Stage: Etapa 2
Date: Tuesday, 8 April 2014
- Alto de Gorosmendi: cat 2, 6,2 km long, 5,89%
- Alto de Usategieta: cat 2, 4 km long, 5,50%
- Alto de la Piedad: cat 2, 2,5 km long, 8%
- Alto de Lizaieta: cat 1, 7,9 km long, 4,49%
Last KM: First, 700 meters downhill, last 300 meters slight uphill.
Itinerary: Today we woke up in Basque Country at Benni’s joint, ate breakfast, checked out, snapped a #fansies with 2-time TDF Stage Winner Luis León Sánchez in the parking lot, drove to the start (same as yesterday—same town, same time, just WAY less interesting), photographed the sign-in, drove the course ahead of the race for 80k stopping only twice—once to photograph the scene (in some woods) where Erge was last spotted in 1489, and once for a round of cafés con leche at Balnearo Elgorriaga (a combination retirement hotel and healing water swimming area)—photographed the race at the salida de Etxalar y Lesaka (basically a featureless, nondescript exit on a highway), drove halfway up Alto de Lizaieta AKA Goat Monument Mountain, photographed the race in a sitchback, continued up Goat Monument Mountain, drove into France on the backside of Goat Monument Mountain, drove back into Spain, drove back into France, dove back into Spain for the finish in Urdax-Urdazubi, photographed the finish, highlights of which were; some Team Bus fetishizing, a Dalmatian photoshoot, observing Carlos Betancur on the phone and locked out of his team bus, experiencing our first overzealous Basque Country security guard, then we drove back to France to the town of Espelette where we checked into the Hotel Chilhar where we chilled with surprisingly reliable weefee until taking a three-course dinner in Restaurant Chilhar, highlights of which include the ordering process itself, which process required pointing and consensual, hotel lady-condoned animal noise making, the bread, the butter, the pulled-duck starter, a gratuit round of calamari in oil and peppers, the filet mignot de porc Basque and moexlleux au chocolat.
- Quote Of The Day: “Hey Raoul, the next time we pass a three-times larger than life paper mâché time trial bike resting on the raised skids of a forklift parked on the side of the road like an art project “offering” to the Peloton, can you stop so we can photograph it?”—Emiliano Granado
- In Basque Country, even the sheep have mullets.
- Basque Country is a walking stick/cane culture, big time. Everywhere you look, young and old, from performance athlete to casual chiller, from traditional metal-tipped wood jobs to carbon fiber and collapsible, you see some kinda hand-held device used to facilitate walking. The two most common hand-held walking device techniques in use along the course today were: A.) The Triangulated Old Guy On A Corner, and B.) The Single-track Shepherd Trekker.
- On EuropaFM Radio the two DJs discussing the Vuelta al Pais Vasco refer to Alberto Contador as a “Citizen of Madrid.”
- Today at approximately 14:13 while descending Alto de Gorosmendi, Emiliano Granado had a minor emotional-psychological-spiritual breakdown or “mental health moment,” the direct result of sustained exposure to EuropaFM. After a brief break with reality Emiliano regained composure and was able to once again communicate verbally. The episode lasted no more than 90 seconds and consisted mostly of swearing, inappropriate body language and spontaneous littering. As soon as the source of Emiliano’s stress was determined, the radio was turned off and left that way for the remainder of the day. Due to some post-event confusion and chaos the exact trigger event is unclear, though both Raoul and I remembering listening to Can't Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.1
6. The longest surname in (recorded) Spanish history is Burionagonatotorecagageazcoechea; it belonged to the Minister of Finances in Madrid in 1867.
- Calvin Harris’s hit song Summer is three minutes and thirty-two seconds long; here are ALL the lyrics: When I met you in the summer / To my heartbeat's sound / We fell in love / As the leaves turned brown / And we could be together baby / As long as skies are blue / You act so innocent now / But you lied so soon / When I met you in the summer
- Second Best Quote Of The Day: "Hey, don’t touch my PC.”—Raoul
- After passing through various Basque villages along the course, highlights include: Ordizia, Zaldibia, Olaberria, Lazkao, Gaintza, Urrutitxo and Ezkurra, it’s pretty obvious that the Basque have a thing for handball, or Basque pelota.2
- Two things about Raoul. 1.) Raoul calls hazard lights "alarm lights." 2.) In 2010 Raoul took his girlfriend to see John Mayer’s Where The Light Is tour.
- In the Basque Country, Spanish Omelettes (basically a frittata), or Tortillas as they’re called locally, are available in every mid-village and roadside bar, cantina and cafeteria, and at any time of day. Generally speaking, they’re two 2-3"-high slabs of egg with onions, peppers and potatoes suspended throughout. They’re served in pie-like slices, either cold or hot.
- Guys guys guys! if you’re not careful, you can be too chill (see yesterday Observation #10), and "too chill" is a euphemism for "boring."
- The worst event today occurred at 16:06. We were just-riding-along and BOOM, suddenly (hopelessly!!!) we entered France because the course entered France and we had to follow the course even if it entered France. Immediately, as in at the border, we lost all cell and espresso-related services.
- In the Basque Country there is a prevailing typeface, not unlike how in the American West many commercial and residential signs and billboards feature letters with a lariat and/or cattle brand quality to them. Apparently the Basque Country font is based on engravings, for more information please click here.3
15. They don’t have stores in Spain.
16. They have stores in France but they’re never open. On an unrelated/related note France has towns, but like France’s stores France’s towns are also never open.
