I often read that cycling teaches people things. Life lessons...big-picture kind of stuff. That hasn't been the case for me. Instead, cycling has taught me little things. For example, that Mark Cavendish's feet (and consequently his shoes) are insanely small. To the point that they look like hooves, and make you realize that he may be part elf (or whatever type of creature it is that's supposed to have tiny feet). When you look at pictures of him, you realize that he likely tips over all the time due to how small his feet are.
No, it's not Photoshopped. And no, it's not distortion due to the lens used. If anything, a wide-angle lens would make his foot appear bigger because of where it is in the frame. Furthermore, close up pictures from past years simply provide further proof of this fact. Which in turn make me think of this song:
Speaking of sprinters, when I was on the phone with Fernando Gaviria, we ended up talking about different races in Europe. Which ones he knew about and enjoyed, though he pretty much refused to say which one would suit him. It was in that context that I asked him about Milan-San Remo, but he doesn't know the race, and hasn't seen it. I found myself excitedly telling him about the race, it's length, the final climbs, how the finish usually works...only to realize how preposterous the whole thing was. I was describing a bike race to a guy who could actually win the thing one day, all based on my "experience" after years of watching it on TV, as well as my reconnaissance ride a few years back atop this amazing rental steed.
All to say that if Gaviria ever wins San Remo (or even comes close), you will all know that it was my insider knowledge and description of the course that made it all happen. Should any other sprinters want my help, I'm available and willing to help with any question or concern you may have. Unless your concern is about having tiny hoof-like feet....you're on your own with that one Mark.
If Sergio Henao can stay healthy, watching him in early season races this year will be amazingly fun. His performance in the Tour Down Under and now at nationals show that he's in very, very good form.
I've said it before, perhaps too many times, but Edwin Avila is one of my favorite Colombian riders. He's the new national champion as of this weekend, and will be racing with Team Illuminate (previously Airgas) this season. Interestingly, it seems Avila did the TT race using a Fuji bike, unbranded kit and mismatched (almost certainly borrowed) wheels. Look, it's not like he was out there on a hybrid Raleigh from the mid 80s or anything...but the contrast between the equipment at nationals in Colombia, and most amateur races in the US is staggering. Also, how bummed must his new team be that they didn't get him any kit or a bike in time for nationals, leading him to do the road race (and win it) in unbranded Q36.5 kit that Above Category gave him? He was also using his old Team Colombia bike, and notice the Team Sky gloves, likely borrowed from one of the Henaos (thanks to Isabel for pointing that out).
Speaking of the clothing brand Q36.5, have you seen their site? I'm sure their clothing is really nice and everything, but the text in the site (and I say this lovingly, being that I myself am not a native speaker) is absolutely bananas. For example:
Also worth noting about the Colombian national championships was the fact that Jose Serpa raced, though he's without a team, and came in 27th. Is he retired, or just without a team? He won't say. But it goes to show that you are lucky as a athlete that gets to have a proper retirement (with the whole announcement etc) rather than simply fading away.
Considering everything that Juan Pablo Villegas has been through in the last year, it's a pleasure seeing his smiling in this video from Team Manzana Postobon.