Life After Team Rwanda

obed ruvogera

Obed Ruvogera, member of Team Rwanda Cycling

Sustainability is key to any successful effort that seeks to provide long-term solutions within developing nations.  At 50 Mile Ride, we’re pleased that Team Rwanda Cycling is taking steps to ensure the Team continues long into the future.  Obed Ruvogera, a member of Team Rwanda Cycling, is featured in this article written by Jock Boyer.  Jonathan “Jock” Boyer is the coach of Team Rwanda Cycling.  Jock was the first American to ride in the Tour de France in 1981. He came to Rwanda in 2006 as a guest of Tom Ritchey to assist with a local race.  At that race they spotted talent and amazing potential in the local athletes, and in February 2007 Jock moved to Rwanda and has grown the program every year.

Jock’s article follows: As an athlete gets closer and closer to the “end” of his career the reoccurring thought of what to do after he can no longer be competitive gets more and more intense. Even from the start of the team my thoughts were always thinking of what the riders could do as they end their careers. My constant hope was that they would be the ones to replace myself, along with  all those that have been part of setting up and keeping things going within Team Rwanda.  We started helping the riders get their drivers licenses in the very beginning. I left it up to the motivated riders to sign up and do the driving classes and a few opted up on it. A driver’s license will assure them a job in this country no matter what happens to them.

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 just strengthen the team and their position on the team. 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.

The first real evidence of this just happened when Kimberly was contacted by a Yoga instructor, Megan Leigh, from New York who was coming over to Musanze, our home town, to teach local women Yoga. Certified in both Yoga and massage, Megan reached out to us and asked if we would want her to teach our team Yoga? Kimberly had already started doing some Yoga within our stretching and core exercises right before dinner each night so this was a great opportunity for the boys to learn from an expert.

Obed yoga

Obed practicing his yoga

From the first lessons it was evident that Obed was gifted not only in just doing the exercises but more importantly understanding their importance and teaching them to the others. Within a few days he was attending Megan’s 4 hr afternoon classes after our team rides. In the evenings Obed started teaching the class to the riders and within a week he was able to teach a full 1 hr class, something Megan took almost a year to be able to do! The next step was teaching Obed massage which Megan started before she returned to the states.

I then contacted one of our team masseurs, Line’, who I take to some of our international events and who has a clinic and cycling team in South Africa. I needed a place to send Obed to get more cycling specific massage training and experience. Line accepted immediately and said she could put him directly to work with riders and would even take him to the Cape Epic MTB race to work with her team.

With Obed and his growing passion for massage and Yoga we have the first of many riders who will be integrated into the team as they reach their “retirement” age from competition. Obed will set the example and will be the proof that a rider has an integral place on the team even when he is not racing. I will no longer have to hire outside help when Team Rwanda goes to International races.  Obed, being a rider already knows what pains and fatigue a rider suffers from most so is the best possible choice as a masseur. Importantly too is the fact that he is Rwandan and there will be no language barrier in dealing with the riders. Obed will also be the best person to start training in country staff for this important element of sports. This is a significant breakthrough at Team Rwanda. Yes, it has taken time but the sustainability of the Team when we are gone is becoming more and more real.

The next important spots to fill are those of mechanics and coaching. Rafiki is already spending time with Maxime to get more hands on experience. Learning English is a priority before we can send some of the riders to get more vocational training. We have two English volunteers working at ISAE, the local university, who are teaching English to the team twice weekly. Two other volunteers, one from England who just arrived and one from the states are teaching more advanced English to smaller groups on the other nights.

We are at an exciting point with Team Rwanda; our future is really taking an active form. The more riders we get into the active workings of the team the more successful we will become.

By Jock Boyer, coach of Team Rwanda Cycling

Featuring OC Bicycle Garage

OCbikegarageWe’re pleased to announce that OC Bicycle Service & Garage is our featured sponsor for the month of February. Cory and Kelly say “We love Rwanda!”  And they are doing their part to make sure your bike is professionally dialed in for the Rwanda Ride.  For the entire month of February, Cory and his team of professional bike mechanics are offering a “Rwanda Ride Special”.  Receive 20% off any Bike Tune Up Package, or 20% off Entire Service.  They’ll also offer you 10% off parts when purchased with any Service Package. Just mention the “Rwanda Ride Special” when you come in to take advantage of this amazing offer.

