2015 Tour de France: Stage 04
road-racing

2015 Tour de France: Stage 04

Tuesday - July 7, 2015 - Seraing

We are now officially in France, the land of Wefeee not Wifi. And MGSMD (May God Strike Me Dead) if this Wefeee is not every bit as good as First World Wifi. Better than average, in fact. Did France leave the Dial-Up Age once and for all?

TABLE OF CONTENTS MFS TEAM
Layer_9
Daniel Wakefield Pasley
Owner/Operator, Photographer, Writer and Publisher
mfs_team_keiran
Keiran Best
Producer & Logistics Coordinator
Layer_3
Klaus Bellon
Staff Historian, Interviewer, Consultant, Captioner
Layer_1
Raoul Sturme
Staff European Producer & Logistics, and Hype Man
RACE BIBLE
START

Seraing

FINISH

Cambrai

DISTANCE

223.5 km

KOMS

Côte de la Citradelle de Namur, 53 km (2 km @ 4.8%, Cat 4)

SPRINTS

Havay, 137 km

WINNING TIME

5:28:58

TOP 3 FINISHERS
  1. Tony Martin (5:28:58)
  2. John Degenkolb (+0:00:03)
  3. Peter Sagan (+0:00:03)
TOP 3 GC STANDINGS
  1. Tony Martin (12:42:26)
  2. Christopher Froome (+0:00:12)
  3. Tejay Van Garderen (+0:00:25)
COURSE DESCRIPTION [OFFICIAL]

Etape 4 est l’ultime épreuve de force Pavée de Goblin.

MANUAL FOR SPEED BIBLE
TIME OF FILING

3:15 AM

ACCOMMODATION

We are in a fairly modern first floor two-bedroom apartment in the town of Lens. We have a backyard and there is on-street parking RIGHT OUT FRONT—on the street! In terms of convenience, this place is the best place we’ve stayed yet.

WIFI DETAILS
We are now officially in France, the land of Wefeee not Wifi. And MGSMD (May God Strike Me Dead) if this Wefeee is not every bit as good as First World Wifi. Better than average, in fact. Did France leave the Dial-Up Age once and for all? Will we have Wefeee THE WHOLE TIME? Don’t change the channel...
WEATHER
Humid in the morning. But not too hot. Light rain. And dusty. But that’s cobblestone-related so I’m not sure if it’s relevant in regards to meteorology, But listen, dust does in fact feel like a climatic element. And sometimes Pollen and Allergy Reports are included with Weather Reports.
NUMBER OF STEPS

20,703 or 10.01 miles

TODAY'S OBJECTIVES
  1. Photograph one (1) section of the race. (Day One of Operation Think Small) ✓+
  2. Find Saint Python and park. ✓
  3. Walk Cobblestone Sectors Three & Two. ✓
  4. Shoot the race at Cobblestone Sector Two (Quievy). ✓
  5. Extra credit for any coffees and croissants along the way. ✓+
COURSE DESCRIPTION [UNOFFICIAL]

Yesterday’s course featured the best of La Flèche Wallone. Today’s course featured some of the best of Paris-Roubaix. I’m sure there was some other shit, and some other towns, and I’m sure some aspects of the other shit/towns was interesting in their own Northern France not-that-interesting (really) kind of way, but clearly today was about two things and two things only:

 

  1. Cobble Goblins
  2. Cobble Gobblers.
TODAY'S OBSERVATION #1

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if you wear your be-Croakied Oakley Frogskins around your neck so that they rest on your chest when in Standby Mode and you eat a chocolate croissant, you will get croissant flakes and crumbs on the inside of your Polarized Iridium lenses.

TODAY'S OBSERVATION #2

The built-in navigation system in our rented Renault Clio can provide maps and driving instructions for Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. But not France. Which is like wait, Liechtenstein but not France? This does not feel like it’s the result of economics, business, common sense, prevailing travel habits, etc. It feels personal.

TODAY'S OBSERVATION #3

In mapping parlance, when navigation software instructs you to take the “second right” in a roundabout, what it really means is to just keep going straight (given a standard four-pronged roundabout configuration, of course).

TODAY'S OBSERVATION #4

French street signs are not signs, they are plaques (blue to be specific). And don’t look for them mounted to the tops of poles, you won’t find them there, they are bolted to the sides of buildings.

