal filmmaker and photographer, as I leapfrogged to a few of the checkpoints by bush plane and regional flights, following her progress up the trail, and shooting both video and stills with my Fujifilm X Series cameras and lenses.
I’m incredibly proud and excited to be such an integral part of Rebecca’s Alaska experiences. In the brief two and half years that I’ve known her, we’ve become close friends and kindred spirits.
Not only is she a fierce competitor who continues to forge a dedicated path, she’s dedicated much of her life and professional efforts these days towards helping make the world a better place by inspiring courage and confidence in her followers. I try to do the same with photography and creativity.
Rebecca is out on the trail right now, and you can follow her progress in the 2021 Iditarod Trial race here.