Arrived in Milan on Thursday morning. Hired requisite hundred-plus euro taxi to drop me off at Hotel Raffaello which is across the street from the Hotel we stayed in last year. Checked-in, dropped shit. Hired Italo-Uber to get dropped off at SCAR, the Specialized pre-and-after party venue. Dylan and event team are there, they need fishing line, the fishing store across the street is closed until 2:30, it’s currently 12:30. Walked to lunch, ordered insalata de tonno, a GO-TO FOOD MOVE I workshopped years ago while traveling throughout Italy to cover the Giro. Bought some fishing line and a 7” Opinel Knife, the cheap wooden fuckers that faux outdoorsman and picnic types around the world covet the F out of. Anyway Dylan convinced me I needed it, and to this day I still believe him. It’s on my desk and I’m looking at it right now as I write this. Went to dinner with the whole Red Hook Specialized Rocket Espresso team in the same pizza joint where the whole Red Hook Official Staff was also having dinner. Lots of hugs and hellos and conversations with old friends on the way to and from the bathroom. We sat in the back behind the kitchen, it was submarine hot AF and the waitstaff hated us maybe because 96% of us couldn’t fuck with Italian-the-language and we were like 19 heads deep and hungry. Also, the food was mediocre at best. Also every fifteen minutes the waitstaff fired-up a hand-cranked air siren to introduce some happy birthday music and kick-off a Breastaurant-style singalong at one table or another. Someone said something about Chuck E Cheese’s. Wake up and first thing go to room 115 where Eamon is staying wherein I behold/almost pass out in awe of Eamon’s superhuman Greek god-type legs. Track Day was great, I guess. I say that because I don’t know the actual purpose of Track Day. It’s got a Show Pony quality to it which in my opinion is NOT a bad thing. The infield is a giant cuddle puddle of lycra, shaved legs and the latest from the cycling-inspired runway show. Listened as much as I could to the Q&A panel style interview-type deals with a selection of the Women’s field, a selection of the Men’s Field, and RHC itself. Was illuminating and interesting. Maybe Red Hook happens next year, maybe it doesn’t. And if it does maybe it’s the same as this year or maybe it evolves. Inside my brain I had a conversation with myself about David Trimble’s—the race organizer, the captain of Red Hook—comment about how events and media can’t simply sustain themselves and stay where they are, they have to grow, whether they need to or want to, sometimes at their own peril. So true, such a bummer. Walked around to the back of the ‘drome with Brian Vernor and Dan Chav and some other folks to lite-stalk the Massi dude. He was there not there. Starting to low key love Brian and Dan. Later, in the front of the house at the pre-party I listened to some of America’s worst music; tonight’s theme: “Single White Girl Jamms.” It started with some Jack Johnson, moved to John Mayer and finished with Bon Iver.
“Dear Italy, Italo disco is amazing. Why are you trying to force surf-inspired, Connecticut-flavored mediocrity incarnate into my brain?”
Rode the rental bike that I’ve learned to hate less than Italo-Uber, which is only about 34% as good as American Uber, home. Night riding in Milan is a treat: lots of activity, all of it interesting, none of it threatening. [You will get run over if you don’t pay attention to some shit, though. Personally I don’t hate that. Basically it’s like jumping into some Double Dutch; you’ll be fine, but don’t try to make a phone call and ignore the rope crew. Otherwise they gonna fuck you up.] Wake up to rain and generalized grey funk. Qualifiers happen, and happen, and happen. And happen. So does rain and mist. Interviewed Daniel Oss on the side of the course, he tells me to tag him in my stories which I do and later he sends me a pound emoji but he doesn’t follow me back. Dan tells me word is coming down that I’m no longer allowed to hop the barricades and if I insist on doing it I will be asked to leave. Brian, Kelli and I have hamburgers across the street at DateFood. The races ALWAYS happen so fast, every time. You think you have time and but then you don’t, they just go go go. I take some bad photos, watch the Specialized crew demolish their booth with vigor and alacrity, walk to the afterparty, stand in the street, then go ride a rental bike home with my camera banging into the handlebars the whole time. Wake up, have Next-Level conversation with Justin and Alec about the State of Cycling, a King of the Road-inspired cycling reality TV show and some other shit. Meet Brian, Dylan, Mallory, Caro and Kelli at the NikeLab store in the city center, purchase checkered nylon pants and a blue hat. Eat a 37 euro sea bass swimming in tomato paste on top of a museum, listen to a drum circle escalate over the course of an hour, discuss the movie Money Can’t Buy Me Love, walk along a faux moat, eat peanuts in the grass with some of the CONCPT crew and The Espressos, buy an updated and fully-convertible French Foreign Legion hat from the adidas store, Uber home and pack up my shit up for a 4:00am wake up a call.