More than Mud - Rebecca "Sidetrack" Rossi

"I live, breathe, eat and sleep OCR ... I caught the bug!!!!" 

More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events.  They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.


The Sidetrack Race Resume

  • Tri State Spartan Sprint 6/7/14 7th Elite Female
  • Tri State Spartan Sprint #2 6/7/14 20th Elite Female
  • Tri State Spartan Sprint #2 6/8/14 10th Elite Female
  • 6/28/14 Con Spartan Sprint Mohegan Sun 20th Elite Female
  • 7/13/2014 Spartan Pa Sprint 6th Elite Female
  • Spartan Pa Sprint 7/12/2014 15th Elite Female
  • 7/19/2014 MudmanX 10K 1st Elite Female
  • 8/2/14 Battlefrog 15k 4th Elite Female
  • 8/9/2014 Mud ManX 10K 1st Elite Female
  • 8/23/14 Virginia Super Spartan 14th Elite Female
  • 9/6/14 NJ Super Spartan 25th Elite Female
  • 9/7/14 NJ Super Spartan 14th Elite Female
  • 47th Elite Female in the 2014 Spartan Beast World Championship
How did you get your nickname, Sidetrack?
Back in 2003 I hiked the Appalachian Trail, a 2100+ mile trail which starts in Georgia, ends in Maine and takes about 5.5 months to complete.  People who try hiking the entire trail are known as "Thru-Hikers", and earn unique "Trail Names" by fellow thru-hikers.  I was given the handle “Sidetrack” because when I talk to people I tend to get off topic quite a bit before finally answering a question or finishing a thought.  Just talk to me for a minute and you will understand exactly why I have this name. Wait, what were we talking about?  
What is the favorite race experience you can remember?
The Vermont Beast 2014.  This was my first year racing elite and was an EPIC way to end the Spartan Race Season!  The (Obstacle Course Race) or OCR Community has not only help me become a stronger racer, but a stronger person as well.  Right from my first elite race in Tuxedo NY, I was welcomed into this wonderful community with open arms by so many dedicated athletes.  Both seeing familiar faces at every race and meeting new people who share the same passion are some of the best aspects of racing.  This tight knit community gives me the motivation and drive to want to keep racing and challenging myself.   The reason that this is my favorite race experience is because I saw a complete change, from night to day, from the race held at this venue the year before.  I felt amazing the entire race, which basically summed up the entire year of training.  I was able to determine when my body needed fuel or water by the way it felt.  I was cheered on by fellow athletes as we saw each other on the course.  Hearing my names (Both "Rebecca" and "Sidetrack") being called out gave me an extra surge of energy that helped push me along the course.  It was just as awesome to be able to cheer on fellow racers as we passed by one another!  I realized how many wonderful people I met during my first year of racing and how we welcomed and loved I feel by everyone I have met so far!  

What has been your toughest race? 
My toughest race was by far the Vermont Beast in 2013.  I had just entered the OCR world and decided to give it a try.  Needless to say I had no idea just how hard a race could be. Being from New Jersey I had only been on mountains as large as Mount Killington in Vermont (which is where the race was held) while I was hiking 10 years ago.  I never would have imagined that climbing up a Double Black Diamond Ski Slope would be part of a race.  Little did I know that was just the beginning....  The course was brutal, not only did we climb up and down the mountain several times, we had to carry sandbags, a bucket of rocks and a log up and down parts of the mountain as well.   I was not going to let the Beast beat me - so I just kept moving one foot in front of the other.  (Sidetrack - While hiking on the Appalachian Trail a phrase that we often used was "Keep on Keeping on.." This phrase helped me get through the race). It was my 3rd Spartan Race of the year and my very first year racing at all.  I had my eye on the Trifecta medal and nothing was gonna stop me from that goal.  I put one foot in front of the other and never stopped moving.  From that point on I was hooked.  (Open Results 2nd Female and17th Place Overall 5 Hours 14 Minutes 55 seconds)  


Do you practice specific obstacles before an OCR event?
Yes.  I have built 2 spears and practice throwing them at a target.  I also incorporate the monkey bars  at the local park and the rope climb at my Crossfit Box into my training routines.   I found a lot of what I learn as far as training for specific obstacles, I learn when I am on the actual course.     

What inspires and drives you to compete?
Our bodies are amazing machines.  With the right training, we can do just about anything. I love the challenge, both mental and physical.  I enjoy listening to my body and getting a better understanding of what it needs to be able to keep going further and harder.  Each race is a new adventure.  As an athlete we can train our bodies to take us further and faster than we have ever gone.   I embrace the entire process.   Sidetrack - At the start of every race each runner is given a bracelet with their starting time on it.  I still am wearing mine from the Beast in 2013.  I never took it off because I wanted to have a reminder that anything was possible if you put your mind and heart into it.  When people ask me about the band on my wrist, I proudly say "It is a reminder of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life..." 
Have you always been into fitness, and if not, what was the turning point for you?
I started running back in college as a way to keep in shape and I liked the way I could clear my head and organize my thoughts when I ran.  

Who are you outside of racing, and what are you passionate about?
Racing has become my passion. So to best answer this question I would have to say I am a full fledged OCR ADDICT.  Most of my day involves some part of training for races.  I do run a lot - I have a real love for the endurance aspect of these races.  Most of my gym routines are designed to help me tackle the obstacles along the course.  

What would be your ultimate pump up song when you are at the starting line?

Crazy Train by Ozzy!!  We have to be a little CRAZY to do this for fun!!!!


What's next for you - what are your goals in 2015? 
To continue to learn how to better myself as an athlete.  I am proud of how far I have come with one year of training, I want to see where 2015 will take me!  

Anything else you'd like to ad?
Before I ran my first OCR, I thought I was in pretty good shape.  After I completed the Beast in 2013 I knew I wanted to be in better shape!  I started researching on endurance training and reading on nutrition.  I began training my body for racing longer distances and being physically stronger.  OCR has changed my life.  I never thought I could run with the Elite Racers. I am just your average Jersey Girl with a passion and love for this sport.  I have learned that anything is possible as long as you are consistent with the work you put in.  I am 37 years old and in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!!  

1 comment

  • Lori Demsey

    You rock!! Keep kicking ass!

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