Ricky Munday rides in the uphill struggle for Haiti tourism

Working in an organisation like the Red Cross is a wonderful experience which provides the unique chance of supporting near helpless people.

Ricky Munday, a Scottish aid worker and adventurer has announced that he is in the final stages of his preparation for participating in the Haiti Ascent Mountain Bike Stage race taking place on 1-2 February 2013. There will be 75 brave riders who will have an unforgettable experience arranged by the Mountain Bike (MTB) Ayiti along with a unique opportunity of building the foundation of Haiti’s sustainable tourism industry.

In doing so, they will race an insanely challenging course through some of the most rugged and awe-inspiring terrain in the Western Hemisphere, in a country that also ranks as the poorest in the Western hemisphere. The event is organised with the ultimate goal of developing mountain biking in Haiti through local, micro-enterprise Haitian businesses.

MTB Ayiti is part of a series of planned Haiti Adventure Races, which will include an ultra-marathon, triathlon, and other sporting events. These events will help establish Haiti as a world-class destination for adventure travelers interested in mountain biking, hiking, surfing, diving, and other trail and water-based adventure activities. More importantly, these events will directly influence the local economy through tourist dollars being spent on food, lodging, equipment, goods and services. Developing the fledgling tourism sector has become a key priority for the Government of Haiti, 3 years after the devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 people.

Munday has been on mission in Haiti with the Red Cross since July 2012, but has had limited opportunity to train specifically for the event, due to security restrictions and professional responsibilities. However, he does have an exceptional adventure

pedigree, and in December 2012 he climbed Pico de Orizaba (5,363m) in Mexico, North America’s 3rd highest peak, as part of his long-term Triple 7 Summits project. Munday explains:

“ Working for the Red Cross is a huge privilege, as it gives me the opportunity to support the most vulnerable people . However, life as an aid worker is extremely stressful as workloads are very high, you are separated from loved ones for extended periods and you often live in insecure situations. It’s extremely important to have some work:life balance and an event like this not only benefits the local economy, but also benefits the participants.

I am inspired by the concept of MTB Ayiti and I jumped at the chance to be a part of something unique. Haiti has some fantastic natural landscapes and building a sustainable adventure tourism industry around that would be a huge boost to the country as it attempts to develop a stronger economy. There are a number of professional riders taking part in this event, so it will be a great learning experience for me. Normally, I climb mountains on foot, rather than ride up them on a bike!”

Munday has worked in humanitarian aid since 2008, and has previously been on mission in Kenya, Sudan, Bangladesh & Pakistan. In 2004, Munday completed the ‘toughest footrace’ on earth, the Marathon des Sables, where he had to run 220km in 6 days through the Sahara desert in temperatures up to 48 C.

Since 2005, he has planned and completed mountaineering expeditions to 9 countries on 5 continents. He is currently planning the South America 3 Peaks expedition to Chile & Argentina in December 2013. He plans to climb Mount Everest in 2014. During his Triple 7 Summits project he is attempting to climb the 3 highest peaks on every continent, a feat that has never been completed. Munday is supported by BDL Hotels, Gibson Pensions & Investments, Montane, Nite Watches, Tiso, Aquapac & Lyon Equipment.