When I woke this morning after six uninterrupted hours of sleep I felt invigorated and optimistic. Then I walked through our apartment to the back door and went outside, it was raining and cool, and it was delicious. So delicious I shouted to Keiran, C’est Magnifique! And I dont even say shit like that, for the obvious reasons. Anyway, the freshness of the morning only further buoyed the quality of my mood. I seriously felt so good I considered whistling the zip-a-dee-doo-dah song, with my mouth. Out loud! Then I checked my phone and learned I had already used-up all of the 800 megabytes of data included in my AT&T International Passport Plan. In just four of the twenty-six days I will be traveling in France. At the same time Keiran came in from the front door where our car is parked and told me that we got a parking ticket. At most races routing yourself to the start of the race using the actual course, basically “working backwards” toward the start, is a good idea. For starters, typically Avant La Course Parking is literally avant la course. Not at the Tour de France. It turns out there is only ONE way (practically speaking, because of traffic and closures and general crowd immensity-based FUBAR) to get at the start of a TDF stage. After “Look Kids, Big Ben!, Parliament!”-ing it around a roundabout for the sixth time this morning it occurred to me that covering the TDF like this is a lot like driving to a different Super Bowl in a different town every morning for a month. Throw in a foreign language and spotty wireless coverage and you really start to get a sense of it. We had all the right tools at our disposal, we had everything you need for a successful parking campaign: three copies of the official TDF Race Bible, sticker privilege, credentials, Google Maps, the internet, five years of “on the job” race documenting experience, a modern car, two fully functional adults (both of them marginally well-rested), and 1.5 hours of discretionary time. And we still couldn’t figure it out. We still fucked it up. Even if you can get to the start forty minutes before the race begins it’s not worth it, especially if you’re leaving ten minutes early to get up the road on the course. So at 10:15 AM we said, “Fuck it.” Even leaving town without regard to direction as long as it’s away from the start area, was difficult. It felt a little bit like we were in a city exodus scene in a Zombie/Alien/Cataclysmic Weather apocalypse movie, only nobody felt the urgent need to leave except us. There are speed cameras everywhere. At one point I realized that we had turned around, done so many u-turns, double-backed and circled around so many times that we had sped past the same speed camera four times in like twelve minutes. Are speeding tickets like sandwich/coffee punch cards? Eventually we found or way onto the course avant la course. And we photographed the race in two spots as well as at the finish. I mean, the day didn’t completely suck but all the u-turns, deviations, mapping, closures, arguments with police, being turned around, being forced back, access denied, speeding the whole time, no coffee or food, all that for hours and hours is stressful. Also, it’s a really good way to Tax & Test your relationship. It’s like Naked and Afraid X The Amazing Race X Driving a Taxi. Emiliano and I always talk about how traveling for Manual for Speed is at first glance one romantic luxury date after another. Beautiful European cities, all expenses paid (kinda), dinner, glacée, sunsets and cathedrals, bridges, or pontes if you will.
At 4:46 AM DWP fell asleep, because he’s not a vampire. Normally we don’t leave a post unfinished, but, well, here we are #becausetdf