Gravel Culture: The inside view of the Migration Gravel Race
Gravel Union On
19 April 2021
My love for cycling started while I was young - my grandfather had a bike which in the evenings, when he had come back from work, I would steal it and go ride it! My passion for cycling really went a notch higher when one day I saw people racing in town and big groups of people cheering then on - that really touched me as I wanted just to be like them! My cycling journey started that same day.
I started training more and at same time, learning about the sport through newspapers and magazines. What I remember the most is everyone in the family was against it as I was not making any money to support the family. I was always too tired to help out much at home. Looking back at it now, my mother is always happy that I did not take her advice to quit cycling - I listened to myself and kept moving forward.
Over the years I have always had to travel outside of my country in search of high level competition but am glad that's about to change. In June, high-profile international athletes will be coming to participate in the inaugural Migration Gravel Race in Kenya. For the first time the competition is coming to me and it's something that makes me really excited! It's a fantastic opportunity for me and many young riders from East Africa as well. Being a stage race, it's really going to push everyone to their maximum, but I know it's a race lots of people (if not all) are going to enjoy.
I’m honoured to be at the start line with some of the top cyclists in the world. It will inspire many cyclists on my level since they will relate to my experiences better. I’ll also learn from the best so this is quite encouraging.
My preparation is going fine. I’m training really hard and learning so much about nutrition and long distance cycling which is quite encouraging. Yes, the race will change me physically and mentally. I’ll most probably have a new level of experience within me that will make me understand the sport more.
The diversity of MGR will also avail other opportunities for us as East African riders to be able to participate and experience top level racing without a lot of bias.
If you would like to help support Iman and other East African gravel riders to compete at this year’s Migration Gravel Race please consider donating to the Gravel Union Crowdfunding project