We woke up in Hotel Chilhar, we ate—croissants, yogurt, bread & butter, orange juice, café au lait, canale, cheese, salami—we drove to Spain where the race finished yesterday and started today, we photographed the start area, Emiliano got onto the Garmin-Sharp team bus (#watershed), we drove 45km to the village of Arraitz where we photographed the race, and where Emiliano photographed the race from some Old Guy’s balcony, we accidentally attended an 18-wheeler Polonaise Party, we drove to Pamplona, we did not run with bulls or any other animals in Pamplona, we took #SELFIES everywhere all over the course, we photographed the race in in the Feed Zone, we ate delicious Pizza from a truck stop, we drove to the top of Alto de Zaldiaran, Emiliano and Raoul ate ice cream cones (vanilla, both of them), the peloton passed much faster than we thought, we took a lot of blurry photographs due to incorrect exposures due to the peloton passing much faster than we thought, we drove to Vitoria-Gasteiz.“Vasco is such a funny little slice of the world. So much happening and so much not happening at the same time. Static and dynamic. Just wait until the race gets proper nasty. Get ready to photograph some emotion.”Alex Howes, Garmin-Sharp Human Athlete & Girona, Spain Seasonal-Resident
- This MFSBER installment was produced in room 215 of Apartmento Irenaz in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital city of Álava (a Spanish Province), and the capital city of the autonomous community of Basque Country, in northern Spain. With a population of 242,147, Vitoria-Gasteiz is the second largest Basque city. Depending on who you ask citizens of V-G are typically called Vitorianos and/or Gasteiztarrak, though they’re also known by a common enough nickname, babazorros; which literally translates (from Euskara Butua—the official, standardized language of the Basque Country) to Bean Eaters. More importantly, tomorrow, Thursday, 10 April, Etapa #4 of the 2014 Euskal Herriko Itzulia will start in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Side Note: The Contempary Brutalist architecture here is reminiscent of Miami and the Soviet Union.
- Manual for Speed is 4.67 years old and today we penetrated the institution of Professional Cycling for the first time ever: #watershed.
- At approximately 13:30 today in the town of Jaunsaras we purchased one kilo of HARIBO gummy bears, bulk-style, from SIMPLY Market.
- Musical Highpoint No. 1: #SELFIE by The Chainsmokers
- Musical Highpoint No. 2: Nothing Compares 2U by Sinead O’Connor
- Musical Highpoint No. 3: #SELFIE byThe Chainsmokers (but this time in Spanish!)
- Addendum & Explanation Regarding Observation #15 from yesterday’s MFSBE: It came to Manual for Speed’s Public Relations Desk’s attention, through social media and various forums, that many of our readers believed our comment referred to the lack of food stores in Spain, and but while finding food to cook with does appear to be difficult here, our comment was intended to be a bit more broad in nature. It’s our contention that Spain does not have stores, period. Let us explain. Say for example you wanted to buy some batteries. Nope, you can’t buy batteries here. I know what you’re thinking: what about soap or a TV or maybe a new pair of running sneakers?, nope, none of that is available in Spain because Spain doesn’t have stores. Actually, and it’s ironic when you think about it, the only thing it appears you can buy here is cafeteria food, for example; cafés con leche, Cokes, pintxos, txikiteos, etc. But consumer goods?, don’t even think about it, it’s not happening, because, like I said, they don’t have stores here. They don’t even have a place from which to sell you things if theywanted to sell you things, and clearly they don’t want to sell you things. Look, just buy whatever it is you think you need from France, but like we said, call ahead because the store that sells what you need—say for example nail polish or maybe some nice curtains for your living room window—is probably going to be closed by the time you get there.
- Roughly 70% of Vuelta al País Vasco (VAPV) spectators are captive, and in that sense unwilling/unwitting accomplices to an athletic event they appear to have no interest and/or attachment to. It all comes down to rolling enclosures: 20–30 minutes ahead of the race the road is closed as well as any and all roads/paths/freeways/driveways/et ceteras leading to or from any area of the course within the REZ (Rolling Enclosure Zone). Subsequently everyone moving into, out of, or through the REZ is forced to wait, and spectate!, until the race has passed. Breakaways can and may exacerbate the situation. While Shanghaied, REZ spectators will often watch the race pass with a cigarette or cell phone in their hand in the space between an open driver’s side door and the car itself.
- VAPV was first held in 1924, but was not held between 1935 and 1965.
- VAPV was mentioned and described in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises. Here is a link to that passage.1
- Surrealism up ahead (and I don’t mean the Basque Country hip-hop star Sir R€ali$£ known for his hit album Global Money Makin’): This sign is either an unusually impressionistic traffic related warning/message, or a conceptual PSA about streets, the place where art & life intersect.
- Raoul Sturme Trick Tip #1: Finish line Hug Shot 101—First, go to soigneur pile-up (just past the finish area, usually under an E-Z Up tent) and watch the race on the flat screen TV. Second, wait for someone to make a successful break, say for example Tony! Tony! Tony!. When, with 1k to go, the soigneur pile-up disbands and they (the soigneurs) assume their positions several hundred yards beyond the finish, follow them. In particular follow the solo breakaway human athlete’s corresponding soigneur, in this case the Omega Pharma Quick-Step soigneur. Stand behind the Omega Pharma Quick-Step soigneur. And that’s it, at that point the hug will come to you!
