Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rocky Reifenstuhl

Alaskan endurance racing legend Rocky Reifenstuhl has died at the age of 61.  Rocky often competed in serious Alaskan endurance events such as the Iditabike, the Wilderness Classic, the Equinox Marathon and numerous biking events.  One of the most common reactions from fellow racers when discussing Rocky was disbelief at his incredible ability to endure pain, severe weather and inclement conditions in the wilderness.  He pushed competitors harder than anyone else and did not hesitate to seize any advantage he could get. Rocky was unphased by racing challenges and his ability to push through difficulty often left rivals shaking their heads. 

I had the privilege of competing in two of the same Wilderness Classic races as Rocky , including the now legendary 2002 snowstorm Wrangell's race.  Although I never had a serious chance at challenging his speed and skill, my race partner and I stayed close for many miles.  My respect for Rocky's speed and skill at wilderness travel grew considerably during that race as we tried to maintain his pace. 

Rocky is the type of racer that makes Alaskan endurance racing great.  Racers are only as great as their rivals and Rocky drove everyone who competed against him to their highest possible level of performance.  Rest in peace, Rocky. 

Here are a couple links to articles about Rocky's life.
Rocky Reifenstuhl - News Miner Article 1
Rocky Reifenstuhl - News Miner Article 2

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