First let me remind you that today’s UCI America Tour 2.HC Classification stage was held in an Amusement Park parking lot. So whatever else we talk about, let’s keep that in mind. But listen, classic, right. Because in America that’s where we race, we race in parking lots. Industrial Park parking lots. Shopping Mall parking lots. DMV parking lots. We love parking lots. What’s not to love? They’re paved, well-lit, self-contained, generally flat and safe. And like the retail stores to which most parking lots in America provide access, they’re utterly devoid of content and interest. In other words they’re safe, like culturally speaking. So to recap: in America parking lots are good and that’s why we race in them whenever possible. To be fair to the Tour of California they diiiiiiiiid find a suitable alternative to Big Bear, where it snowed six inches last night, in basically less than 48 hours.
“But to be fair to Manual for Speed, we’re talking about the King of California, Peter Sagan, riding around the parking lot at Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, CA for a little over twelve minutes. And calling it a World Class Sporting event.”
Sometimes it was cloudy. Sometimes the sun came out. It was supposed to be cold but it wasn’t, it was kinda warm. At one point, I learned from the announcer that the ramp zone from which riders start their race is called the Start House. Makes sense, it’s probably the same in downhill skiing. In the middle of the day Kyle drove to a Chipotle to get all three of us some burritos. I ordered carnitas but they were out of carnitas so Kyle substituted carne asada. I would have preferred barbacoa (At least with barbacoa you’re sticking with the shredded texture, even if you’re forced to work with beef instead of pork..)
For about two hours I photographed a new world class athlete riding his bike by himself down a pretend street created with orange barricades, every minute on the minute. I didn’t go far from the start though because after talking to several other media about the course, I was able to confirm that it was very stupid and utterly devoid of anything except the watered down, 17x recycled essence of mediocre parking lot. So basically I just worked the first corner of the course. I worked it hard though. I stood on the right side of the street—and the left. I shot forwards—and backwards. I photographed from the apex of the corner, as well as the lead up to it, and the stretch of road beyond it. Also, several times I squatted on the ground in what is commonly called a crouch. I shot with a flash and without. I shot portraits and landscapes (Verticals and horizontals). I did some angled shit too, just to mix it up.
Later, after the race was over, and after confirming free access for MFS and a selection of MFS Human Athletes into the Magic Mountain theme park would not be granted, and after photographing the Podium Women in their hotel room for the latest edition of YO! MFS Cribz (Podium Women in the Hilton Garden Inn), because the traffic between Santa Clarita and Ontario was bad, real bad, we made a plan to go see Mad Max: Fury Road. It happened like this: We were in a Starbucks killing time, listening to some of the worst music on earth, when suddenly Kyle looked up from his laptop and said hey my brus, should we go see Mad Max or what?
My favorite part of this story is that not once over the course of the last six days had we discussed either Mad Max specifically or even watching a movie at a movie theatre at all. It was just one of those random left-field jobs, something I like to call ‘spontaneity’. The idea demonstrated moxie and the music—forty-minutes into this auditory & emotional-torture experience we started to refer to the playlist in question as the Junk Drawer Mix—was so demoralizing that we needed to take some kind of action sooner than later. Also, as it turned out we were less than a mile away from a 7:45 PM showing of Mad Max: Fury Road. It was currently 7:30 PM. Clearly the Chiller God wanted this to happen… so it happened. We bought some tickets, a bucket of popcorn, a bucket of Coke and some Sour Patch Kids.