2014 Dubai Tour: Stage 01
There are so many skyscrapers in Dubai. Nearly all of them are impressive but most of them are sub-attractive and/or not shaped right—at least in terms of aesthetics and common sense, and probably gravity.
I NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS CONTINUED
- UAE Toilets Part I: You know how at bars (in the United States and around the World) they put sodas and carbonated water into drinks using a spray-gun mounted to a hose thing?, well they have them here too, only they’re not in bars, they’re in bathrooms on the wall next to the toilets. Clearly we’re dealing with two options here: A.) they’re for staying hydrated, and when better to hydrate than during a regular/natural/reliable/much-needed reprieve from your chaotic day? Or B.) you’re meant to spray water onto your sphincter after, presumably, a bowel movement—as like an alternative and/or a complement to wiping/toilet paper.
- UAE Toilets Part II: They have a type of urinal here that I don’t know how to use. It’s shaped like a the top of a castle wall and it requires—I think—stepping up onto a “gap” in a curb-high ledge and……..and well I didn’t get any further than that.
- UAE Toilets Part III: When Emirati men urinate in the outside world, they do so by pulling-up their dishdasha a few inches, spreading their feet apart and squatting into a sideways-twisted Racing Tuck.
- There are so many skyscrapers in Dubai. Nearly all of them are impressive but most of them are sub-attractive and/or not shaped right—at least in terms of aesthetics and common sense, and probably gravity. It could be a volume thing. I mean, if you’re an architecture firm and your phone is ringing non-stop, like you have to put people on hold, “HOK can you hold please, HOK can you hold please, thank you for holding, you were saying 125 floors?, right sorry, 175 floors,” it’s possible that your architects have run out of new non-bad ideas. Also, it could be an absurdity thing. When dudes be building 135 million dollar building after 135 million dollar building, day after day, for years on end, no questions asked, it’s easy to become numb and/or conditioned. Next thing you know you’re like, “You know the movie Star Wars? Well I want to make a 700-floor, 2,398-foot replica of R2D2 in full color—every detail has to be exact. And you know what I want? Remember that scene when Princess Leia comes out of the droids face and asks for Obi-Wan’s help? I want the building to play Hollywood movies hologram-style in mid-air from the 307th floor. Imagine a blockbuster movie just kinda suspended there a thousand feet off the ground for millions to gather and watch, at night, every Tuesday, it will be a thing.” Also, maybe the architects that don’t suck are booked solid until 2020, so like the E, F, G, H guys are finally getting work and this is their big chance, this is their opportunity to prove to their friends and ex-girlfriends and all the teachers who didn’t believe in them and recommended they look into baking or something more “free-spirited”, that they’re Somebody. This is their long awaited much dreamed about over lunch in a food court moment to show the world they have what it takes to design a building that both looks like and works like, a blender. And maybe it’s a client thing, maybe all of these sheiks and princes are trying to one-up each other with ever more ostentatious, opulent and brazenly beyond-rectangle-shaped construction feats………and what do I know, maybe it makes sense for buildings to have 3-story holes in them? And if boats can float, why can’t entire buildings?
- Gas stations give petrol away basically for free here. You can just pull up and take as much as you like. It’s like in America when you’re driving down a rural road in the mountains and right there on the side of the road near the edge of a little turn-out there’s a little brick-ed up natural spring, and you can just fill up your water bottles and igloo coolers with as much clean, cool and fresh spring water as you like. It’s more or less like that.
- Not swearing in public feels unnatural and perverted. Lowered or hushed voices, paranoid glances at the time of delivery, mouthing instead of speaking, all of it, it all feels weird. I feel like Dubai is a playground and I’m at recess.
- After having spent approximately 17 of the last 24 hours in the Dubai Mall, I have Mall Depression. Not even an iced Frappuccino or a new pair of Flyknits can make me feel better.
- Muslim Prayers are broadcast on loud speakers (inside and outside, basically everywhere) six times a day throughout the city. Prayer times depend on the day and your location on the planet.
