[Note: this blog was written and intended to be posted on Thanksgiving however due to the lack of internet it’s a day late, apologies!] Happy Thanksgiving America! We are now in Butare which is in the southern part of Rwanda. Internet yesterday was very hard to come by and we completed an epic stage (well, I called it a day at 40 miles) but regardless the miles are making it harder to think coherently at the end of the day and sleep is vital due to our early mornings. I have been keeping notes however and will update more about the smaller things as well as get more photos posted when I’m state-side, promise! (I could handle staying up until almost midnight while we weren’t riding the stages…but now…sleep is crucial and the internet is too painfully slow!) I’ve got a great story about my attempt to use my plumbing skills in Kigali (of which I have none) and Bobby’s amazing negotiation skills for 1 banana in the Kigali market. So…stay tuned!
Again, I cannot emphasize enough the encouragement and support we have received along the way. It’s amazing to see kids running barefoot up the mountains screaming “courage” and “mizungo” (mizungo is what they call white people, I’m guessing similar to Gringo but they say it with huge smiling faces so we take it as a good thing).
We’ve also been able to race with and get challenged by Rwandan men on bikes up and down the mountains (see photo above – this man kept on telling me “Man United” on Wednesday’s ride, I thought that theme was appropriate for a pre-turkey day ride!). These men are incredibly strong and super friendly…and give us a run for our money while we’re suffering and panting up these hills. Their bikes must weigh 35 pounds, are made of solid steel, have rusty chains, AND they’re riding in flip flops. All the while keeping up with us in our shiny 15 pound carbon fiber bikes, it’s pretty humbling. Today we actually accumulated about 3 or so guys and had a bit of a group ride going for about 30 or more km, it was brilliant (and yes I’ve been rooming with a British woman for the last week)!
Later on in the ride Phil and Bobby began to race with a guy in an Adidas jump suit, launching attacks and pretty much getting their butts kicked. So all in all, even though we’re not in the race, we’ve found ways to keep ourselves entertained (Rwanda has plenty of county/city lines to race to!) and have had a great time riding the mountains of Rwanda.
And of course an update on the race standings! Team Type 1 currently holds the yellow jersey by Joey and Kiel is still in second place after Stage 5 (which ended in a group finish for the relatively “flat” 75k ride). Kiel pulled out an epic finish again yesterday in Stage 4 with Joey coming in 4th. As the race announcer says, we’re Team Type 1! Not Team Type 2 not Team Type 3….BUT TEAM TYPE 1!!! [although I do want to correct him and tell him that well, yes, we are Team Type 2 as well representing the many people living with Type 2 Diabetes and with proper diet and exercise and meds if needed you can conquer the disease AND not to mention our racers on Team Type 2 totally kick ass, but, for the race we’re #1 baby!]