I understand and appreciate that many of you have made a great deal of sacrifices in order to attend the 2013 Giro. Some of you have taken time off work. Many of you have driven from very far away. Simply put, spectating, like everything else in life, takes time and money. And so when you’ve put a lot of planning and effort into your big Giro day, getting parked, getting refreshed, bringing the right type of clothing, remembering to pack sun screen!, and/or a rain jacket!, walking 500 meters, maybe even 2+km, hiking up a big-ass hill (thank God for those refreshments!), etc., the last thing you want is for some guy you don’t know from Adam to roll up like a big shot in his red cloth-paper vest and camouflage baseball cap and fancy, expensive cameras (I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking you’ve got an expensive and fancy camera too!) and stand right in front of you! Who does this guy think he is?!?! And wait, what’s this, he doesn’t even speak Italian!?
But please Giro spectators, before you shout at him in a language he doesn’t understand, before you tug and pull on his already uncomfortable (and ridiculous!) paper-cloth vest, before you motion at him over and over and over and over and over again to squat below the top-edge of the barricade your leaning against, consider how long it is before the racers arrive. Think about what it would be like to kneel in a puddle for forty minutes, so that you (Giro Spectator) may stare at an empty road. Plus, I P R O M I S E that I will squat well below your eye line and your Digital P&Ss, and your Rebels, and your smart phones, and your 5000mm zooms just as soon as the actual race comes to town. For more information about the Race Preamble see below.
- The white Maserati, which Maserati drives the entire course well below 50 kilometers an hour, therefore never leaving first gear, -40 minutes
- The Giro Merchandise Sprinter Vans, -30 minues
- The Pink Scooter Armada, -15-20 minutes
- The silver PA, Race Annoucer Car, -10 minutes
- The Photo Motos, -5-10 minutes
- The Motorcyle Polizia & Pink Course Officals, -2-3 minutes
- 1 Psy Gentleman
- 2 Pink Feat. Nate Ruess Just Give Me a Reason
- 3 Cro Einmal Um Die Welt
- 4 Disclosure Feat. Sam Smith Latch
- 5 Rudimental Feat. Elly Eyre Waiting All Night
- 6 Gala Freed from Desire
- 7 The Asteroids Galaxy Tou The Golden Age
- 8 Jovanotti L’Ombelico Del Mondo
- 9 Franco Ricciardi Feat. J. La Furia, I. Granatino Made in Italy
- 10 Franco Ricciardi Un Altro Caffe
- 11 Daniele Silvestri Il Bisogno Di Te
- 12 Jovanotti Feat. Benny Benassi Ti Porto Via Con Me
It takes 25 minutes to exit Torino (last night it took approx. 45 minutes to enter Torino) and another 25 minutes to find the village of Cervere, and park in it. On the way the radio station (Radio Deejay ) plays Lost by Frank Ocean, after which I hear Frank Ocean’s name spoken by an Italian DJ. Cevere is flat and euro-bucolic, in the middle of the roundabout at the end of town is a double overhead (tall) cow sculpture.
The drive to Villafranca Piemonte is flat. We pass through a number of small villages with wet cobbles, narrow streets, city centres, arches and arcades. We also drive past a number of agricultural signifiers like farm stores and farms.
As far as the race is concerned Pinerlo is a super well spectated long straight-away into a wide and wet ninety degree right-hand turn (con median just past the apex) then a long straight exit – all of it flat.
1k outside Pinerolo we get on the Autostrade; the A55 to Torino to the E70 (Ring) around Torino to the A32 to Bardonecchia. The hour-long drive was essentially a combination of hydroplaning, Instagramming, reading Giro tweets about snow on the Col du Galibier, discussing rumors about the French Authorities, searching where and how to buy snow chains in Cessna Torinese (tomorrow’s start), reviewing the Terms and Conditions of our Hertz rental contract agreement, paying tolls (3 total: one for 1,60, one for 6,10 and one for 4,60), and passing though longer and longer tunnels on our way up-and-into bona fide Italian Alps; the intermittent transitioning between the clatter and sketch of HEAVY rain in the fogged-over mountain highway world and the dark hypnotic hum of a tunneling was enjoyable. At one point we pass a massive Public Art-type sign commemorating the 2006 Winter Olympics (held in Torino). Bardonecchia is a lovely-but-unremarkable mountain town. We stop before heading to the top (the top is NOT in the village of Bardonecchia) for 3 fruit tarts, due cappuccini, five mini wurtzels-in-a-blanket and two slices of pizza (margherita).
Less than a minute out of town we are forced to understand that we are unable in spite of our sticker and inspite of vigorous and vehement Honk-n-Pointing, to drive to the top. Instead, we are told, we must park and take the tram which tram is “on the other side of the bush,” Polizia at this point is pointing to a hillside covered in full-grown trees, to the top. We park, walk around the “bush” to the bottom of the tram station where we board a six person tram-unit and float through the alpine mist to the top of an Alp. Where it’s snowing. We follow signs down a muddy, foggy-forested road to the finish area, walk past the finish area to the face of the mountain where thousands of Giro fans are drinking and dancing on the edge of a switchback.