At the Races: Tour de France Fan Edition

When Soigneur Magazine commissioned us to create a profile of four individuals that make the Tour de France the most prestigious and remarkable cycling race ever, we decided to feature four TDF Fans.

2017 Tour de France: Stage 17

I don’t have a Part One to share with you. And I feel so bad about that. I feel a sense of despondency and profound dismay. I’m in a deep AF funk.

20170519

2017 Tour de California: Stage 06

The finish was placed at the end of a pier so the racers could ride directly into the water if they wanted. None of them did, which is honestly so damn disappointing.

20170518

2017 Tour de California: Stage 05

Just moments before Ian set off to tackle the most best stage of the 2017 Tour de California he took a minute to talk to us about fishing. So chill.

20170517

2017 Tour de California: Stage 04

Let met tell you something about a five-hour motorcycle ride through the Santa Ynez mountains when it’s sunny and warm-almost-hot: if you don’t apply sunscreen you will get sunburned BIG TIME.

AACK BLOG – The Cheetah – May 23, 2017

This year I decided to commit wholly and completely to Science and Technology. I purchased a Top of the Line Trainer, I subscribed to TrainerRoad, I outlined my goals, plugged in my dates, and I got down to it.

20170416

2017 Amstel Gold Race

Flow makes a course interesting which makes the race interesting. Without flow Professional Road Racing is a Threshold Contest. Which sounds more interesting than it often is.

20170409

2017 Paris–Roubaix

We’re going to unpack Luck and Love and we’re making a list. Of super clear and super basic ideas about how and why the Spring Classics work so well. And the first thing on our list is Cobbles.

20160521

2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 07

But I do want to tell you something: as much as I might feign disinterest and try on airs of disassociation I can tell you that every single day when that first rider crosses the finish line, it is spine tingling. This sport is beautiful.

20160518

2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 04

Fuck the lackluster setting, the invisible stage, the absent crowds, because none of that matters, it’s window dressing. These are the best in the world doing what they do.

20160517

2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 03

If you’re a reader and consumer of Manual for Speed (or in other words if Manual for Speed is in your personal Fan Club), and you read these Race Reports, then you may (understandably) be confused about how much we actually like the institution of Professional Bike Racing.

20160516

2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 02

I hugged Ben for me. For you. For everyone. We shared smiles. I asked him how he did that, I reminded him that breaks don't stay out, like, they just don't. It's not how racing works, so like, umm, dude, wow, how!?

20160417

2016 Amstel Gold Race

Amstel Gold, I’m told, was boring and lite-disappointing; but I didn’t see that, I saw an incredible high-speed spectacle.

2016 Amstel Gold Race: Pre-Race

Manual for Speed brought an "Animalizer" or vision-based portal in the form of an ancient leopard skin (on loan from the Smithsonian's Museum of Hunting and Gathering) to today's Amstel Gold Roster Photoshoot.

20160410

2016 Paris–Roubaix

Look, Paris-Roubaix is insane. It’s exactly why Manual for Speed was invented.

20150823

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 07

We are headed home. And, as far as we can tell, from the email/voice/text correspondence we have been receiving from home, our homes are not broken. This is a great sign.

20150822

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 06

Cycling fans seem to get more excited about the helicopter flying around to shoot the cycling than the cycling itself. Maybe we at MFS should start covering Air Shows.

20150821

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 05

If you don’t want your picture taken, then don’t come to the race in a costume that screams, “PLEASE TAKE MY PICTURE.”

20150820

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 04

The music they play for the crowds at bike races is the same music that was used to force Manuel Noriega to capitulate to the CIA.

20150818

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 02

Even though the WiFi signal is less than ideal the joint is located next to a Whole Foods and the tube is showing a righteous selection of flicks. Plus we’re in America. So we are doing like B or B+, ish.

20150817

2015 USA Pro Challenge: Stage 01

The Rodeo Bulls that shared the riders’ team bus and tent area are powerful and impressive animals. But the magnificence of their physicality was tempered by the overwhelming smell of their sickeningly pungent manure that had the entire peloton questioning why their team pit was located in a stockyard.

20150724

2015 Tour de France: Stage 19

I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of these things. I mean, in some ways, it’s proof that the Tour de France is the Greatest Sporting Event in the History of the World. What other sport lasts this long?

