2016 American Tour of Kalifornia: Stage 01
Sunday May 15, 2016 | San Diego, CA
I can’t say that the riders as a whole appreciated the gentleman in a turquoise bikini bottom sprinting up the hill in front of them.
170.5km / 106mi
11,472 – 5.5 mi
Courtyard by Marriott, Pasadena
- Acquire a Tech Manual. X
- Capture and record the racing spectacle. ✓
- Hang out with some naval aviators. X
- Auction off the bag of cookies that Phil Gaimon tossed at us in the morning. X
- Experience the madness of the KOM. ✓- (We experienced the KOM, but there was nothing mad about it.)
- Have dinner at Versailles. ✓+
- Peter Sagan, Tinkoff Team, 4:20:41
- Wouter Wippert, Cannondale Pro Cycling, s/t
- Dylan Groenewegen, Team LottoNl-Jumbo, s/t
The first day of racing will begin and end in first-time host city San Diego, the birthplace of California and the state’s second largest city. A natural fit for the nation’s premier cycling race, San Diego features a vibrant beach-oriented community whose residents are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.
The peloton will depart Mission Bay traveling through Balboa Park before heading south toward downtown and the harbor with views of the historic Gaslamp District and Coronado Bridge.
The race’s first Visit California Sprint will take place in bike-friendly Imperial Beach before heading east toward the rolling hills of East County. With only one Lexus King of the Mountain point on Honey Springs Road, fans can expect a fast finish as the riders race west back to the coast.
The race basically started at SeaWorld. Then the gang rode south and east through San Diego. Eventually they rode out past the outer rings of khaki-splashed urban sprawl, and escaped the commercial gravity of Claim Jumpers, Fuddruckers, TGI Fridays, Dave and Buster’s, Outback Steakhouses, Cinnabons, Jamba Juices, Best Buys, etc. They rode past a reservoir, past a spillway with some pretty nifty graffiti, then up a climb. Once over the climb, they essentially turned around and went back. If re-entry was harsh for us, I can’t imagine what it was like for these guys, a squadron of high-wattage falcons burning through an atmosphere of froyo joints and erratic constellations of Panda Expresses. Eventually they made their way back to the coast for one final sprint to the finish in front of a wall of adoring fans.
San Diego does khaki and gray. And that’s all it does.
There was a drunk CHIPs swerving back and forth across the entire freeway in the morning. This had nothing to do with the race, it really just looked like this cop was out having a good time and/or was wasted.
Sea World is still open.
Jacob Rathe — OREGON is proud of you!
People in California are very demanding, at least according to Joe Lewis. Illustrating his point, a woman comes up to his bike and starts grabbing for his bottle. “I want it for a souvenir.” “Well, if you say ‘please’ you can have it.” To which the woman just kind of shakes her head and walks away. “All she had to say was please, these people are INSANE.”
- Starbucks: 4
- Chipotle: 1
- 7-Eleven: 1
- Versailles: 1
If you’ve been alive for a while then you’re at least familiar with the first three. And if you’ve done your Manual for Speed homework, then you know we’re very familiar with the first three. But what about this outlier, this Versailles? As it so happens this is maybe Daniel’s favorite restaurant in the world, it’s the chicken. The chicken is insane.
I’d like to apologize to the future owner(s) of our rental car. We’re not even 48 hours into this eight-day race and we’ve already ingested enough beans to feed a small South American country (maybe one of the Guy(i)anas) and slurped down more coffee than a fleet of Fedex drivers on the last shipping day before Christmas. Needless to say, we’re running a windows-down kinda deal.
I A Chronological Breakdown of the Day's Events
- 8:00am: First alarm goes off. Kyle is up and into the restroom.
- 8:15am: Daniel tests the door on the bathroom. Kyle’s still in action.
- 9:00am: Second alarm goes off. It’s time to leave.
- 9:15am: 1st Starbucks of the day. We spot a pair of wily she-weasels in the parking lot. Stage 1 feels good.
- 9:45am: We arrive at Ski Park, where absolutely no one is skiing.
- 10:06am: Walking the cycling festival, traditional costuming abounds: sagging lycra, wild hats, freak flag shit. Maybe it’s the lycra, or maybe it’s just that little Devil Dude from Europe, but cycling fans love to wear crazy shit to bike races.
- 10:30am: Regroup at our blue Hyundai rental. Bask in the glory that are our newly-made Manual for Speed Speed Center car magnets, complete with the number of our newly installed Manual for Speed Hotline: +1-971-280-6823.
- 10:45am: Starbucks #2. Honestly I can’t remember anything special about this one, though that may be the point.
- 11:03am: We hit a Chipotle. We both enjoy salads. A mix of barbacoa and carnitas for Daniel, extra veggies for Kyle. We eat like starved wolves and get back on the road.
- 11:07am: Daniel, “Hey Kyle, did we put the magnets on the car?” Kyle, “Yep did it this morning.”
- 12:45pm: Arrive at the KOM. The scene is pretty MELL-OH. We’re at the top of Honey Badger Lane, and I would have thought that at the top of Honey Badger Lane you’d come upon some rascally action. Not the case today. The saving grace was a large group of boisterous Latinos. These dudes were doing all the wild work. And thank God for them.
- 1:00-ishpm: The leaders come through. They look tired, but not that tired. The fans go nuts banging on the side of the course barriers. I am pretty sure we all collectively suffer through this sound because the racers, who we’re here to see, appreciate it. The domestic crowds are doing what they need to do to sound bigger than they are. To show their support.
- 1:00-ishpm: I can’t say that the riders as a whole appreciated the gentleman in a turquoise bikini bottom sprinting up the hill in front of them. It seems the flossy sprinter is doing this simply to experience his own sense of glory.
