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2015 Tour de France: Stage 13

2015 Tour de France: Stage 13

Friday July 17, 2015 | Muret

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.

2015 Tour de France: Stage 13

Race Stats
Start Location


Finish Location



198.5 km

Number of Steps

13,418 steps or 6.5 miles

Time of Filing

3:30 AM (Daniel wrote this in our working document as “3:30 PM”, which I think should tell you something.—KEB)


We are staying at Prieuré de Las Canals outside the village of Valady in the region of France called Midi-Pyrénées and we’re getting married here tonight because oh my God it’s paradise like I think we’ve so totally died and gone to heaven and heaven is a palace in a ravine in the 17th century where the hills are alive with the sound of Monteverdi, pagan wildlife and the gurgle and burble of primeval running water. WE ARE IN AN OIL PAINTING. I’m pretty sure I can see Marie Antoinette or some other consort in big hair, pancake make-up, a bustier and a fake mole. Is it me or is France the only place in the world you can book a room for a night on the internet in a place that has it’s own medieval history outlined on a wiki page? It’s in a valley, it’s own private valley, and the valley comes with the palace or priory or whatever it is.

Today's Objectives
  1. Photograph the start. ✓
  2. See the race. ✓
  3. Photograph Phil Liggett. X
  4. BONUS!!!!!! Greg Lemond. ✓
Top 3 Finishers
  1. Greg Van Avermaet (4:43:42)
  2. Peter Sagan (+0:00:00)
  3. Jan Bakelants (+0:00:03)
WIFI Details
It’s okay. It’s not great, it’s not bad. Highlights are, 1.) it’s open and does not require a password or log-in, 2.) it’s available anywhere and everywhere throughout the palace grounds, which like I said, is an entire valley. An entire valley which may or may not represent a portal into some kind of Collective Consciousness comprised of medieval works of art, especially oil paintings. So when you think about it like that... that we have wifi and can access the internet from within an oil painting, it’s actually pretty impressive.
It was a pink towel kind of day. What do I mean by that? I mean if you don't have a pink towel to wipe sweat from your face and neck and arms, cover your neck, fashion into a French Foreign Legion hat (in combination with a baseball cap), drape across your thighs and arm while driving, soak with water and use topically to cool the surface of your skin, wipe glacé off the corners of your mouth, use as glare-proof tent when operating the menu functions of your camera, etc., you will probably suffer a heat stroke and die.
Quote of the Day
"We need to poke it, not loop it."
-MFS Course Strategy Meeting Jargon
"We’re just like them."
-Emiliano commenting on our tacit condonation and participation in today’s Sunflower event.
"But I'm going to look like a dick."
-Veeral Patel commenting on Emiliano’s photo of Veeral using Moose Antler Hands to frame-up his Sunflower Patch shot in anticipation of the peloton.
"If you go by feet."
-ASO staff being helpful and marginally ESL which is a lot more than we can say for MFS… eeeeeexcept Emiliano does speak fluent Spanish, just not French. Point is, the ASO dude’s English was adorable.
"These are the first proper sunflowers in four years."
-Veeral Patel
"Oh yeah, usually unless you’re on a Moto it’s impossible to get a Sunflower shot."
-Jim Fryer of Brakethrough Media
"Le canard flys en nuit."
"Squat collapse."
-Daniel discussing the possible effects of crouching for extended periods of time to photograph the passing peloton in today’s conditions, hallmarks of which were 120 degree asphalt, no shade, low blood pressure, dehydration and physical exertion.
"I mean, don't bring a flag to the edge of the race and refuse to wave it when they pass."
Course Description [OFFICIAL]

Tournesols, tournesols, tournesols! A , se défouler à travers les champs de roulement joyeux champs champs champs de si nombreux domaines, de beaux champs, des champs de blé, des champs de maïs, les champs de refroidisseurs, les champs de VR, des champs de drapeaux, des champs de pirates de fossé, et les champs de rêves! Tout le chemin vers le sommet d’une colline et la ville de Rodez. Là où il ya une cathédrale, un bâtiment avec un toit en acier inoxydable et ruelles Gérone – comme vous pouvez conduire dans .