- Vuelta al País Vasco is exactly like the Giro d’Italia, only it’s 6 days long instead of 21 days long. In every other way, except for crowds, length, language and mountain ranges, VAPV is reminiscent of La Corsa Rosa. Side Note: Because it’s shorter and more chill, it’s an excellent starter and/or vacation race. Supplement to Side Note: In large part to due to Raoul’s experience, cunning, multilingual language skills, business acumen, insights, intuition and tenacity, our hotel experience in Vasco, from parking and meals and espresso-related services to weefee, have been Next-Level.
- We can’t confirm it, but today may have been The 2014 VAPV Tanning Day.
- From Wikipedia: Basque politics are complex, very complex. Basques are divided between those who want full independence from Spain, those who ask for more self-government and those who think that the current union with Spain is just fine. And along with this division you have to consider the usual Right vs. Left dimension.
- Colognizing, it’s a problem. In hotel lobbies, elevators and malls in particular, and but basically anywhere and everywhere we go, when passing males between the age of 6 and 107 we are, without fail, overwhelmed to the point of nausea and vomiting by the smell of their cologne.
- Pendientes!!!! E V E R Y W H E R E! On everyone. In the right ear. In the left ear. In both ears. Big hoops, little hoops, gold hoops, silver hoops, bone hoops, braided hoops…the P I R A T E hoop!!!! Hoops hoops hoops hoops hoophoophoophoop, so many hoops. What’s like, beyond popular? What’s like almost mandatory or semi-mandatory?! Hoop earrings, like selective service in many countries around the world, may be a national obligation.
- Drawback to FTC #1: Wherever we stop, spectators insist that we give them gadgets/swag. We assume they assume that Midden-Linburg is competing in this race festival. And that we’re with the team in some capacity and as such should give them free shit. Today, an older gentlemen offered to take my hat, off my head, a hat we all know an older dude in Basque Country would never wear—or would he?
- Every village/town/city in Basque Country has, in its center or main public area, a continuously running public drinking fountain/well-type deal, or fontaine de bla bla bla. Today, in the village of Arraitz, I washed my hands in one, and while my hands were still wet I put them up to my nose and mouth the way dogs always put everything-and-anything up to their nose and mouth, and while it smelled nice and my hands felt cool and more than sufficiently refreshed, I didn’t drink from the fountaine. That’s it. That’s my story.
- Other things that happened in the village of Arraitz: A.) I saw two dun colored geckos/newts, one of them was missing half its tail, B.) I contemplated angles and shadows and sunlight, C.) I watched a dude in knee-pad pants (these pants, which pants either have built-in knee pads or knee pad insert slots, are popular with workers/builders throughout Europe) smoke a cigarette and talk on his mobile phone and D.) I had a really difficult-but-interesting conversation with an Old Dude about Raoul’s Brooklyn cycling cap. I think though I can’t be sure, but I think, Old Dude thought Raoul was Roger De Vlaeminck’s nephew or something because when he asked where we were from, I explained that Raoul, who had at that point already walked off, was from Holland. So, I think, the cap + Holanda + attending an obscure-but-still-UCI World Tour race in the Basque Country = Roger De Vlaeminck’s kin. Side Note: I didn’t know it then (obvs), but a few short hours later in the Feed Zone Davide Bramati, Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s team manager, would ask Raoul for his cap, and Raoul would say yes, and that would be the end, as far as Raoul is concerned, for his Brooklyn cap.
When Jason was at the table
I kept on seeing him look at me when he was with that other girl
Do you think he was just doing that to make me jealous?
Because he was totally texting me all night last night
And I don’t know if it’s a booty call or not
Sooo… like what do you think?
Did-did you think that girl was pretty?
How did that girl even get in here?
Did you see her?
She’s so short and that dress is so tacky
Who wears cheetah?
It’s not even summer, why does the dj keep on playing summertime sadness?
After we go to the bathroom, can we go smoke a cigarette?
I really need one
But first, let me take a selfie
Can you guys help me pick a filter?
I don’t know if I should go with xpro or valencia
I wanna look tan
What should my caption be?
I want it to be clever
How about “livin’ with my bitches, hashtag liv”
I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
LET ME TAKE A SELFIE
Wait, pause, Jason just liked my selfie
What a creep
Is that guy sleeping over there?
Yeah, the one next to the girl with no shoes on
That’s so ratchet…
That girl is such a fake model
She definitely bought all her instagram followers
Who goes out on mondays?
Ok, let’s go take some shots
Oh no, I feel like I’m gonna throw up
Oh wait, nevermind I’m fine
Let’s go dance
There’s no vodka at this table
Do you know anyone else here?
Oh my god, jason just texted me
Should I go home with him?
I guess I took a good selfie
LET ME TAKE A SELFIE