Long-time readers of the blog will not doubt remember the numerous times that I've mentioned my fashionable adult braces (including the pain they caused me while riding part of the the Paris-Roubaix route). This post marks my last mention of said braces, for they were finally removed today. In celebration of this momentous occasion, I share the image above with you. It documents the last time I'll ever have to douse a tool that I normally use for my bikes in alcohol, before sticking it in my mouth to cut off an errant piece of metal that was turning the side of my mouth into thinly sliced roast beef.
A month ago, nearly every cycling website and blog announced their end of the year awards. I did no such thing, not because I'm against awards, but because I have a terrible memory, and lack the organizational skills to put such a list together. Instead, I hereby present you with the two most memorable moments in the world of cycling from 2012.
First, was getting a surprise package in the mail from Manual For Speed's Emiliano Granado. I don't care how bad your day at work was, arriving home and finding a Colombian-made mug from the 1980s, featuring Patrocinio Jimenez's likeness on it will turn things around very quickly for you. At least it did for me.
Patrocinio Jimenez was a fixture in those early Colombian squads at the Tour de France, and remains an important figure in Colombian cycling, even if today you'll find him behind the wheel of a taxi cab in the streets of Bogota.
Speaking of the Manual For Speed duo, they are in Colombia right now, up to no good and having a great time. Check them out on Twitter
Me getting the Patrocinio mug in the mail aside, I must say that the most important and memorable moment within cycling in 2012 is an easy one for me to choose. Once you see it, I'm sure you'll agree with me.
Coverage of the Armstrong brouhaha in the Colombian press has been surprising, in that it's been almost non-existent. That includes the lack of anyone questioning Victor Hugo Peña, the lone Colombian to have ridden for US Postal, who is pinpointed in Hamilton's book as having partaken in blood transfusions. It would be tempting to say that this is because the Colombian press chooses to look to the present and the future instead, but based on the very issues they're ignoring today, that's unlikely.
At any rate, this article is worth a read. While it clearly dwells on the violence that once permeated Colombia, it's an interesting 2004 profile of the only Colombian to ever wear the yellow jersey at the Tour. Those were simpler times, or at least they seemed that way.
Photo: Antonin Kratochvil