Stage: Etapa 04
Date: 10 April 2014
Start: Vitoria
Finish: Arrate (Eibar)1

Let's be perfectly clear, totes candid-style!!!! ☺☺☺☺ So far, as in up until like 14:09 today somewhere just outside the mountain village of Ezkoriatza, this race has been extraordinarily boring. The scenery, the villages, the landscapes, the crowds, the Racing & the Pacing, all of it, the whole vibe, was pleasant-but-unremarkable. And but then we went to Alto de Ixua which Alto de Ixua was proper legit.

Etapa No. Five of the 2014 Euskal Herriko Itzulia Run-Down Run-On

Chillers Everywhere, Shit Just Got Real and #evenmorewatershed

brought to Y-O-U by Manual for Speed in partnership with An Unfair Advantage

You wake up and it’s bright, cars are honking, kids are playing football in the grass below your window in the field between apartamentos and it’s kinda hot and mid-day stuffy, it’s 10:13, you went to bed at 5:23, you try to do the math but you can’t do the math because you're At The Races, you pee, your pee smells like coffee before you’ve even had coffee which is cool, I guess, you pack again, everyday you pack, you don’t even look under the bed anymore, but that’s cool, you don’t care, you probably have everything, the place looks damaged, pizza boxes and water bottles and gummy bear wrappers and gummy bears and pizza crust and spent batteries and wet towels are everywhere but everyone is waiting for you in the elevator, you check out, you drive to the start but then on the way to the start you stop for cafés con leches and tortillas at a bar because that’s apparently where you eat breakfast-lunch-and-dinner in Basque Country, on the way to the start you stop at a light next to the Garmin-Sharp soigneur who you’ve been running into all week and who you like but whose name you can’t remember and but for the purposes of this story you decide to call him "Ted," Ted is from Canada, you remember that, that part is not made up, that part is true, anyway you pull up next to Ted in the Team car at a light and the windows go down and you’re joking and talking shit about shit, this familiarity is new but #toteswelcome because it maybe means you’re making progress with your blog, the start area is deep with chillers because by and large 82% of Basque Country Citizen Fansies (BCCF) are mad crazy chillers, everywhere you look you see #hellatight casual game which reminds you of Kasual Klub #forchillin, Manual for Speed’s first ever Lifestyle Experience (Coming Soon), you do photography at the start area which photography entails, momentarily, putting Pro Non-Pros2 in front of Team Buses which confuses spectators who look at you like…what? wait just a minute, you drive to the first corner, you get kicked off a train bridge over-pass deal, you pass a lake, you miss the climb, you stop for cafés and to photograph the race from a pedestrian bridge, you take a Renessiance-style (MFS does chiaroscuro) Family Portrait of a Cuban family in the café, the race goes past, downhill and too fast and you’re almost going to miss it so you have to run and you drop your Oakley #heritage Eyeshades on the concrete ground but it’s worth it because you make it there in time, you drive up a mountain and on the way up the mountain you fart a postcard—maybe two—and because of all that #fartingpostcards you’re running late and feeling hurried and so you drive too fast and too close and accidentally clip your passenger side mirror with the driver side mirror of the car next to you but #whateves this is racing, so you photograph the chillers and the racers, which racers are at this point making faces and sweating, you drive through Eibar, a Next Level mountain village where verticality and European engineering parties meet, you drive to the top of Alto de Ixua which alto is popping-off crowd & sitchback-style Big Time, you struggle to park, you buy an ice cream cone and walk to a sitchback while forty-nine motorcycles come past like a pre-game firework show, the first Pro-dude arrives too soon so you’re forced to throw your unfinished chocolate cone into the grass next to a tree and the end of a used cigar and squat in the apex and watch the race explode and explode and explode and explode, and before it’s all the way over Ted hands you two Official Garmin-Sharp Water Bottles and says look for my dudes, if you see my dudes, give my dudes these bottles because I gots tah go!, and you geek-out in spite of yourself, you feel honored and connected and involved and integral and insider all because of this one little insignificant task so you say to yourself it’s just water bottlesbro but you can’t help it and who cares anyway? because when the overly-packed Autobus finally rolls through you’re happily standing in the corner with a pair of blue bottles in your hands, but Ted’s dudes don’t see you or they aren't thirsty or whatever so later, between that lap and the next lap, you photograph yourself hydrating various random spectator dogs with “water” from an Official Garmin-Sharp Water Bottle, thirty minutes later you photograph the next lap (more or less on the same hill, only with a slightly different finish), you take selfies lying on the ground, you get some Pro-dudes to driveby #peacefingers you, at the top of the alto near where you parked after the race is over, you drink cafés in a chalet, you descend the mountain to Eibar where you stop-gap-eat boccadillos and cafés, you drive to Bilbao and locate Garmin-Sharp’s hotel, over email you communicate with Garmin-Sharp's Director Sportif and lock-down hotel access, so for the first time like ever ever ever ever ever ever ever you are allowed to photograph the team in their hotel rooms on your #bestbehavior while they chill and get massages and do laptopping and whatever because #theyrejustlikeus, you bro-out with Caleb about Amarillo, Texas and you make plans this fall to document his attempt at The Big Texan 72oz Steak Challenge, you talk to Ben about Jay Moglia, West Virginia, Lost River Barn and Guns Grit & Gravel, you take a portrait of Koldo and his family in a quasi-tender moment, later you have drinks with Garmin-Sharp mechanic Sam in the hotel bar/café zone, you talk about everything and it’s easy and you’re relaxed, Ryder shuffles in to laptop and chill, then you leave because it’s late and you're forty minutes from your hotel which hotel is the first hotel of this race to completely and totally suck;

