France was boring. Everything was closed. Nobody came to watch the race. We saw a castle on the side of the road. I almost fell 700 feet to my death into what looked like a glacial river—in Europe they will let you die by accident or stupidity. It’s refreshing, exhilarating really. “You want to go off-the-piste?” Europe says, “Be my guest.” We drove up a road (Mont Cenis) I would have preferred to ride up. Near the top we parked (where everyone else had parked) to wait for the race. Apparently we had inadvertently parked in some dude’s shot. As we got out of the car he started shouting at us in Italian (we shake our heads) then French (we shake our heads again) then Spanish (we shake our heads again), at which point he raised his voice, reverted back to Italian, and began swearing and gesturing wildly. We laughed because this scene, this loud spastic man, was so cute and ridiculous. Eventually I moved the car because yeah, sure, I don’t want this guy to miss his shot, especially considering he may have camped on his hill last night and/or purchased his zoom lense just for this shot.
After the race passed us we drove down the mountain and back into Italy where we stopped to drink cappuccinos, and where I decided that before the Giro is over I’m buying a felted wool Alpino hat, feather or no. Eventually we made it to somewhere near the top of Andrate (a hill in Piedmont) where the energy and mood was a bit Belgian. The road was Steep and Narrow and Short (considering). The crowd was drunk and partying and hanging from trees. Everyone was repping something or someone (Nibali, The Shark, something to do with oranges, etc.) via tee-shirts, chants, songs, bedsheets, cardboard signage, hats, and the like. When the race passed, the crowd got If the last two days were epic, today was just rad.