- Mark Cavendish was clearly the focus of city-wide Ex-pat Cougar Alert! In the parking lot before his turn in the time trial, thousands and thousands of beautiful older women wearing fake boobs, expensive shoes, too much make-up and various animal prints descended upon Mark. Mostly to pose with him iphone photo-sesh-style, and but also for hugs and kisses, and naughty smiles.
II A BRIEF COLLECTION OF QUOTES FROM THE DUBAI TOUR'S RACE MANUAL, PRESS RELEASES, ETC.
- “The Dubai Tour is being held under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”
- “Dubai Tour is the new professional cycling race that will open the UCI Asia Tour. From February 5th to 8th, 2014, the Great Cycling is coming to Dubai for the first time. 4 stages, the best teams and the best riders will offer the World an amazing competition and a magnificent showcase of Dubai.”
- “Are you ready to FEEL THE MOST POWERFUL RACE AND DISCOVER THE MOST POWERFUL PLACE?“
- “The Dubai Sports Council’s mission is to invest the revenues as well as the capabilities to set up an ideal sporting sector to make of Dubai a pioneering milestone in sports. It was founded in November the 30th 2005 as per a decree issued by the UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister, Dubai Ruler H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”
- “Dubai Tour riders, like Dubai skyscrapers, run high.”
- “An exciting sprint into the heart of the new millennium.”
- “POWER: Moving fast. Fast as the wind, fast as the water that flows through the land. Running quickly towards destiny, like a thunderbolt, like a bullet. Faster than a flash of light.”
- “FUTURE: In this land Tomorrow is just a word. And it means now. In the sunset of the past there’s a story that has yet to be written. A story that soon will be a legend.”
- “SPEED: The force, the strength, the energy. Fighting to control the element, trying to dominate the sand and to handle the desert. So close to perfection, walking on the way of glory.”
- “Dubai is the dynamic nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region.”
- “Sunshine, sea, desert and skyscrapers: Dubai is the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf.”
- “THE TROPHY BY PININFARINA: The Dubai Tour Trophy, named Circle of Stars, is designed by Pininfarina. The Italian design company has returned to the sports field with its usual passion and talent in conceiving memorable icons.
- “THE JERSEYS BY VERSACE: The Dubai Tour Jerseys are designed by Versace, the famous luxury and fashion Italian company. High performance skills are combined with glamour and style to dress the winners on the podium. The Jerseys are produced by Castelli, an exclusive artisan italian factory that produces cycling clothing, and the visionary mastermind behind the most preeminent work of Cycling Art in the World known for dominating photographs and explosive truths—Manual for Speed.”
- “The Dubai Tour runs also on the internet, it steps into the world through the website.”
- “A route suspended between the future and the desert. A story has yet to be written (see Manual for Speed).”
- “The best Teams and the best Riders in the World will compete and defy each other under sunshine, bringing the Great Cycling Show across Dubai’s roads, among skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, between sea and desert.”
III A Brief Interview with Dylan van Baarle
Regarding making contact and communicating with various members of the World Tour Contingent (WTC) while traveling in foreign countries around the world, keeping in mind that the WTC is anything but homogenous in regards to language and customs and anything/everything else that might best be described as like “culture”, and remembering too that there are a number of ways/mediums/tools/modes to facilitate communication each with a specific reality in terms of cost, efficiency, quality and reliability…it sucks. Email is the old standard. There is this new texting app, I don’t know what it’s called, I’ve been told what it’s called, but I can’t remember what it’s called, I just spent several minutes on the internet trying to find out what it’s called, anyway everyone loves it. Listen, the point is, when a dude you’ve never met finishes 13th in his first World Tour race—the Dubai Tour Individual Time Trial—as a professional cyclist ever, and via an illegally-but-consensually obtained email address (thank you Raoul Sturme!) the athlete-dude in question agrees to an interview, but you have to suggest Skyping because you prematurely, apparently, left the area in which he’s staying, and he says yeah sure, and then you have to say cool what’s your Skype handle or avatar or whatever, and then he’s like yes we can Skype, and you’re like yeah I know that but I need to send you a friend request so whats your like codename, and he’s like oh yeah, just use my name, and so you search and there are three of him (probably he has multiple accounts because he forgets he has Skype in the first place, or he can’t remember his password and it’s just easier to make a new account—you know how it goes) and they’re all from the Netherlands so that’s no help and so you send a request to the first one, and that doesn’t work, and so you send a request to the second one, and that does work and but now athlete-dude is like (via Skype IM) I’m in a massage now but what about in thirty minutes? When that happens, that shit is stressful. Dear Dylan vdyan Baarle, thank you for being patient. And thank you for Skyping back in thirty minutes like you said you were going to do!
