Interview with Abraham Ruhumuriza, Team Rwanda’s cyclist
One of the extraordinary members of Team Rwanda reflects on life, cycling and the team he is a part of.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Abraham Ruhumuriza and I am cyclist with Team Rwanda.
When you were growing up as a boy in Rwanda, did you ever ride a bike?
As a matter of fact, I did. I was lucky because my dad had a bike. He would lend it to me to run errands or to just take a ride. I didn’t have my own bike as a boy, though.
Do you remember the first time you competed in a bike race?
I remember it very well. It was in 1999. I was riding a single speed bike, my first race bike, and I finished a sixty-five kilometer race.
How does cycling make you feel?
That all depends on when and where I am cycling. Training, for instance, is very different from competing. When you’ve been riding regularly and training, competing is easy, but that also depends on who you are competing against! Sometimes you come up against tough competitors and sometimes you come up against people who are easy to beat. That’s the nature of competition.
In your opinion, what has changed in Rwanda during your lifetime? I mean both in terms of cycling and people’s day-to-day lives.
When I was a child, the only foreigners I saw in Rwanda were from Tanzania and Congo. What has changed is that Rwanda now receives regular visitors from over eighteen countries, places like Kenya, Uganda, Algeria, South Africa… This shows how much we’ve developed.
In terms of cycling, when I first started riding, cycling was not that big of a deal. But now cycling has become a really important sport and a way to improve people’s lives.
When did you start with Team Rwanda and what was it like for you when you started?
I started with Team Rwanda in 2008. An American named Jock Boyer had come to Rwanda and he was training the national team. We started to train with him. We no longer had to use just any old bike we were able to get our hands on; he got us new professional bikes. Jock entered us into national competitions every chance he got. Then we went from the national level to the international level. This is how Team Rwanda evolved; now we are all professionals.
How do you train? What is your training schedule?
All training is done in our training camp here in Ruhegeri. This where the team comes to train every Monday. We all ride here on Monday. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays we all ride together to different locations across Rwanda. Then on Fridays, we get on our bikes and ride home. This is how we train.
What is on your mind when you are racing?
When I’m racing, there is only one thing on my mind: my desire to win.