TODAY'S OBSERVATION #5

Roads here have NO shoulders, which makes pedestrian travel alongside motorized traffic at best inconvenient and at worst dangerous.

MEAL & FOOD REPORT

Once again the day started rough but finished well. Two things really stand out.

Apparently at the Start every morning there is a coffee lounge for staff/media/organizers/racers/etc. Keiran and I auditioned it this morning, and if we bring our own milk we can make this work. Keiran even found miniature sandwiches and chocolate pie. And it comes highly recommended by Emily Maye, and it’s free, and it’s “on location.” And, sadly we are 1000% out of Starbucks range, more or less, until Paris. Anyway, that was fine, but then we hooked back into the gas station program again until the town of Lens where we stopped at Oh Sapristi on our way to the apartment. We ordered:

  1. Cappuccinos (while we waited, everything else was for emporter).
  2. Piquante – Sauce tomate, mozzarella, chorizo, olives.
  3. Oceanne – Sauce tomate, Thon, mozzarella, olives.
  4. Fromagères – Sauce crème, mozzarella, cheddar, gorgonzola, chèvres, olives.
  5. 2 bottles of San Pelligrino, but they refused to sell them to us because they can’t part with the bottles under threat of death.

It was wonderful. We took everything home where we hacked HBO GO so we could watch it in France. We watched the dumbest show on TV right now, you may have heard of it, it’s called True Detective. It’s a parody of an old TV show from about one year ago also called True Detective. That one, the first one, was one of the best shows on TV. So I guess with this one, the second one, they’re trying to like do some kind of complement or something by doing the polar opposite. Episode 3’s BEST/WORST dialogue was definitely the whole apoplectic exchange. Seriously, are they trying to suck?

RETRACTIONS/CORRECTIONS/APOLOGIES

I can’t think of any right now, but that doesn’t mean we don’t owe someone a retraction/correction/apology. If anything… it means we probably most definitely do.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
"SIXTY-NINE!!!!!"
-Socially Aggro Bro
IToday's Highs & Lows
HIGH POINTS
  • A group of Old French Men huddled around a transistor radio listening to the song “Flashdance.”

  • I got to my spot on the cobbles about an hour before the race was scheduled to come past. There were already several photographers in position on the inside and outside of the 90 degree turn that was the obvious focal point of this entire section of cobblestones. Every couple of minutes a new photographer would show-up, chose a spot, and stake it out. This is super common, this time-lapse-like filling in of photographers along the edge of the course. Anyway, with about five minutes to go these two dudes walked up to where I was and stood directly in front of me. They knew the photographer next to me, so they all started talking. The natives behind me were already getting pretty anxious, and now these two dudes were in front of me, and the pre-caravan had already come past, and the helicopter was just over the hill, and so the atmosphere was tense. Then I noticed that one of the dudes in front of me was staring at my badge, the one on the end of my lanyard, resting on my bib. Anyway, he takes his phone out and types something into a browser search bar. I can’t be sure but I’m about 69% certain he typed manualforspeed into the search field. It was taking forever to load and the race was close so he finally just turned his phone off and got into position, which in the end was just off to the side of where I was. I think they were Welsh or Irish. Anyway, I can’t be certain, but I like the idea of some dude walking into a territorial situation like that, and doing some like on-the-spot math in an effort to determine who deserved the access more, the guy who was there first, or the guy who was more important. Whatever that means.

LOW POINTS
  • While walking the course this afternoon a dude ran up to me and shouted SIXTY-NINE!!! When I stared blankly back at him he pointed to my chest. Apparently my bib-vest number is 169, and the 1 was covered by my lanyard. The way I see it, this bro forced one of the lamest sexual references on me AND reminded me that I’m wearing a fucking lanyard and a bib at the same time.

  • My new Nike Flyknits are HELLA DUSTY. And while I really like our fake-clandestine sponsorship, I want to go legit.