Orange County Bicycle Service & Garage is the first of it’s kind to specialize in service and repair, providing a variety of services not available at most bicycle shops throughout the US.  In addition to traditional repairs by pro mechanics, OC Bike Garage allows customers the opportunity to work on their own bikes at their self-service Fix-It Stations (fully stocked with everything needed to repair bikes, including tools, air compressor, etc).  They also offer “ride-up service”, how-to classes, pick-up or delivery service, bike consignment services, and emergency roadside assistance.

Our 50 Mile Ride team thanks OC Bicycle Garage for their support – and we encourage you to stop by and take advantage of their generous offer!

New 50MR Event Jerseys Available

50mr club jersey

Italian-made jersey sweetness

New this year! We’ve designed our very own authentic one-of-a-kind 50 Mile Ride commemorative jersey.  It’s an Italian-made original from our friends at DNA Cycling.  Features include Air Max Fabric/100% poly micro blend, full front zipper, 3 back pockets, silicon side and back gripper, club-fit sizing.  Order yours today! Better yet, get all your riding buddies together and get outfitted.  You’ll look great while you support a great cause!  $75 each – ORDER YOURS HEREYou can also order a jersey when you register online NOTE:  Don’t delay!  Orders received before February 18 will arrive before our event and will be included in your rider bag at check-in.  Orders after February 18 will arrive after our event and we’ll coordinate will-call or shipping with you.

San Juan Huts Added to Prize List

san juan huts

View from Porcupine Rim

One of the most popular prizes in our Grand Prize Raffle Drawing is a 7 day and 6 night epic adventure trip in the San Juan Hut Systems.  This year we have not one, but TWO trips to awardHow sweet is this?

San Juan Hut Systems is a series of back country huts in the Rocky Mountains that lead you through spectacular Southwestern terrain.  The Colorado huts allow for lightweight travel while maintaining a self reliant adventure, providing skiers, bikers, hikers, and trail runners with an experience of a lifetime.
The most-epic of MTB adventures awaits you!  These two trips are valued at $850 each (trips to be awarded separately to two lucky winners).  Be sure to get some raffle tickets for your chance to win!

Here’s what the folks at SJHS have to say:  ‘San Juan Hut Systems’ mission is to provide low impact, human powered, lightweight back country travel opportunities for the independent health conscious adventurer at a practical price. We have devoted over twenty years to creating and defining destination hut-to-hut skiing and mountain bike travel. Both of our 215 mile mountain bike routes provide a premium minimalist experience for the do-it-yourself adventurer.”

“Our routes start in either Telluride, CO or Durango, CO and finish in the biking capitol of the states, Moab, Utah. Each hut is approximately 35 miles apart and is equipped with food, water, propane cook stove, and wood stove, sleep gear, and all cookware and utensils necessary. These routes follow dirt road and single-track from the high alpine tundra of the San Juan Mountains to the desert slick rock and canyon country of Utah. With the only destination hut-to-hut based system in the US, we provide the adventure of bike touring “without the weight” of supplies and gear by offering fully stocked huts with minimal route finding challenges.”

Training for 50MR? Try the Mountain Challenge

Looking for fun ways to put some training miles in before our Rwanda Ride event? Our friends at Enduro Stuff (makers of Okole Stuff, the best chamois cream ever) are hosting a brand NEW race event in the local mountains.  It’s the “Mountain Challenge 2012” and it takes place on March 17 (St Patty’s Day).  Yes, this one is a RACE, not a ride.  And it looks to be super fun!  It will be based at the Blue Jay Campground off Ortega Hwy in the mountains above Lake Elsinore, CA.  The race will go out of Blue Jay up the Main Divide (“The Wall”) down Trabuco Trail then up Holy Jim & back around the Main Divide to Blue Jay (25 mile loop and over 5000 feet of climbing).  There will be prizes for all categories, and lunch is included.  Best of all, a portion of the proceeds will benefit our good friends at the Warriors Society, in support of all the great trail work and advocacy they do on behalf of mountain biking.  More info and registration HERE

Meet Team Rwanda Cyclist Janvier

Janvier2YOU are making a difference when you ride in our event! To drive this point home, we want you to get to know some of the lives YOU are impacting in Rwanda. We plan to feature a Team Rwanda cyclist each month leading up to our event. This month, we’re pleased to introduce you to Janvier Hadi

Janvier Hadi is a new addition to Team Rwanda. In April of 2011 he won the Kigali to Butare Single Speed Race and earned the right to come to Musanze (our training headquarters) to test. He tested quite well, had an excellent pedal stroke and fit the bill for an up and coming cyclist, tall, thin and young. He was 19, our youngest rider on the team. Interestingly, he was mentored by one of our veteran riders, Gasore Hategeka, who was featured in an article in this summer’s New Yorker by Philip Gourevitch, Climbers. They were also roommates.