then you download, charge, write, transcribe, edit, format, rename, save, spellcheck, upload and brief until 3:34 AM.

Etapa 04

Tangential Caption Contextualizing by Klaus™

Baldness in men can be described by a pattern number (1-5) and a class (1-7), along with a one word denominator that describes the severity. Pictured above is a classic 3/Class 6/Moderate to Large, which is likely to result in an eventual 3/Class 6/Complete.
"Limbo" is a popular dance contest that originated on the island of Trinidad. It was popularized by dance pioneer Julia Edwards, who was known as the "First Lady of Limbo".
Radio Vitoria is a radio station in the Basque Country that was founded in 1934, and was acquired by the local government in 1982. Luis Leon Sanchez is a cyclist, he was born in 1983, and signed with Caja Rural at the end of 2013.
Appropriate distance, thus respecting a person’s personal space when speaking with an Australian is said to be “Roughly an arm’s length during conversations.”
"Chiaroscuro in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures."
Benjamin "Ben" King. Born March 22, 1989. 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in), 68 kg (150 lb).
#chillers. Mass production of berets in the Basque country first began in the 19th century. Prior to this, berets were made one at a time by hand, out of locally manufactured woven material.
The (not completely safe for work) "hot sweaty men" board on Pintrest has 69 (no, we didn't make that up) followers. You can see it here.
Please see Item #3 in the Stage 02 Report. The makila (sometimes spelled makhila) is a traditional Basque walking stick, and is notable as both a practical tool and a cultural symbol of authority and strength.
Please see Item #3 in the Stage 02 Report.
Reggae Mullets, fig. 02.
Reggae Mullets, fig. 03.
Reggae Mullets, fig. 04.


Unfair Advantage Socks.
Tom Jelte Slagter.
Garmin-Sharp ephemera (and Fabian Wegmann).
Fabian Wegmann.
Pros like Ben King—they check their email just like us! #theyrejustlikeus
Caleb Fairly.
Garmin-Sharp ephemera.
Ben King!!!!!!
Ryder Hesjedal.
Koldo Fernandez (and family).
Sam the Mechanic and Bingen Fernandez, DS.

Stage 04 MFS Correspondence of the Day

From: ertz aina
Subject: Fotos ertzainas de la vuelta 2014

“Hola!! Soy uno de los ertzainas de la vuelta al PV, de hecho te hiciste unos selfies conmigo cuando estaba en la moto, me podrías enviar las fotos que tuvieras? Te lo agradeceríamos mucho, un saludo y nos seguimos viendo estos días!”

desde el iPhone de Leo



  1. A city and municipality within the province of Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country of Spain. The city was chartered by Alfonso XI of Castile in 1346. Its chief industry since the 16th century has been the manufacture of armaments, particularly finely engraved small arms. It was also the home of Serveta scooters. []
  2. Folks who are Professional at Not Being Professional—it's a desirable skill. []