Sarah Max, Griffin Easter, Sam Hansen and Thiago Costa stand on top of the overall QSR podium
KETCHUM, Idaho (September 4, 2023) – Rebecca’s Private Idaho (RPI) celebrated its 11th year with nearly 900 riders on Sunday, September 4. Along with the third stage of the race, riders lined up for three individual single-stage distances; the 102-mile Baked Potato, 56-mile French Fry and 20-mile Tater Tot.
Mother Nature held off (mostly) and riders were greeted with overcast skies and moderate temps. A few sprinkles throughout the day made for tacky roads and Roubaix-like conditions. It also made for stunning photography.
Eager to get the 102-mile race started, the pros showed up ready to ride with stage wins and overall titles on the line. Michael Van Den Ham put on quite the performance to be crowned champion of the Queen’s Stage Race by the Queen of Pain herself, while Griffin Easter held on for the overall stage race title.
On the women’s side, Cecily Decker and Sarah Max marked each other for 99 miles before Decker called upon her alpine racing roots to attack on the final downhill, holding off a hard-charging Max over the final rollers to eke out a stage win.
Winners of the day and overall were equally gracious with each other, complimenting each others’ abilities and sportsmanship. Michael Van Den Ham remarked that RPI was “the perfect event for families AND for top-notch competition,” while both third-place Baked Potato winner and overall champion Griffin Easter noted the caliber of the competition, the camaraderie-like nature of the week, and that ultimately, the margins of victory were incredibly small which made racing exciting and fun for fans and athletes alike.
Upon crossing the Baked Potato finish line in second, Max immediately sought out Decker for a grimy hug, then laughing out loud while telling Decker how ridiculously talented she was and shaking her head in disbelief at Decker’s overall game, but most notable, her descending skills.
Founder of the event, Rebecca Rusch, reflected on the last 11 years of RPI and the power of bikes to affect personal transformation: “I truly believe you grow when you do something hard and you bond when you do it with other people around you. Watching the new connections develop and old friends who only see each other here once a year reconnect means more to me than any podium I have been on. Cycling can change the world, and this is an example of that.”
Women QSR Overall: Sarah Max
Men QSR Overall: Griffin Easter
Non-Binary QSR Overall: Sam Hansen
Men Para-Cycling (upright) QSR Overall: Thiago Costa