April through to the end of this month each year is a difficult time for Adrien Niyonshuti. It is then that his mind more readily casts back to the 100 days from April 6, 1994 when an estimated 800,000 of his countrymen were killed in the Rwandan genocide.
Among the victims were six of his brothers. Amazingly, the seven-year-old Niyonshuti and his parents survived the mass murder as they escaped from their home to hide in the neighbouring bush for days on end without food or water.
Bearing in mind the tragedy that has befallen Niyonshuti, he is an unwaveringly positive human being and that bright outlook has been accentuated by having recently achieved his ambition of qualifying for next year's Olympics, the first of his cycling countrymen to do so since Barcelona in 1992.
Niyonshuti is not expected to push for a medal at the Games as the 160th best rider in the cross-country mountain biking event - just making it to the Olympics is remarkable enough - but nor will he disgrace himself, either.
As Olympic tales go, his one of triumph over adversity is difficult to match but that story is one marred with a litany of tragedies.
"I took up cycling to forget," is his honest assessment of how his love affair with the sport began, riding his uncle Emmanuel's steel-framed bike whenever he could. "For cycling, I have to focus the whole time, it's not easy.
"Cycling is my job and I have to give it all of my focus. It's the thing that helps me forget my problems. In my case, the problem is genocide and it helps me forget what happened."
There are parts of his mind that try to block out the atrocities but certain memories remain. "I was so young, just seven years old when it happened so I do not remember it all," he says.
"I remember my mother telling me to run, that people were coming. Even now it is very difficult for me to explain what happened. These people came to my home and my school and killed my family. I don't know why they killed my family.
"I lost my family, my brothers, my grandmother. There is nothing I can do about it now. I have to survive this life I've been given. I have to thank God for what I have and to try to believe that anything can now happen in my life."
Niyonshuti was taught about the genocide in school after the horror had finally subsided and believes it is important such teaching goes on to avoid a repeat of what happened 17 years ago.
"Everyone in this country fully knows what happened and we just have to hope that this is not going to happen again," he says. "You never forget but I try to be positive. Sometimes I'm negative as well - for me the hardest time each year is April when I often remember the genocide."
September is arguably his brightest month as it was then in 2006 that his talent on the bike was first discovered by former cyclist Jock Boyer, the first American to ride the Tour de France.
Boyer now coaches the Rwanda team and knew he had spotted a talent the moment he laid eyes on him.
"He was powerful and very efficient on the bike from the first time I saw him," says Boyer. "He had raw talent, no question. To have qualified for the Olympics is a fantastic achievement. His chances of a medal are slim as he has not got enough experience or races in his legs but he has the talent."
Of his own Olympic qualification, Niyonshuti giggles with embarrassed excitement at having achieved his goal to take on the best in London.
"To qualify is so exciting," he says. "When I first rode a bike I never knew the Olympics would be possible. It was only in 2008 that I thought I'd like to go for the Olympics. I didn't know if I could do it but, God willing, I will be there."
The God willing proviso is understandable bearing in mind what has befallen Niyonshuti.
Genocide is not the only horror he has faced. His life was blighted once more in November 2009, by which time he was living and training in South Africa having been signed by the professional MTN team there.
He received a worried call from his mother revealing that his father was ill in hospital. His father died two days later of something that was never properly diagnosed. Then just a few weeks later, while competing in a road race with his cousin and best friend Godfrey, tragedy struck again.
An innocuous fall occurred as Niyonshuti and his cousin battled to catch up with the leaders but Godfrey got hit by one of the race organiser's cars.
"It was not a big fall but at the end of the race I was told that Godfrey was in hospital," he adds. "So I went to see him there and he had already passed away. I didn't understand it.
"In his life, Godfrey touched everyone's heart. He was a fun guy. I often think about him and my father before realising they're no longer here.
"There is nothing I can do to bring my family back or to see Godfrey again or my father. It was another difficult time, I was feeling a little bit crazy afterwards but the cycling has helped my recovery."
Niyonshuti has immersed himself in what he calls his "second family", the cycling fraternity he has grown up with in Boyer, his fellow Rwandan cyclists and his MTN team-mates.
He has made a pledge to enjoy his cycling and his life to the full but that is not always easy.
"I sometimes wonder why I still have my life as it was nothing I did," says Niyonshuti. "And I feel happy I don't die. But what has happened can make the hard days cycling easy. If I have a crash, if I feel tired, I can easily continue.
"But then there are days you feel sad. When you win a race you want to share it with your brothers, your father, Godfrey but you realise they are no longer there. But I won't give up cycling, I love it too much. It's what I do."
His time in South Africa has not been without its problems. While living there with team-mates, he was robbed at knifepoint in his home.
All his valuables were taken as were those of fellow Rwandan cyclist Nathan Byukusenge.
The after effects got to Byukusenge, who returned to his homeland, while Niyonshuti stayed in South Africa.
"People robbing other people can happen anywhere," he says.
Niyonshuti is back in Rwanda for two weeks and, despite the tragedies he has witnessed there, still proudly boasts: "I love my country".
He has never been to Britain although, doubling up as a road cyclist occasionally, he did compete alongside Lance Armstrong in the Tour of Ireland two years ago.
In London, Niyonshuti looks likely to rub shoulders with many other big names both in and out of the world of cycling. But the reality is that few, if any, will have had a more remarkable journey to get there.