On the 2019 Nedbank Tour de Tuli, we had a record number of international riders which added to the cosmopolitan flavour of the riders’ village. We were delighted to welcome back Dimitri Medvedieff, a familiar face on Tour after having completed several editions of the ultimate mountain bike event.
Once he’d returned to Europe and to his day job at camping gear supplier Coleman, we caught up with Dimitri to ask him what made him keep coming back to ride the Nedbank Tour de Tuli year after year. As a major Tour sponsor, Coleman supplied all the tents for this year’s event. So, if you slept well on Tour, thank Dimitri and his colleagues!
Before joining Coleman’s export team, Dimitri worked for another outdoor brand – he describes himself as a ‘kinda outdoor sporty guy’. Despite having a passion for being active in the great outdoors, Dimitri tells us he had never experienced the thrill of mountain biking before he learned about the Nedbank Tour de Tuli from his Coleman SA colleague, Dieter Paul.
Something about the Tour caught Dimitri’s attention, and he soon persuaded more of his colleagues in France to form a Coleman team to participate in the 2017 edition of the Tour. This meant of course that Dimitri had to buy his first bike and get some training sessions in! A serious convert, Dimitri now rides at least twice per week, taking advantage of the beautiful French countryside near his home.
The call of the wild
For Dimitri, the appeal of the Tour to European riders is the opportunity to ride their bikes in the African bush, visit three different countries and experience something which – after rural France – feels just the tiniest bit ‘dangerous’..
The Coleman team for the 2017 Nedbank Tour de Tuli was a truly international affair, with Coleman customers from both South Africa and Russia. By 2018, the range of nationalities represented on the team had grown to include Greek, British and French riders, and their team this year was similarly multicultural.
Dimitri describes the Tour as a real learning experience, and his advice to novice Tour riders would be not to race, but rather to take the time to observe their surroundings and interact more with other riders.
Why I love the Nedbank Tour de Tuli
Dimitri admits he has completely fallen in love with the Tour – an event that supports a great cause and which is closely aligned both with his personal values, and with those of Coleman. He really appreciates the amazing organisation that goes into making the Tour happen, the great people and the amazing landscapes.
He mentions their team leaders Adrian and Matt for their professionalism, sense of humour and ability to ‘put up with’ listening to riders speaking Russian and French for many kilometres at a time!
Dimitri says that while each Tour is a different experience, there are three key moments that happen each year he rides: “When you have registered and you start to count the months, weeks, days, hours as you train in wintry European weather for the sun and sand in Africa; enjoying every second of the Tour itself; and the post-Tour blues for which the only cure is to sign up for the next one!”
If you’ve not yet ridden the Tour…
Dimitri says that for him, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli is an event that sells itself. The attraction of the Tour for European riders, he believes, comes from the opportunity to ride in very different terrain and to practice different technical skills.
Then there’s the unparalleled organisation that goes into getting every detail of the Tour just right, from labels for everything to the food, hot showers and amazing Coleman tents. For Dimitri, the very best part of the Tour is the sense not just of community, but of belonging to the Tour de Tuli family. We know Dimitri is already looking forward to the 2020 Nedbank Tour de Tuli, and we can’t wait to welcome the Coleman team back to southern Africa!
Written by Nick Galpine.