thing which was illuminating. And productive, we made hella Tight Butthole content, more on that later, obvs, I know you’re going to love it, it’s sooo you. Also, Sidenote: Lucca is next! 100%. Ben King officially invited us. And the Chewbaccas are there, and they invited us. Anyway, we stayed in Dan Martin’s place right next to that Catalan Gothic number, that cathedral, you know the one that dude from Majorca designed, what’s his name?, he’s famous. I just Googled it. It’s Jaume Fabre. Anyway, It’s old, it’s great, it’s got steps—dude what’s the deal with Girona?, it’s like the Steps Capital of the Universe—our apartment was right next to it, we ate Catalan Mexican like three nights in a row, there’s this new coffee shop everyone is talking about, everything was cheap because Spain is broken and the Euro is busted, we saw Alex and Ted, and the Red Market and the fortification wall, and blah blah blah blah. Listen, when we can talk about all this stuff some more at some point, and I know you want to get into the nitty gritty, the fingerprinting and all that, but first, can we talk a little about Italy, and you?
I know we only saw you for a second, but dude, you look fucking great!
Also Raaadeo Keith Keith is still sooooooo good. Get this, the first night we got in we’d been driving for like eight maybe nine hours, all the way from Girona, back through Nice and Monaco and the mountains on the coast there, through Sanremo basically—which, I should’ve stopped and checked it out then right? Because as you know I definitely DID NOT make it to Sanremo on race day, whatever—okay so we’d been driving basically the whole day and it was dark and kinda raining and we’d made it into the center-ish of Milano and we’re looking for the place where we were going to stay, it wasn’t a hotel, it was some kinda Air BnB deal, and we’re kinda burned out and boom, we found Keith Keith, and Keith Keith was killing it! First thing we heard sounded s o f r e s h, so immediately I Shazam’d it and it was The Chemical Brothers. Of course, right? Which, it turns out, the song, Do it Again, is actually pretty old but whatever it sounded so good and then right after that, a dance remix of that Hanging Tree song from the movie Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Italy, dude, you guys will remix anything! And then, this was classic, the Air BnB guy had emailed us earlier in the week and told us to make it to his place by 10:00 PM. So we did, we pulled up at 9:45 PM. But he wasn’t there, he said he was running late which was fine, whatever. We asked him where to eat, and he told us about this one place around the corner, some kinda upscale Asian Fusion deal. It was packed but we parked anyway and walked around and in the meantime we found this other place, a traditional Italian deal, but modern, all organic, whole wheat crust, fresh ingredients, they sat us right away. We ordered pizzas and some pasta… dude… the diavola… the pasta sauce, it’s like yeah, this is why people all over the world love Italy, you guys are soo good at food dude. You really are.
Speaking of which, the next day, before registering at the Tobacco Place—long story but listen in the end we found the right place—we walked around in our neighborhood for an hour or so. Two dude. We had two Groms less than ten minutes from our house. Love it. Also, what’s up with this Italo Hip Hop look you guys are running these days, it looks really tight. Diamond studs, hyper fake tans, space sneakers, these crazy World War ll step-down taper fades, shit is on lock!
Anyway, that morning, the morning of the race, things were going so well. First of all, and dude please you REALLY have to hear this, like, you really need tohear it hear it: the difference between a whatever mid-season UCI World Tour 8-day stage race and a proper Spring Classic, especially one like you, one of the monuments man, is so huge. It’s not subtle or small or vague or insignificant, it’s H-U-G-E huge. Where I do I start? First of all it was raining and dark, and all something-wicked-this-way-comes looking in the sky. The cobbles were wet. The train tracks running up the main drag from the buses to the sign-in were wet. All 800 rolling enclosure and caravan related motorcycles parked in perfect formation near the stage were wet. It was steamy and PACKED with people and anticipation inside the coffee shop, which since when does Italy even have coffee shops!?!??! The crowds and umbrellas and humanity on display were soaked and vibrant and properly intense. Behind the sign-in you’ve got that ancient plaza and arch deal serving as a headboard to the whole spectacle. The announcers!!!! So loud! So unintelligible! And the pre-game jock jams, also so loud, and also so unintelligible. The whole scene was thriving and vibing and just kinda pulsing with hype. It was freaky with hype. You know, Whodini-style man, The Freaks Come Out at Night! Eddy Grant-style, Electric Avenue! Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo! Shit was p o p p i n g off. Crack-a-lack! People just feel you man.
It’s like I was standing there thinking, I can literally feel them feeling you. We were all feeling each other. Young, old, fans, spectators, bystanders, the cyclists, the organizers, everybody was feeling everybody else, and what that was about, was you Milano–Sanremo, they were feeling you dude.
The next two hours was a blur of rain, macchiatos, Nutella croissants, Raadeo Keith Keith, Ciao-Grazie-Ciao-Ciao, roundabouts, the race passing past, getting chased out of an empty—because it was closed or possibly out of business—gas station parking lot by an old guy shaking a cane at us because we all had to pee and so pee we did against the back wall of said gas station, which wall was virtually hidden from the street so what the fuck old guy!?!??!, mountain rivers, mountain villages, water (rapids) coursing over various abandoned cars half submerged and left to rust and rot in the middle of mountain rivers flowing through the middle of mountain villages, etc.; until “The Tunnel” at Passo Del Turchino.
I’ve thought about this a lot and I don’t think it makes sense to go into the details. In some ways it’s irrelevant or immaterial right? I mean, it happened. Also, I’m pretty sure that if and when my court-appointed lawyer contacts me she/he will advise me to refrain from making any and all comments about the matter. You know, for fear of incriminating myself and shit. Here’s what I’m comfortable saying and let’s just leave it that shall we?, the cop, which cop was actually a Carabinieri, which is some kinda military-police hybrid type deal, was being a dick. Sorry. I mean, he was being obstinate. And petulant. About allowing us, bona fide Stampa, to walk down a short narrow section of the course to the end of a tunnel. The section of road in question was about thirty yards long and flat, the race was 25 minutes away, and the issue was, according to the Carabinieri officer, whether or not 25 minutes was enough time for us to reliably cover that distance, which was, like I said, about thirty yards. Manual for Speed is the first to admit we’re not physiologists and/or sport nutritionists, and we’re definitely NOT shaped like athletes. But I think we would have made it. What happened next was, I walked safely around the section of road in question, in a manner that WAS NOT prohibited—I hiked through some woods basically—got to the other side, gestured to my colleagues, the gesture was willfully misinterpreted out of spite, I was arrested and placed into a Police vehicle more or less RIGHT when the race finally came past. Like I was saying before, basically it’s Kenny Power’s fault.
And that was basically that. I know I missed half the race, maybe more. I know we’ve had these plans to hang for like, the last eight months. And I know having MFS come to your party was a big deal for you. It was for us too.
All I can think to say is, I’m sorry, and you’re rad, and next year dude, next year.”
Also, we made you an umbrella typology, as like, a gift. I know it’s not our best work and it’s not that big, but dude, that first one, where can Manual for Speed get a set of those puppies!?!??! Man it’s good to hear you laugh and smile. We good?