IIDear World
THIS NOTE IS REPRODUCED HERE VERBATIM, UNEDITED FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT, AND BECAUSE I NEED TO SLEEP. #bts
“cars dressed in giant plastic Skewered meat, bottles of tea, dog snccksjs going by at 80 mph - like the macy day patade x dakar - in waves, like sets, jizzing the whole tme a steady rain of key chain, indivifuwlized packets of cookies and rubber chickens callinf cards , sample sized super glue , best part of the race for me so far. Watching the French get Pumped and Jazzed. ridiculous speeds on roads made for goats. Feeling pretty good the whole time about finally seeing the race and not killing ourseleves to do so.”DWP
IIITwo Examples of French Fluency by Google Maps Lady
IVLEARNING FRENCH PHRASES! #2
AN EXPLORATION, A GLOSSARY, A CATALOG FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

“Je dois arriver au sommet!!!!!!”

 

(I need to get to the top!!!!!!)

manualforspeed_tourdefrance2015_stage04-france
VA Catalog of Dutch Tour de France Race Phrases
10 Terms by Raoul
VIA Chronological Breakdown of the Day's Events
  • 10:15 AM: Wake up after a little more than four hours of sleep.
  • 11:15 AM: Drive to the start in Seraing.
  • 12:00 PM: Photograph the start.
  • 12:30 PM: Get lost in Seraing, but don’t care because Operation Think Small means we have time.
  • 1:00 PM: Drive to Saint Python
  • 5:00 PM: Photograph the race.
VIIToday's Castelli Unfair Advantage
AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE™

Nothing protects you from the elements like clothing designed to protect you from the elements. For example: today I brought a pink cotton hand towel to a Rain Storm Fight. I got lucky. This time. But shit could have gotten out of control pretty quickly. I mean it, nothing works to keep rain off your body like clothing made out of waterproof/resistant materials because clothing is designed for bodies and waterproof materials are designed to be waterproof—that’s why it’s called waterproof. Trees can work in a pinch but they’re not designed to fit on your body. Hiding under a car is all fine and dandy until it rains so hard the streets start flooding, and/or the owner of your hiding place needs to borrow it for a moment to pick up the girls from soccer practice. Holes dug into the earth can work, but not well. And sure, denim does fine at first. But I’m telling you, mass-produced rain jackets make so much sense I have like twelve of them. From ponchos to packables, from waterproof to water resistant, from Hobo-Tech (featured above) to Gore-Tex 9-Layer Nano LazerLayerTek 17,000,000,000 (trillion) Durable Water Repellency Ultra Inverted Cup Test Power, I own and regularly employ a substantial number of rain clothing solutions for meteorological-based problems both general and specific. That gives me an #UnfairAdvantage. Unless I leave all of it in the trunk of my rental car. #neitherherenorthere

 

VIIIToday's Playlist
IXKlaus' Race Report

The weekend that my wife and I moved into the house that we currently own the floor in the master bathroom collapsed, nearly sending the toilet crashing down into the garage (and our cars) below. Apparently, the house had been vacant for so long that a slow ongoing leak had rotted out the entire bathroom subfloor. All it took was me walking into the bathroom a few times for the whole thing to give way. And once that happened, I spent the following days trying to lift a toilet through pounds of soggy drywall and plywood (as sewage-y water fell on my head), while learning how to fix the damaged support beams and plumbing. During a Monday morning meeting at work after that weekend, I relayed the story as my way of explaining my exhaustion that morning. There was a brief pause, followed by the inevitable. “The joys of home ownership, huh?”, said the guy who was way too young to have an un-ironic mustache. His comment was followed by maddening laughs. It was then and there that I realized how much I detest Stock Phrases, ones that range from shallow to pseudo-ironic truisms. Things like “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that gets you” (or its evil counterpart, preferred by those in the Southwest: “…it’s a dry heat”). Then there’s, “Location, location, location!!!!”, “Only in New York!”, along with the enviable sense of certainty that backs up statements like, “In this city there are two seasons: winter and construction”. They all make my blood boil in the most boilingy way possible.

 

Based on what I just told you, it should come as no surprise that listening to commentators at the Tour de France can be a maddening ordeal for me. Especially in the first week, when all you hear is how a rider “May not win the race during a first week like this, but he sure can lose it.” Of course that’s true. Just as it’s true that it IS in fact the humidity that gets you. Believe me, I lived in Miami for a while, I know. But that doesn’t make it okay to repeat phrases like that six thousand times. Which is why I hope no rider loses the Tour during this first week, and perhaps one may win it instead. Just to prove these idiots wrong.

