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“Rising From Ashes,” the award-winning feature-length documentary about Team Rwanda, will premiere in Los Alamos, 7 p.m. March 12 at the Reel Deal Movie Theater. The event is co-sponsored by the Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club and the Los Alamos Singletrack Association.
“Rising From Ashes” is an independent film about the development of a national cycling team in Rwanda, a country still affected deeply by the genocide that tore the East African nation apart in 1994.
Two worlds collide when cycling legend Jacques “Jock” Boyer moves to Rwanda in 2006 to help a group of struggling survivors of the genocide to pursue their dream of creating a national cycling team. Members of the fledgling team were children left orphaned by the genocide a decade earlier. As they set out against impossible odds, both Boyer — fighting his own past demons — and the team find new purpose as they rise from the ashes of their pasts through remarkable achievements, both big and small.
The documentary tells a story of redemption, hope and second chances. It is not about the bike; however, the bicycle becomes a tool that has helped change a nation.
Team Rwanda began as a cycling organization, but became so much more once organizers realized the greater needs of the athletes.
While Team Rwanda has taken care of the physical and mental issues of the riders, it has also provided something greater — hope for a nation. Rwanda is a country still recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides and the country has longed for heroes. The riders of Team Rwanda have become more than just a cycling team; they have become ambassadors for a country rising from its ashes. They have given the small nation a vision of something greater than itself and renewed a sense of purpose.
Since 2005, Team Rwanda has developed a model for caring for passionate athletes and it has gone on to expand that vision. In 2012, Team Rwanda began its next phase, the development of Africa’s first all-black, all-African team to attempt the greatest cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, after having qualified its first rider for the Olympic Games in London.
The film is also about redemption for Boyer, who was the first American rider to ever compete in the Tour de France back in 1983. One of America’s most fabled riders, Boyer grew up in Northern California battling long-time rival Tom Ritchey for national supremacy. Boyer left the U.S. as a 17-year-old to compete in the Tour de France, but upon his return to the United States after a prolific racing career in Europe, he lost it all. In this period of darkness, in which Boyer was incarcerated for an improper relationship with a minor, he reconnected with Ritchey, who had toured Rwanda — known as the “land of a thousand hills” — on a cycling trip in 2005.
Advance tickets are $11 and can be purchased online at imathlete.com/events/risingfromashes. Tickets at the door will be $15. For more information about the film, or to view the trailer, go to risingfromashesthemovie.com, or on Facebook at Rising From Ashes The Movie.