20150723

2015 Tour de France: Stage 18

Every day at the end of the day we stink and we’re sticky. I think the only time I’ve ever felt more sullied and begrimed was when I messengered on a scooter in Los Angeles back in ‘93 (the freeways and that inversion layer add-up).

20150722

2015 Tour de France: Stage 17

Walking up a well-spectated climb is maybe quite possibly my second most favorite part of documenting a race. The end is near. Alpe D’huez is all anyone can talk about.

20150718

2015 Tour de France: Stage 14

I think I’m over the high-speed cannonball-run honeymoon tour of France. Castles, Priories and Palaces really are wonderful but they’re also remarkably tedious. At this pace and in these conditions,you know what I want?, I want a basic-as-fuck Best Western.

20150717

2015 Tour de France: Stage 13

Today was Manual for Speed’s first Tour de France Sunflower Patch. I know you won't believe us, and why should you?, but photographing the race proximal to a Sunflower Patch was non-consensual.

20150716

2015 Tour de France: Stage 12

I think at the time I was writing a business plan and you’re supposed to include a SWOT; which analysis seemed pertinent to today's Health & Wellness-related decision-making.

20150715

2015 Tour de France: Stage 11

OMFG this race has been so basic until today. Today felt exceptional. Today it felt like the Tour De France started.

20150714

2015 Tour de France: Stage 10

The brakes now make a grinding noise when we use them for slowing and stopping. The sound has a “metal on metal” quality. #rotors The concern is this: today was the first of many mountain stages to come. If the brakes are questionable now, what will they be like in a week when we’re in the Alps, which are also mountains?

20150711

2015 Tour de France: Stage 08

It was rapturous and life affirming. It saved us at least an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Now I can go home. No seriously, can I go home now?

20150710

2015 Tour de France: Stage 07

I think what’s so fascinating, and demoralizing, about the Tour de France isn't the size and the scale, that’s to be expected, it’s a really big bike race. We knew it was big. No, what’s so infuriating, and mind blowing and, I suppose, interesting in like a philosophical-type sense, are the walls. Guys there are walls EVERYWHERE here.

20150708

2015 Tour de France: Stage 05

We had all the right tools at our disposal, we had everything you need for a successful parking campaign: three copies of the official TDF Race Bible, sticker privilege, credentials, Google Maps, the internet, five years of “on the job” race documenting experience, a modern car, two fully functional adults (both of them marginally well rested), and 1.5 hours of discretionary time. And we still couldn't figure it out. We still fucked it up.

20150707

2015 Tour de France: Stage 04

We are now officially in France, the land of Wefeee not Wifi. And MGSMD (May God Strike Me Dead) if this Wefeee is not every bit as good as First World Wifi. Better than average, in fact. Did France leave the Dial-Up Age once and for all?

20150706

2015 Tour de France: Stage 03

I don’t think I can muster and maintain a PMA until the end of this race. I know it’s early but I’m changing my strategy already. I’m trading in my PMA for some ETS, Embrace The Suck.

2015 Tour of California: Stage 07

Okay here goes. We’re not impartial, we’re partial. Yes, of course, we still care, and have always cared, and will continue to care about the whole giant sprawling spectacle. All of the fans and the support crew, even the police and the busted-ass Sacramento Valley towns like Lodi, we care about ALL of that shit. But I’m talking about Human Athletes.

2015 Tour of California: Stage 06

Maybe I’m just a sucker for deformities, dysmorphia, burning man x bath salts, body mutilation, post apocalyptic landscapes and meteorological events, supermodels loading 19th century fire arms, Cirque du Soleil at speed, bod mods, Day of the Dead make-up, and a GIANT-FUCK-OFF-UNIVERSE-SIZED Monster™ Energy™ Drink™ reincarnated as a two hour music video featuring basically nothing at all except a car/motorcycle/monster-truck chase that goes all the way to the end of the road in one direction, then turns around and comes right back.

2015 Tour of California: Stage 05

Hey everybody. How’s it going. I’m okay I guess. I should've known it was going to be one of those days. I bought a new kind of yogurt for breakfast.

2015 Tour of California: Stage 03

At 9:45 AM in the parking lot of the Berryessa Community Center I met my driver, Alex. After introductions we talked for a few minutes about what I was looking for. I told him I was looking for the bike race. He laughed, but not a lot.