- Today’s finish environment was casual, relaxed and sometimes quiet and calm like a library. Close your eyes and picture this. Are your eyes closed? Okay, you are on the flanks of the Pyrenees at the base of some miniature-Ventoux-looking hills in a small town, which town is basically a single straight road. On one side of the main road there is a cafeteria, outlet mall, grocery store and a gas station. On the other side of the main road there is another gas station and a rocky field, behind which is a small tasteful suburban neighborhood. 500 yards (457 meters) of the main road are blocked off, but there is plenty of parking and easy access around the blocked-off section of the road. A motor home with the word GARMIN written across it on every side is parked in the grocery store parking lot along with eleven other brightly festooned buses. There are some police milling about. Lots of old people and various store employees are smoking cigarettes and talking among themselves in the general direction of the finish line and PA system. The PA is quietly playing yesterday’s hits and today’s favorites. There is a lady with a dog. A manageable number of photographers are loosely crowding about under the TV camera jib arm just beyond the finish. The soigneur TV Pile, located 100 yards past the finish line like it always is , has just broken up which means they’re close. A few motorcycles come zipping-but-safely! through the finish line to dump-off another photographer or two. TT Tony Martin finishes with like 15 minutes to spare. He hugs his soigneur. The chase groups finishes, they pound a Fanta or two before retiring to their respective buses. Contador does the JO&J champagne thing all over the crowd in the easily accessible-though-a-little-bit-rinky-dink podium area. Forty or fifty ancient French or Spanish or whatever people clap. The buses pull out. There is no traffic, the race is over. Shhhhh. Go about your business.
KING OF SLING VOTER HIGHLIGHTS (unedited)
“Wear shoes, beer is good, clothing optional, stay away from my handlebars & don’t cross the street in the Slingshot Zone.”
– Alex Howes, Professional Human Athlete Cyclist & Official Slingshot Zone Technical Advisor
A Brief Compendium of the Mythological Beasts, Legends, Demons, Gods, Creatures and Figures of the Basque Country
- Aatxeor Etsai: a cave-dwelling evil spirit who adopts the form of a young red bull, but being a shape shifter, sometimes takes the shape of a man.
- Atxular and Mikelatz: said to be sons of Mari, among others.
- Basajaun: the wild man of the woods and his female version, basandere.
- Galtzagorriak: a specific type of iratxoak (imps).
- Gaueko: an evil character of the night.
- Herensuge: the name of a dragon who plays an important role in legends.
- Erge: an evil spirit that takes men's lives.
- Ilargi or Ile: the known names of the Moon, also a daughter of Ama Lur.
- Jean de l'Ours: a man born to a woman and a bear.
- Jentilak (gentiles): giants, sometimes portrayed throwing rocks at churches. They are believed to be pagan Basques themselves, seen from a partly Christianized viewpoint. A surviving jentil is Olentzero, the Basque equivalent of Santa Claus.
- Lamiak or laminak: a type of nymph with bird-feet that dwelt in rivers and springs.
- Mairuak or Intxisuak: the male equivalents of lamiak in the Pyrenean region, where they are said to have built up the cromlechs.
- Mari: depicted in many different forms; sometimes as various women, as different red animals, as the black he-goat, etc. Her consort Sugaar, however, appears only as a man or a serpent/dragon. Mari is said to be served by the sorginak, semi-mythical creatures impossible to differentiate from actual witches or pagan priestesses. The cadre of witches near Zugarramurdi met at the Akelarre field and were the target of the Spanish Inquisition's largest witch hunt at Logroño. As a result, akelarre in Basque and aquelarre in Spanish are today still the local names of the sabbat.
- Odei: a personification of storm clouds.
- San Martin Txiki: a popular local Christian character, is a trickster.
- Sorginak: both mythological beings that travel with Mari, as well as real witches.
- Tartalo: the Basque version of the Greco-Roman Cyclops.
Side Note: We apologize in advance for the length of today’s playlist, which is shorter than usual due to the above mental health-related issues. If, after you listen to this entire playlist, you would like to offer your condolences and/or commiserate and/or ask about appropriate styles of convalescence, please text +1.503.754.7476 and include the subject "Emiliano."
- Counting Stars by OneRepublic
- Summer by Calvin Harris
- Of the Night by Bastille
- La La La by Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith4
- Money On My Mind by Sam Smith
- Burn by Ellie Goulding
- Animals by Martin Garrix
- Trumpets by Jason Derulo
Tangential Caption Contextualizing by Klaus™
- For Emiliano's safety, this song will not be linked on MFS. [↩]
- This is where we'd put a footnote down describing exactly what Basque pelota is, but after light research MFS is still a little mystified by the game which can be "played with a ball using one's hand, a racket, a wooden bat or a basket, against a wall or, more traditionally, with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net." There's something to be said for adaptability though. [↩]
- Just to clarify, that link does indeed include the option to purchase the Basque Country font by mailing a check to Idaho. ADDENDUM: RT @AttackCowboy "@manualforspeed There's a reason you can send a check to Idaho for Basque fonts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basque_American#Idahoan-Basques" [↩]
- Publisher's Note: You probably want to watch/listen to this instead. [↩]