Refrigerators, pouches you can keep dice in, and an avocado-green refrigerator

1.
In terms of what they believe and care about, cycling fans commonly stand in one of two sides of a great divide. I sometimes pretend that I’m in one side. But there’s proof in my hard drive that I'm not. I have an Excel spreadsheet on my computer, which contains methodically calculated (not by me) watt/per kilo figures for riders at the Vuelta a Colombia. I’ve only looked at the file a handful of times. When I do, I feel much as I did when I was kid in Bogota…when I would try to see if the refrigerator light would stay once its door was closed. I tried to solve that great mystery (I was five years old at the time). How did this thing work? To that end, I would close the refrigerator door very slowly, squinting to see if the light went out in the process. Eventually, of course, I found the spring-loaded switch that made the light to come on or go off as the door moved. I quickly realized the light did in fact go out when the door was closed. There was no mystery. What’s more, I realized that I could make it go on or off at will. Anyone could. Finding that switch made the avocado-green refrigerator loose much of its mystique. At times, that Excel file has the same effect on me now.

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Figuring out your'e not a climber, understanding the value of mayonnaise from Bjarne Riis, and the Vuelta a Colombia. Colombian insights from Cylance's Kyle Murphy.

I always ask endless questions of foreigners who visit the Colombia. The latest person to endure such a grilling is Kyle Murphy, from the Jamis-Sutter Home team. Along with his team, he competed in the last Vuelta a Colombia, and he was kind enough to share his insights into the race, Colombian cyclists, local food and the value of mayonnaise.

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Hecho En Colombia

During a sizable part of the 20th century, trade restrictions left Colombia largely isolated from the rest of the world. This included its bike industry, which was forced to come up with creative solutions that say plenty about a nation's ingenuity and its love for the bike. Today, as markets have opened up, Colombia's bike industry is in flux once again, and Colombian companies are having to change with the times.

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The inner workings of post-Tour de France criteriums. An interview with Jurgen Mettepenningen.

My shoes are covered in mud that is roughly the consistency of crunchy peanut butter. The mud is slowly starting to make it's way into my socks and my feet start to feel wet. I try to clean off my shoes against a truck tire, only to realize that they are also covered in smashed up, rotten apples, making me smell like a bottle of cheap salad dressing. I'm in Gavere, Belgium, in the team parking lot of the Superprestige cyclocross race that is held in this town of only 13,000. Attendance is expected to surpass 50,000. But I'm not here to learn about cyclocross. I'm here to learn about the inner workings of post-Tour criteriums. Jurgen Mettepenningen, owner and general manager of the Marlux-Napoleon Games team owned one of these criteriums until recently [along with a Superprestige cyclocross race and a huge outdoor music festival] so I've asked to speak with him on the matter. So while I'm here to learn about these weird pseudo-races that are more WWE than UCI, I've lear something else already instead. At cyclocross races, all interviews are done pre-race in campers and RVs. The insides of those vehicles are pristine, and I'm about to foul one of them up with my muddy shoes. The press officer for another team sees me struggling with the caked on mud and applesauce on my shoes. He points to a perfectly clean white towel by the door of he RV, and tells me to take my shoes off before I go in, rather than worry about cleaning them. He does this in a gentle tone that he most likely reserves for stubborn farm animals or humans who sustained severe brain injuries. Lesson learned.

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