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2015 Tour De France
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There was some Deep Stoke at the Mountain Chewbacca camp today.

2015 TDF: Stage 03

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Distance 159.5 km Number of Steps 14,436 or 8.55 miles Time of Filing 3:15 AM Accommodations We are in downtown Liege, in the Wallonian part of Belgium. More on that later. Anyway, we are in the Penthouse apartment of the Smartflats Saint-Gangulphe Flats. Except for some pretty intense parking anxiety, and then a fairly lengthy game of hide-and-seek-with-your-luggage (played by exploring every corner and alley of Place St-Etienne and watching the whole time the little blue dot bounce around like a drunk ghost all over my Google Maps app on my iPhone which iPhone was at 3% and fading), and then after we won the game the staircase almost too narrow to fit our luggage through and very nearly vertical as in like a ladder slash corkscrew, and the way the Smartflat’s three year old Ikea makeover is starting to chip and fade at every turn (e.g. the sofa, the windows, the Besta media console), we really like it here. Mostly because it’s big and breezy, and centrally located. Also, it’s right around the corner from Sava, an Argentine grill.

Today’s Objectives
Photograph some more actual bicycling. X
Photograph the race somewhere anywhere along the course. X
Get Keiran credentialed. ✓
Photograph the Mur De Huy in ALL ITS GLORY. Chillers & Racers alike. And bear witness to one of the best race climbs in the world. XXXXXXXXX

Top 3 Finishers
Joaquim Rodriguez
Christopher Froome (+0:00:00)
Alexis Vuillermoz (+0:00:04)

WIFI Details
Dude, I can’t take the suspense. Even in this semi-questionable Airbnb unit in French-speaking Belgium, the Wifi is fantastic. Makes me want to ping it and see if we’re setting a record or something. But listen, I know the sockless Gucci driving loafer is about to drop any minute, the closer and closer we get to France.

Weather
I can’t remember, I was in a car all day. I mean, I think it was pretty pleasant? Definitely sunny. Not too hot. Wait, towards the end of the day like around when the race finished, it was hot. I had to walk to the top of the Mur de Huy, which caused me to sweat. Mostly on my face and from my armpits down the underside of my arms. But also in my underwear too. About halfway up I got a ride from the Chewbaccas #thanks #blessed. I know what you’re thinking, why were you out there on foot on your own anyway? Was the hilltop finish closed to the Press? Nope, it was absolutely open to the Press. But listen, I don’t want to talk about it right now. Maybe later.

TODAY'S HIGHS & LOWS

    High Points
  • 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.
    Low Points
  • 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.

TODAY’S GREAT IDEAS

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. Should we ask Shoddy Dave to do Manual for Speed Books Cliff Notes? On Tape?

DEAR WORLD

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.
Our whole Thing is looking in from the Outside, and looking out from the Inside. But here,

“theeese iz not possibul.”

LEARNING FRENCH PHRASES! #1

An Exploration, A Glossary, A Catalog for Future Generations

“Avant la course?!?!?!?!!?!”

(How do I get to the front of the race?!?!?!?!!?!)

A CHRONOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN OF THE DAY’S EVENTS

  • 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.

ANTWERP START

Facts according to the Tour de France’s PARTEGEONS LA PASSION

  1. Principal town of the Province of Antwerp.
  2. 514,000 inhabitants (Anversois).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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).
  6. Specialties: Antwerpse Handje (small hand-shaped chocolate), Caramella Mokatine (sweets), De Koninck beer.
  7. Sustainable Development: 700km of cycle paths, self-service bike rental (Velo Antwerpen), tramway.
  8. Distinctions: european Capital of Sport in 2013, Antwerp’s Most Brilliant (the city’s best jewellers), “Cut in Antwerp” diamond quality label.
Today, in Antwerp, I was reminded that cobbles are so fucking gnarly they hurt just to walk on. I think maybe it’s like with 4X4 trucks and fire roads; if I could run thirty miles an hour instead of just plodding along at eight miles an hour it might smooth out a bit, but I was carrying a camera so…

ALONG THE ROUTE

MUR DE HUY FINISH

aka SWEAT FEST 2015

Facts according to the Tour de France’s PARTEGEONS LA PASSION

 

  1. Principal town of the district in the province of Liege.
  2. 21,500 inhabitants (Hutois).
  3. Economy: nuclear industry, specialist hospital treatment, tourism (cruise boats on the Meuse, recreational park, museums, old Huy), 400 business, university town (12,000 students).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Specialties: Huy wine, pewter ornaments.
  7. Sustainable Development: RAVel (autonomous network of slow lanes) on the banks of the Meuse and along the Hoyoux, forest walks.
  8. Distinctions: Fair Trade town, Commune Maya (protecting bees in Wallonia), WHO good health town, member of the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty.
"The letter 'B' is a popular body type in Wallonia."

DWP

“SPOT & STALK” THEORY

Stage 03 Photographic Lesson

Hungry-for-Hunting.com on Spot & Stalk hunting:

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. Efficiency – You cut down on wasted time and energy by only going after deer you know for certain are there.
  3. 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).

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