2014 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 02

2014 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 02

Tuesday - August 19, 2014 - Aspen, CO

On a corner along the course a few miles south of Basalt, Fr. Will Fisher, several members of his St. Peter's Episcopal Church Congregation and several Aspen Jewish Congregation members were performing Bike Blessings.

Start Time
11:10 AM
105 mi / 169 km
Basalt, Carbondale, Crested Butte
McClure Summit (Cat 1), Kebler Pass (Cat 2), Finish Line (Cat 3)
Crested Butte
Today's Banana Suit Count

Rain Light rain at first, the none, then a lot, like all of it.

Course Description (from the Official 2014 USA Pro Challenge Media Guide)

Each year the USA Pro Challenge searches for ways to include more of Colorado’s deep cycling history. Last year it was the climb up Bachelor Gulch… AHHHHHH………………. LISTEN……… FUCK IT!!!!!!!!! WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BECAUSE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THAT ALEX HOWES IS IN YELLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SURE, THE COURSE WAS COOL, THERE WAS SOME DIRT, AND IT RAINED, LIKE IT REALLY RAINED, LIKE THUNDER AND LIGHTING RAINED, AND BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA, BUT GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, WHO CARES? ALEX HOWES IS IN YELLOW.

IHighs & Lows
  • Full-on full-blown Jock Bro Gladiator Love, hugging the shit out of a still steaming Alex Howes seconds after he finished the race. In motherfucking yellow, son!

  • Getting my FlyKnits muddy ​on the way to the porta potty in the Vendor Area​. ​My Knits, they’re grounded.​