 

Sure, Quintana lost time on stage 2, but he hasn’t lost the Tour as a result. He hung in with the main group on Stage 4 despite the cobbles, and the riders who had to retire due to crashes on Stage 3 were not really destined for GC greatness anyway. Okay, Thibaut Pinot’s mechanical might not have happened in a non-cobbled stage… but really it was his unwillingness to ride a bike from a rider one inch taller than him that cost him time on Stage 4. That could have happened anytime, anywhere.

 

Yes, there’s still a good bit of racing to be done in this first week, but all I can tell you is that I’ll be sitting here, praying to the Cycling Gods above that this most annoying of cycling truisms doesn’t come true this time around. And if it does, all I can say to any team owner out there who suffers as a result is… “Ah…the joys of cycling team ownership.”

XSeraing Start

Facts according to the Tour de France’s PARTEGEONS LA PASSION

 

  1. Prefecture of Pas-de-Calais
  2. 42,000 inhabitants.
  3. Economy: food processing research, agro-food and logistics companies. Häagen Dasz factory, Caterpillar, a branch of the University of Artois.
  4. Culture: belfry, Arras citadel, towers of the Abbey of Saint-Éloi, International Memorial and National Necropolis of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Carrière Wellington (site reconstructing the Battle of Arras in the First World War), Museum of Fine Arts, Cite Nature. Festivals: Main Square Festival (rock’n’roll), Arras Film Festival (Festival of European Film), Faites de la Chanson (festival of French song), Histoires et Rêve d’Artois (son et lumière).
  5. Sport: Arras Pays d’Artois (basketball, Women’s Leage), Arras Women’s Football Club (Division 1), Racing Club (athletics, first division), ASL Canoieing and Kayaking, jousting.
  6. Specialties: Arras sausage, Coeur d’Arras (cheese), Bleu d’Arras (painting on porcelain).
  7. Sustainable Development: 40km of bike paths, self-service bikes for students, Ma Citadine (free city centre shuttle), Trame verte et bleue de l’Arrageois (transformation of tow-paths into walking trails).
  8. Distinctions: Its belfry and citadel are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, city of art and history, four star floral city.
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Siberian Huskies have a specific gene that causes a loss of pigmentation in the irises but not the coat, which is why Huskies can have dark coats and blue eyes.
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"I fear no man, no beast or evil, brother."
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Nikon D4 Type: Single-lens reflex digital camera Lens mount: Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts) Effective pixels: 16.2 million
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The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes for squinting with only eye (Source: WebMD): Cranial nerve palsy, Mobius syndrome, Duane syndrome, Brown syndrome, Congenital ptosis (see Ptosis), Myasthenia gravis, Brain stem disorder, Cranial nerve lesion, Myopathies
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The original Ray-Ban Wayfarer design was first introduced in 1956. It has been copied and altered slightly countless times since. The original Wayfarer design was revolutionary because it broke away from metal eyewear of the past.
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Negative aspects of Nolan helmets, according to CycleWorld: Current models are quieter than earlier ones, but ear protection still a good idea. Microlock retention system can’t be secured to underseat helmet locking posts.
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Nathan Haas. Born: March 12, 1989 (age 26), Brisbane, Australia. Height: 5' 10" (1.78 m). Weight: 157 lbs (71 kg).
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XISaint Python Cobble Sector
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A bucket hat (also known as a fisherman's hat or crusher hat) is a headwear design with a wide and downwards sloping brim. Typically, the hat is made from heavy-duty cotton fabric such as denim or canvas, with two metal eyelets placed on each side of the hat for ventilation. It was first adopted as a high fashion item in the 1960s, and with subsequent revivals in both street fashion and on the catwalk.
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Saint Python was first used in Paris-Roubaix in 1973.
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Twerking: A dance set to popular music that is sexually provocative and involves thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
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XIIQuievy to Fontaine au-Tertre Cobble Sector
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Suggested translations of "selfie" to French (Source: the internet). autoportrait photographique ; autoportrait réalisé à partir d'un téléphone portable, souvent pour montrer une expression, un décor, une personne importante à côté
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Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson, Jr.; February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004)
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XIIIExodus
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The walk back to our car took forty minutes along the above road. Two things to note here: 1) there really is no shoulder on this road; 2) my Flyknits really are dusty.
2015 Tour de France: Stage 04 SHARE Facebook Twitter
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