Results for

2016 Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 01

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Distance: 170.5km / 106mi Number of Steps: 11,472 – 5.5 mi Time of Filing: ⏰ 3:49 AM Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott, Pasadena

Today’s Objectives

  1. Acquire a Tech Manual. X
  2. Capture and record the racing spectacle. ✓
  3. Hang out with some naval aviators. X
  4. Auction off the bag of cookies that Phil Gaimon tossed at us in the morning. X
  5. Experience the madness of the KOM. ✓- (We experienced the KOM, but there was nothing mad about it.)
  6. Have dinner at Versailles. ✓+

WIFI Details Lackluster. 😕 This is probably the fanciest hotel we’re going to be staying this week, but the fact that the hallway carpet still has a little cushion doesn’t excuse the fact that the internet speed is that of cold honey 🍯dripping slowly from the hole inside the bear’s yellow cap. It does the job—eventually your toast will get the sweet syrup it needs—but it doesn’t happen nearly as fast as it should.

Weather Everyone talks about the sunshine in San Diego. “San Diego, more like SUN Diego!” “San Diego, don’t get sunburned, lol!!! But you will.” “San Diego? The greatest most beachy-peachy god damned place in the world.” Well that’s rubbish, or at least partly rubbish. 🌧️ Today was more like Gray-With-Spitting-Rain Diego, at least in the morning and for most of the climb. This lack of sunny clarity about San Diego made me question other “facts” about it. It made me question the authenticity of the volleyball scene in Top Gun. If San Diego isn’t always sunny, then were those ace fighter pilots *just* playing volleyball? What made those fighter pilots take a break from filming their documentary to make a sweaty charged game of beach volleyball? Was this a reflection of a deeper understanding of San Diego’s deceit? Were they making a critical statement of of Reaganomics and the 80s culture of shame? What I once believed was just a brilliant and erotic display of athletic prowess is now loaded with so much more meaning—San Diego, you are full of secrets. But by the end of the day the sun was out and we were a little sunburned.


  • 8:00am: First alarm goes off. Kyle is up and into the restroom.
  • 8:15am: Daniel tests the door on the bathroom. Kyle’s still in action.
  • 9:00am: Second alarm goes off. It’s time to leave.
  • 9:15am: 1st Starbucks of the day. We spot a pair of wily she-weasels in the parking lot. Stage 1 feels good.
  • 9:45am: We arrive at Ski Park, where absolutely no one is skiing.
  • 10:06am: Walking the cycling festival, traditional costuming abounds: sagging lycra, wild hats, freak flag shit. Maybe it’s the lycra, or maybe it’s just that little Devil Dude from Europe, but cycling fans love to wear crazy shit to bike races.
  • 10:30am: Regroup at our blue Hyundai rental. Bask in the glory that are our newly-made Manual for Speed Speed Center car magnets, complete with the number of our newly installed Manual for Speed Hotline: +1-971-280-6823.
  • 10:45am: Starbucks #2. Honestly I can’t remember anything special about this one, though that may be the point.
  • 11:03am: We hit a Chipotle. We both enjoy salads. A mix of barbacoa and carnitas for Daniel, extra veggies for Kyle. We eat like starved wolves and get back on the road.
  • 11:07am: Daniel, “Hey Kyle, did we put the magnets on the car?” Kyle, “Yep did it this morning.”
  • 12:45pm: Arrive at the KOM. The scene is pretty MELL-OH. We’re at the top of Honey Badger Lane, and I would have thought that at the top of Honey Badger Lane you’d come upon some rascally action. Not the case today. The saving grace was a large group of boisterous Latinos. These dudes were doing all the wild work. And thank God for them.
  • 1:00-ishpm: The leaders come through. They look tired, but not that tired. The fans go nuts banging on the side of the course barriers. I am pretty sure we all collectively suffer through this sound because the racers, who we’re here to see, appreciate it. The domestic crowds are doing what they need to do to sound bigger than they are. To show their support.
  • 1:00-ishpm: I can’t say that the riders as a whole appreciated the gentleman in a turquoise bikini bottom sprinting up the hill in front of them. It seems the flossy sprinter is doing this simply to experience his own sense of glory.
  • 2:15pm: Hey. We wanted to see more of the race. But you roll the dice. We thought that the KOM would be really interesting, and you would probably think so too, at least we hope that you would, we want you to. But we missed out on shooting around the reservoir, where some of our other photo bros were going to shoot, and we missed shooting the team riding through the city. It’s hard to know if what you did was the right thing. Sometimes you know-KNOW, and sometimes you don’t. I guess you’ll check out the photos and let us know. Right? We’ve got a hotline now.
  • 2:55pm: We get to the Starbucks close to the finish. We may or may not have stolen someone’s parking space.
  • 3:03pm: In the rarified world of Professional Road Cycling Blogging, you’ll often come across closed roads. This is a safety thing, I mean you can’t have a semi-truck loose on the peloton, that would be a disaster. And so as certified media we have access to roads and terrain that others don’t, it’s a privilege, and one that we don’t take lightly. After pulling out of the Starbucks we noticed a closed road, figuring this for the race route, we circumvented the signs, continuing down a long stretch of highway. It’s two lanes on either side and we pass a few groups of cyclists, a couple rollerbladers and a runner or two. About a mile in we pass some construction vehicles looking like they’re doing construction shit. Another mile after that, the road comes to an interchange and our road is completely closed off. This is obviously not the course, and in the midst of trying to get out of this blockade we’re spotted by a highway patrolman. No doubt he’s going to pull us over. We explain to him that we’re with the race, we have the sticker, we thought the closed road was part of the course, blah blah blah. “Hey,” he says, “I am going to let you go with a warning, but you should know that was a hazmat zone, and that crew back there was cleaning up a waste spill, I can’t be responsible for that.” We agreed that we would take responsibility. But what about the cyclists and the runners? We even worried about the rollerbladers.
  • 3:15pm: Upon entering the parking zone for the finish we’re told by a seemingly helpful and very persistent woman that there is no more parking, that she just had three media guys come back from the direction we wanted to head and that she was just trying to save us time. Daniel forged ahead and we easily found a place. This lead to a conversation about how much to push, who to trust etc.

