Tour de San Luis: Día Cuatro
We are not good at doing journalism on a bike race.
I Manual for Speed High Points and Low Points
- For the first time ever, in South America, Manual for Speed was recognized. Say what you want, we have at least one fan in South America. At least, we think he was a fan? He said, "Hello Manual for Speed,” thumbs-up’ed and smiled. That’s a fan right? Regardless, we were recognized, that’s indisputable, that’s science.
- One of us, Daniel Wakefield Pasley, was forced to endorse Equipo de River Plate. It happened liked this: I was walking up the course about 300 meters from the finish when a gentleman in a red soccer jersey shouted at me to come over and shake his hand, bro-style. After that he took his shirt off and insisted that I put it on over my scarf, credentials, gold chain and shirt. I politely declined, for too many reasons to get into at this point. He was hurt but got over it quickly enough. Then he asked me to hold it up and kiss it while he took a photograph of me holding his shirt up and kissing it. I held it up but refused to kiss it, again for too many reasons to get into at this point. Apparently that was enough. I held the shirt up, he took a photograph, everybody was happy. Then he shouted something across the mountain top for all to hear. It had a proclamation vibe. I can’t be sure but I think he said something like, “Look! Even strange German men think that River Plate is the best soccer team in the world.”
II MFS Status Update
I’m going to be honest with you, we have no idea what’s happening at this race. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Well… of course you don’t, because you never do, because you’re not good at doing journalism on a bike race.” And you'd be right.11An Un-Ordered and Incomplete Compendium of Non-Vibe, Facts-Focused Dry Toast and Flat Water Bicycle Racing Outlets Where You Can Learn Some Stuff That We Don’t Know: CyclingNews, Velo News, Pez Cycling News, Bicycle Retailer, Road Bike Action Magazine, etc. We are not good at doing journalism on a bike race. That’s fair. We accept that. But listen, trying to understand the specifics obfuscates the vibe and the greater metaphysical truth of the spectacle that is bicycle racing. You know that, we know that, everybody knows that. It’s all about the vibe. Vibe for Speed. But shit, listen, we’re talking about vibe when we should be talking about osmosis.
Osmosis is the movement of a solvent across a semipermeable membrane toward a higher concentration of solute. In biological systems, the solvent is typically water, but osmosis can occur in other liquids, supercritical liquids, gases, and even blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah science. Anyway normally if you’re at a race, and in the race, and photographing the race, and listening to the race, and wearing the race vests, and reading the race literature, you can’t avoid—trust us, we’ve tried—a basic understanding of how the race is unfolding and between which riders and teams the race is being contended. Not true at the 2015 Tour de San Luis. We’ve been here for four days and we know nothing about this race except that it’s tedious and boring. We blame this perfect storm of confusion on that fact that course is made up of several freeway-centric etapas and Google Maps’ criminal lack of knowledge regarding roads and streets in Argentina—the blue dot is constantly drunk. Google Maps methodically and repeatedly denies the existence of ENTIRE roads in a manner consistent with a well-organized propaganda and misinformation campaign. Google Maps’ representative, that computer lady, often forgets what she’s doing stroke-out-style until it’s too late, until you’ve gone several blocks past your turn and/or location. And then there is the language thing, and the early season thing, and the who cares about this thing thing, because where else are you going to learn about Gil, Difunta Correa, Ditchin’, Money Laundering, Digital Cumbia, etc.?
But then, yesterday, Manual for Speed received this anonymous text from Pat Pasley: So maybe u could talk a little more about the race. Hard to get info about it here in US MSM. Maybe who is looking good. (1) Bright new stars? (2) How Cav is doing? (3) Did i spot little Tommy Voeckler? (4) Best climbers? etc? (5)Is it a bad sign for the career of Mark Cavendish that Mark Cavendish is at the Tour de San luis?
Dear Pat Pasley, This is a great set of questions for a qualified journalist/publication to address. We are not a qualified journalist/publication. That said, we attempted to answer your questions to the best of our abilities.
- Clearly, that 20 year Colombian sprinter is a phenomenon.
- Cavendish ran into a dog yesterday. He’s being out sprinted. And he was forced into a selfie with @manualforspeed. So we think it’s safe to say (based on deductive reasoning) he’s not having a great time.
- Yes, Voeckler is here!!! In fact, @manualforspeed took a #fansies-style selfie with him as well.
- This is the biggest race in South America. Tour de San Luis is really Tour de South America. South Americans can climb well, they’re into it.
- Umm, probably?
Also, your question(s) inspired us to contact the only qualified journalist/publication on our staff, Alps and Andes. We asked A&A, aka Klaus, to educate us, and by proxy you, the reader, regarding this race that we’re technically at, but that we haven’t really seen. We said, “Tell us who’s winning and why it matters.” He said:
- This is the ninth edition of the Tour de San Luis. In the NATO phonetic alphabet, the digit 9 is pronounced “niner”.
- The race began with a surprise Etapa 1 win by Fernando Gaviria (Colombia National Team). The 20-year old sprinter beat Cavendish and Modolo, Cavendish said he just hadn’t seen the 200 meters-to-go sign; “It was too small.”
- Gaviria is referred to as “care-mico” by his parents, a term of endearment that literally means “monkey face”. His sister is a track cyclist who has a neck thick enough to intimidate low-level NFL players.