What follows is a series of declarative sentences based on an interview in which Dylan answered my questions, which questions were random. Side note: The interview was conducted in English because of course he speaks English nearly perfectly and I can’t speak any Dutch because I’m an American and so duh, about all I can do is ask for beers and bathrooms and weather conditions, in Spanish. Instead of editing out various peculiarities and structure and vocabulary related to dude’s ESL-situation, we left them. Because they sound nice. Please read this in a Dutch accent”
Dubai and Indoor Skiing
“I haven’t been in Dubai long, since late Monday night. It was a pretty tough trip coming from Amsterdam, we were delayed and then the road to our hotel was not that good. We had to drive ourselves and did not know where we were going. It’s so busy, so many people on the road and we didn’t have a Garmin. I don’t know if we’ll have time to do anything outside of racing here but I would like to see the city if possible. I’ve never been here before, I can’t believe how big the buildings are. They are a lot bigger than on the postcards. We actually have an indoor ski area where I’m from as well. I went once but it was not a success, it was the first time I’d ever been skiing. I had some lessons but I fell most of the time, I don’t like it. It’s cold and wet.”
My First Pro Race as a Pro Rider, Results, Moms, the Team
“Today was my first race as a pro rider, although I did some races against professional teams last year, like the Tour de l’Ain in France. My mother was watching the race on TV, that is really cool. My parents are very happy for me. I started racing bicycles when I was eleven, when I was a young guy. I’m feeling good about this time trial. My goal was to finish between 20th and 25th. But when I end up 13th, that’s a lot better. Yes, I hope some of the riders are looking through the results and wonder who I am. Hopefully they’ll remember. It feels good to see my name so close to the top, with some pretty nice names around it. Lasse [Norman Hansen] was 3rd and Ramunas [Navardauskas] was 2oth, so Garmin did well. I don’t have a particular day in mind right now, we will see what the stages bring.”
Not so Much the Big Climbs, the Classics
“I’m a little bit of an all-arounder, but I prefer time trials and the classics, especially the cobblestone ones but also races like Amstel Gold. Not so much the big climbs in France and Italy. Flanders and Roubaix are the two biggest races for me. I did U23 Paris–Roubaix twice, but neither was a nice experience. I did U23 Flanders last year as well and finished in the lead sprint group. The Ardennes Classics have climbs that are a bit long for me right now, but we will see in the future. After Dubai we have a training camp with the whole team, and then I will race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and then Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, lots of classics including Paris–Roubaix and Flanders. That will be a great experience.”
IV TIME TRIAL START AREA MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS
- 1 Afrojack feat. Spree Wilson The Spark
- 2 Phoenix If I Ever Feel Better
- 3 Rabeh Saqer Ma Howa Enti Ele
- 4 Snap Rhythm is a Dancer
- 5 Bass Bumpers The Music's Got Me
- 6 DJ Linus Summer in the City
- 7 Cappella U Got 2 Let the Music
- 8 Vincenzo Where's the Love I Knew?
- 9 Ame Tatischeff
- 10 Santana Coconut Grove