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

2015 Tour de France: Stage 13

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Distance 198.5 km Number of Steps 13,418 steps or 6.5 miles Time of Filing 3:30 AM (Daniel wrote this in our working document as “3:30 PM”, which I think should tell you something.—KEB)

Accommodations

We are staying at Prieuré de Las Canals outside the village of Valady in the region of France called Midi-Pyrénées and we’re getting married here tonight because oh my God it’s paradise like I think we’ve so totally died and gone to heaven and heaven is a palace in a ravine in the 17th century where the hills are alive with the sound of Monteverdi, pagan wildlife and the gurgle and burble of primeval running water. WE ARE IN AN OIL PAINTING. I’m pretty sure I can see Marie Antoinette or some other consort in big hair, pancake make-up, a bustier and a fake mole. Is it me or is France the only place in the world you can book a room for a night on the internet in a place that has it’s own medieval history outlined on a wiki page? It’s in a valley, it’s own private valley, and the valley comes with the palace or priory or whatever it is.

Today’s Objectives

Photograph the start. ✓
See the race. ✓
Photograph Phil Liggett. X
BONUS!!!!!! Greg Lemond. ✓

WIFI Details

It’s okay. It’s not great, it’s not bad. Highlights are, 1.) it’s open and does not require a password or log-in, 2.) it’s available anywhere and everywhere throughout the palace grounds, which like I said, is an entire valley. An entire valley which may or may not represent a portal into some kind of Collective Consciousness comprised of medieval works of art, especially oil paintings. So when you think about it like that… that we have wifi and can access the internet from within an oil painting, it’s actually pretty impressive.

Weather

It was a pink towel kind of day. What do I mean by that? I mean if you don’t have a pink towel to wipe sweat from your face and neck and arms, cover your neck, fashion into a French Foreign Legion hat (in combination with a baseball cap), drape across your thighs and arm while driving, soak with water and use topically to cool the surface of your skin, wipe glacé off the corners of your mouth, use as glare-proof tent when operating the menu functions of your camera, etc., you will probably suffer a heat stroke and die.

Quote of the Day

“We need to poke it, not loop it.”
-MFS Course Strategy Meeting Jargon

“We’re just like them.”
-Emiliano commenting on our tacit condonation and participation in today’s Sunflower event.

“But I’m going to look like a dick.”
-Veeral Patel commenting on Emiliano’s photo of Veeral using Moose Antler Hands to frame-up his Sunflower Patch shot in anticipation of the peloton.

“If you go by feet.”
-ASO staff being helpful and marginally ESL which is a lot more than we can say for MFS… eeeeeexcept Emiliano does speak fluent Spanish, just not French. Point is, the ASO dude’s English was adorable.

“These are the first proper sunflowers in four years.”
-Veeral Patel

“Oh yeah, usually unless you’re on a Moto it’s impossible to get a Sunflower shot.”
-Jim Fryer of Brakethrough Media

“Le canard flys en nuit.”
-Emiliano

“Squat collapse.”
-Daniel discussing the possible effects of crouching for extended periods of time to photograph the passing peloton in today’s conditions, hallmarks of which were 120 degree asphalt, no shade, low blood pressure, dehydration and physical exertion.

“I mean, don’t bring a flag to the edge of the race and refuse to wave it when they pass.”
-Emiliano

DEAR WORLD

RACE REPORT

Today was Manual for Speed’s first Tour de France Sunflower Patch. I know you won’t believe us, and why should you?, but photographing the race proximal to a Sunflower Patch was non-consensual. It happened like this:

 

  1. We crested a hill and BOOM, there it was, the earth had a golden floor as far as the eye could see, provided the eye focused only on the right side of the street.
  2. There were photographers everywhere. On their cars for vantage, hanging from street signs, shooting across the road into the field, shooting across the field into the road, in the field with sunflowers in the foreground, up high, down low, in fox holes, rappelling from hot air balloons, squirrel-suiting, etc.
  3. We pulled onto a road to park (leave-the-car-running-style) to photograph the golden bukkake.
  4. We did that, we discussed staying, we decided not to stay, we decided to leave immediately, we turned around and drove to the edge of the road, then, right before we could pull out, we got blocked in.
  5. First by just one guy. A Japanese photographer who we don’t know well.
  6. Emiliano publicly argued with him and eventually convinced him to move his car to let us out.
  7. Then right before he could, he himself got blocked-in by Kristof Ramon.
  8. Emiliano argued with Kristof Ramon.
  9. I had to explain to Emiliano that we were friends with Kristof Ramon.
  10. By this time the whole Patch was actively watching our Flash Performance Art.
  11. We agreed to stay and not push the Sunflower Blockade issue any further.
  12. Moments later Kristof Ramon decided to leave anyway but it was too late for us at that point.
  13. While waiting for the race to pass we discussed the Pros and Cons of this particular Sunflower Patch. The consensus is that it’s about a 7.3 as far as Sunflower Patches go. The only major drawback are the telephone poles.
  14. Jim Fryer points out that when the Sunflower Patch is lower than the road (as it was in this case) using “perspective” you can make it look like the riders are racing (or “surfing) across the tops of the Sunflowers.
  15. We also discuss the origin of the Sunflower Patch “shot.” The consensus is that Graham Watson was the first to popularize and subsequently memorialize the Sunflower Shot.

