Timothy Rugg - Hard man in Rwanda

Posted by Adrian Flores on

Tim, founder of the High Roost, and Gravel Project 2018, Kogel & High Five Crew ambassador found his legs just in time for a Tour du Rwanda this year. The UCI 2.2 event with 8 stages has proved to be a biggest repetitive challenge for Tim during his career. 

We got a chance to sit down and chat with the man inside our gloves post-victory.

How long have you been racing? 

I've been racing for about 10 years getting my first pro contract at racing age, 30.

Where are you from? 
I suppose I'm from North Carolina but coming from a military family that's a little ambiguous. I like to say I'm from D.C. as it is where I very much became the person I am today.
tim-rugg-handske-bottle-handup
Name the biggest or most important win of your career so far, and can you explain why it was so big/important for you?
The saying goes... "You're only as good as your last result". So my recent stage win at the 10th edition of the UCI Tour Du Rwanda has to be it. But really, it was one of those wins I thought I could only dream of. Solo breakaway over three Category 1 climbs. I was hardly alone for those three hours away. Every village through Rwanda we passed I was met by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people cheering me on, sometimes by name! I made a name for myself in Rwanda winning two stages in 2016 and back then the people didn't know how to react to my success. This time there was media hype before I even arrived to Rwanda, daily interviews from local and foreign journalists. This time Rwanda wanted me to win and they welcomed me and celebrated with me in one of my most fulfilling and biggest wins of my "career".
Whats your favorite road to ride on in the world?
If I had a favorite I wouldn't be so eager to keep traveling and finding more. I will say I haven't found a better base camp for every kind of riding than in Harrisonburg, VA. Countless road options, manicured gravel roads from the farmers, and MTB community that has carved out hundreds of miles of singletrack.

Whats your favorite on-the-road snacks?
I'm a fan of Nature's Bakery fig bars. They check off all the boxes... Cheap, Real Ingredients, Tasty, Easy to eat, They hold up, and they have so many flavors including brownie versions that keep them from ever getting old.
What saves you from bonking?
Honestly, just training smart. It's been a very long time since I've bonked because my training is focused on two areas, making sure my body is focused on burning fat and constantly adjusting how much and what exactly I can take to stay as fueled up as possible. Playing catch-up on calories is a losing effort and eating too much can leave you feeling worse off than bonking. Everyone is different but the creation of isotonic gels like that of Science in Sport has been huge for getting the balance dialed because hydration plays a massive role in not only getting the calories in, but getting them processed without the wheels coming off.
Do you listen to music while you ride?  what kind of music do you listen to? 
I used to and I listened to a lot of hardcore music because it was always great at keeping my cadence high and intensity up during training. These days I'll only listen to music if I'm on my KICKR because I've heard too many horror stories of incidents with people riding with headphones in.

Tell us about the team you race for now?
I consider myself a professional guest rider or ambassador of awesome teams. Professional teams I've ridden for have been a disappointment and luckily I've learned how to enjoy the ride and find success on elite teams who are often better supported and composed of riders AND management I want to hang out with. I think I found success once I stopped trying to be a pro and just acted like one. And I'm not talking about "acting' and putting up smoke and mirrors about my results or stories from racing. I'm brutally honest but severely sincere when it comes to what cycling is and what I want it to be from my point of view. This resonates with some and rubs some wrong. But it has created a pathway for me to succeed in the way I want to while helping others succeed without the bullshit. Oh yeah, I currently ride for Ride with Rendall and Embrace the World, awesome programs, great friends, no bull.
Not to mention my gravel project, which is just me as I trying to reconnect with what gravel is and is becoming this year. I have an incredible amount of support from friends and sponsors. I am hoping to pass that torch on or expand it with a few of the sponsors to a team and focus a little more on adventures.
Where do you live now? Where is your favorite place to train? 
I moved to Tucson, AZ nearly two years ago and have unfortunately spent very little time there with all the travel. I also lived in Germany for a good chunk of last year. I moved to Tucson for the winters, there's really no better place to train with the weather from November-March. Riders come from all over, all levels of ability. You can join a group ride any day of the week with a number of professionals, or just tackle a 28 mile paved climb covering 7k feet of gain on Mount Lemmon by yourself if you like. The surrounding cities and area is also great for gravel riding and mountain biking. There is a dedicated pedestrian & bike path loop around the city of Tucson covering about 60 miles. With a great coffee scene, brewery explosion, and an exciting food culture all while being in an affordable place, I'd argue there is no better place in the world for me. Bonus, this is where the Chimichanga was created!


If it sounds like Timothy is selling you on Tuscon, it's because he is. Sounds like with the last paragraph and his current results to boot it actually might be a worth it. Tim is one of those characters that as you get to know him you begin to gather how kind-hearted and genuine of a person he is. Finding a balance of training hard, having a life and still enjoying cycling is a lesson worth living from Mr. Rugg. We invite you to follow his journeys via his blog, his instagram and via our page as we're sure to feature more of his wins this year. 

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