MFS Bible
Course Description [UNOFFICIAL]

Sunflowers, sunflowers, sunflowers! A rollicking, rolling romp through fields fields fields fields so many fields, beautiful fields, fields of wheat, fields of corn, fields of chilleurs, fields of RVs, fields of flags, fields of ditch pirates, and fields of dreams! All the way to the top of a hill and the town of Rodez, where there is a cathedral, a building with a stainless steel roof and Girona-like alleys you can drive in.

Today's Observation #1

On the way out of Villefranche-d’Albigeois, after the race went by, we passed miles of traffic on the opposite side of the road headed into Villefranche-d’Albigeois. That’s not uncommon, there is always traffic backed-up on/in the direction of the course. But today the procession of parked traffic was disconnected or “uncoupled,” staggered basically, based on shade. Adjacent to trees, billboards, houses, water towers, etc., there were cars. In between where it was sunny, for 10, 20, 30 feet, there was just road. Hot hot hot hot road.

Today's Observation #2

It’s not uncommon for someone to smoke in the finish area scrum-zone during the actual finish. So there you are trying to photograph Nairo Quintana or Peter Sagan or whomever, as they’ve literally just finished only seconds ago, and they’re sweating and pouring bottles of water over their heads and looking for their sougniers and trying to sort out where their Team Bus is, and you smell smoke, and you look up and some dude with a lit cigarette in his mouth is pushing his movie camera into Alberto Contador’s face. Sidenote: Those movie camera ENG bros need to mount mirrors or curb finders to their rigs, they can and will accidentally KNOCK you the fuck out when they move around violently in the pursuit of riders.

Today's Observation #3

Our Peugeot Clio is overflowing with trash. You know how sometimes instead of taking the trash out you just stand or push on it to compact it and buy yourself a day—maybe two—before dealing with it properly? Yeah, well, we’ve already done that. The space under the radio, in the glove compartment, under our seats, in the back, on the dash off to the sides, in those pointless door pockets, under the sun visors, around the rear view mirror, everywhere. It’s all full of trash. Empty water bottles mostly, and coffee cups, and Pringles™ tubes, and candy bags.

Today's Observation #4

Greg Lemond speaks French. We found him today on a stairwell near the finish having what sounded like an exceptionally fluent conversation with a crowd of French fans. We don’t know about what though. Because we don’t speak French.

Today's Observation #5

If you use your expensive cloth laptop sleeve as a barrier between your laptop and your legs for hours and hours on end in A/C-less French priories, you will want/need to wash it. Think about that, I have sweat stains on my laptop sleeve. What. The. Fuck. France?

Meal & Food Report

Breakfast was okay. Emiliano made a PHACU, I did not. And once again I regretted it. On the way through Albi we stopped for gourmand pizzas. They were okay but before we could eat them they were placed in paper bags because we got them a emporter. And the hot oily cheese stuck to the paper bags. Guys, guys, guys, guys, you can’t put things (ANYTHING) on top of hot pizza and not expect stickage. I hope someone that works at the Whole Foods on NE Fremont and NE 14th Ave. is reading this. You know who you are, dude, you can’t put slices of pizza on top of each other and expect it to be okay. It’s not okay. At some point before the finish I ate a salsicha from a cart. On the way out of Rodez we navigated to an Indian restaurant but when we found it, it wasn’t an Indian restaurant. And whatever it was was closed. We parked anyway and walked back to the town square reminiscent of Girona we’d passed through only moments before. It was full of tourists, marching bands and food carts. Emiliano tricked me into eating foie gras even though we had a conversation yesterday about how I don’t like foie gras (Not for political reasons, I just think it tastes like cold Grizzly Bear belly fat.) I went to the Paella Cart (paella 6 euros, moules 3 euros, frites 1.5 euros) and ordered one paella and two frites. Emiliano stayed at the duck cart and ordered “leg of duck” and pommes cooked in duck fat, and not a sausage because the sausage was made from duck liver. While we ate in the sun these things happened:

  1. I started to sweat all over my paella.
  2. Emiliano and I had a conversation about how sausage depends on a suspension of disbelief. Like basically, sausage depends on the culinary equivalent of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Emiliano got us some lukewarm Perriers, we polished them off on the way over to an artisanal glacé cart where Emiliano ordered vanilla and I ordered chocolate as per usual. On the way back to our car I got chocolate on the sleeve of my Kasual Klub bear shirt while taking a selfie with the trombone player in a marching band midway through a cover of Possum Kingdom.


