Team Rwanda is a beacon of hope. The riders are an inspiration to those who learn their stories. When I met the team this past Saturday morning, they were rolling out for a 5 hour training ride in preparation for this week’s Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon. For most of the riders, their arrival here just the day before marked their first trip to the United States. The team is coached by my long-time friend, former professional cyclist Sterling Magnell, who graciously invited me to photograph the team during their stay here in Oregon.
The six riders here are representing the Rwandan National Team, and are a contingent of a larger team back home. The six young men are:
Jean Paul Rene Uwikiniwabo
Jean Claude Uwizeye
Jean Bosco Nsengimana
Today the team was pre-riding what will be Stage One of this week’s race, in just five short days. The route summits McKenzie Pass, outside of Sisters, and offers some supremely beautiful landscapes snaking through conifer forests and lava flows.
Once the team reached the crest of McKenzie Pass, Sterling debriefed the team a bit on what they can expect during the race. Food and water was taken on board for the ride back to their host housing in Bend.
After showers and a post-ride snack, the team gathered on the deck at their host-house dived into some care packages provided by adidas with new shoes, slides, apprel, and travel bags.
After spending the day with Team Rwanda, their support staff, and those in Bend who are making this trip possible for them, I’m so excited for both the riders and the program! Everyone is amazing and you couldn’t ask for a more deserving group to cheer for. I’m looking forward to following the team from afar this week, and will be returning this coming Saturday to photograph the Stage 4 criterium.