Janvier was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1991, however, he’s Rwandan. He was most likely born in the DRC as tensions were building leading up to the 1994 genocide and his family had crossed the border fleeing for their safety.

Janvier has only a primary school education but is very smart. He is a quiet young man, but always eager to learn and to try new things. This past week he learned from coach how to test other young riders on the Velotron.

janvierJanvier has shown such incredible promise. He made the top team for Team Rwanda for the 2011 Tour of Rwanda, Team Rwanda Karisimbi, as a rookie and had a very strong showing. Based on Janvier’s performance, he was selected as the third rider to attend the UCI training camp in South Africa in February and March along with his former roommate, Gasore and veteran rider, Nicodem. Sending Janvier to training camp in South Africa is essential to his growth as a rider. It is also very expensive. The fee for camp is $3,250. The plane ticket and insurance add up to another $1,000. This will be Janvier’s first time on a plane and first time outside Rwanda since his birth. He will come back in April transformed.

The week before training camp coach Jonathan Boyer was invited to Janvier’s hometown to see his new house he bought with the winnings from the Tour of Rwanda. He bought the house for his family…a family of seven! Janvier is another young rider giving hope to all the young boys…and girls…in Rwanda, hope that they too can make a difference to their family and even their country through cycling.  (article by Kimberly Moszyk Coats, Team Rwanda Cycling)

Grand Prize Bike Announced

niner rdo

The sweetest carbon full suspension ever?

We’re so excited we can barely contain ourselves. We just landed your 2012 50 Mile Ride Grand Prize Raffle bike.  Introducing the Jet 9 RDO, Niner’s first carbon full suspension frame.

“Quite possibly the sexiest full-suspension mountain bike ever made”. Those are my words (Doug), and you can quote me.
In the words of Niner Bikes themselves: The looks may attract your eye, and the CVA suspension may appeal to your intellectual side, but the design features of the Jet 9 RDO will convince the luxury lover in you to take the plunge.
•    Carbon full suspension from the only 29er only mountain bike company
•    Patented CVA suspension is efficient in every chainring. You won’t find this design on other bikes.
•    100mm of race-ready rear suspension
•    Compatible with 100 – 120mm tapered forks
•    Custom valved Fox Float RP23 with Kashima coating
•    Custom forged suspension linkage and unique Niner suspension hardware
•    Next generation internal cable routing
•    Precise alloy hardware interfaces for brakes and derailleurs

Want to win this carbon beauty? You just need to buy some Grand Prize Raffle Tickets, and then sit back for your number to be called on event day.  Best of all – we’ll wait until you win it before we build it. That way you can pick out the proper frame size (and even the color!) so your RDO fits you like a glove.  We’ll be outfitting this racing machine with full XT components and a sweet Stan’s Arch wheelset with DT Swiss hubs and a Reba fork.  Here’s your chance to win a $6000 bike for just a $20 ticket!

Thank you Niner Bikes, Shimano and Derek Melberg from RideRep Sales Group for making this sweet Grand Prize possible.

New Year’s Special at Two Wheels One Planet

twopLet’s get this new year off to a great start!  We’re pleased to welcome Two Wheels One Planet as our featured event sponsor for the month of January 2012. Kristen Lawrence and her team at Two Wheels One Planet (TWOP) have been proud supporters of our 50 Mile Ride event for the past three years.  TWOP is offering all Rwanda Riders a special discount for the month of January:  10% off all regularly priced bikes! Simply mention “Rwanda Ride” to receive your special discount (valid from Jan 1 thru Jan 31, 2012).

TWOP is one of the area’s longest standing bike shops, serving the cycling community for over 40 years.  With two locations in Orange County (Costa Mesa and Lake Forest), they have you covered for all things cycling.  Says Kristen “We truly love the partnership we have developed with Doug and the Project Rwanda Ride.  We could not think of a better way to give back!  Supporting such a great cause and promoting the cycling lifestyle within our community is a win-win!”  Like our Rwanda Ride team, TWOP shares a passion for two wheels and we all strive to be great advocates for cycling safety and responsibility to each other and our environment.  Kristen and her team hope to see you in person at one of their stores soon!  Meantime, they encourage you to Get Out and Ride Our Planet!  Thank you to our friends at Two Wheels One Planet.

