STAGE 06
MOLA DI BARI / MARGHERITA DI SAVOIA
169KM

Team: Daniel Wakefield Pasley & Ian Gabriel Marshall
Course Overview: The course heads north from Mola di Bari, through Bari (proper), Molefetta and Trani along the coast. At Barletta (75,9km) the course heads inland where it rises a bit and plateaus between the towns of Andria (87km) and San Ferdinadro di Puglia (122k) before finishing in the town of Margherita di Savoia. In the middle of the plateau-rise between Barletta and Andria is the town of Conosa di Puglia.

Four facts and two opinions about Conosa di Puglia:

  1. Conosa is considered the principal archaeological center of Puglia.
  2. Conosa is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of Italy.
  3. There have been many building failures and collapsed roads in recent years due to tunneling over hundreds of years and the quality of the limestone in the area.
  4. Human presence dates back to the 7th Millennium BC.
  5. Conosa knows how to Crowd and Spectate.
  6. Today, within the city limits of Canosa, the balloon/ft2 density was roughly 1:1.

Objective(s): Wake-up, walk to the center of town (the scene of last night’s Giro-related spin demonstration), photograph the race as it passes through, walk back to the car, drive to Pescara, reach speeds of over 200kph on the way.

What actually happened: That all actually happened.

Conosa di Puglia

Conosa di Puglia was one of the most animated towns/villages/cities along the 2013 Giro d’Italia course yet. The crowd/spectators/fans ranged in age from babies to centenarians; there were gangs of teenagers, throngs of students, masses of college kids, thousands of couples, legions of old people, et cetera. Everybody had a whistle; everybody under the age of 12 was using it without refrain. Everybody was shouting. Music was everywhere. Everybody was in pink. And E V E R Y B O D Y wanted their photograph taken. Except the Police, they are generally NOT okay with being photographed.

Gesturing: pinch fingers together, shake-pump slowly but forcefully. It happens even while talking on a mobile phone. It’s done even when reading texts.

At one point as I started to walk the course I was chased down by a cherubic young man in a pink jersey and chocolate on his face. Through pantomimes and because photo is basically foto in every language I was made to understand that he would like a family portrait taken. I  did that, only to have similar interactions happen over and over over again as I walked up the middle of the barricaded course through town. I was shouted at, laughed at/with, yelled at, begged, prodded, coerced, chased, followed, accosted, heckled, grabbed, etc., in the hopes that I might take a photograph - regardless of where the photograph was going and/or how it would be used. What's also curious is that everyone was completely unconcerned (possibly disinterested) with seeing the photograph for themselves or arranging to get copies of the photograph at a later date.

Eventually Ian and I found a corner we liked for photographing the race. Not long after, the Giro Merchandise Sprinter Armada made it’s way past. Then the Pepto-Pink scooters (we are unclear about the purpose or function of the pink scooters) made their way past. With each wave of race functionary - basically every time something/anything whizzed by - the crowd grew louder and louder and more animated. By the time the Police motorcycles drove past, sirens a-blaring and horns-a-honking, the crowd was beginning to reach a Noise &  Spectacle-induced frenzy of sorts. That’s when I realized that for many in attendance today and yesterday and tomorrow, the Giro d'Italia is a high-speed parade, a spandexed flotilla.

This Field Report was completed and filed from room 507 of Hotel Maja in the Adriatic seaside town of Pescara. Tomorrow, Stage 07 finishes in Pescara.

Pescara (according to the 2013 Giro d'Italia FIGHT FOR PINK Race Book):

  1. History: Pescara predates Roman History, founded in the Port of Theate, capitol of the people of Marrucuni, to trade with the Orient.
  2. Of Great Importance: Gabriele D’Annunzio (a famous Italian warrior poet – according to wiki) and Ennio Flaiano were born in Pescara.
  3. Food: Fish soup, Monkfish hunter-style, meat kabobs, almonds and balls of fried dough covered in honey.
  4. Giro d’Italia: Last time the race was here was in 2001, the first time was in 1912.