095 – 1st Ever Rwanda Enduro In East Africa
Moses King & Simon Blake – Pushing MTB Forward in East Africa
On episode #95 we are chatting with Moses King and Simon Blake, part of the crew behind starting and making the first enduro race in Rwanda happen. The race took place over the 24-26 May 2019 so we are a little late getting this out to you guys. We tried a number of times to make it happen with the majority of the organisers involved, getting everybody on one call. We first tried straight after the race but we couldn’t get a strong enough internet connection to make this happen. I wanted to try and do it this way because we done it after the Elgon Enduro Uganda, episode #75 (listen here) and it worked out great. But sadly as soon as the race was over people headed home and between time zones and internet connections we just couldn’t get it to work. It was not for the lack of trying. I think this was the fourth attempt.
Finally I got the chance to hook up with Moses and Simon to have a chat about how the Rwanda Enduro came to be, how long it took to organise, what the trails were like, how popular it was with competitors and locals and how the scene in East Africa has evolved over the last couple of years. Simon has been on the podcast a number of times as he is the Sports Director For African MTB & Cycling Development, so anytime we have had a podcast episode from Africa (and there have been a few, see below).
Simon is involved and comes on the show to tell us about it. However the birth of the Rwanda Enduro is mostly down to Moses. Moses emailed me a number of months ago after listening to the African episodes on the podcast asking advise about how to start an enduro in Africa. I advised him to get in contact with Simon and talk it over. After a number of emails they had came up with a plan and things started to happen.
The crazy thing about this whole process is, Moses is only 15 years old. He is 15 years old and has organised his first enduro! When I was 15 I was floating about in the clouds somewhere and would not have had the faintest notion of doing something as challenging or time consuming as starting an enduro race. So if you think you are to young (or to old) just have a listen and see how they do it in Africa. If you have ever thought about starting your own enduro race or you are just interested in how this whole process works, put your feet up tune in and enjoy the show!
- Why & how the Rwanda Enduro started
- Why a 15 year old kid wanted to start his own Enduro race
- How you start the ball rolling to start an enduro
- How Moses pulled in help to get this done
- How the locals became trail builders
- Why Rene from Rad Rides Mtb had a huge part to play
- How this was funded with not much sponsorship
- What the trails were like
- How hard and challenging the Rwanda trails can be
- Why most people were riding and racing the trails for the first time
- How these type of races effect the local businesses for the good
- How the African MTB scene has been growing over the last couple of years
- What is new and happening in the near future with MTB in Africa
- How to get in contact and ride or race in East Africa
It still blows my mind how the MTB scene has been growing over the last number of years in East Africa. And none of this would be happening if it was not for people such as, Simon Blake, Will Clark, Becky Summers, Adam Davis, Peter Horsey, James Savage, Rene, Devil Armit but to name a few. The names go on and on. These key people are spending many hours of their own time on making things happen both on the road racing side of things and the mountain bike scene, and things seem to be moving in the correct direction. As far as enduro races go, the scene has grown from 2 to 8 events over the last two years. That is an amazing accomplishment to make this happen in a country like Africa. We have it easy in Europe compared to these guys in Africa. There are no real trail networks at times, no abundance of volunteers, not many competitors to help pay entrance fees and help fund the event (though numbers are now growing at each event).
A lot of the time these races are self funded, so not only do you put a load of time into the organisation of making this happen but you have to spend your own money to accomplish it. And for what? Well for these guys it’s not for any kind of reward. It’s for the shire love of mountain biking, of bringing this community together, seeing smiling faces and people enjoying themselves doing what they love. And when local kids get involved and show a massive interest, well that just makes it all that much better. At the end of the day these guys are helping not just themselves have a great time but they are helping local businesses, local workers and local kids get on a bike and have an awesome experience, something that bikes bring us all.
Tune in and see how these leading people are changing things in Africa through the power of community and mountain bikes.
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Thanks so much to Moses and Simon for coming on the show and keeping us updated on the East African MTB scene.
And thank you once again for Listening.
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show!