TODAY'S HIGHS & LOWS

    High Points
  • The post race exodus phenomenon. The race passes, you and all the other media run to your cars, you and all the other media Sticker Privilege your way through the barriers and traffic, you and all the other media race off in every direction possible, sometimes you follow another media, sometimes you get followed by another media, you always second guess your choice, you always wonder who’s going where, you always think about what they know versus what you don’t know, it feels a lot like that one car chase scene in the Pink Panther.
  • Speeding down vacant farm roads!
  • Talking to a Dutch photographer in Villefranche-d'Albigeois about America. He’s concerned that America is unsafe. He says in American suburbs there are drug dealers everywhere. On the corners offering drugs to children. He saw a show on TV about it. He likes France because the villages aren’t too perfect. They have a little bit of trash and old buildings. He says the Netherlands are too nice, too manicured. He wants to visit New Orleans.
  • The bridge over the Le Tarn River between the towns of Arthés and Saint-Juéry. This bridge over that river almost mitigated the pain and suffering of documenting the entire 2015 Tour De France.
  • Sitting at a table on the lawn in front of the priory, the valley lit up, listening to omnipresent, seemingly atmospheric opera music, surrounded by tall trees and the gurgle of a brook, drinking café creme after café creme after Perrier after café creme after Perrier for hours, computing in the breeze.
    Low Points
  • Yesterday, the Poulet Jalfrezi just made me sweat. A lot. Today though…
  • A marching band in the non-Girona part of Rodez covering Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
  • A different marching band covering Stevie Wonder.
  • Yet another marching band covering The Toadies.
  • All three marching bands being within one hundred yards of each other.
  • They weren't even the first marching band(s) of the day, the first was at the finish. But that marching band was okay, that marching band doesn't deserve to be in the low points. Now I owe that marching band an apology because of these other three marching bands.
  • Medieval priories are not equipped with A/C. #tedious

A TEXT I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SEND

“Phil, this is Daniel with the New Yorker. We are here at the (TDF) finish. Our credentials get us to the area just beyond the finish. When best to do this? In 10min? 20min?”

– DWP

Three things about this text really stand-out as remarkable:

  1. I have Phil Liggett’s phone number.
  2. I’m texting Phil Liggett.
  3. I’m on assignment (kinda) for The New Yorker.

MFS READER POLL

Please Tweet/Comment/Email/Text Us About This Stuff

  1. Do you text/type on your mobile with one thumb or two thumbs? Is it possible that texting/typing with one thumb is as fast or faster then texting/typing with one thumb. Is texting/typing with one thumb wrong. How do you think Manual For Speed should text/type?
  2. Sunflowers, what are they all about?
  3. In France they have Ambulance-Taxis. So like, which is it?

MURRET START

THE SUNFLOWER PATCH

Espanés

"Whereas Ansel Adams photographed the sinuous, abstract patterns left by timeless winds on desert sand dunes (Sand Dunes, Oceano, California, c. 1950), New Topographics photographer Robert Adams’s photograph of a similar western scene turns out to be dune-buggy tracks crisscrossing the desert floor (East of Eden, Colorado, 1977). Landscape photographs by Ansel Adams helped reinforce the image of the American West as an unspoiled wilderness throughout the Cold War era; by contrast, during the post-Vietnam war era, western landscape photography by New Topographic photographers challenged the ideology of such longstanding myths of nature and the West." Kelly Dennis
Before you ask, Maiz’Europ’ offers an in-depth look at corn production in France.

VILLEFRANCHE-D’ALBIGEOIS

THAT BRIDGE I WAS TALKING ABOUT!

Le Tarn River

RODEZ

YO! MFS CRIBZ: STAGE 13

A BRIEF TIMELINE OF PRIEURE DE LAS CANALS

Reproduced here verbatim and unedited.

  1. Las Canals ( Canals in Occitan) is a domain of the xv th century located Nuces, hamlet Valady in the Aveyron, 14 km northwest of Rodez. The property was the private residence of several famous families.
  2. Rainwater seeped through the limestone soils of the limestone plateau overlooking the valley and contribute to the supply of the stream that flows at its feet, hence the name Las Canals.
  3. The priory was extended in 1720 when the bishopric of Rodez buys the Boissiere family in order to install his monks.
  4. After the French Revolution, the monks leave. Bonald’s family took over the property. The Comte de Bonald performs very important work, and landscape among others, terraced vineyard of four hectares.
  5. Family Bonald including in its ranks the philosopher Louis de Bonald, Archbishop of Lyon Louis-Jacques-Maurice de Bonald and politician Victor de Bonald .
  6. The set was bought by families and Ginisty Portal.
  7. André Ginisty, president of the Regional Planning Committee to Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Toulouse, became the owner during the interwar period.
  8. In 1997 , George and Odette de La Rochebrochard buys it and turns it into a bed and breakfast.
"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth."
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