2015 Tour de France: Stage 15
Sunday July 19, 2015 | Mende
A 185 kilometer tribute to picnicking, rock piles, golden fields, and charming villages.
6.434 steps or 3.1 miles
Appart’City Valence. In terms of location it is EXTREMELY convenient. It’s 1.5 blocks from where we failed to shoot the race near the finish. And we found public parking right out front. There is an artisanal boulangerie around the corner. A coffee shop around the corner. And two pizza places and three kebab joints within empty Perrier can throwing-distance. That said, they lost our reservation and refused to honor our online booking price. Also, they may or may not have given us Jim Fryer’s room. More on that later. The A/C in our room is already on-blast. And the internet in our room is non-existent. More on that later.
- Our unspoken objective was to restore communication and reinitiate our Pair Bond. ✓
- André Greipel (3:56:35)
- John Degenkolb (+0:00:00)
- Alexander Kristoff (+0:00:00)
A 185 km hommage à pique-nique, des tas de pierres, des champs dorés, et de charmants villages. Interrompue une fois pour la Côte, une fois pour un col, une fois pour un autre col, et une fois pour le meilleur DESCENTE dans le Tour de France 2015. Finition intérieur de la porte d’entrée sud de la France aka Valence, une ville connue pour beaucoup de choses romains, du Moyen- Age et de la Renaissance- y dans la nature, mais surtout il est le foyer de la plus cool gazebo dans le monde, le Kiosque Peynet dans le Champ de Mars.
A 185 kilometer tribute to picnicking, rock piles, golden fields, and charming villages. Interrupted once for a Côte, once for a Col, once for another Col, and once for THE BEST DESCENT in the 2015 Tour de France, finishing inside the doorway to Southern France aka Valence, a city known for many things Roman, Middle Aged and Renaissance-y in nature but most importantly it’s home to the coolest gazebo in the world, the Kiosque Peynet in the Champ de Mars.
It’s not uncommon to position the elderly, injured and handicapped near the edge of the road and facing in the direction of the race. Sometimes race support signs are placed in their laps or hung from their necks.
For the third day in a row we passed a particular father-and-son spectator team. The father in Team Tinkoff-Saxo kit stands on one side of the road, the son in full Team Sky kit stands on the other side.
For many spectators the TDF is an event just like any other summer event. Basically it’s a month long Jazz Festival. The French invented picnicking, they are the best in the world at it. Spectating a bike race is just a protracted picnic with a road running up the middle of it.
You know when you look at something new for hours and hours, maybe even day after day, and you don’t know why or what it is exactly but something strikes you as remarkable or noteworthy. Then suddenly it hits you: In France there are tan children everywhere. From head to toe, golden, brown and bronze. Their whole bodies. Also, France in general is not afraid to go shirtless. No Shirts, No Shoes, No Problem! Also, it’s not uncommon for pre-adolescent girls to (also) walk around shirtless, say for example in a busy parking lot playing frisbee while the race caravan passes.
The smell of rain.
- A basket of warm sliced baguette.
- 2 pain au chocolat.
- 2 café creme.
- Survival Ham. 3 PHACU (sans fromage because they were out of fromage but dude, it’s fucking France how the shit are you out of fromage) obtained from a questionable Tabac/Bar in the town of Veynes.
- 1 large chorizo pizza.
- 2 Chicken Shawarma sandwiches.
- 2 orders of frites.
- 6 cans of Perrier.
- All from a Kebab in hummus tossing distance from the front door of our hotel.
- I’m sorry but we are not Dutch. We rented our Peugeot Clio in Amsterdam because the Tour De France started in Utrecht, but that’s the extent of our connection to the Netherlands. I mean, we have a Raoul, and we like Gesink, so there’s that. But we can’t speak Cloggie. And while it’s cool that you wiggle your asses and flash your pelvises at us when we drive pass, we can’t understand what you’re yelling about.
- Dear Triple Pink Unison Wave you know who you are. Clearly you were out there on the course for us, for MFS, and we failed to embrace you. Shame on us.
Dear World Race Report
- We almost ran out of gas driving up the Col de l’Escrinet.
- It started to get real bad with about 2 km to go, right as we entered the gauntlet & barricade zone.
- The crowds were huge, there was NO ESCAPE.
- We had a collective anxiety attack.
- When finally we crested the Col a sign told us the next town was 11k to go.
- I put the car in neutral and we coasted the whole way down.
- The Team Katusha car in front of us would gap us on the flats but force us to brake in the turns when invariably we caught them up.
- They probably didn’t know that we NEEDED to carry our speed.
- It felt like we were hang gliding. To get more #aero we rolled the windows up. By this time the A/C had been off for the last half hour. It got hot real fast so we just sat there sweating and anxious, and bored, and transfixed by the suddenly very present humming sound of the road.
- In addition to the gas light which had been on for the last thirty kilometers, a new wrench-shaped light appeared on the control panel.
- We coasted into a gas station at the bottom of the hill, and it was open, unlike ALL the previous gas stations accessible from the course.
- There was no attendant but the pumps took cards.
- Theoretically at least. It refused all of our cards. Between Emiliano and I we have five entirely different Visa/Chase cards.
- We started shoulder tapping with the help of a woman who spoke both French and English.
