Memories, mustaches and a requiem for a groupset


In July of last year, I posted about the tragic murder of Tour L' Avenir winner Alfonso Florez, who was also the first Colombian to ever wear the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France. In that post, I mentioned how Florez was gunned down while driving his wife's car, more than likely by men connected to Pablo Escobar. That day, before he left his house, he spoke to one of his two daughters. Florez's last words were:

"Honey, I'm going to buy you a new backpack today"

Months after the post, I noticed that several visitors from Florez's hometown of Bucaramanga, as well as Medellin (where he lived and was gunned down) kept coming back to the blog, but only looked at that post. Soon enough, this comment was left behind.

Anonymous said...

I am the girl who is still waiting that backpack, it´s been almost 19 years and it hurts a lot to remember those tragical moments, moments that a lot of people in my country had to suffer. I appreciate the kindness towards my father, he was always a brave, honest, loving father, husband, son, brother and friend. I don´t know anyone who has a bad word about this hero.

I've since tried to reach out to his family, to no avail. Perhaps one day I'll be able to speak with one of his two daughters. As part of the first Colombian team to ride the Tour in 1983, Florez holds a special place in the hearts of many Colombians...the over-sentimental one typing this included.

But Colombian cycling is not simply limited to difficult stories from the past. It can also be downright humorous and in the present tense. If you want proof of this, look no further than Jose Serpa's un-ironic mustache (and soul patch), which is oddly reminiscent of Colombian Bantamweight Champion Miguel "Happy" Lora.

"Make fun of our mustaches, or compare them to Dave Zabriskie's sorry excuse of an ironic mustache. We dare you."

Like Florez (who also sported a mustache), Serpa is a native of Bucaramanga, and his picture is almost as entertaining as one of Pat DiNizio that I recently found (below on the left). DiNizio is the singer of The Smithereens, a band whose popularity peaked when one of their songs was played on the TV show Miami Vice back in the 80s. It was also back then that Miguel "Happy" Lora (below, right) had a guest spot on that show. But while both men had their popularities peak in the 80s, their weights appear to be peaking just now.

Why does DiNizio look so pained in the picture above you ask? For one, he just realized that he's playing in what appears to be a funeral home. More importantly however, as this picture was taken, he was singing his Requiem For Mavic's Mektronic Groupset, which is enough to make anyone weep. Not the song mind you, just the mere thought of Mavic's Mektronic groupset* itself. I'm actually crying as I type this.

*Sorry, I can't bring myself to type the word "gruppo"

Lastly, I thought I would share the trailer for a movie that seemingly has nothing to do with cycling. The trailer features the annoying voice-over guy who you've heard in nearly 99% of the movie trailers you have ever seen. It's a documentary about the Baja 1000, which I found to be very interesting, due in great part to its similarities to the world of cycling. Although those similarities may not be fully apparent in the trailer, the movie goes more in depth into the "epic" notion of the race. Perhaps some of you may enjoy it, so I thought I'd mention it. It's also worth mentioning that on the year that the documentary was made, Colombian driver Roberto Guerrero competed in the race.

So there you have it. A post which mentioned Colombian cycling, race car driving and boxing. Perhaps it was a bit much for just one post, but I have a certain number of times that I'm contractually obligated to type the word "Colombia" every month on this I thought I'd get a few out of the way today.

Have a safe weekend.