Rwanda Cyclists Welcomed in Napa, Featured in Documentary

Two members of the Team Rwanda bicycling team featured in the Napa Valley Film Festival documentary "Rising from Ashes" are visiting Napa for the occasion. This weekend you can see the film and even ride with the Rwandan cyclists.

When the documentary Rising from Ashes received its first Napa screening, at Copia last spring during the inaugural Napa Bike Fest, a crowd of bicycle-loving Napans watched and sometimes wept.

The film tells the story of young Rwandan men, survivors of their country's brutal genocidal conflict, and the man who trained them to become racing cyclists worthy of the Olympics.

Two of the Team Rwanda cyclists, Rafiki Uwimana and Obed Ruvogera, have been in the Napa Valley for the past week as special guests of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which is screening Rising from Ashes along with other bicycle-themed films.

Uwimana and Ruvogera were guests of honor at a potluck supper last Sunday hosted by the Napa Bicycle Coalition and Napa County Office of Education's Safe Routes to School program, which promotes bicycling among children.

They have also been visiting schools and riding with local cyclists including Eric Boessenecker, captain of the Napa High School cycling team.

Sunday, the bicycling community is invited to join Uwimana, Ruvogera and the filmmakers for a 40-mile ride beginning at 9:30 a.m. from Clif Family Winery at Velo Vino, 709 Main St. in St. Helena.

Rising from Ashes will be screened Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Napa Valley Opera House and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at Generations Art Gallery, 6525 Washington St. in Yountville.

More information: napavalleyfilmfestival.org.

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