The lesson: always push, and don’t trust a lady with heavy mascara trying to trick you out of a sweet parking place.


  • 3:45pm-ish: The dudes finish. Its exciting. We cheer.
  • 4:00pm-7:35pm: We drive from San Diego to Los Angeles.
  • 7:35pm – 8:00pm: Curbside chilling off La Cienega
  • 8:00pm-10:00pm: Gorge, stuff, devour, jokes.
  • 10:05pm-10:35pm: Journey to our hotel.
  • 10:50pm- 3:51am: This, make this post.


    High Points
  • Arriving at Versailles before our friends, then just hanging on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant with a Los Angeles orange sherbet sunset burning its way into the Hollywood hills behind us. When our pals arrived we eat, the food is fucking delicious. We talk about Sir Edmund Hillary (dude was a hunk). We talk about cumbia music, share pictures of our dogs, discuss movies, future trips, past trips, and good trips.
  • Not turning into horribly disfigured monsters after having traveled through that hazmat zone.
  • Meeting a Yonder Journal fan at the finish line carnival. Turns out we have fans. Also turns out some of our fans don’t know that we, Team Manual for Speed, also produce Yonder Journal. Well now you know, and we think we’re pretty cool because of it.
    Low Points
  • The 5-ish hours of traffic from San Diego to Pasadena in order to get to Versailles.
  • Driving through that Hazmat Zone. Who knows what kind of long term effects we will feel?
  • Waiting in line to go piss while getting gas in Seal Beach. We waited a long time. And once we were able to get in—let’s just say I hope I don’t buy whatever rental car that dude was using.


  1. We unwittingly drove through a hazmat clean-up area.
  2. We were pulled over by a Highway Patrolman because of our driving through hazmat clean-up area.
  3. That Highway Patrolman actually let us go with just a warning after we explained that we had thought the “Road Closed” signs were an indication that we were on the course.
  4. Peter Sagan won. LOLZ, JK.
  5. There was cult doing a stationary bike ceremony in the center of the roundabout at the end of the finish straight. The cult leader kept making statements like “Think about that guy/gal at work that gets you down,” or, “Picture that ham you’ve had in your refrigerator, it’s been there for months and now it has a thin white glaze on it,” or “Picture your future, now rage against it, RAGE.” These people were all dressed in red, and after each antagonistic platitude the supplicants would ramp up their efforts on the stationary bikes. It was like they had come to the temple of some ancient religion and rather than try to understand what the religion was truly all about they just develop their own sect based on a few misguided assumptions. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK, why would you set up a stationary bike choir at the end of a professional bike race? It makes no sense, but then again, is spirituality supposed to make sense?


A Manual for Speed Pilot Program for a New Classification

Manual for Speed has been commissioned to introduce a new race classification category called “Most Animal.” Points for the classification will be awarded on the basis of style, swagger, and grit. We’ve assembled an elite group of expert analysts who will be assessing and assigning points for performance. The most animal jersey for ATOK will be awarded at the end of the race.

OSCAR CLARK: Four Points

For hanging in the break, attacking, giving everything he had, and for wearing the coolest gloves.


He beat some pretty heavy dudes (Boonen, Cavendish, and Cristoph) in the race, and when he walked to the stage he had crazy swagger.


Start, 0 km

Alexey Vermeulen kinda looks like Ben Schwartz.
You're going to want Toms' autograph.
Hi Kiel! Hope you're having fun in Kalifornia.
Dave Towle, the mouth of American Cycling, has a deep bench of colorful aphorisms that he dishes out with bombast throughout a race. We asked Thomas Slater to illustrate some of our favorites. He said yes. Yay!
“Jacob Rathe looks like he’s passing a kidney stone”

Dave Towle describing the break slowly but surely coming apart before being swallowed by the peloton.

“It looks like we’ve got an OSS situation on our hands here. And you know what that means, Only the Strong Survive!”

Dave Towle commenting on the final kilometer of racing.



“You mean Peter doesn’t have his own helicopter?”

Overheard at the top of today’s KOM as the helicopter approached, indicating imminent arrival of the riders.



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