MANUAL FOR SPEED STATUS UPDATE
I’m going to be honest with you, we have no idea what’s happening at this race. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Well… of course you don’t, because you never do, because you’re not good at doing journalism on a bike race.” And you’d be right. We are not good at doing journalism on a bike race. That’s fair. We accept that. But listen, trying to understand the specifics obfuscates the vibe and the greater metaphysical truth of the spectacle that is bicycle racing. You know that, we know that, everybody knows that. It’s all about the vibe. Vibe for Speed. But shit, listen, we’re talking about vibe when we should be talking about osmosis.
Osmosis is the movement of a solvent across a semipermeable membrane toward a higher concentration of solute. In biological systems, the solvent is typically water, but osmosis can occur in other liquids, supercritical liquids, gases, and even blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah science. Anyway normally if you’re at a race, and in the race, and photographing the race, and listening to the race, and wearing the race vests, and reading the race literature, you can’t avoid—trust us, we’ve tried—a basic understanding of how the race is unfolding and between which riders and teams the race is being contended. Not true at the 2015 Tour de San Luis. We’ve been here for four days and we know nothing about this race except that it’s tedious and boring. We blame this perfect storm of confusion on that fact that course is made up of several freeway-centric etapas and Google Maps’ criminal lack of knowledge regarding roads and streets in Argentina—the blue dot is constantly drunk. Google Maps methodically and repeatedly denies the existence of ENTIRE roads in a manner consistent with a well-organized propaganda and misinformation campaign. Google Maps’ representative, that computer lady, often forgets what she’s doing stroke-out-style until it’s too late, until you’ve gone several blocks past your turn and/or location. And then there is the language thing, and the early season thing, and the who cares about this thing thing, because where else are you going to learn about Gil, Difunta Correa, Ditchin’, Money Laundering, Digital Cumbia, etc.?
But then, yesterday, Manual for Speed received this anonymous text from Pat Pasley: So maybe u could talk a little more about the race. Hard to get info about it here in US MSM. Maybe who is looking good. (1) Bright new stars? (2) How Cav is doing? (3) Did i spot little Tommy Voeckler? (4) Best climbers? etc? (5)Is it a bad sign for the career of Mark Cavendish that Mark Cavendish is at the Tour de San luis?
Dear Pat Pasley,
This is a great set of questions for a qualified journalist/publication to address. We are not a qualified journalist/publication. That said, we attempted to answer your questions to the best of our abilities.
- Clearly, that 20 year Colombian sprinter is a phenomenon.
- Cavendish ran into a dog yesterday. He’s being out sprinted. And he was forced into a selfie with @manualforspeed. So we think it’s safe to say (based on deductive reasoning) he’s not having a great time.
- Yes, Voeckler is here!!! In fact, @manualforspeed took a #fansies-style selfie with him as well.
- This is the biggest race in South America. Tour de San Luis is really Tour de South America. South Americans can climb well, they’re into it.
- Umm, probably?
Also, your question(s) inspired us to contact the only qualified journalist/publication on our staff, Alps and Andes. We asked A&A, aka Klaus, to educate us, and by proxy you, the reader, regarding this race that we’re technically at, but that we haven’t really seen. We said, “Tell us who’s winning and why it matters.” He said:
- This is the ninth edition of the Tour de San Luis. In the NATO phonetic alphabet, the digit 9 is pronounced “niner”.
- The race began with a surprise Etapa 1 win by Fernando Gaviria (Colombia National Team). The 20-year old sprinter beat Cavendish and Modolo, Cavendish said he just hadn’t seen the 200 meters-to-go sign; “It was too small.”
- Gaviria is referred to as “care-mico” by his parents, a term of endearment that literally means “monkey face”. His sister is a track cyclist who has a neck thick enough to intimidate low-level NFL players.
- Etapa 2 was thought to be custom-made for the race’s previous winner, Nairo Quintana, whose family calls him “El Negrito” (the Little Black One). Instead, it was Argentine champion Daniel Diaz who took the stage ahead of a slowly fading Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia); regrettably, neither racer’s family nicknames is known to us at this point. Last season, Torres raced for the Formesan team.
- Formesan is one of the largest manufacturers of concrete molds for architectural use in Colombia. Unlike construction in much of North America and Europe, South American architecture often relies on reinforced concrete. In smaller, residential projects, the use of wood for framing is not advisable due to possible insect damage, and in large-scale projects the cost of steel is prohibitive.
- During the final climb of stage 2, Nairo Quintana tried his best to set up his brother Dayer (whose middle name is Uberney) for an attack, but was unable to do so.
- Dayer once signed a racing contract with a team sponsored by the local police in the town of Tunja, Colombia. When the team ended, as part of his contract he had to become an official police officer (against his will) along with his teammates, for—what they thought were- accounting reasons.
- Etapa 3 finished in the town of Juana Koslay, named after the daughter of a local indigenous leader who married into the Spanish ruling class. Gaviria once again got the best of Mark Cavendish, who said he saw the 200 meter sign this time, but that the Colombian sprinter had gone too early, and that the uphill finish didn’t totally suit him.
- As you might expect, Etapa 4 came next. Another one seemingly custom-made for Nairo Quintana that was once again taken by local Daniel Diaz. Diaz raced in Europe for two seasons (2010 as a stagiaire with Footon-Servetto, and with Pomme Marseille 2011), and has said that he hopes for a chance to return.
- Diaz is a supporter of the second-division Central Norte soccer/football team. Known for wearing an all black kit, Central Norte players are affectionately known as “the crows”, with their stadium being referred to as “the little crows nest”.