Racing in Colombia. Differences and similarities (Part 2).

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This is part two of my award-winning coverage of Medellin's Clasico El Colombiano race. If you would, please read part one of this report first. Because if you read this without reading the first one, it would be like watching Terminator 2, without having seen the first Terminator. You'll be confused, and you'll be left wondering why John Connor is living in a foster home, and why everyone is so scared of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, since he's a good cyborg. So go read that post, and then come back to this one.


Different but the same
Let's take a closer look at some of the people and characters that make racing in Medellin both familiar and different from racing in other places.


What makes Colombian racing similar to the rest of the world? Well, no matter where you live, there will always be a guy like this one...the one who shows up in full Alberto Contador regalia ...and then proceeds to get dropped like side of contaminated beef.

As a side note, I'd like to mention that his Specialized bike was real, unlike the many "Specialized S-Works" knock-offs I've seen in bike shops throughout the city in the last few days...many of which were painstakingly produced, and looked pretty close to the real thing.




Does this young man think he races for Katusha? No, it just so happens that Colombian amateur teams are very fond of using jersey designs form existing professional teams.

This rider's team had very nice bikes, but as I looked at these young riders, I started to think about what many Americans and Europeans consider to be their "training wheels", and about how some in the press now deem $1000 wheelsets "affordable". This is not the fault of Americans or Europeans. Some countries are wealthier than others, such is life. That's something I learned growing up in South America. Still, I have to admit that during this event (and while looking at how carefully kids treat their bikes here), I kept thinking about a picture I had recently seen online, which I will now share with you.


Yes, in case you're wondering...those certainly appear to be Lightweight wheels...and yes, I hope that the kid won the race. If he didn't, I'm sure his overbearing father probably beat him over the head with one of those wheels. I mean, good for his father for being to afford all this stuff. I'm sure he worked hard for his money, and he can spend it however he sees fit. To be honest, I hate people who do mental audits of others' belongings...it's a stupid and tacky pursuit, but good lord almighty, talk about bringing an atom bomb to a fist fight.




But let's get back to racing in Medellin.

Do these guys think they race for Astana or something? No, they're just another team using the design from an existing professional team. I guess they're a bit like that Journey cover band that I once saw with my wife, or perhaps they're like Mini Kiss. So I guess you can think of this team as being a cover team, instead of a cover band...or a tribute team if you will.





Does this guy think he races for Caisse d'Epargne? Oh wait...he does. It's Rigoberto Uran, who's already riding his new team-issue Pinarello from Sky. Uran did the Elite level criterium, and spent most of the race in the back of the pack, almost relaxing, while guys up front (like last year's U23 World Champion Fabio Duarte) were killing themselves.

Also in attendance was former Phonak/T-Mobile/Rock Racing rider Oscar Sevilla, who now races in Colombia. Sevilla didn't race, due to a recent crash. I knew he had arrived to the race, because some junior riders who were standing around mockingly proclaimed, "Everyone, be cool, be cool...Sevilla is here! Behave yourselves!", as one kid said this, another pretended to inject something into his arm with a make-belief syringe. This, no doubt, was a reference to Sevilla's recent positive test for an EPO masking agent while at the Vuelta A Colombia. Without much explanation, Sevilla was cleared of all charges and is now allowed to race again without any trouble...except for having large groups of junior riders mock him to his face.




While there are similarities in racing around the world, I have a feeling that this guy is a somewhat unique character to racing in Medellin. Sporting a full set of shoulder pads, he participated in the road race. Please note the whistle that hangs around his neck. Although he's not a race official or marshal of any kind, this guy took it upon himself to whistle and yell at other riders for what he considered to be breaches in race decorum. His vocabulary was as colorful as his bike frame. "Hey mother--ckers, hold your line up there!", or "I see you, you're the one that tried to cut me off, you stupid f--ker, I'll f--ck your mother!" Each statement was punctuated by a loud blow of the whistle, and a subsequent hard effort on the bike to gain back the distance he'd lost during his last diatribe. This went on during every lap of the road race, and no one thought anything of it. I was the only one laughing and taking pictures. I did it all in the name of blogging excellence, and I did it for all for you, my beloved readers.

You're welcome.




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