Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amstel Gold, lessons learned (Part 1): Legs like a pizza, Axel Merckx's car, and Jersey-style fist pumping


For different reasons, recent posts have been criticized by you, my three wonderful readers. One person felt that my post about Lucho Herrera's kidnapping was not good (terrible actually), while another person opined that my interviews with "preppy corporate photographers" were a detriment to the otherwise perfect body of work that is this blog. A blog whose name, by the way, I now realize I'm ashamed to say out loud. Not because I'm ashamed of its content, but rather of the name itself. 

Be that as it may, this has taught me that perhaps a couple of the people who read the blog care more about it than I do, or at least seem to have a clear vision of what it should be. I myself don't have such vision or foresight. Clearly. Just look at the blog's name, and ask yourself how well it goes down with Colombian cyclists.

Putting all this aside, today's short post consists of some photos I took at Amstel Gold, along with a couple of lessons that I learned during my quick trip. I'll probably have a second round of images later in the week as well.

Enjoy, and I'll be back with a full length post on Monday. I'm sure it will disappoint several of you.


Photo: Cycling Inquisition

 Lessons I learned at Amstel Gold, and shortly thereafter:



2. Axel Merckx drives an Aston Martin.

3. Amateur cyclists assume that professionals do everything better. They are faster, and stronger, and some even assume that professionals have silky smooth legs at all times. No stubble, no ingrown hairs. Not so. In fact, I saw two riders this weekend whose legs resembled overcooked, dried up pepperoni pizzas (and not because of crashes). Yes I have pictures to prove it, but I'd prefer to never see those images again if I can help it.

4. Dutch fans bring their babies to cycling races. That itself is not so strange, except for the fact that they'll bring cribs and playpens with them to said races. See photos below.

5. I asked a team bus driver what kind of music riders liked to listen to while going to races, or during transfers, since he said he never got to pick the music. When I asked this, the poor guy looked like a beaten man. He painfully rubbed his eyes for effect, and proceeded to make a thumping bass sound with his mouth, followed by some high-pitched beeping sounds in a frantic tempo. His description was accompanied by some New Jersey style fist pumping.

6. Would you like to talk to a team bus driver, but don't know how to spot him? Look for the guy with a gold bus charm hanging from the gold chain around his neck. No I'm not kidding, and yes, I have pictures to prove this too.

7. I pointed this out last year, but I still find it interesting: team directors will happily join in on a group bet for a race, and I've yet to hear one (not that I have extensive experience on the matter) pick their own rider for the bet. Perhaps this is a simple matter of not wanting to jinx things, but it does strike me as funny.


Sergio Henao came in sixth place after a tough day on the bike. Notice his non-Cycling Inquisition socks. Will his Fleche Wallone go much better as a result of training in Cycling Inquisition socks? Time will tell. Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition

Photo: Cycling Inquisition
Photo: Cycling Inquisition



_____________________________________________________________________
Marginalia



 Go check out an order a jersey from my brother's podcast here.
 

13 comments:

  1. Nice that you shot color and B&W film.

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  2. Subarctic CyclingApril 16, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Klause,

    It is pretty hard to understand how anyone can criticize your excellent blog as lowering in quality now. I seem to posts mocking riders hair, possibly their cocaine habits and the posts about the search terms are always pretty entertaining if not the epitome of high quality reporting on cycling. Wasn't there even a post on cycling shorts in gay porn or am I imagining that? I think this blog has come a long way since I first discovered it. I enjoy the mix of the serious articles of Colombian cycling history, the race posts, the more tangential posts like the team sky kit design and that weird shop in Hong Kong, along with the funny ones with references to 80's metal. You even sell blog themed bike kit stuff now - sell out. I say if you don't have a specific vision for the blog your stream of consciousness version or whatever this is is working perfectly. I appreciate your time and effort. Keep it up it is a joy to read.

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    Replies
    1. I also really like the mix. The variety means that each kind of post still makes an impact. I really enjoy your blog, particularly because each post seems informed by your personality and interests. You consistently find interesting topics or a different approach to things that might otherwise become repetitious, like race reports. I tend to like the less serious posts best, but I'd be disappointed if you started writing only one kind of article. Keep up the excellent work!

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  3. Take no notice of the doubters, your blog fu is still strong as far as the silent majority are concerned. Anyway, if these morans think they can write a better blog why don't they? Keep up the great work, Klaus!

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  4. Part II better deliver with pictures of gold bus medallions.

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  5. Keep up the great writing! The pleasure in reading this blog is that I do not know what I will get next and that what is great about it.

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  6. I like your originality and the wide variety of topics has never bothered me. I find your writing excellent and the photography is great too. Keep up the great work! I'm looking forward to more posts.

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  7. Hi Klaus

    I posted the comment about your interviews with yuppy corporate photographers. While I stand by that comment I do think it's fair to add that I only posted it because you're right - I do have high standards for your blog. That's because it is the best cycling related website on the internet. So yes, you will get people with strong opinions coming down on you from time to time because for some of us this is the only website with any amount of pure cycling journalism and passion left.

