The Slovenians and Sexy from France showed up last night at eleven thirty. We talked about the state of the Balkan States, mountain biking Bovec, and sending food back in French Restaurants.
In the morning we empty the car in the back on the one side to make room for Marko. We find a large grasshopper in the backseat. We have wildlife. We try to drive to the start but we can’t make it on to the main road because of traffic. We push-in as far as we can to the edge of the course and but then get wedged. Everywhere is a parking lot, the cars are all empty, nobody home, nobody even available to argue with. We backtrack, get on the course headed away from the start and find a McDonald’s. I’m worried that when I get home I might forget what I’m doing and try to poop in a McDonald’s. Here it’s fine, there it’s rough. We drive up the first climb, it’s glorious, the scale is breathtaking. We’re behind the Publicity Caravan the whole way to Alpe d’Huez. We drive through in its wake, free shit littered everywhere, spectators nearly spent, some already going home, got what they want, the bike race is taking too long.
On the way up it’s the Crowd Behavior thing all over again. Throwing shit, pounding, clowning, dancing, synchronized idiocy, all of it. We find a place to park just past the 5 km mark. Then here comes a gendarmerie, and a conversation, some misunderstanding, light frustration, a second gendarmerie, resolution, and we park. According to the second dude, we may have to wait until 2:00 AM to drive off the mountain. We ask around, it seems he’s way off the mark, he has to be, we can go up now it’s getting too late and there is no fucking way we’re not leaving the mountain until after midnight. That’s ludicrous. We turn the car around and face it down the mountain, we’ll be fine. We walk up together, then kinda separate. I still hate everything but the Colombians have this dance and the Dutch play good bad-music. And there is World-Class Napping everywhere in this World-Class Alpe. Anyway the race comes and basically fireworks go off. Smoke, flares, whistles, the turkey horn, the runners, the slingers, the face.
Two Germans, a man and woman, half naked, on MDMA, dancing to Techno. Raging. The pumpedest and the jazzedest. The race is over but they’re not.
Can we talk about Ryder Hesjedal? After twenty-one days of pre/mid/post-race eye contact with every single person in this race you start to get a sense. Of who you like, of who’s feeling it or not. Of who has something or nothing to say. And anyway, I think he was starting to feel it. If this race was two months long, I think he would have won it.