“You guys are mountain bike mad! A race circuit will never take off in Kenya.” That’s all we needed to hear to stir the cycling blood in us all way back in 2006 when Rift Valley Adventures hatched plans for a nationwide MTB race series.
RVA has always loved a challenge, particularly if it involves adventure, the outdoors, community, and a willing spirit. So in 2008 after careful planning the RVA MTB 6 Race series came into being. It was a huge challenge as there had to be something for everyone, at every race, be it tackling the first 3 day cycling race in Kenya – the Laikipia 3D, a big challenging single day journey up to 75km, or simply cycle in the family event where kids, parents, and grand parents all got involved. How did we do?
The Kenyan cycling community came out in force and threw their support behind us and we also helped many people get into biking. Good stuff hey!
With race entries routinely in triple figures, topping out at over 200 for some races, the press started showing up. The Kenya business sector picked up on this growing MTB trend and with a few sponsors on board the ‘mountain bike mad’ folk at RVA were really onto something. Numbers were building and so was the prize money. All up, a brilliant success.
Reading back through the old race reports, one cannot help but get the feeling of sheer satisfaction with cyclists lining up to test themselves every 2 months or so.
We explored all emotions, the sweat, the dust, tears, pain, elation and that was just setting up, imagine what the riders went through…exactly the same…. and we all carried big smiles at the end of every race. It wasn’t an exclusive club, far from it, open to everyone and anyone, no matter what ability, very typical of RVA’s philosophy - get out and enjoy the outdoors, we are always ready to help.
I sit here a bit older, hopefully a bit wiser (not sure on that one) and what did I learn operating the race series from 2008 to 2010 - there are great people everywhere, always willing to lend a hand and get behind your ideas. So don’t sit on your butt and wait for someone else to do it; if you have something to give then do it yourself. You never know what you can do until you try.
Whilst we did not single handedly raise cycling to where it is now in Kenya, RVA was certainly a big catalyst with many cycling firsts along the way. We simply loved doing it. And still do.
Mountain bike mad…….we certainly are!