When I started first testing riders here, in 2007, there was only one whose name kept cropping up: Ruhumuriza. Despite the continual mentions, he was nowhere to be seen. I even found out that he was a local of Butare, the town where I lived at the time. Not only that, but his bike was one that he borrowed from Tim Schilling, who was the father of the family that I was living with.
Jock Boyer's blog
As an athlete gets closer and closer to the “end” of his career, the recurring thought of what to do after he can no longer be competitive becomes increasingly intense. From the start of this team, my thoughts have always been what the riders can do after their racing days are over. My constant hope has been that they will be the ones to replace me and all who have been part of setting up and maintaining Team Rwanda.
We started helping the riders to get their drivers’ licenses in the very beginning. I left it up to the motivated ones to sign up and take the driving classes, and a few opted in to it. A driver’s license will assure them of a job in this country no matter what happens.
More importantly though, is their motivation to do something within the team. To have riders take over the positions of coaching, cooking, nutrition, massage, administration and mechanics would strengthen the team and their position on it. I cannot push them to do things that they are not drawn to, so I let it happen naturally and leave opportunities open for them to take.
Coming off the heels of our breakout year in 2011, Team Rwanda is already well into planning for 2012. Our biggest event this year undoubtedly will be Adrien Niyonshuti’s participation in the London Olympic Games in the XC Mountain Biking Event. Adrien is preparing for this event with several mountain bike races the first quarter of the year capping off the quarter with the Cape Epic, a race he took best African and finished 9th overall last year; his best showing.
Training camps will gear up first thing after the New Year. The riders will be making their way to Musanze on January 9th for a series of 36 week long camps in 2012.
The 2011 Edition of the Tour of Rwanda was the most successful Tour to date for Team Rwanda. This year Team Rwanda fielded two teams, Team Rwanda Karisimbi (named for a Volcano in Rwanda) and Team Rwanda Akagera (named for the country’s game park).
Karisimbi consisted of veteran riders, Nathan, Nicodem, Gasore, Abraham, Emmanuel and our newest young phenom, Janvier, the 20 year old roommate of Gasore. Akagera was represented by veterans Rafiki, Obed, David and Rocky along with two new riders, Emile and Joseph, both of whom were bicycle taxi drivers just months ago. Adrien Niyonshuti, our top rider and Olympian, rode for his South African Team, MTN Qhubeka, who came to Rwanda for the first time to support Adrien.
Every Monday afternoon riders trickle in to the Team Rwanda training camp in Musanze, Rwanda. These young men, and now a few young women, travel to this small town in the Virunga Volcanoes area from all over the country, some from as far as 200+kms away. They come to train to be the best cyclists in Rwanda, for a chance to represent their country in international races, and in the annual Tour of Rwanda. In addition to the actual race/cycling training they also receive three nutritionally engineered meals a day, good beds, and hot showers—a luxury the majority do not have at home. They also have been introduced to nightly yoga/stretching lessons and of course, one of our core priorities, lessons in English.