I hope you have had a great Christmas and would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.
This is a little blogpost to show how the kit collected from the Renegades and others has helped. Firstly I just wanted to set the scene: They say a picture says a thousand words: The picture below is the Velo Club De L’Ouests (VCDL) headquarters. It is in the “back garden” of Ahmad Arissol’s bungalow, who is 27 and works as a pool attendant at the Four Seasons Hotel. He is the Captain of the Seychelles National Team. The second picture below is the VCDL race team. Some of these guys are also on the National Team for the Seychelles. These guys are roughly twice as fast as me up hills and the heaviest is 65kg.
A few points worth mentioning:
The VCDL team are sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel and also have Shimano and Cervelo logos on their kit, but I am not really sure if they get any money from Shimano / Cervelo as they all have relatively low level manual bikes.
The Four Seasons Hotel is allowed to hold back a certain amount of tax money and use it for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I estimate the Four Seasons gives about Euro 3,000 per year to the VCDL team as part of this CSR. The VCDL club have several orphans who “hang” around and are looked after / actively try to help youngster out in the community.
The little guy on the left hand side of the photo above is 13 and the person next to him is 16: the Captain on the right hand side called Ahmed Arissol and he also the captain of the Seychelles national team. The person with yellow shoes, called Yohan (part of National Team) has no electricity at home so goes to bed quite early but his kit is always spotless!!
The coach for the National Team will pay via government funding for these guys to race other African and Indian Ocean countries but will understandably not allow them to race in “professional” races as he wants to field a strong National team and does not want them “buggering off”. This leads to frustration as these guys are only going to get recognised if they win professional races.
Having said that the Seychelles government does pay for the National Team to train for 2 months in South Africa (Jan and Feb) with the other national teams which is a great place for them to get talent spotted.
If the average value of the 120 items that we gave to the VCDL club was £50 then we gave kit worth £6,000. Please bear in mind that a certain amount of the kit such as some bib shorts were new. That is roughly double what their main sponsor gives – so we did make a difference.
Even though I only took S and M size kit to the Seychelles I have no doubt that the only suitable size for these skinny mountain goats is actually XXS. But hey they can do some sowing can’t they!