DEAR TOUR OF YORKSHIRE
First things first we l-o-v-e-d loved it. I had my reservations too. I mean, you’re in England which England is all fine and dandy when it comes to bacon and club anthems but bike racing? I know, I know, you’re thinking, “WTF bike racing in England all the sudden doesn’t make sense???!?!?!?!!??!” Fair enough. But, first of all, there is the whole roads and driving thing. Which the funny thing is, it’s really not that hard to do it British-style, like mentally. It’s pretty simple: you just follow all the other cars. And roundabouts, like celsius, make so much common sense I get angry just thinking about their American counterparts. But physically it’s pretty demanding. For one thing, my left shoulder just doesn’t rotate like my right shoulder. I first noticed it during one of the more complicated seated poses in an Ashtanga Immersion class at Alberta Yoga Shala in 1999. It was just one of those deals where for whatever reason my right shoulder had two inches on my left shoulder. Not in terms of length, silly! I’m talking about range of motion. You’re such a weirdo. Anyway, back to the UK, I found buckling my seatbelt to be really difficult and tedious. Also, shifting with my left hand left me feeling both kinky and inadequate, which, and I think we can both agree on this one, is a tricky emotional cocktail to manage even in the best of conditions, let alone when given license to speed down the narrowest most crowded country lanes in England. Especially when combined with what was possibly-maybe a criminal lack of sleep!!!! Speaking of crowds, can we talk about the crowds? Not since Paris–Roubaix and some of the other classics like Liège–Bastogne–Liège and Amstel Gold, and any number of the better Giro d’Italia stages, have we seen crowds anything like the crowds you mustered. And on your first day (year) out! The enthusiasm! The signage! The cheering! For Sir Bradley Wiggins but whatever, I guess I get it. The sheer volume of kids bikes painted solid yellow and left all over the countryside, hidden in semi-plain sight, like easter eggs!!!! All of it!!!!!!!
Anyway, so there’s all that driving business to deal with, which I get it, you’re asking yourself what does that have to with whether or not the bike racing in England makes sense?. Again, it’s a fair question. The more I think about it, probably nothing. I’m not sure what my point was but I think it was something like, driving on the left side of the road is a little distracting—actually I think it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience because it feels dirty and wrong, psychologically speaking—and my job is to take photographs because pics or it didn’t happen. More important than the driving thing you don’t have mountains and mountains are typically an integral part of designing a remarkable bike race course. Also, what about the food? Which who cares because Italian and Indian food is everywhere. And who doesn’t like a bacon butty. So I guess my point is there is no reason that bike racing in England doesn’t make sense. Which clearly you already knew that.
So like I said, I think you’re great. One big thing that’s on my mind and I’m dying to talk about are the Start and Finish towns. We positively loved them. The seaside towns of Bridlington and Scarborough for example, ADORABLE! I remember pulling up to the start of Stage One thinking okay here we go let’s see what this is all about. And right away I noticed how pretty the coastline was, and I saw a guy wearing rubber boots, wellies I think is what you call them, and all the Fish & Chip shops and there was a beautiful old timey boat parked in the street. And the finish on that bluff, with the waves crashing and that salty breeze and all the old hotels and pubs. So good! Hey but what’s the deal with coffee drinking in England? A large majority of the coffee shops in some of these towns were heavy on lace and tablecloths and tea paraphernalia, you know little spoons and china and napkins and shit. I mean, it was fine because the coffee was actually pretty reliable and good, but the whole vibe was hella dainty and quaint. Feminine even. Anyway, we stayed in York obviously, which York was a beautiful town, confusing at times, but picturesque what with driving through the castle wall and the river running through the middle of town and the Cathedral that Raoul said he thought was bigger than Notre Dame but I never checked the internet to confirm whether that was true or not but it doesn’t matter because regardless it was stunning and emotive if even just to behold.
Let’s talk about organization. YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST WELL ORGANIZED RACES IN THE WORLD. Done, we don’t have to talk about Organization anymore because you already won. Okay but one last thing, I have this theory. It’s racist though so be prepared for that. Okay maybe it’s not “racist,” maybe it’s ethnocentric or nationalist or some shit, I know this much… it’s mildly insensitive and likely highly inappropriate. But caution be damned! I’m gonna say it. Okay this is crazy but here goes. The ASO is a French organization, they do the Tour of France and like one million other races right? So like these dudes know how to organize races. But doing shit, like logistics-heavy shit, in France is difficult #becausefrance. But when you take what those dudes know about organizing races, having what, produced something like 49,567 races over the last two hundred years, and you apply it to England, a country known for lining up properly and doing everything in triplicate, voila, perfection and precision and humanity and something approximating English (the only language I know how to speak, because I’m American) all rolled up in one.
Yes, you’re small, and yes you’re only three days long, and yes your UCI ranking is not the best, but who cares, we thoroughly enjoyed attending you. We are 1000% planning to return in 2016, assuming of course that you’re planning a second year!?!?!?!? Anyway, it’s getting late and I need to go here in a second but before I forget, my middle name is Wakefield, so thanks for that!