02 SPORT STAGE //// WORLD TRADE CENTER – PALM JUMEIRAH (SPRINT STAGE)
Distance: 122 KM
Timing: h 12.25 / h 15.20
Weather: A dust storm or sandstorm, or haboob (هَبوب) in Arabic, is a meteorological phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions. Dust storms arise when a gust front or other strong winds blow loose sand and dirt from a dry surface. Particles are transported by saltation and suspension, a process that moves soil from one place and deposits it in another. The Sahara and dry lands around the Arabian Peninsula are the main terrestrial sources of airborne dust. Oh wait, where is the Dubai Tour's Sport Stage (02) being held?, on the Arabian Peninsula that's where. In fact, haboobs are so common and intense and destructive here that larger storms are named and catalogued much the way hurricanes and tornados are named and catalogued in North America.
Edward Carrington King1 (Cannondale Pro Cycling) regarding today's weather: "We're in a fucking desert, what did you think it was going to be like? [smiley face!] Think about it, if we're in Belgium right now it would be cold and wet and muddy. So what's the difference? People rag on the race and say oh man we're going to race through thirty miles of sand and desert, but look at it this way: if you go to the Tour of California or the Tour of Utah or the Tour of Colorado, each of those races have days where you ride through vast sections of nothingness and/or tracts of suburban sprawl; in comparison I think the dunes and desert here are awesome."
An observation from the bedroom of Apartment 2304 in The Lofts East: At night I fall asleep to the rumbling of Formula One Racing on the streets below, in the mornings I wake to the sound of cranes and jackhammers building shit in the sky.
Manual for Speed's preferred drinking water when traveling in the UAE: واحة يأتي الى الحياة
Addendum to UAE Toilets Part I: The hose thing is called a Muslim Shower and it's part of a semi-involved (at least by Western standards) cleansing ritual called ablution or, more specifically in Islam, Wudu (الوضوء). In countries where toilets are not equipped with Muslim Showers, followers of Islam will use basically any vessel or container they can find, properly wash, and fill with clean water, e.g. cups, cans, pails, buckets, etc.
Addendum to UAE Toilets Part II: Muslims don't urinate standing up; that ceramic, crenellated situation is not a urinal—it's a place where Muslims can wash their feet and hands from a seated position adjacent a wall at the bottom of which is a drain. This explains the soap dispenser mounted to the wall of what I thought at the time was a medieval toilet stand . Side Note: I'm glad I didn't soldier through my anxiety and pee into what is actually an apparatus designed for ritualistic cleansing.
Addendum to UAE Toilets Part III: (see above) Muslims don't urinate standing up.
Tour Dubai Organizer / RCS SPORT (according to the Tour Dubai Manual): RCS Sport is a sport business company, which offers to its partners a complete and personalized range of services and a rich rights portfolio. In cycling, RCS Sport owns 4 UCI World Tour events (the Giro d'Italia, Milano–San Remo, Il Lombardia and Tirreno-Adriatico) and 4 Europe Tour events. RCS Sport is also involved in other sports such as running, football, basket and motorsports.
Moto Assignment: Somebody who knows about these things recently told me, "The good thing about dealing with Italians is that a 'no' is rarely final." I don't know how exactly, but Manual for Speed managed to circumvent the system and get on a fake moto for today's Sport Stage. I've been told not to go into the details. In fact, by virtue of saying/typing/publishing I've been told not to go into the details, I've effectively gone into the details. Nevertheless, here is a brief list outlining the key parts of the process (at least the parts of the process we know about), we hope the list is appropriately vague and lacking in substance and/or damaging/inflammatory-type details, and we also hope it's quasi-illuminating in regards to what's possible if A.) Race Organizers don't know and/or care who you are B.) You're inclined to subvert the system C.) You have an unfair advantage, at least as far as this race is concerned.
- We know one of the sponsors of the Dubai Tour.
- We ask a dude who works for the sponsor for help regarding credentials and a moto assignment.
- Dude lives in the same country as the dudes who are organizing the race.
- Dude asks Race Organizers for moto assignment. Race Organizers say no.
- Dude is a Main guy, but due to the size of our request (getting on a moto is difficult) and due to the "no" our Dude just got, Dude enlists an even Mainer Dude for help.
- Mainer Dude2 requests a moto for his personal photographer—that's us, he's talking about us.
- Race organizers say maybe, will let you know.
- Mainer Dude says probs gonna happen but won't know for sure until we get there, let's meet when we get there and see what's up.
- I get there, I get a green vest which is okay, I ask about moto, I get told no.
- I can't find Mainer Dude but I drop Mainer Dude's name to Young Guy and that kinda works. Young Guy tells me to come back and speak with an Old Guy.
- I come back, find Old Guy, Old Guy doesn't speak English, Old Guy gets Young Woman A who speaks some English. Old Guy tells me to come back in the morning before the Individual Time Trial and speak with Middle Age Guy.
- Meanwhile Helpful Well Connected Friend of Friend overhears what's going on and says that he will try to help us.
- I come back in the morning, find Middle Age Guy and talk to Middle Age Guy. Middle Age Guy sounds positive but also not entirely convinced it's possible, Middle Age Guy motions for me to follow him, I follow him. Middle Age Guy finds Old Guy and they talk in native tongue, sometimes they gesture in my direction. Middle Age Guy says to come back tomorrow with a helmet.
- This sounds positive.
- Later that afternoon Helpful Well Connected Friend of Friend and I run into each other, he informs me that my request has been denied. I tell him I've been told to bring helmet, he says well in that case maybe it will happen. Helpful Well Connected Friend of Friend says he thinks I've managed to go around two or three very important people.
- The next morning I find Middle Age Guy. Middle Age Guy says I need to find Old Guy. I find Old Guy. Old Guy still doesn't speak English. Old Guy and I walk around until we find Young Woman B who speaks pretty good English. Old Guy says we need to speak to Other Old Guy. The three of us walk around the start area until eventually we find Other Old Guy. Old Guy and Other Old Guy speak in native tongue. Young Woman B interjects a few times.
- I'm told to follow Other Old Guy. I follow Other Old Guy to where Main Scooter Guy is standing. They speak in native tongue, sometimes they gesticulate in my direction. Young Woman B excuses hereself.
- Main Scooter Guy is upset, but in the end Main Scooter guy assigns me to Matteo. Matteo is the best moto/scooter driver in the world.
The following photographs are organized chronologically and labeled based on on MFS' best interpretation of the official Dubai Tour Planimetry's description of the real, physical world. Captions by Klaus.