- Eventually we found a woman to use her card in exchange for cash. We pumped 48 euros worth of gazole and gave her a 50 euro note.
- Dear AGIP, we don’t know to say your name and we don’t know why your animal has six feet, but thank you for existing in that town at the very bottom of that hill.
II Today's Highs & Lows
- The latest and greatest Fan Activity of 2015 is Synchronized Wave & Dance-Based Cheerleading. We’ve seen twirling, clapping, hooting, fancy footwork and as many as 10 participants to a troupe. It’s cray… cray good fun!
- As best as we can tell, Fruit Shoot is basically a company that makes no sugar-added hydration-type juice for kids. More importantly they are a sponsor of the 2015 Tour de France, and every day at least once a day we pass a vehicle wrapped in Fruit Shoot branding. “FRUIT SHOOT” in great big letter across the side of a van. It makes me happy.
- On the glorious descent we pulled over and came to a stop several times in various gravel turnouts by jerking the wheel into an e-brake slide. It’s the little things.
- Sometimes, in certain villages, the Tour de France appears to be one big 10-Speed Hero photoshoot casting call.
- On my way up to our room at approximately 12:01 AM, I saw a family of three walk in through the front door of the hotel. It was a man, his wife, and their teenage daughter. All three were sweaty and wearing running kit. They smiled at me, said good evening, then took the stairs not the elevator up to their room.
- Oh man, I can’t find my book. I think I left it in the Priory. It’s not even my book, it’s Kyle’s. I was really enjoying it. I can’t remember what it’s called but it’s about a disaffected, life-avoidant French IT dude navigating his work and what he claims is his utter lack of a sex drive. Complicating the issue further, I was using one of my last dental toothpick jammers as a bookmark, it had at least another three days/sessions left on it.
- Yesterday I got a ride up the last 3 km of the hill with Veeral, Jered and this Dutch guy that I like. We talked about shit and laughed, and then somehow we got on the subject of car break-ins at Press Area parking lots. Apparently all the dudes have had bad experiences, and now they all insure everything against theft and damage. Manual for Speed is uninsured.
- Baggy bathing suits.
- We almost ran out of gas on the course. In a REAL BAD spot. We didn't, but we almost did. For the rest of the day, after we got gazole and it was no longer an issue, I developed some kind of acceleration-based PTSD or Guilt.
- Hang gliding down the hill with the car in neutral, eating a fromage-less Survival Ham sandwich because my stomach was growling, is the SINGLE LOWEST POINT of the 2015 Tour de France for me, Daniel Wakefield Pasley.
- Because the wefee doesnt work in our room we have been instructed by the Front Desk Lady (FDL) to sit in an airless corner of the lobby and work. As an act of good faith, she gave us a miniature table from the Petit Dejeuner room. One hour into our weefee experience the lobby has begun to feel more and more like a Greyhound Bus Station due to the ever increasing number of weefee refuges also staying in the Appart’City Valence who are now in the airless corner with us, sharing our table, sitting on the floor, pacing next to the fake plant, etc. The Front Desk is now inexplicably closed (a sliding metal garage-type door like the kind NYC retailers use has been pulled down in front of the Front Desk reception area) but we are sitting right next to it and as such know we know for a fact that FDL is in there, and that if you knock hard enough on the wooden door next to the sliding metal garage-type door, the FDL will come out albeit begrudgingly. That means everyone experiencing a whole host of problems such as keycard malfunctions and “excuse me do you know where the check-in lock box is,” walk over to us and ask for help.
- Because we are working in the Wefee Refugee Camp in the sweaty lobby (Part 1): we are missing out on Prime Time working in your underwear time. (I made this post in my underwear.—KEB)
- Because we are working in the Wefee Refugee Camp in the sweaty lobby (Part 2): I am in front of a window facing the sidewalk out front at street level, and as such I am on display. A drunk man just rapped on the window and offered me something.
- We missed the almost-finish because we got stuck behind a Flashmob Cookie-Themed Joke-Car Shriner Parade between the freeway and the course. We missed the race by 5 minutes.
We're Not Rocket Surgeons A New MFS Feature Where We Ask You, Our Readers, About High-Falutin' Science-y Stuff
- Is there a Platonic Form of denim jeans? Or like, do cool jeans have an absolute value? Here in France, there are a million forms of jeans: from zippers, pockets and applique to length and coloration—and they’re all, by American Hipster standards, horrific. Inexcusable, embarrassing, entertaining and unintelligible. When the French come to America, are they as perplexed by our denim tastes and proclivities? Who’s doing it right? Which one of us is confused? What IS denim supposed to look like?
- How soon can we expect to have smell come out of the internet? Manual for Speed is a multimedia experience and as such we’d like to provide our readers/consumers with olfactory sensations. In the beginning we took photographs. Then we added writing. And animated GIFs. And most recently, sound. We are in the process of launching emojis. [mfsemoji image=”2015/07/mfs-emoji.jpg”][/mfsemoji] We hate video so video doesn’t count. And so obviously, what’s next is smell. And then taste. Just think about the tastes we can provide our readers with!!!!!!!!!! Let it be known here and now, we want/need to be on the forefront of smell and taste story-technologies.