We are very excited to have a new honorary team member racing US MTB for Team Rwanda Cycling!
A few weeks ago Team Africa Rising received a large order for Team Rwanda Cycling gear along with a note from the purchaser, Adam Bucklin. Adam told us he wanted to “race” for Team Rwanda this season in the US and donate all his race winnings to the team. We thought…heck, we need to learn more about this angel on two wheels. Here’s getting to know Adam Bucklin, 41, a serious TRC fan, friend and honorary team member #teamisteam
How did you learn about Team Rwanda?
After a cold hard training ride I stumbled across Rising From Ashes on Netlix while looking for a quick show during lunch. I thought I would watch 15 minutes of it. I didn’t move for 2 hours! That was the first time I had heard of Team Rwanda.
How long have you been a cyclist?
I have always loved riding my bike. I started riding a two-wheeled bike at age 3. During college in 1995, I started riding competitively as a beginner Mountain Bike racer. I had a roommate who was an expert Mountain Bike racer. The Mountain Bike racing sounded super cool and very hard. I was a big muscled, heavy guy in College and everyone laughed at me when I told them I was going to join the College cycling team.
What made you decide to want to “race” for Team Rwanda?
For a very long time I have always felt that the best cyclists on Earth probably don’t even have access to a bicycle. Rising From Ashes confirmed my belief 100%!
Cycling is dominated by the wealthy, something that really irked me in my 20’s when I was working hard as a carpenter and trying to race my bike. I never had enough money for the best equipment; I raced used bikes and even borrowed bikes in the beginning. I was the only guy on group rides with down tube shifters for years, and not by choice. But I was still faster than most everyone on the group rides.
My struggles as a young racer were hard, however they were nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what the Rwandan athletes had to survive, and continue to go through in Rwanda. Seeing how happy the athletes were on the bike, any bike really touched me. Because in the end cycling isn’t about the equipment or the results, it’s about the freedom the bicycle gives every individual who swings a leg over it, the world seems to go away briefly. I think we as cyclists all live for the euphoric moment when the bike and rider become one. I could see these emotions coming through on the athletes’ faces. Seeing the athletes’ joys with no hidden agenda of their own, nothing but absolute appreciation for the opportunity to be on the team made me want to represent Team Rwanda, and do what I can for them in my last years as a competitive cyclist.
And you purchased ALL the gear we have to be fully kitted out?!
That is correct. I purchased all my own gear and will continue to do so to support the Team. All the money I win this year will be donated to Team Rwanda without question!
What do you hope will happen this season both personally and for Team Rwanda by racing for us? i.e., encourage others to “Ride for Team Rwanda”?
What I hope will happen this season is that I can raise awareness among cyclists that we can change the lives of not just individual riders, but whole families in Rwanda. By starting a Network amongst interested cyclists to spread the word about the Team, buying team kits, and straight up donating money. It would be great if I could start an American Team Rwanda filled with privateers like myself.
On a personal level I have been craving for a few years to give back to the sport of cycling that has given me so much! Everything positive in my life is a direct result of cycling. From becoming a Finish Carpenter to meeting my wife. Not to mention the friendships I have made through cycling that will last a lifetime!
What does having cycling in your life mean to you?
Cycling is my passion. The times in my life when I haven’t been actively cycling have been dark. I don’t have to race necessarily, but I have to ride, and I have to ride hard. I’m a physical person with some baseline anger; if I don’t have an outlet for that anger then depression sets in. I enjoy the suffering associated with cycling. The harder the effort the happier I am, especially after the ride.
The social aspect of cycling speaks for itself. I love riding with my wife and friends!
When I stopped racing in 2003 it was mostly because I wanted to ride more with my girlfriend, now wife, and spend more time with her. As well as the realization after getting destroyed on the professional level for 2 years that I didn’t have the money or time to compete at that level. Not enough time to train and not enough time to recover i.e. I had to work to feed myself.
Today cycling once again gives me purpose. I am a house dad, my kids are 7 and 5. Raising the kids has not been easy with a spouse who at times has worked over 100 hours in a week. Now that the kids are in school, I feel like I got my life back, which is Cycling! Once again I have an identity.
Why did you start racing again later in life?
I started racing again after 12 years off mostly to see what modern science and the power meter could do for me. In my 20’s the power meter was like a Unicorn, this mythical SRM thing that cost $4,000 and only the best pros trained with it. I always wanted to train with one but of course could never afford one. I felt like I was still pretty fast, getting a lot of Strava KOM’s when we moved to Bend, Oregon. I used the motivation of chasing KOM’s to lose 50 lbs. from July 2012 to 2015.
But I know a racer’s mentality, and could hear the whispers of racers in Bend. Probably saying, “well he doesn’t even race, he couldn’t win a race” because that’s what I would say. So I wanted to find out if I still had what it takes to be fast in a race. I knew I couldn’t do it alone; I would need a coach to decipher all this power data. So I hired a coach, and it turns out I’m an adaptation machine. Last year with just 8 months of training and taking 12 years off I won the Oregon State Championship at the Elite level, won the Oregon XC series and finished 17th for Pro Men at the National Championships. This year I’m off to a great start with the best result of my life in a National Pro Race, 12th.
And the best thing….I’m riding for a team, a team where I can make a real difference. I challenge other cyclists/racers out there to do the same. Ride for Team Rwanda and change a Rwandan cyclist’s life forever. Ride with Purpose!
To follow Adam and cheer him on below is his schedule! Good luck #teamisteam….we will be following him on his journey!
April 2-3, Gorge Roubaix, OBRA road race
April 9, Mudslinger, OBRA MTB race
April 17, Barton Park, OBRA road race
May 1, Whiskey 50, Epic Rides MTB. Priority A race
May 7, Chain Breaker, OBRA MTB race
May 22, Grand Junction Off Road, Epic Rides MTB, Priority A race
May 29, Sisters Stampede, OBRA MTB race
June 11, Fat 55, OBRA MTB race
June 19, Carson City, Epic Rides MTB, Priority A race
June 26, Pickets Charge, OBRA MTB race
July 16, High Cascades 100, OBRA MTB race
Aug 4-7, Downieville Classic