Manual for Speed’s First Encounter With A WWSD
Because the Ronde van Vlaanderen was Manual for Speed’s first European PRR, it functions in many ways as a de facto blueprint for our coverage. Okay this, we thought at the time, this is what European PRRs are supposed to look like. And from our current perspective—six years and many European PRRs later—we know that our assumption was essentially accurate. In fact, the Ronde van Vlaanderen is a rather exemplary/quintessential PRR, especially when it comes to one-day classics. At any rate, one of our first chiller-related observations was the overwhelming number of Women with Small Dogs—the majority of which women being either Trashy Euro Cougars (TECs) or Senile Old Ladies (SOLs).
As many of you know, following the Ronde by car in an attempt to document the race in multiple (5+) locations, in particular the best-most popular and therefore heavily-populated locations, is difficult/problematic/stressful/stupid/enjoyable-in-a-“this-is-stupid”-way/etc. While attempting to park near Nokereberg, and with less than twenty minutes to go before the lead group would pass, this particular Woman with Small Dog encouraged us to park in her driveway, which we took to be a literal invitation (her English seemed fairly reliable) to park in her driveway. This was immensely helpful as her driveway was strategically located near both the course and our planned escape route. After parking and 1.5 minutes of the prerequisite niceties, she stuffed a small piece of lined paper torn from her diary into my hand, and asked that we email (or was it mail, as in like, a letter?) her a copy of this photograph. Either way we unfortunately/fortunately lost her address which means we were never able to send her a copy of the photograph.
Dear Woman With Small Dog, please accept our sincere apologies. Also, if you’re reading this, please navigate to the contact section of our PRR blog so that we may respond to your email with a copy of the image in question attached.
AT THE RACES is a study of the more ubiquitous or “prevalent” types of chillers found spectating PRRs on any given day, at any given race. To help us properly identify and catalog chillers, Manual for Speed commissioned world renowned interpretive illustrator and dog walker Thomas Slater. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Human Taxonomy from Oxford and has been supporting his family as a commercial illustrator since the age of 7. His recent work titled Gran Fondo’ler (Confessions of a Cycling Enthusiast) is currently being considered for a solo show at the Tate.