Here’s the thing about racing. It all happens at the end: when the first person crosses the line for the last time you’ve got yourself a winner. Racing isn’t decided by the electoral college, this shit is a popular vote man, direct democracy. Of course we acknowledge the GC and the jersey classifications, we don’t want to take anything away from these aggregate trophies, but when it comes down to it, the visceral, the immediate, the blow your hair back, nerves electric, awe of humanity shit is all about the on the immediacy of the stage finish.
Starting out, it seemed like today’s stage was going to be a little bit of a bust. Driving off the top of Gibraltar was like coming down from a high, we had witnessed the herculean efforts or the riders, the beauty of the climb, the thrall of the crowds. It was an Ayahuasca in the eyes, all the stops pulled, throttles on full experience. As we descended from the top the mountain, so did we come back down to reality. Tomorrow couldn’t possibly live up to this, the bar has been set too high.SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTThoughts on today’s post? Give us a ring at +1-971-280-6823 and leave a message!
I can’t in good conscience argue that today’s stage was equal to the race up Gibraltar. However, that doesn’t mean that when I watched the finish, when I watched Sagan and crew snake up the back straight like a Skittles-colored cobra, when I saw the effort, the fatigue, the anguish, and finally the cool grace of that Slovakian land missile casually acknowledging his victory with a subdued shrug, I was riveted with the electric immediacy that comes with racing. It speaks to something primitive and atavistic within each of us, something that, try as we might, cannot be.“Competition is as much a part of humanity as is the thumb and vocalization.”MFS
We all want to be winners, and such is the power of our drive to win, such is our addiction to the elation of victory that we’ve trained into our nature a construct of collective consciousness that allows us to feed off the victories of others. In a sense we’ve ensnared our empathy, bent it to our will. This transference works best, is most fully realized, at the denouement, the finale. And here we have Sagan, here we have the peloton. Fuck the lackluster setting, the invisible stage, the absent crowds, because none of that matters, it’s window dressing. These are the best in the world doing what they do, and being there, leaning against a concrete barrier watching it all play out, I was struck with the same sense of awe and admiration that is fundamental to my fascination of with the human condition, our drive, our will.
This is an outpouring, an admission, an acknowledgement. This is an acknowledgement of competition, of drive, of the animal. It’s simply beautiful.
Experiencing my first dump butler in a Port-a-John. We had just shown up to Laguna Seca, and I wouldn’t say my launch officers had uncuffed their briefcases, but they were definitely discussing their count strategy for the synchronized key turn. Anyway, shit was on. So we roll up to this chained-in private temporary sanitary establishment and as providence would have it a dump butler was right there to open the gates to the kingdom. Let’s just say fresh tracks plus a notable lack of contemporary dispersal. Things went well and after I finished, after I waltzed out a like a newly appointed POTUS, the dump butler locked the kingdom up behind me.
Nathan Hass took third! PODIUM. PODIUM. PODIUM!!!
Trying to fall asleep at 5:17am to the sound of chirping birds, who were, presumably, in the process of waking up.
I asked a few German Tourists if I could get footage of them for my video blog (vlog) but they pretended like they couldn’t speak English. I am pretty sure that as part of the Armistice, all Germans were required to learn English. So imagine how I felt when these fucking tourists decided to make a fool out of me—in my own country no less—by pretending to not speak English just so they could duck being in my vlog. I mean what kinda selfish bullshit is that? How would they feel if I went to Germany, toured one of their streusel factories, and decided to take a shit in their eyes? Because guess what retired German tourists, all I can see is the shit you shoveled me.
Lachlan, sorry about that blowout brü.
If you have the sickening fortitude to get up early in morning, then you have the Unfair Advantage that God bestows on only his most blessed/cursed spawn. Enjoy it.
Manual for Speed has been commissioned to introduce a new race classification category called “Most Animal.” Points for the classification will be awarded on the basis of style, swagger, and grit. We’ve assembled an elite group of expert analysts who will be assessing and assigning points for performance. The most animal jersey for ATOK will be awarded at the end of the race.
NEILSON POWLESS: 8 pts
He’s still the youngest rider in the race, and after attacking yesterday he hung in and came in with the first group today. Top 5 in the GC… ANIMAL!
PETER SAGAN: 7 pts
Assigning Sagan animal points is kinda like assigning color points to the color blue. Its tautological. Still, dude deserves them, and after crushing the field in the final sprint his winning salute was SO Alain Delon/ James Dean cool. Also, that pony tail.
NATHAN HAAS: 6 pts
Attacked on the final climb and still sprinted for third. Also, Nathan #Rode4Bernie two days ago. Haas isn’t even American but we can’t help but think that his little show of enthusiasm helped push Bernie over the top in Oregon.
AXEON-HAGENS BERMAN: 5 pts
The whole team has been killing it. We love junior development, not because we fetishize youth but because we truly believe that supporting, drawing attention to, and encouraging up-and-coming riders is the right thing to do for cycling. Axeon-Hagens Begman, we applaud you.
DAVE TOWLE: 4 pts
Why? Because I’m 90% sure I saw him fistbumping Peter Sagan after the win. Plus he’s Dave Towle. Listen, we know that there is absolutely NO WAY he’s going to be able to win the overall but at the same time, he’s Dave Towle. Dude’s an animal.
LAGUNA SECA: 3 pts
A crazy finish, weird turns and weirder climbs. So that’s cool. Also Butlered Dump Lots. But also heat and a queasy empty feeling.
Standings After Stage 04
- Neilson Powless: 12 points
- Ben King: 9 points
- Wouter Wippert: 7 points
- Peter Sagan: 7 points
- Julian Alaphilippe: 6 points
- Nathan Haas: 6 points
- Vasil Kiriyenka: 5 points
- Axeon-Hagens Berman: 5 points
- Oscar Clark: 4 points
- Dave Towle: 4 poimts
- Cannondale Team Car: 3 points
- Laguna Seca: 3 points
- Inflatable Cookies: 2 points
BONUS INTERACTIVE FEATURE: RACE FINISH RECREATION FEAT. DAVE TOWLE
You’ll be getting plenty of compliments yourself wearing your MFS Surprise Me! kit out and about. And when someone asks you, “Where can I get one of those sweet kits?” you’ll tell them, “You can’t, they’re gone, you had your chance, you could’ve had this but you were afraid of the surprise.”