2015 Tour de France: Stage 07
Friday July 10, 2015 | Livarot
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.
8,580 steps or 4.20 miles.
1:33 AM (Our fastest submission yet!)
Tonight we are in the Brit Hotel Le Castel in Rennes, France. Rennes is pronounced Ren, which means the last three letters, the n, the e, and the s are all silent. It’s never pronounced Rene, like Russo and Descartes, it’s always pronounced Ren. The best part about the Brit Hotel is everything. It’s basic. It’s clean and it’s accommodating. That’s what you want from a hotel, you want accommodation. You can even order a continental breakfast delivered to you before 10:00 AM for an extra three euros.
Bonus Points for: 1) Tinkoff-Saxo is staying here. I saw Alberto. Alberto is here! We’re staying with Alberto. SIDE NOTE: The hotel parking lot area was crawling with Media Vampires (like MFS), Grommets (my personal favorite), Pro-Hos, and Fans when we pulled in. 2) Team Bora-Argon 18 is staying here. 3) We are across the street from a Pizzeria & Crêperie. 4) We are across the street from the Aigle Rouge Buffet a Wok Volante. Aigle Rouge translates to the Red Eagle.
- Sleep-in. ✓
- Photograph La Havre. X
- Photograph one race related place/moment. ✓
- Mark Cavendish (4:27:25)
- André Greipel (+0:00:00)
- Peter Sagan (+0:00:00)
En France, nous avons une expression, quand un parcours de la course est très ennuyeux que nous disons, au moins peut-être qu’il est un sprinter dans la grange.
The race ended in Fougères. After the finish we drove to Rennes. On the way we got stuck in traffic next to a Castle. In America you get stuck in traffic next to Home Depots and Petco. What I’m trying to say here is this: I don’t know anything about the course because I never saw it but we’re in Brittany and Brittany has nice stuff. While we’re on the subject of castles, the castle we passed is called Château de Fougères, it has a natural moat (thanks, Nançon River), an antiquated Flash-based website (requiring Flash 9.0.0, released in June 2006) and at one point it was a medieval fortress. Also, as of today, it had at least two idiots in yellow shirts slacklining between two of its thirteen towers.
In France, world class pain au chocolates are everywhere. They’re so readily available they just give them away here. Like, as a gift with any purchase. The worst pain au chocolat in France is better than the best pain au chocolat in the United States. How is that possible? Portland, Brooklyn, Austin, are you hearing this? I’m talking about a possible artisanal frontier, ONE OF THE LAST.
Cops love their Burger King-style hats in France. You know, the old timey malt shop and sock hop paper kind.
While monitoring the traffic situation between Fougères and Ren it became clear that we were the red (TRAFFIC! BAD! CHOKED! EMERGENCY!) section. We weren’t driving through it so much as driving along with it. That’s when we realized trying to drive around or avoid the problem was futile because we are the problem.
Long hair is like a scarf.
At night, when my pants are off, my pink neck towel now has a second job! When I’m working in bed my computer gets soooo hot on my lap, especially when my pants are off (I like to work in my underwear) but with pink neck towel-tech I just put the towel between my thighs and the computer and voila! Sure it’s still hot and I do get a little sweaty but don’t you get it, it’s a towel, and that’s what towels do, maintenance and cleanup is built-in, it’s a total cradle to grave scenario!!!
The day started with a free WC pain au chocolate from the hotel front desk. Then we went across the parking lot to the McDonald’s where we got a round of McCafes. On the way to Fougères we stopped at a gas station and went grocery shopping. Mostly for Badoit and baguette-based food items. For dinner we ate dinner at the Red Eagle’s Volante Wok Bar and Buffet. Highlights include but are not limited to:
- Pork shumai ?
- Shrimp dumpling ?
- Crispy egg roll ?
- Lo mein ?
- Stir fried pork ?
- Stir fried beef ?
- Sweet/sour chicken ?
- Breaded shrimp ?
- Spicy fried muscle in shell ?
- Fresh spring roll ?
- California roll ?
- Chocolate ice cream ?
- Vanilla ice cream ?
I got nothing.
Dear World RACE REPORT
When I first moved to Portland, Oregon every now and then I’d have a reason to go to the Left Bank Building between Broadway, Vancouver, Weidler and Wheeler.11I-5 is just to the right here, traffic is terrible, everything is one-way, mostly solid striping, etc. etc. It’s better now but it used to be impossible to get to. It was easy to find. And it was easy to identify. It just wasn’t easy to arrive at. You could touch it and point at it as you passed by it, you just couldn’t stop anywhere near it. Forget about entering it. The exposure wasn’t horrible, I mean doing a lap and recalculating and swinging back around was only five minutes, but five minutes plus five minutes plus five minutes is eventually thirty-five minutes.
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. They come in all kinds of sizes and shapes and permutations. Fences, barricades, human gendarmerie, wall-walls, credentials, stickers, etc. Someone or something is always preventing you from getting from where you are to where you want to be.You can see it, you can touch it, you can point to it, but you can’t get to it.”- DWP
I’m not complaining, I’m just talking out loud. I think the Tour de France is great. Plus I will happily eat pain au chocolates several times a day every day for the rest of my life. And shit, I will get into that Podium Harem Trailer sooner or later. So we’re cool, I got this.