Heyyyyyyy Stage 02!!!!
IIA Chronological List of Events, Quotes, Instances and Experiences That Occurred During Stage 02 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge + The Day's Playlist
  1. 10:18 AM, 0.0 mi: ​”I’m going to predict that Alex Howes will win a Tour de France stage​ in the next two ​years​!”—Dave Towle
  2. 10:43 AM, 0.0 mi: “​I’m going to be an uncle in three weeks.”—Thomas Dekker​
“I'm going to be an uncle in three weeks.”—Thomas Dekker
  1. 10:52 AM, 0.0 mi: ​Manual for Speed’s Emiliano Granado is assigned to Photo Moto #10, which Photo Moto #10 is operated by Mike Love. Mike looks Emiliano up and down and says, “Hey, how much do you weigh? I’m going to have to counterbalance you so you gotta let me know before you lean to one side or the other.” Emiliano asks, “What about jumping and doing tricks, what’s the deal with that?”
  2. 11:03 AM, 3.7 mi: On our way up the course a few miles outside of Aspen, we’re directed to pull over to the side of the road by a Colorado State Patrolman. “I’m not going to stop you​ guys, ​but ​I wanted to let you know that I​ just got a complaint​ over the radio​ about an asshole white ​N​is​sa​n ​Alt​i​ma driving the course like an asshole.” “Dude, we ​ were​ doing like, ​maybe ​30mph, and its a closed course, and we have a ​Media ​S​ticker, albeit a small one.”​ ​”Listen, ​I​ get it but these​ other​ cops don​’​t .”
  3. 11:07 AM, 3.7 mi: ​Side ​Note: ​Okay, ​three things: 1​) ​We’ve been​ driving race course courses ahead of the actual race​ for ​five ​years​, in at least ten different countries on five different continents,​ and we​’re still thoroughly ​uncertain as to what the UCI ​Rules ​&​ ​Regulations are​ regarding how far ahead ​(miles/time/whatever) of the race Media is required to be, and/or whether Media is allowed to be on the course between the rolling enclosure and the front of the race, like, at all, etc.​; 2​) ​Whatever the official​ UCI​ ​Rules ​& ​Regs are​, bottom line is,​ they do it right in ​​Europe, and they do it wrong here in America; ​3​) ​#picsoritdidnthappen.
  4. 12:34 PM, 14.9 mi: On a corner along the course a few miles south of Basalt, Fr. Will Fisher, several members of his St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Congregation and several Aspen Jewish Congregation members were performing Bike Blessings. “This event brings joy and happiness to the community, and we want to contribute through prayer and blessing.”
  5. 12:52 PM, 29.1 mi: ​​Carbondale ​ Community​ ​C​o-Op is cute, and for​ a little over​ seven dollars you can ​purchase​ ​one​ large (i.e. 33.8 fluid oz​.​) and ​two​ small (i.e. 11.2 fluid oz.) bottles of Mountain ​V​alley​ Spring Water, ​in this case, the B​lue​ ​​​Label​ sparkling kind​.
  6. 1:17 PM, 47.5 mi: Dear ​Dollar ​Rental ​Car, while taking a mid​-​course ​Nature ​Break today,​ ​I​ noticed ​a ​​small-but-significant(?) crack on ​ the​ driver’s side of the bumper/spoiler/ferrying deal. What worries me is this:​ ​I ​don ‘​t remember discussing the crack​ during our walk​-​through inspection. ​I ​also don​’​t remember​ a clipboard and a form and any circles on a​ rudimentary car diagram​. But dude, it had to be there the whole time because I definitely​ didn’t​​ ​run into anything, I would have remembered that.
  7. 1:39 PM, 59.0 mi: ​Ian and I spot a ​bloodhound ​walking​ down the course. Off leash. Unattended. In the middle of the street.​ Super casual and all the way chill​. Cold trotting aimlessly. The race is 8km out and closing. We’re not sure but if we had to guess, the ​dog’s name ​is ​Otis.
  8. 1:59 PM, 78.2 mi: A ​Colorado ​Highway ​Patrol ​Officer tries to block the​ Team​ ​S​mart​S​top​ Pro Cycling​ R​V​, the same ​Team Smart​S​top ​Pro Cycling RV that’s painted electric blue​ and covered in sponsor logos​. You know​,​ ​like, ​bike sponsor​s,​ as in​ like​ bike racing, as in the ​USA Pro Challenge.
  9. 2:15 PM, 78.2 mi: Note to self: learn more about ​the Unified for/Save Thompson Divide ​situation​.
  10. 2:46 PM, 88.2 mi: Dear ​Colorado Police, you​ guys need to get your​ fucking​ shit together​!​ ​It’s embarrassing. ​You’re embarrassing. Did you go to the meetings? Was there a diagram, maybe some maps, instructions, anything? Or did you just wake up this morning and get this bike tournament handed to you at Roll Call? Have you seen a bike race before? I mean—and I don’t want to sound like a dick here but—do you even have a rudimentary understanding of rolling enclosures and the various components and working/moving parts that make up the spectacle that is a bike race? Listen, the thing is, I can deal with your ineptitude​, ignorance​​ and systemic incompetence​, but do you have to be so arrogant, insolent and petulant? I get it, ​your​ blue ​Stratton campaign hats are #hellatight​ right, and you carry guns, and you drive very fast, very clean, cars,​ but dudes, come on​, ​We ​A​re ​T​he ​World​. I’m supposed to be here. Spectators are supposed to be here. ​Support staff are supposed to be here. These jammers are more than a competition and/or race, they’re a spectacle, a really big, really unwieldy, really grand, spectacle. We’re not censologists but it’s pretty clear that significantly fewer people are spectating this race every year. Shit be in decline! The vibe is off! And it’s probably in large part your fault. Thanks.
  11. 3:00 PM, 95.2 mi: Colorado laaaaaaaaa​oves Dare Wear!!!!​ You know: blue wigs, ​pink ​skirts, ​cheetah​ leggings,​ feather boas,​ ​chaps​,​ polyester dresses,​ cheap ​oversized sunglasses, candy-apple red knee-high boots, etc. Aaaaaaaaaand animal/fruit-based adult full body costume suits too, i.e. banana​ suit​s, ​gorilla suits,​ chicken​ suits, cow suits, carrot suits, zebra suits, watermelon suits, etc. And Beach Cruisers, Coloradans love Beach Cruisers.
“Just watching for rocks.”
  1. 3:01 PM, 95.2 mi: “Just watching for rocks.”
  2. 3:33 PM, 98.3 mi: Ian and I slow to let a ​deer cross the road. Ian shouts, “DEER!!!!!” like he hasn’t seen 500,​000 deer​ a year for the last twenty years. ​Moments later​ we see several other​ deer​ on the side of the road,​ two of which are fawn​s. At this point ​I​an and ​I​ and make eye contact to like,​ silently acknowledge ​their presence.​ And that’s when I see that Ian is tearing-up as in like crying with joy, and like, awe or something.
  3. 3:46 PM, 99.1 mi: On the way back to the car after a lovely impromptu ​Photoshooting​ with the ​McDonough ​Sisters—over the course of which ​Photoshooting​ we talked about how men’​s footwear is finally now, as ​of​ 2014, reaching its potential in terms of color and pizzazz—​I​ overheard the sisters returning, obviously, to the conversation they were having before we arrived, about an article on ​Obama in the paper​ today​.
  4. 4:01 PM, 101.0 mi: At the bottom of the last climb​ (​unpaved!!!!​)​ an Angry Gandalf-looking ​Course Marshal and​,​ of course, a Colorado Highway Patrolman, block our way​ aggressively​. ​Angry Gandalf cites the Technical Manual, which we as Media don’t have—as in they (the race organizers) dont give us one when we register. He says, “Did you read the Technical Manual? This road is closed. You have to go around. It’s ALL in the Technical Manual.” At this point, I’m imagining beating the Course Marshal into the woods with a Technical Manual. I’ll have to borrow his though because like I said I don’t have a fucking Technical Manual. We say yeah, that Technical Manual deal sounds super interesting, like great story bro but can we please go up the road because otherwise we can’t photograph the course and we will miss the finish, and anyway, we’re Media, see the sticker, so like, can we just do this or what? Reluctantly, as in very, as in extremely so, the Course Marshal let us pass. But first he was all, I won’t do this again, I’m out here everyday and I know what you look like.
  5. 4:13 PM, 102.3 mi: In the town of ​C​rested ​Butte,​ in a splash of late afternoon post thunderstorm sunlight, ​we saw a gorgeous fit young woman riding a bright red beach cruiser around  in a lose fitting crocheted top. She only had one arm.
  6. 4:14 PM, 102.4 mi: Mountain towns in ​Colorado know how to support a quality independent book store.
  7. 4:53 PM, 105.0 mi: ​”I think culture happens at sea level.”—Emiliano Granado​
  8. 9:52 PM, 105.0 mi: At night, the village of Mt. Crested Butte shines a massive spotlight on the backboard-like triangular-shaped mountain resting just behind and just above the village below. It looks like the mountain top is bathed inheavenly daylight, or maybe the village is having a movie premiere.
  9. 10:12 PM, 105.0 mi: MFS gained access (consensually) to the private hotel room of Team Garmin-Sharp riders Alex Howes and Phil Gaimon for a super-duper candid 90-minute Fireside Chat & Portrait Session the words of which will never ever ever ever be published. Ever.
  10. 11:56 PM, 105.0 mi: Upon returning to the Altima, MFS discovered that the car was apparently still running—it’s one of those push-button start/stop deals and it runs weirdly quiet like modern cars do. So yeah, when we come out of the hotel and walk over to the car it’s on and idling and ready to go. It was a little bit creepy  like maybe our car was suddenly sentient and already anticipating our needs. “>>>> HELLO MICHAEL IT’S ME KIT. >>>> ARE WE FINALLY LEAVING OR WHAT? >>>>