- 2:15pm: Hey. We wanted to see more of the race. But you roll the dice. We thought that the KOM would be really interesting, and you would probably think so too, at least we hope that you would, we want you to. But we missed out on shooting around the reservoir, where some of our other photo bros were going to shoot, and we missed shooting the team riding through the city. It’s hard to know if what you did was the right thing. Sometimes you know-KNOW, and sometimes you don’t. I guess you’ll check out the photos and let us know. Right? We’ve got a hotline now.
- 2:55pm: We get to the Starbucks close to the finish. We may or may not have stolen someone’s parking space.
- 3:03pm: In the rarified world of Professional Road Cycling Blogging, you’ll often come across closed roads. This is a safety thing, I mean you can’t have a semi-truck loose on the peloton, that would be a disaster. And so as certified media we have access to roads and terrain that others don’t, it’s a privilege, and one that we don’t take lightly. After pulling out of the Starbucks we noticed a closed road, figuring this for the race route, we circumvented the signs, continuing down a long stretch of highway. It’s two lanes on either side and we pass a few groups of cyclists, a couple rollerbladers and a runner or two. About a mile in we pass some construction vehicles looking like they’re doing construction shit. Another mile after that, the road comes to an interchange and our road is completely closed off. This is obviously not the course, and in the midst of trying to get out of this blockade we’re spotted by a highway patrolman. No doubt he’s going to pull us over. We explain to him that we’re with the race, we have the sticker, we thought the closed road was part of the course, blah blah blah. “Hey,” he says, “I am going to let you go with a warning, but you should know that was a hazmat zone, and that crew back there was cleaning up a waste spill, I can’t be responsible for that.” We agreed that we would take responsibility. But what about the cyclists and the runners? We even worried about the rollerbladers.
- 3:15pm: Upon entering the parking zone for the finish we’re told by a seemingly helpful and very persistent woman that there is no more parking, that she just had three media guys come back from the direction we wanted to head and that she was just trying to save us time. Daniel forged ahead and we easily found a place. This lead to a conversation about how much to push, who to trust etc.
- 3:45pm-ish: The dudes finish. Its exciting. We cheer.
- 4:00pm-7:35pm: We drive from San Diego to Los Angeles.
- 7:35pm – 8:00pm: Curbside chilling off La Cienega
- 8:00pm-10:00pm: Gorge, stuff, devour, jokes.
- 10:05pm-10:35pm: Journey to our hotel.
- 10:50pm- 3:51am: This, make this post.
II Today's Highs & Lows
- Arriving at Versailles before our friends, then just hanging on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant with a Los Angeles orange sherbet sunset burning its way into the Hollywood hills behind us. When our pals arrived we eat, the food is fucking delicious. We talk about Sir Edmund Hillary (dude was a hunk). We talk about cumbia music, share pictures of our dogs, discuss movies, future trips, past trips, and good trips.
- Not turning into horribly disfigured monsters after having traveled through that hazmat zone.
- Meeting a Yonder Journal fan at the finish line carnival. Turns out we have fans. Also turns out some of our fans don’t know that we, Team Manual for Speed, also produce Yonder Journal. Well now you know, and we think we’re pretty cool because of it.
- The 5-ish hours of traffic from San Diego to Pasadena in order to get to Versailles.
- Driving through that Hazmat Zone. Who knows what kind of long term effects we will feel?
- Waiting in line to go piss while getting gas in Seal Beach. We waited a long time. And once we were able to get in—let’s just say I hope I don’t buy whatever rental car that dude was using.
III Today's Surprising Events
- We unwittingly drove through a hazmat clean-up area.
- We were pulled over by a Highway Patrolman because of our driving through hazmat clean-up area.
- That Highway Patrolman actually let us go with just a warning after we explained that we had thought the “Road Closed” signs were an indication that we were on the course.
- Peter Sagan won. LOLZ, JK.
- There was cult doing a stationary bike ceremony in the center of the roundabout at the end of the finish straight. The cult leader kept making statements like “Think about that guy/gal at work that gets you down,” or, “Picture that ham you’ve had in your refrigerator, it’s been there for months and now it has a thin white glaze on it,” or “Picture your future, now rage against it, RAGE.” These people were all dressed in red, and after each antagonistic platitude the supplicants would ramp up their efforts on the stationary bikes. It was like they had come to the temple of some ancient religion and rather than try to understand what the religion was truly all about they just develop their own sect based on a few misguided assumptions. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK, why would you set up a stationary bike choir at the end of a professional bike race? It makes no sense, but then again, is spirituality supposed to make sense?
If reading about the surprises we encountered today have you jonesin’ for some more excitement in your life, head over to the MFS Shop and put your name on the list for a brand new kit designed by Yoko Honda. Nobody will see this kit before it’s delivered to your doorstep—if that isn’t a surprise, I don’t know what is. If you need more convincing, head to our launch page HERE.
Stage 01 Most Animal Competition A Manual for Speed Pilot Program for a New Classification
Manual for Speed has been commissioned to introduce a new race classification category called “Most Animal.” Points for the classification will be awarded on the basis of style, swagger, and grit. We’ve assembled an elite group of expert analysts who will be assessing and assigning points for performance. The most animal jersey for ATOK will be awarded at the end of the race.
OSCAR CLARK: Four Points
For hanging in the break, attacking, giving everything he had, and for wearing the coolest gloves.
WOUTER WIPPERT: Seven Points
He beat some pretty heavy dudes (Boonen, Cavendish, and Cristoph) in the race, and when he walked to the stage he had crazy swagger.