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The accordion guy was one of two, maybe three at most, highlights of the day.
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this is the bottom of the keys.

Giro d'Italia: Stage 18

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As of this morning in Abbiategrasso I can say, finally, that I’ve seen an Alpini Marching Band in dress uniform run full-tilt for three hundred yards while flawlessly playing the Italian National Anthem  past thousands of cycling fans big and tall all wearing matching blue satin baseball caps on an unseasonably warm spring morning.

So yeah, it’s true, last night’s Hotel Eur was basically a pile of shit in a pile of shit, sorry whatever neighborhood of Milan that was, but dude, look around, shit is not right, but who cares now. We’re back. Things are looking up. But also I’m not kidding about the unseasonably warm morning—things got sweaty fast. Maybe that’s why my Canon 5D Mk III took a dump on me mid-start zone photoshoot. Error code 80. Looked it up. Apparently it’s something to do with the shutter. Also apparently it’s not uncommon for your camera to, at that point, stop turning on forever until you send it back to Canon and give them money. Fuck you Canon, this camera is basically brand new and yeah it’s hot and it shouldn’t be this hot in May and it’s sweaty and nobody in our crew is getting much sleep but you don’t see me just giving up.

“Hey Steve, error code 6978!!!!! The cappuccino machine at Hotel Eur tried to poison me this morning so now I don’t feel like taking photographs, here’s the key to the Opus, please finish the Giro for me as I’m going back to Riva del Garda to join an Abba tribute band.”

No, you don’t see me doing that. It’s not like I haven’t thought about it. But I have a work ethic. Whatever, I’m going to fix you and replace you with a 1D X immediately upon returning to America. I don’t like having two different battery systems anyway. It’s tedious and just plain stupid.

 


 

McDonald’s in Europe has wifi and reliable coffee, it’s a thing. McDonald’s is basically like Starbucks, if Starbucks also sold fish fillet sandwiches and wore yellow instead of green. I still feel like I get coated in airborne animal fat every time I go in one, but today, for example, it was worth it because I was depressed and bored and needed some stimulation. Also I had to pee. (So did Steve.)

I could try harder and take photographs along the way if you want. Do you want that? It’s not like we’re passing up tons of great shit but yeah, we could easily add a field or two per day. Do you want field photographs? Are you looking for more thorough coverage? Chilleurs take up the lion’s share of our time and energy, but we could strive for better balance. I mean, you can say “Yes. Fewer chilleurs, more fields!” but I think I would quit if you did. Sorry, I’m just feeling insecure. At some point every day Steve and I end up talking to other journalists, friendly like, just shooting the shit really, and invariably we learn something very helpful. It turns out they know shit and do research on the course and read the tech manual while we’re posting Instagram stories and shopping for authentic regional headwear. It’s all about choices I guess. Priorities.

Today the plan was:

  1. Go to the start.
  2. Do a start-zone photoshooting.
  3. Drive the course ahead of the race.
  4. Drive the climb at the end of the race for photoshootings (maybe on the climb, maybe posted-up behind the finish).

About 30k from the climb we get stopped behind the Giro Caravan Circus Show in a town at the bottom of some snow-covered mountains which might be the Alps. Listen, did you know that from Milan you can go north to get to some snow-covered Alps aaaaaaaaand you can go south to get to some snow-covered Alps? Because whatever these mountains are called, they basically do a u-turn when they get to France, which who could blame them? I mean, I knew there were mountains down there in the direction of Genoa but I didn’t think they were of the snow-capped Alp variety. Anyway, if I had internet access right now—which I don’t, which reminds me I hate writing anything without access to the internet because I can’t write without looking up all kinds of shit and I can’t spell and I love words and so I legit use a thesaurus, which this reminds me that Steve woke up this morning feeling like an amputee on account of having lost his phone yesterday; he says he can’t think, he can’t like, he can’t connect, he can’t text, he can’t look shit up, he says he basically feels terrible and alone and bored now, which I totally obviously understand, anyway—I would look-up what the mountains are called but I can’t, so I’m not gonna, so maybe email me if you find out.

But anyway this Caravan Circus is crazy you’ve got to see it! Imagine teenage babes, all the kinds, dancing and moving around like Disney mascots, only they’re not wearing Donald Duck suits they’re just wearing pink shirts and stupid hats, and they’re doing flips and jumping and dancing around to the super loud house music coming from a purple pick-up truck shaped like a dog eating an ice cream cream cone. The truck has furry ears and everything. And literally thousands of Italian elementary school kids are freaking-out and they’re all wearing blue satin hats like the blue satin hats from this morning.

“Candy is flying through the air. Somebody has a t-shirt cannon. Shit is LIT!”

Up on the hill, Steve and I make a gametime decision and decide to shoot the switchbacks and not the actual finish because the finish looked flat. We park way too early and walk about 5k further than we need to, in both directions, buuuuuuuuuut we basically finally made a “right” decision at this race so who cares let’s call it exercise. Also we got sunburned. Also we NEED stickers with our website address on them.

The switchbacks are cool, see for yourself.

Abbiategrosso

Mondovi

Prato Nevoso

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