​ASPEN ​F​M​ 101.1 ​PLAYLIST​ – Stage 02

III​Dave Towle Quotables:
  1. ​”​Lightning is literally striking​!”​
  2. ​”​It’s a ​real ​slog out there today!​​”​
  3. ​”​These guys could​ literally fall of​f​ the edge of the Earth out there right now!”
  4. ​”​It’s not quite ​Andy ​Hampsten on the ​Gavia​ out there​,​ but these guys are probably wearing every ​single thing​ they own ​right now​!”​ ((Upon examination of finish line photographs, readers may call this claim into question.))
  5. ​”​It’s like the ​T​our ​d​e ​F​rance in the ​19​40s: ​the TV feeds are down and we’ve got no images, it’s all about the radio right now!”
  6. ​”​This is going to go down as one of the most exciting days of racing in ​America​,​ ever!”​
  7. ​”​This is a ​Tommy D signature climb​!”​
  8. ​”​We’re going to have a winner here with ​in​ a half hour, this one is ​coming in hot!”​
  9. ​”​If you​’re​ ​R​ob​in​ ​C​arpenter, at this point now, you​’re​ all-in on a day like today.​”​
  10. ​”It looks like all the usual suspects are there!”​
  11. ​”​But ​B​rad, they are ​rapidly running out of real estate!​”​
  12. ​”​If you follow ​Velo​News​, then​ you will ​k​now this guy coming in right now on a ​Photo Moto, this is ​Casey ​Gibson, one of the most famous ​American photographers​ in the world!”
“The horses are back on the track now!!!”—Dave Towle
  1. ​”​This ​Hincapie ​Development​ ​Team literally punches above their weight.​”​
  2. ​”​They’ve got​​ to keep their​ blood flowing​ and ​they’ve got to keep their core​ body​ temperature up, that’s the name of the game out there right now!”​
  3. ​”​They call it ​a​ polemic in ​Italy. This is going to be bizarre​. And now ​they are saying it’s back on​!”​
  4. ​”​The horses are back on the track now!!!”
  5. ​”​They would need a motor​cycle to bring back ​C​arpenter now​!”​
  6. ​”This is the ​biggest upset in ​three decades!”​
  7. ​”With a gap this big, Carpenter could stop for a coffee on the way through town and they still wouldn’t catch him!”​
  8. ​”Carpenter is having a ​full body experience right now!”​
IVMavic Maxims
Aphorisms, adages, epigraphs, idioms, mantras, proverbs, etc., by Tom Danielson, Phil Gaimon and Ben King.

Mavic makes footwear and wheels, but more importantly Yellow, the color of sunshine, produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy.​ Furthermore, yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, ​and free-but-exceptionally-reliable mechanical​ service, in particular service related to wheels, i.e. bicycle wheels.


“Go big and THEN go home.”—Ben King “The worse you feel, the more bad ass you look.”—Phil Gaimon “Thinking about yesterday's dirt roads and mud as a fun mountain bike ride made it easier to handle the consequences of being in the race.”—Tommy D.
VIOn the Course
VIIITeam Garmin-Sharp 2014 USA Pro Challenge Yellow Jersey Lookbook
Alex Howes, Model
This was one of the biggest moments of Alex Howes' career. MFS found him in his hotel room that night for an impromptu Cyclist Modeling Session. Social media statistics not available at this time.
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