When this dude walked up to me at sign-in and said, in a French accent, why do you have, the towel, are you ready for the beach? Then he smiled, and I smiled, and that was that.
I think I finally figured out how to document this race. More on that later. For now the basic gist is this: recalibrate and adapt. Think small.
30 seconds after that dude asked me about the beach I realized I should have said, yes, I am always ready for the beach. But it was too late. Sad Face.
The Tour de France took a perfectly splendid race called La Flèche Wallonne and fucked it all up.
Raoul left today. He comes back on the second rest day, just before the Alps. He was the only one of us that speaks even a little bit of French. The good news is that Raoul’s absence has inspired a new MFS Race Report Section called Learning French Race Phrases.
Trying to find Smartflats with a drunk blue dot pretending to be a ghost when meanwhile I was walking around with luggage and a rapidly dying iPhone.
Summiting our penthouse apartment without protection and/or an ice axe.
- What about a catalog or typology of tattoos in the peloton? Is that a good idea, or a really bad idea? Has it been done? Would you do it portrait style? Like in studio on white, or would you capture them in the wild? Would you ask the riders some questions? Like, you’re Ukrainian, so why do you have a Navajo Indian dreamcatcher tattooed to the small of your back?
- Is Manual for Speed an ENG crew? Do we need a microphone and a DAT machine? Should we have our own radio station? Does anyone use the app Periscope? What happened to ABC’s Wide World of Sports?
- Should we ask Shoddy Dave to do Manual for Speed Books11Cliff Notes? On Tape?
At the Tour de France you are either inside the race or outside the race. It’s absolute, there is no grey area or in-between. Manual for Speed thrives in the margins. Our whole point of view and perspective has evolved from our having spent years and years, happily, maybe even effectively, inside the margins.
“Avant la course?!?!?!?!!?!”
(How do I get to the front of the race?!?!?!?!!?!)
- 8:55 AM: Wake up in Raoul’s cousin’s house after sleeping for three hours.
- 10:30 AM: Drive to Antwerp.
- 11:45 AM: Spot & Stalk the start area.
- 1:00 PM: Fail to get on the course ahead of the race.
- 1:30 PM: Give up and drive basically straight to Huy.
- 2:25 PM: Get on the course outside Huy, follow the course until the finish.
The Antwerp Eritrean community threw a party at the MTN-Qhubeka Team Bus during sign-in. They shouted and they chanted until one Merhawi Kudus, one of two Eritrean riders on the team, came out of the bus to greet the crowd. At that point the crowd was like oh my god oh my god oh my god you’re awesome!!!!!! Only they said it in Tigrinya or Arabic, I’m not sure if I could tell the difference. Point is, there was some Deep Stoke at the Mountain Chewbacca camp today.
Castelli’s Team 2.0 TDF Jersey takes all the pattern fit and technology used in more technical race jerseys and makes this jersey a great option for training days. Key features include aero race 5.0 patterning for improved aerodynamics, prosecco strada fabric, mesh side panels, full-length YKK® Vislon zipper and 3 rear pockets with reflective tabs.
Facts according to the Tour de France’s PARTEGEONS LA PASSION
- Principal town of the Province of Antwerp.
- 514,000 inhabitants (Anversois).
- Economy: World’s number 1 centre for the diamond trade (featuring a large number of diamond cutting businesses and diamond exchanges), Europe’s second biggest port (900 companies in the port area and 250,000 jobs), petro chemicals.
- Culture: Cathedral of Notre-Dame, St. Carolus Borromeus Church, St. Andrew’s Church, Grote Markt, Central Station, MAS (Museum aan de Stroom), Red Star Line Museum, Fashion Museum, Diamond Museum, PLantin-Moretus Museum, Rubens’ house, zoo. Festivals: Summerfestival (electronic music), Laundry Day (DJs competition), Jazz Middelheim festival, Zomer van Antwerpen (circus and street theatre).
- Sport: Port of Antwerp Giants (basketball, Division 1), Top Volley Precura Antwerpen (Division 1), Royal Antwerp (football, Division 2). Sports Palace. Events: World Ports Classic (cycling), Diamond Games (women’s tennis), Jumping Antwerpen (show jumping).
- Specialties: Antwerpse Handje (small hand-shaped chocolate), Caramella Mokatine (sweets), De Koninck beer.
- Sustainable Development: 700km of cycle paths, self-service bike rental (Velo Antwerpen), tramway.
- Distinctions: european Capital of Sport in 2013, Antwerp’s Most Brilliant (the city’s best jewellers), “Cut in Antwerp” diamond quality label.
Facts according to the Tour de France’s PARTEGEONS LA PASSION
- Principal town of the district in the province of Liege.
- 21,500 inhabitants (Hutois).
- Economy: nuclear industry, specialist hospital treatment, tourism (cruise boats on the Meuse, recreational park, museums, old Huy), 400 business, university town (12,000 students).
- Culture: Notre-Dame Collegiate Church and its Treasures (reiligious objects including four shrines from the 12th and 13th centuries), Grand Place, old Huy, Maison Batta (an example of Mosan Renaissance style), the fort and its Second World War memorial, town museum, Ecomuseum, Cultural Centre, Rock Workshop. Festivals: Ca Jazz a Huy, Art Festival, Fest Huy’Val, Les Enfants Terribles (European debut films), Win and Gastronomy Fair.
- Sport; Footbal Royal Huy (National 4), Motor Club de Huy, sports complex. Events: La Fleche Wallone, winter swim across the Meuse, Huy Night Run, Condroz-Huy Rally, triathlon, Cor’Huy’da.
- Specialties: Huy wine, pewter ornaments.
- Sustainable Development: RAVel (autonomous network of slow lanes) on the banks of the Meuse and along the Hoyoux, forest walks.
- Distinctions: Fair Trade town, Commune Maya (protecting bees in Wallonia), WHO good health town, member of the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty.
“Spot-and-stalk deer hunting is not to be confused with still-hunting, where you walk slowly and quietly, looking for deer in areas you think they might inhabit. In spot-and-stalk mode, you sit in one place and use binoculars and/or spotting scopes to locate the buck you want, and then you slowly sneak to within shotting range. [sic]
“There are three things that make spotting and stalking such an effective tactic for hunting mule deer:
- Numbers – You get to see lots of deer, and you’re far enough away that you don’t alert them to your presence, so they’re highly huntable.
- Efficiency – You cut down on wasted time and energy by only going after deer you know for certain are there.
- Simplicity – Spot-and-stalk does not demand an intimate local knowledge of deer patterns — to get in the game, all you really need is a quality pair of binoculars and a strong pair of lungs.”
Spectator/chiller photography at start or finish areas of major cycling races also benefits from the same Spot & Stalk principles. Large crowds, unfamiliar surroundings and unpredictable behavior from course marshals and local police all mean it’s typically impossible to capture the ideal image of any given chiller as soon as you’ve spotted them. Instead, focus your attention on following your subject through the crowds, only attempting to get a picture while stopped (so as to not cut off your peripheral vision and spatial awareness by bringing a camera to the eye; doing such is extremely dangerous given the chaotic conditions).