Yesterday we were supposed to tell you about Lords of Action. It’s no excuse, but I lost my notes. Anyway, we could tell you what Lords of Action is or we could let Lords of Action tell you what Lords of Action is. Which, obviously, we’re doing that.


“Beware, if you are lovers of great spectacle, this is for you: Saturday at 17 hours, and Sunday, 16 hours, you can attend one of the largest waterfall in the world shows, with Lords of action. It looks like an American action film title, do not you think so right, since most of the stunt show, from across Europe, are professionals who often collaborate with the world of cinema. Expect very heavy, special effects, movie stunts reconstructions, springboard jumps springboard to drive, but also motorcycle stunts, without forgetting célébrissimes monster trucks. A breathtaking spectacle.”


It should be noted that we seriously considered skipping today’s stage in order to attend Lords of Action because:


  1. Did you read the description?
  2. We drove past the grounds on the way into town one day and saw some of the trucks.
  3. There were colorful and convincing posters all over town.
  4. Monster Trucks.
  5. Bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes bikes boring bikes bikes bikes yawn bikes.
The Crew
Daniel Wakefield Pasley
Emiliano Granado

I Dear World

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. It happened like this:


  1. We crested a hill and BOOM, there it was, the earth had a golden floor as far as the eye could see, provided the eye focused only on the right side of the street.
  2. There were photographers everywhere. On their cars for vantage, hanging from street signs, shooting across the road into the field, shooting across the field into the road, in the field with sunflowers in the foreground, up high, down low, in fox holes, rappelling from hot air balloons, squirrel-suiting, etc.
  3. We pulled onto a road to park (leave-the-car-running-style) to photograph the golden bukkake.
  4. We did that, we discussed staying, we decided not to stay, we decided to leave immediately, we turned around and drove to the edge of the road, then, right before we could pull out, we got blocked in.
  5. First by just one guy. A Japanese photographer who we don’t know well.
  6. Emiliano publicly argued with him and eventually convinced him to move his car to let us out.
  7. Then right before he could, he himself got blocked-in by Kristof Ramon.
  8. Emiliano argued with Kristof Ramon.
  9. I had to explain to Emiliano that we were friends with Kristof Ramon.
  10. By this time the whole Patch was actively watching our Flash Performance Art.
  11. We agreed to stay and not push the Sunflower Blockade issue any further.
  12. Moments later Kristof Ramon decided to leave anyway but it was too late for us at that point.
  13. While waiting for the race to pass we discussed the Pros and Cons of this particular Sunflower Patch. The consensus is that it’s about a 7.3 as far as Sunflower Patches go. The only major drawback are the telephone poles.
  14. Jim Fryer points out that when the Sunflower Patch is lower than the road (as it was in this case) using “perspective” you can make it look like the riders are racing (or “surfing) across the tops of the Sunflowers.
  15. We also discuss the origin of the Sunflower Patch “shot.” The consensus is that Graham Watson was the first to popularize and subsequently memorialize the Sunflower Shot.

II Today's Highs & Lows

  • The post race exodus phenomenon. The race passes, you and all the other media run to your cars, you and all the other media Sticker Privilege your way through the barriers and traffic, you and all the other media race off in every direction possible, sometimes you follow another media, sometimes you get followed by another media, you always second guess your choice, you always wonder who’s going where, you always think about what they know versus what you don’t know, it feels a lot like that one car chase scene in the Pink Panther.
  • Speeding down vacant farm roads!
  • Talking to a Dutch photographer in Villefranche-d'Albigeois about America. He’s concerned that America is unsafe. He says in American suburbs there are drug dealers everywhere. On the corners offering drugs to children. He saw a show on TV about it. He likes France because the villages aren’t too perfect. They have a little bit of trash and old buildings. He says the Netherlands are too nice, too manicured. He wants to visit New Orleans.
  • The bridge over the Le Tarn River between the towns of Arthés and Saint-Juéry. This bridge over that river almost mitigated the pain and suffering of documenting the entire 2015 Tour De France.
  • Sitting at a table on the lawn in front of the priory, the valley lit up, listening to omnipresent, seemingly atmospheric opera music, surrounded by tall trees and the gurgle of a brook, drinking café creme after café creme after Perrier after café creme after Perrier for hours, computing in the breeze.
  • Yesterday, the Poulet Jalfrezi just made me sweat. A lot. Today though…
  • A marching band in the non-Girona part of Rodez covering Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
  • A different marching band covering Stevie Wonder.
  • Yet another marching band covering The Toadies.
  • All three marching bands being within one hundred yards of each other.
  • They weren't even the first marching band(s) of the day, the first was at the finish. But that marching band was okay, that marching band doesn't deserve to be in the low points. Now I owe that marching band an apology because of these other three marching bands.
  • Medieval priories are not equipped with A/C. #tedious

