Obed is Team Rwanda Cycling’s infamous “Sixth Man.” Shortly after Coach Jock Boyer formed the original team of five riders, the team received an invitation to the All African Games in Algiers, Algeria in 2007. They needed another rider, a sixth man. Obed Ruvogera joined Team Rwanda Cycling.
Obed was never the strongest rider, and in the beginning, one of the least appreciated cyclists, only because he could never produce the big wins. At his age of 28, he was not going to improve substantially. Obed, however, would go on to become Team Rwanda’s most valuable member.
While he was riding his nickname was Gasoil (pronounced Gazwall), meaning, diesel. Obed had an engine which just kept going. He was dropped midway up a climb, only to see him again near the top catching back onto the peloton for the decent.
Obed was the first of the original five to retire from racing. In 2011, an American yoga teacher, Megan Leigh, was teaching a group of young women from another nonprofit organization in our hometown of Musanze. She reached out to Team Rwanda, as she wanted to introduce yoga to the team and also have her new students learn to teach yoga classes. Megan came to us after Obed’s first class and said he was a natural and asked if he could come to the yoga training sessions at Ubushobozi. Obed spent the next two weeks training with the team, rushing home, showering, eating and then learning yoga for 3-4 hours every afternoon and then teaching yoga to the team in the evening. His commitment from the start was admirable.
The 2011 Tour of Rwanda was Obed’s first race working as a support staff member, alongside our soigneur, a young woman from South Africa. In the spring of 2012, he spent a month training in massage in South Africa under Liné Griffith’s our Tour of Rwanda soigneur. Obed was a natural at massage, utterly gifted in knowing how to relieve the stress and pain of a race best. He was a former cyclist, so he knew what the team needed.
In 2012, Obed trained in the US under Megan Leigh for a month and then spent a month in Boulder, Colorado training and learning English.
Fast forward six years and Obed is now the most experienced sports massage therapist in the country. He recently spent six weeks in Canada training at another sports organization. His sponsor, Andrea Dowd, also had him working with the Canadian women’s hockey team.
Obed is our most traveled member of Team Rwanda Cycling. He’s been all over the world at some of the most prominent international races including the Commonwealth Games and in 2016, the Olympics.
Obed is married to a lovely woman, Josiene, and has three children. His middle child, a daughter, is named Aila Kimberly in honor to Kimberly Coats, Team Rwanda’s Director of Marketing (and everything else) who has broken down barriers for him to carve out a successful career in cycling “off” the bike. Obed recently built his first home and cares for a large extended family….as do they all.