II Today's Great Ideas
- Covering this race is really expensive. Also, it’s a little bit redundant. So. What if we (MFS) went to Slovenia for a couple of days and did our thing, the immersion and the photographs and the writing, and the daily blogging, only on super discotheques and music festivals, not cycling? Maybe three days, five tops. First of all, would anyone be into that? Second of all, would anyone notice? Would traffic go up or down? Assuming we continued to publish every day. I mean, we’d still call it Stage 8, Stage 9, etc. We have enough generic race photos we could “pepper-in” some racing content.
- Are theatrical reenactments of each stage a good idea? Following the finish we head to a bar with a bag full of lycra, find a couple of the right people, maybe set some ground rules, turn on a video camera and later upload it to the internet.
- Hey Publicity Caravan people where do you go after the race? Where do you park your cars shaped/dressed like toothpaste tubes, Dalmatians, gingerbread cookie houses and zeppelins? When you’re done drive-by throwing shit at thousands of bouncing TDF fans for 165 kilometers at a time, where do you park and what do you do? Manual for Speed wants to do some portraits with you. Maybe a typology or just like a Yearbook kinda thing. Maybe some interviews. I want to ask you about the harness system you’re all wearing, is that really necessary? Have you ever like, tested it?, for sport? Also, you must get tan as shit doing that job. Anyway, you guys look great out there bringing The Pump and whatnot, I think we should do some snaps.
III Today's Highs & Lows
- Sleeping in!
- Waking up in La Havre.
- Pont de Normandie!!! Over the Seine!!! The bridge, it looks like a giant vagina!!!!
- Private Music Collection.
- Eating and drinking more or less on demand, like we do in America every day of our lives.
- Today is the second time I have driven past Mont St. Michel and haven't had the time to actually stop for a visit. It looks pretty remarkable from a distance, like a Castle with a tidal moat. Or Valhalla if Valhalla was made of rock and built in an ocean instead of the sky.
- Failed to shoot La Havre.
- Hotel Brit refused to serve us dinner in their world famous Le Castel Restaurant, claiming something about a bike race.
- Hotel Brit refused to make me a cappuccino, claiming something about being too busy because of feeding a bike race. They would, however, make me an espresso and provide me with some cold milk.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF FRENCH FLUENCY BY GOOGLE MAPS LADY Please See the First Two
Learning French Phrases #5 AN EXPLORATION, A GLOSSARY, A CATALOG FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Je dois un autocollant sur ma voiture. Voulez-vous s'il vous plaît regarder l'autocollant sur ma voiture. L'autocollant sur ma voiture me donne accès à la course avant la course. Il est tout à fait bonne ce est.22I have a sticker on my car. Would you please look at the sticker on my car? The sticker on my car gives me access to the race before the race. It is quite sufficient.
VI A Chronological Breakdown of the Day's Events
- Sleep in.
- Check out of hotel at 11:00 AM.
Do to Le Havre what we did to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- Leave Le Havre at 1:15 PM and drive 2.75 hours straight to Fougères.
- Arrive at Fougères at 3:30 PM and document Rando Chiller & Finish Line (the race will finish at approx 5:10 PM).
- Drive to Rennes at 6:00 PM
- Arrive around 7:00 PM.
VII Today's Playlist
Yesterday we listened to nothing because five days of French Radio was starting to negatively impact our lives. Yes, pop, Euro-House, French artist music has huge entertainment value. And yes, it’s a little bit like cultural immersion, you do it to get the feel, the lay of the land, and to better understand what’s what on the street. But before you know it you’ve moved from “sport” listening to Radio Fun FM to listening-listening to Radio Fun FM. And then, by the end of the fifth day you don’t know why but you suddenly feel immediately violent. Like in those movies where a regular person (the hypnotized) is shopping at a fruit stall in a city center proximal to a presidential speech rally on the steps of the courthouse, and gets what he thinks is just a random call but it’s not, it’s a call from a diabolical mastermind (the hypnotizer), and the diabolical mastermind says like two super basic mundane-type words, like red eagle and immediately the reg person goes dead-eyed, drops the fruit in her hands to the ground, walks over to the steps, takes a grenade out of her purse and throws it at the stage on which currently the president is chanting FOUR MORE YEARS, FOUR MORE YEARS!.
Anyway, after getting Red Eagled at the end of Day 5 we switched to radio silence. Today though, we listened to music from my Private Collection. TO BE CLEAR, my music playing device was on shuffle, and this list reflects that. This is not a curated list. I just want to be clear and transparent about that. In some cases the song choices, based on the artist in question, are curious/nonsensical. Tomorrow I’m thinking of doing a French-inspired mix though, time and brain-mind health permitting.
- 1 Heterotic Problemo
- 2 Flume & Chet Faker Drop the Game
- 3 Matthew Dear Temptation
- 4 Banks Warm Water
- 5 Young Wonder Flesh
- 6 Odesza feat. Briana Marela For Us
- 7 TOKiMONSTA Steal My Attention
- 8 Studio Montaigne Still Waiting (CätCät Remix)
- 9 Zhala I'm in Love
- 10 Shiba San OKAY
- 11 Rudi Zygadio Lily
- 12 Shamir In for the Kill
VIII Fougères Finish
IX Hotel Brit