It’s 1994 and Rwanda, a land locked country on the Eastern side of Africa, just on the Equator, was in the midst of one of the worst genocides in history.
In 100 days more than 1 million Tutsis were slaughtered, representing about 70% of their population.
At that time a bicycle = life. If you had a bicycle you might escape the slaughter. If you had a bicycle you could try to make your way to safety, too afraid to look back at the staggering and stomach churning displays of man’s inhumanity to man.
A documentary called Rising from the Ashes details how some of those survivors were given a reason to hope by cycling legend Jock Boyer (the first American to enter the Tour de France and a member of the United States Cycling Hall of Fame) as he helped a fledgling Rwandan cycling team not only get off the ground, but also, amazingly, managing to attend the London Olympics in 2012. The riders of Team Rwanda gave their countrymen a vision of something greater than themselves and their history; hope for the future.
Scroll forwards to 2017 and the Rwandan Cycling Team will be racing at this year’s inaugural Colorado Classic pro cycling race
Join me as I talk to Jock Boyer about the movie, the team and the race.