- Etapa 2 was thought to be custom-made for the race’s previous winner, Nairo Quintana, whose family calls him “El Negrito” (the Little Black One). Instead, it was Argentine champion Daniel Diaz who took the stage ahead of a slowly fading Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia); regrettably, neither racer’s family nicknames is known to us at this point. Last season, Torres raced for the Formesan team.
- Formesan is one of the largest manufacturers of concrete molds for architectural use in Colombia. Unlike construction in much of North America and Europe, South American architecture often relies on reinforced concrete. In smaller, residential projects, the use of wood for framing is not advisable due to possible insect damage, and in large-scale projects the cost of steel is prohibitive.
- During the final climb of stage 2, Nairo Quintana tried his best to set up his brother Dayer (whose middle name is Uberney) for an attack, but was unable to do so.
- Dayer once signed a racing contract with a team sponsored by the local police in the town of Tunja, Colombia. When the team ended, as part of his contract he had to become an official police officer (against his will) along with his teammates, for—what they thought were- accounting reasons.
- Etapa 3 finished in the town of Juana Koslay, named after the daughter of a local indigenous leader who married into the Spanish ruling class. Gaviria once again got the best of Mark Cavendish, who said he saw the 200 meter sign this time, but that the Colombian sprinter had gone too early, and that the uphill finish didn’t totally suit him.
- As you might expect, Etapa 422This is, in fact, one aspect of the race MFS has come to grips with. came next. Another one seemingly custom-made for Nairo Quintana that was once again taken by local Daniel Diaz. Diaz raced in Europe for two seasons (2010 as a stagiaire with Footon-Servetto, and with Pomme Marseille 2011), and has said that he hopes for a chance to return.
- Diaz is a supporter of the second-division Central Norte soccer/football team. Known for wearing an all black kit, Central Norte players are affectionately known as “the crows”, with their stadium being referred to as “the little crows nest”.
III Today's Observations
- This is the least journalizable race in the world, at least from somebody’s cousin’s Fiat.
- All of the millions of motorcycle/scooter/moped drivers in Argentina who are wearing a helmet that isn’t a bicycle helmet are wearing a version of the helmet that LEGO used for inspiration when they made what’s commonly known as a “LEGO helmet.”
- The actual or effective or practical weight capacity of the common moped in Argentina is remarkable. Ostensibly, manufacturer’s weight limits have no bearing on Argentina.
- Weed Whacking is a huge pastime in Argentina. Participants, of which there are many, commonly carry gas-powered weed whackers with them wherever they go: on the backs of their bikes and scooters, in the trunks of their cars, over their shoulders while out on a walk, at bus stops, etc.
- After averaging less than five hours of sleep a night for the last four days, Manual for Speed is experiencing temporary, early onset, Type 2 Narcolepsy. Yesterday I fell asleep in the middle of a conversation about Ted Kings’ commitment to oral hygiene. What’s funny is, when I woke up, I noticed that Emiliano had also fallen asleep in the middle of the same conversation! The difference is, of course, he was driving.
- Based on anecdotal evidence and first-hand experience, there are no motor vehicle laws in Argentina. You can speed everywhere and to whatever degree you deem prudent. You can text and drive. You don’t have to wear a seatbelt. 4-way intersections don’t have traffic control, you just kind of figure it out. You can overtake a car on the left, you don’t even need a good reason. Apparently though, U-turns are frowned upon.
- If you’re in somebody’s cousin’s car and the passenger side window doesn’t roll up all the way, and the subsequent gap causes a great deal of noise and turbulence while driving at speed, one can, if one is inclined, chink that gap with pesos.
- It turns out that Argentina is stunning. Like, breathtaking. The Scotland-like highlands and mountains outside San Luis are truly remarkable. More specifically, they got these walls. They’re about four feet tall, made of stacked rocks, those kinda flat slate-looking jammers, and they go on for miles in every direction. Most impressively, they follow the surface of the earth even when the surface of the earth is super problematic to follow—we’re talking steep ravines, jagged rock outcroppings, river crossings, etc., these walls do it all. Also, why? Like, what are these walls keeping in or out? Also, who made these walls? Egyptians?
IV Top 4 Verbiage T-shirts seen in the San Luis Metropolitan Area
- I <3 lost my shirt.
- I live in my heart
V Etapa 4
VI MFS x ZZK = LIFE IS RHYTHM
ZZK Records is music to move to, it's the future sound of Latin America. Essentially the label was born out of a weekly dance club, so there's always been an element of movement to the music we put out. What better way to get on your bike and ride, get on your feet and walk or run, or put your dancing shoes on and shake, than these daily playlists, straight from Argentina?”- Grant C. Dull, ZZK Records
Sweating with the Lazy One
- 1 El Remolon Bolivia
- 2 Fauna Los Piratas del Zanjon
- 3 El Remolon feat. Fantasma Liga del Sabor Digital
- 4 El Remolon feat. Lido Pimienta Atras
- 5 Poirier ft. Boogat Kalima Shop Titi (El Remolon Remix)
- 6 La Vibra (feat. Miss Bolivia) 100 BPM
- 7 El Remolon Zapatillas Galacticas
- 8 Fauna El Zombie (DisqueDJ Remix)
- 9 El Remolon feat. Boogat Estilo Acapulco
- 10 Fauna Andino