The first annual Cycling Inquisition drawing contest (featuring Marco Pantani)

Everyone has their favorite doodle. Their preferred go-to thing to draw while they're on hold with an airline, or during a long and boring meeting at work. For some, it's a transparent cube, or an endless string of zig-zag lines. For me, the way I pass the time during such circumstances can usually be broken up into two parts:

1. Practicing my signature. 
This is something I started doing in the 7th grade, when a kid named Brian Bloom (no, not the famous actor) sat next to me in science class, and I saw his awesome signature. I realized then and there that I didn't have a cool signature, and that if I ever became famous, people would detest the autograph I would put on their life-size Klaus posters. So I started practicing, something that goes on to this day, despite the fact that I have an established signature.

2. Drawing a human ear
I don't know when this started, and to tell you the truth, I'm not that good at it. But sometime during my childhood, I must have seen a TV show about the human ear or something, and I continue to draw ears to this day. I don't know why.

From time to time, however, I try to deviate from these two options, often for comedic purposes. It was in this way that I encountered my greatest match: a side view of a horse. Simple as it may seem, most adults simply can't draw a horse. At first, you think you can, and then you realize how sadly mistaken you were, and humor ensues. So when I'm bored during a meeting, I start drawing a horse, and the results are so bad that I laugh at myself of dozens of minutes.

In that spirit, I've often shared my love for drawing horses badly with others...because I know that (unless they are fantastic artists) they will fail miserably, and we will all have a good laugh.

Similarly, this weekend I hosted friends from out of town. Like most of my friends, this group of people knows nothing about cycling, though the topic does come up from time to time with one of them due to his Italian heritage. In particular, Marco Pantani's name has come up, since he's heard of him before. For that reason, I chose Pantani as an ideal subject for the first ever Cycling Inquisition drawing contest, the results of which you will find below.

The instructions were clear: try to replicate the iconic image above as hard as you can, without spending hours doing so.

Before sharing the results with you, however, let me be clear that no disrespect is meant to Marco Pantani or his memory. He was almost picked at random, so no ill-will was intended. Instead,  all disrespect is actually meant for the adults who made these masterpieces. Enjoy.

Marco as some kind of anime-influenced, middle-eastern magician/mentalist with a goatee made out of pubic hair

Marco is melting, and the artist feels strongly about the link between humans and apes. To be fair, the sunglasses are depicted surprisingly well, this despite the fact that they are going into his brain through is bandana.
Bababooey? Is that you? Why are you wearing ski goggles?

This one is actually pretty good. I don't know how Marco ended up wearing Ray-Bans though, but still...
Somehow his sunglasses became an eye patch, amazing considering the person who drew this doesn't know who Marco was, much less about his nickname. Please note how this drawing depicts Marco both in three-quarter view, AND in profile at the same time. Picasso, eat your heart out. Oh and in case you are wondering, no, the person who drew this is not a seven year old anime fan.

Can you do any better, or perhaps much worse? Feel free to submit your entries by email. The best (or humorously worse) ones may be published, and the winner may or may not win a prize! Kidding. The winner will indeed get a prize. Not a spectacularly good one, but something that will at least cheer you up a tiny bit when you get it in the mail.


Could the road world championships be coming back to Colombia? Perhaps. At least that's what the mayor of Tunja is hoping for. Tunja is the capital of Boyaca, one of the Colombian departments with the richest history in the sport, including the fact that they hosted the 1995 world championships (in the town of Duitama). Tunja is where Nairo Quintana lives when he's in Colombia, and the city has expressed interest in hosting the world championships in 2017. Coldeportes (the primary government-funded sports entity) has backed the city's plan, and all that remains now is approval from the Colombian president, in order to move forward with the official application to the UCI.

This would be a great triumph for Colombian cycling, and I would be the first to book a flight down if it does in fact happen. But it's worth mentioning that all involved should proceed with caution. I say this because Fernando Florez, the mayor of Tunja is quoted as saying that he is convinced "in the power that sporting events have to bring a great deal of development to a city." While this may be true, and luckily a cycling world championship needs (mostly) existing infrastructure, I'm weary of politicians who feel that hosting an event like this will be a magic bullet of sorts. Just look at the olympic games. Completely different scale, but for every Atlanta, there's one Athens. Nevertheless, I hope this happens, but (perhaps more importantly), I hope it's handled in the best, and most responsible way possible.