President-elect, William Ruto's wife, Rachel Ruto, mourned the loss of one of her cycling partners, Sule Kangangi, who succumbed after a crash during an open mile dirt road race in the US.
In a statement dated Sunday, August 28, Rachel lauded Kangangi for his efforts in transcending the industry and essentially placing Kenyan cyclists on the map.
The Vermont Overland race is an event that features over 7,000 feet of climbing and is meant to test a cyclist's mettle as they scale up the dirt road. The race lasts for up to six hours.
"It is with shock that I have received the sad news that Sule Kangangi passed away after a tragic crash in the United States. My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend. We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya has lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule," she stated.
Kangangi participated in the race alongside his compatriots Nancy Akinyi and John Kariuki as well as Uganda's Jordan Schleck. He was under the Team Amani banner.
The team recently received a boost after they partnered with Wahoo Sports Science to help train the athletes for the arduous event.
“We have been there through it all - from helping to train athletes ahead of the Migration Gravel Race, to continuing to provide expert insights and recommendations in the 15 months since."
"It’s been an opportunity for our team to show the value in sports science, all while helping four athletes reach their full potential. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish from here,” Wahoo Sports Science head, Neal Henderson stated.
In a past interview with Velo News, Kangangi revealed that he had found passion in gravel racing and opted to deviate from normal cycling.
"I’ve always had a dream of going to the Tour de France. When I started cycling, that was my dream. But now I’m 32, that dream is fading quickly. But I realised, I’m used to these gravel roads, this is part of me. I don’t have to go find them."
"If I want to go training I just take my gravel bike and I’m already there. It shows, that you can always change your dreams. You start imagining yourself winning. Why not change my dream and go for something realistic for me?” he stated in June 2021.
Rachel Ruto is hailed as 'Mama Cycling' for her initiatives that encourages Kenyans to embark on non-motorised transport to reduce carbon emissions.