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Planet X in Rwanda: Remember the name Benard Kabiro

This is something of an unlikely story but it's also one to warm your cockles. Last year a friend of Planet X called Richard Lofthouse was in Africa and he encountered someone called Benard Kabiro in Kenya.

Richard got talking with Benard about cycling, as you do, and it turns out that Benard is pretty much "the Rob Jebb of Kenya" as Richard put it. He's a four time winner of a downhill mountain bike event called the 10to4, which takes place on Mount Kenya.

As well as being something of a fearless off-road descender, Benard is a brilliant climber on a bike, any bike. He also rode to the start of the Tour Of Rwanda road race event because he had no money for transport. A mere 1000km 'commute'! He ended up winning the race but then having his winnings stolen from him.

So it turns out that Benard was aiming to set his sights of bit differently to 'just' winning the 10to4 for a fifth time. He was gunning for Olympic team selection in a qualifying road race due to take place in January this year.

Richard asked Planet X if we'd give him a bike for his attempts. We didn't hesitate to say yes. A shiny new Planet X Nanolight was on its way to him ASAP. Testament to our despatch team's skills the bike arrived quickly and safely and Benard was on it and training in next to no time.

Far, in every sense, from the high tech, Twittering, high glamour world of your Mark Cavendishs and Bradley Wigginss - Benard is barely into the 10-year-old-Nokia phase of the mobile phone revolution - Benard's attempt at Olympic qualification was set back by something shockingly mundane. His bus broke down. He missed race registration.

Here's how Ben broke the news to us...

Hi.

Hope you are fine. These are the photo of the Rwanda Race. I was unable to participate the race due the mechanical problem with the bus I boarded for my journey. I was late for the registration. Even though that happened I still remained with my team until the end of the race. I have started training to take part in mountain bike selection in South Africa (I will send you all the details) plus the 10to4 event. I will be very keen not to miss it.

Thanks.

Ben

This won't be the last you'll be hearing from Benard Kabiro you can bet.

The following photos were all taken from racing in Rwanda.

12 April 2012

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