Friday, May 15, 2009

My Cycling Money Is On...Team Colombia es Pasion

Colombia es Pasion Cycling Team Bogota - Images by Gregg Bleakney

I love cycling, I love Italy and I especially love taking pictures of cyclists in Italy. However, I quickly loose my stoke if I have to stand next to a posse of other photographers doing the same thing I'm doing--taking pictures of cyclists in Italy:) Yesterday, while nearly every cycling photog and their mom is in Europe covering Lance Armstrong's big comeback at the Giro d' Italia, I was standing by myself, with a street slung Arepa in my left hand, Cafe con leche in right hand, at 5:30 am at a lonely gas station on the outskirts of Bogota waiting for a group of cyclists to show up.

What the hell am I doing???

I'm betting that a scrappy group of Colombian kids, --the U-23 Colombia es Pasion/Cafe Colombia cycling team, who just came back from Europe to train in their hometown (the third highest major city in the world)--is going to blow everyone away in the big European races over the next few years. I want to be here, by myself, as this story begins. For me it started yesterday during a 105 KM training ride that kicked off at 8,700 ft.--hitting 85 KM/HR on the flats and who knows on the descent of Altos del Vino.

Oh...and BTW - I'm liking the odds of my bet so far:) these guys just secured a #1 world ranking and cyclist Fabio Duarte already won the U 23 world Championship. They want it bad--and also happen to be a great group of people to work with.

I'll be with them in their training camps and during the toughest stage race in the world "La Vuelta a Colombia" over the next month or's going to be a wild ride.

Some pictures from yesterday with the Colombia es Pasion Cycling Team: