Rigoberto Uran started out as one of the favorites to win this year's Giro. It's unlikely that he'll deliver a win now, but I bring him up because the fact that a Colombian rider can once again be considered a favorite in a grand tour is something I couldn't have imagined when I started this blog in 2009. Quintana will go into the Tour as a favorite, as riders like Chaves, Atapuma, (and yes) Betancur continue to develop. So here we are, a golden era in Colombian that we'll no doubt look back upon one day, with the fondness that those of us who grew up in the 1980s now have for men like Herrera and Parra. Oh, Speaking of Fabio Parra, these days he's a dog breeder of show-quality German shepherds in the outskirts of Bogota, along with managing a plastics company that he started after earning a business degree during his last few years as a professional. I've tried to interview Parra about his interest in both dogs and plastics, to no avail. Come to think of it, whenever I try to interview Colombian riders about things in their life aside from cycling, they find it very, very strange and seem to think it's a joke of some kind, and ultimately refuse. Too bad. When writing in English, I'm a boring, fourth rate blogger who happens to be Colombian. But when communicating with Colombian riders, I'm so far ahead of what's possible in the world of sports, that I'm some kind of madman. Amazing how you can be both things at once.
But I'm not here today to tell you about Fabio Parra's dogs. Come to think of it, I don't know what I'm here to tell you about, except that Alps & Andes' world headquarters are moving, and all that comes with moving a large corporate entity such as this one seems to be taking up my time as of late, hence my inability to reach out to Fabio Parra a few more times to see if he's interested in talking about his dogs. I guess my ability to multi-task is far less impressive than I thought, and for that I apologize. I can only hope that I come out at the other end of this moving ordeal unscathed. We'll see...but the countless Aeron chairs, racks of servers, pencil cups and all the air purifiers that the entire accounts payable insisted they get aren't going to move themselves. Oh no.
And speaking of accounts payable, I should one day give out an award for entities and publications in the world of cycling that take the longest to pay, even when the sums being paid out are laughably small. It makes you appreciate those who actually pay without you having to resort to begging over spans of time measured in calendar pages and calendars themselves. Perhaps I'm overly aware of these matters because I've done other types of freelance work for all kinds of companies and institutions in the past in other industries, and what is considered "late payment" over there would be considered obsessively timely in cycling (based on my experience). But at least I've gotten paid most of the time. Talk to people who really do this for a living at a race (not to a poser like me) and you hear horror stories. Really, really scary stuff. So keep this in mind when you wonder why sports journalism is not all it could be. Because to do it, you sometimes forgo being able to feed yourself and others around you, at least if you rely on that work to pay the bills. But I'm getting sidetracked from my apology about me not being timely with quality content, so let's get back to that.
Despite moving, and other things happening around here, I'm working on some interesting bits of content, they may just take longer to see the light of day than usual. And then there's those projects and interviews that are stuck in an eternal gestation processes, along with the posts I like to write sometimes which require that I look at newspaper archives, declassified documents and all kinds of sources that take way longer than the finished product usually warrants. Be that as it may, I still have some observations that I hope are of some interest to you.
- For example, did you know that the number of people who ride Serotta bikes is set to multiply many, many times over soon (and might even include you), even though the bike company is no more? It's true.
- The Tour of California commentary is done by Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, Jens Voigt and Christian Vande Velde. What year is it again? Good lord. Also, doesn't Christian Vande Velde look like the drummer from Earth Crisis?
- No one believes Orica Green Edge's Simon Clark when, unprompted, said he was emotional at the finish of today's stage (and thus celebrated by lifting up his arms) because he knew he had the pink jersey, and NOT because he thought he'd won the stage, right? Come on. Hey, a pink jersey is a huge deal, I know that, but I'm a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to win-but-didn't-win celebrations, and this was a good one. Oh, and how excited was Visconti to be the one to let him know he hadn't won the stage? That's one bubble that very few can say they've been the ones to burst. If you watch the animated GIF I made above, you can almost hear Clark's heart break. Perhaps Visconti as excited by non-winning celebrations as I am. Do any of you have favorites? Pozzato in Roma Maxima was fantastic, but so was Betancur in 2013 at the Giro. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section.
- If you've considered riding in Colombia before, you should check out Alps & Andes sponsor Equipo. Below is one of the newest videos about tours in the Valle del Cauca region.
- I've written about Colombian frame builder Tinno before. At the time, however, there was no way for those interested in one of his bikes to get one, short of making the trip to Medellin. That's going to be changing soon, so stay tuned for details (though going there to pick up a frame is never a bad option, believe me). In the meantime, keep an eye on his Instagram account to see what he's up to. He's now, officially, the last frame builder in Colombia, as Jose Duarte begins to wind down his building activities.
And now, back to work. Lots of moving boxes need to be packed around here...and the move is not even close to happening soon. But maybe I'll just go ahead and celebrate early, in honor of Simon Clark.