Surf City Cyclery – Dream Bikes & More

surfcityOKSurf City Cyclery is our featured event sponsor for the month of December.  Owner Sean Flynn and his team joined our event last year, and they’re back this year bigger and better than ever.  Surf City is offering all Rwanda Ride participants and friends a special December offer:  20% off all apparel.  Just go to either of their two Orange County locations (Huntington Beach or Costa Mesa), mention “Project Rwanda Discount” and receive 20% off all apparel items (offer good from Dec 1 through Dec 31, 2011).  Now is the time to stock up on your winter riding gear!

Surf City Cyclery was recently featured in Bicycle Retailer magazine.  Their shop delivered the first-of-its-kind limited edition S-Works McLaren Venge “dream bike” to one very special customer.  (Check out the complete story at the end of this article).  But don’t worry, Specialized is making more of these dream bikes – and for the right price, you can own one too.  By the way, Surf City sells a complete line of bikes at all levels and prices – so you can find your dream bike regardless of the size of your dream.

Be sure to visit Surf City Cyclery soon to thank them for their support of 50 Mile Ride – and of course, to shop for those great apparel deals too!

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VengeMcLarenComplete text of S-Works McLaren Venge news release:
Not so long ago, concept bikes were built specifically to push design boundaries and capture the attention and imagination of riders. Many of their ideas and technologies eventually trickled-down years later, but most riders have never had access to these game-changing engineering marvels in their state-of the-art form.

Following the successful launch and victory of the S-Works + McLaren Venge at this year’s Milan San Remo, there was a shift. Riders who realized the performance benefits of the technology built into the bike, and understood the $18,000 price tag, could finally own the most advanced race bikes to ever hit the UCI circuit. Within minutes of Matt Goss’ win, riders rushed to their local Specialized Concept Stores to claim their place in line for the fastest UCI-legal road bike ever made.

As Venge’s season continued, winning the Tour’s Green Jersey and taking Worlds in Copenhagen, demand only increased.

Well, the day has finally come. Surf City Cyclery delivered the first of these exclusive, limited production super-bikes to its first rider this Thursday – only we can’t reveal who it is, because he’s decided that the new bike will be a Christmas gift for a lucky member of his family!

“He’s our best customer,” said Sean Flynn, owner of Huntington Beach’s Surf City Cyclery. “He’s a Specialized devotee, drives a McLaren, and has a great history with our shop. He was literally the first person through our door after the race, asking for one of these bikes. As it turns out, his was the first ordered in the country, too. In this case especially, being a Concept Store, located where we are, certainly has its privileges.”

As the first bike created in what eventually became a formal partnership between Specialized and McLaren Applied Technologies, the S-Works + McLaren Venge has enjoyed undeniably the best rookie season ever for any bike in the pro peloton.

“The Venge is a very special bike – created to integrate a measurable aerodynamic  benefit into a UCI-legal road race platform that offers class-leading stiffness and pedaling efficiency – then McLaren took it to another level!” said Director of USA Marketing Andrew Hammond.

“Specialized has some of the best composite engineers and designers in the cycling industry. The S-Works Venge itself is incredibly impressive. Around the time we finalized the design, the guys at McLaren were looking for a bike project to work on, and they approached us to see if there was something they could add some firepower to. This bike is the result.”

Before Venge, the idea of owning a bike created with the engineering horsepower of McLaren was limited to dreamers, pro athletes and the well-connected. With the S-Works + McLaren Venge, everyday riders are getting ready to receive their McLaren Venge through a local Specialized Concept Store.

Rock N Road – Featured Sponsor

Rock N Road Cyclery is our featured event sponsor for the month of November.  Rock N Road has been a loyal supporter of our event ever since the beginning, and we really appreciate their sponsorship.  They’ve got four locations in Orange County, so there’s bound to be one near you.  If you’re in the neighborhood, check out their original Mission Viejo store – newly remodeled into a premier concept store.  Rock N Road is offering Rwanda Riders a special discount for the month of November – 20% off on any light system. Print the coupon attached and take to any of their stores to redeem before November 30.  Thank you to our friends at Rock N Road!