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  8. Subarctic,
    You remember correctly my friend, those posts did in fact happen, and are still up. Who knows what's around the corner (that's me trying to sell you on cool content, but in reality...I'm saying it because I just don't know).

    Min,
    PIctures of the golden bus will go up. Might happen next week though, as I now realize Liege is this weekend, and I should put something up about that.

    Anonymous,
    Thank you for the the kind words. I figured that your first comment came about because were because you liked the blog. I understand if you didn't like those posts. The blog may come and go, hell, one day it may just go away. I have no idea. I guess I write about whatever interests me, and at the moment. I like photography, so the thought of cycling and photography is interesting to me. Do Emiliano and Emily (funny how their names are similar) work for corporate clients at times, rather than simply as fine arts photographers? Yes, as nearly every single working photographer does. Perhaps their work is too polished, or you dislike who they work for? Not sure. At any rate, the blog's audience has grown a little, and I suppose some will disagree with what is being posted from time to time. But hey, there's always another post down the road.

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  9. today was another great day for Colombian cyclists racing in Europe-, i would most certainly hope that you write something ahead of Liege.

    btw, it must have been those socks...

    your blogging and photography are substantive, entertaining, and insightful. i really enjoy reading the rider profiles and interviews, of the great historical figures and today's super-stars. it has given me great appreciation for these riders from a very human perspective.
    more importantly, you have succeeded in doing the same for all of Colombia as well.

    your photography is great. i like the random, irreverent, off-piste postings. thank you for marketing tasteful, well-made garments that fit properly.
    last year's US Pro Cycling Challenge was but a warm up for Colombian cycling super fan #1. you will see.

    keep up the good work.
    d.

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  10. Klaus,

    Being the person who wrote a comment to criticize the post on Lucho's secuestro, I'd like to just say that I have always found your posts very interesting, creative and full of funny and curious facts about the sport. From what I read about you, I can confidently say that we both grew loving the sport listening to radio commentators broadcasting live from Europe during the heroic times of the 80's with Lucho, Parra, Ramirez and all others. As you mentioned on your blog and in response to my comment, those were very troublesome times for Colombia due to the narco war, the guerrillas, the corruption, etc, etc, but the stage wins, the climb attacks, the podiums and the polka jerseys in France and Spain brought all GOOD news to our nation. Cycling brought waves of great news and happiness to the orherwise very sad hearts of millions in Colombia. The problems, the securstros and the bad news have not gone, they arecstill there, but for 20 years there is hope NOW that cycling may become again a source of joy en nuestra patria. i invite you to keep cycling fans informed of the good things our riders are doing. These days, cycling fans are all Google'ing 'colombia cycling' and chances are they sll land in your blog. Let them know about how goid things are right now. If they want to read about the bad stuff, narcos, paras, our congress, maybe put a link to EL TIEMPO or REVISTA SEMANA. But hey, its not about sugar coating or covering the sun with a finger or dig your head in the hand (as the other two readers suggested in response to my comment) but in my humble opinion it's about focusing on the positive, its about talking about what's good, what's refreshing, what's awesome about cycling and about Colombia. It's not easy, and perhaps impossible to find a good cycling blog about Colombia and written in English for the broader cycling community out there. I commend you on your work and encourage you to keep writing about the good and the bad, make sure you keep track on Henao, Betancur, Quintana, Rigo and the other 20+ escarabajos riding the big races, keep us posted that we all three will keep reading.

    On a separate note, I think you may like this: http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/al-hinds/blog/127692/la-revolucion-colombiana

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    Replies
    1. I disagree. I am an American of Colombian descent. Born and mostly raised in the states (save for 3 years as a child in Palmira, Colombia). I found the article on the kidnapping of Lucho to be more than appropriate for this blog. Yes it's true that many paint Colombia with a broad brush as far as the violence and crime the has befallen the Colombian people, but hiding our heads in the sand and pretending it doesn't or hasn't existed is ridiculous. I only recently found Klaus' blog and I am just blown away by not only the content but the quality of the writing. The education I have received as a result of losing myself for hours in going thru past posts has been eye opening to me. I am amazed at how little I actually knew. As far as I'm concerned it's all fair game. So long as the topic relates to cycling and can be tied to Colombia I will not be disappointed. Find the positive, revel in it, but lets not kid ourselves. Colombia is a dangerous country. I travel there 2 to 3 times a year, and I ride a bike there, never alone, always accompanied by either other riders or a car. As much as I would love to just set out and lose myself in the beauty that is abundant in the country, None of my family or friends allows me the luxury. Things have changed, gotten better, of that there is no doubt, but there is still a long way to go. So lets not kid ourselves. Let the world know how much Colombian riders sacrifice, how much they risk in order to excel in such a beautiful sport and most importantly, tell it like it is and like it was. Thank you Klaus, for me your blog is truly a gift.

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