III A Text I Never Thought I Would Send

Phil, this is Daniel with the New Yorker. We are here at the (TDF) finish. Our credentials get us to the area just beyond the finish. When best to do this? In 10min? 20min?”- DWP


Three things about this text really stand-out as remarkable:


  1. I have Phil Liggett’s phone number.
  2. I’m texting Phil Liggett.
  3. I’m on assignment (kinda) for The New Yorker.

IV MFS Reader Poll
Please Tweet/Comment/Email/Text Us About This Stuff

  1. Do you text/type on your mobile with one thumb or two thumbs? Is it possible that texting/typing with one thumb is as fast or faster then texting/typing with one thumb. Is texting/typing with one thumb wrong. How do you think Manual For Speed should text/type?
  2. Sunflowers, what are they all about?
  3. In France they have Ambulance-Taxis. So like, which is it?

V Murret Start

[tradingcard image=”2015/07/manualforspeed_tourdefrance2015_stage13-spec.png”][/tradingcard]

Guys, this guy ISN'T in the Tour de France.

VI The Sunflower Patch

Emiliano: "Hey, do that again so I can take a photo of it." Veeral: "Oh man, I'm going to look like a dick."
Yeah... perfect. Line it up!
This is the Japanese dude that blocked us.
#tacksharp #bokeh #decisivemoment
"Whereas Ansel Adams photographed the sinuous, abstract patterns left by timeless winds on desert sand dunes (Sand Dunes, Oceano, California, c. 1950), New Topographics photographer Robert Adams’s photograph of a similar western scene turns out to be dune-buggy tracks crisscrossing the desert floor (East of Eden, Colorado, 1977). Landscape photographs by Ansel Adams helped reinforce the image of the American West as an unspoiled wilderness throughout the Cold War era; by contrast, during the post-Vietnam war era, western landscape photography by New Topographic photographers challenged the ideology of such longstanding myths of nature and the West." Kelly Dennis
Before you ask, Maiz’Europ’ offers an in-depth look at corn production in France.

VII Villefranche-d'Albigeois

#doubledipping #doubletrouble #stackinup

VIII That Bridge I Was Talking About!
Le Tarn River


IX Rodez

Nathan!!!! What's up dude?!
Alex! ALEX!!!!

X Yo! MFS CRIBZ: Stage 13


A BRIEF TIMELINE OF PRIEURE DE LAS CANALS11Reproduced here verbatim and unedited.



  1. Las Canals ( Canals in Occitan) is a domain of the xv th century located Nuces, hamlet Valady in the Aveyron, 14 km northwest of Rodez. The property was the private residence of several famous families.
  2. Rainwater seeped through the limestone soils of the limestone plateau overlooking the valley and contribute to the supply of the stream that flows at its feet, hence the name Las Canals.
  3. The priory was extended in 1720 when the bishopric of Rodez buys the Boissiere family in order to install his monks.
  4. After the French Revolution, the monks leave. Bonald’s family took over the property. The Comte de Bonald performs very important work, and landscape among others, terraced vineyard of four hectares.
  5. Family Bonald including in its ranks the philosopher Louis de Bonald, Archbishop of Lyon Louis-Jacques-Maurice de Bonald and politician Victor de Bonald .
  6. The set was bought by families and Ginisty Portal.
  7. André Ginisty, president of the Regional Planning Committee to Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Toulouse, became the owner during the interwar period.
  8. In 1997 , George and Odette de La Rochebrochard buys it and turns it into a bed and breakfast.
Prieuré de Las Canals
Much to the surprise of exactly no one, the website for Prieuré de Las Canals is out of another age:
"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth."
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