Tale of stoicism and heroism but lack of cash could spoil it all for Mwaura
Published on: January 09, 2018 01:46 (EAT)
James Mwaura, 25, is on the brink of becoming the first ever selected African participant to participant in the Prestigious Red bull Transiberian International bicycle race slated for Moscow on July 24. He is among 18 of the world’s best, and should he claim the honours in Moscow, Russia, he will become the first African to attain the fete. The 14-day competition also known as the most challenging, has 18 of the world’s best cyclists who Mwaura will compete against. The tough race set for July 24 will see the riders compete in and out of different time zones in extreme weather conditions to complete the 9,100 Km in 14 days through the Far East, Middle East, and Asia. According to Mwaura, his family and friends were happy with the news and were optimistic that he will make it, bearing the hard work he has put in training as well as his performance in previous competitions. Mwaura whose worldwide brand name is RGM and ‘The Lion of Africa’ is equally revered among equals with whom he will be competing. However, Mwaura faces financial challenge of raising at least Sh 2.25 million for registration to be paid by half, by end of January, and the remaining by April 1.His prayers are that sponsors chip in to help realise his lifetime dream– a rare chance which according to him should not be wasted. His last year’s application to the race which saw only 10 riders compete did not meet the limit. He is however optimistic of emerging the winner in the race, bearing the extreme hot conditions in the East of Narok and extreme cold in the North, in addition to his rigorous gym training regime. Further to that, his preparation will entail heartbeat test to measure his hearts strength so as to endure a daily 12 hour training program in addition to special-safe- diet. Mwaura who has a personal best of 628 km in 28 hours has assured the country that he will bring home the gold medal. Other requirements in preparation for the prestigious race include at least two professional bikes that cost Sh 240,000 each, shoes, a special weather gear, and a full support team. In addition, special diet for cycling is strictly recommended as a supplement for enough energy, free of performance-enhancing drugs. However, Mwaura regrets the little effort toward supporting bike racing through an ineffective federation. Mwaura’s dream is to promote tourism with the eighth wonder of the Maasai Mara wildebeest migration. Once back with success, his dream is to support women cyclists for the 2019 Olympic team so as to match other world super teams.
But his tale is stoic as much as it’s moving. His greatest inspiration is a bullet lodged near his ribs that freezes him whenever he rides in cold conditions which also remind him of his late father who passed away in a shootout incident at their home.Jane Mbugua, his mother, says she received the good news from her son through a WhatsApp message. Mbugua, who is also a widow, recalls having collected herself through prayer before celebrating the good news. She says discipline has remained key in her son’s quest to be the best. But as with every success, the route to the top has never been easy as Mbugua recalls the challenges her son once went through at the hands of Indian officials who racially mistreated him. She reveals that her son Mwaura has turned down several international offers to change nationality but dedication to patriotism has continued to motive him. She is now calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene to ensure her son realizes his life-time dream. Mwaura who has won over 80 major trophies in several international events has specialised in road racing, in-house road racing, team time trial, individual team trial, mountain biking, downhill, free biking, dart biking, and track, among others, but his favourite is mountain climbing. His motivators internationally include Monttedo of Spain, Nibbally from Italy and Luis Armtrong.