Liege to Seraing (198 Kilometers)
Illustration by Rebecca Goesling + Words by Ria Roberts and Luke Batten
Like a Champion Rooster coming into his prime, Sagan signaled his arrival by provocatively resting his hands just below his hips, an image reminiscent of the Paris Opera Ballet’s very own Nicolas Le Riche and his animalistic performance of Bolero!
While the heroes take pleasure in a great many things– kittens, the Barney’s winter sale, oyster bars, terrariums– there are few that rival the joy of the Tour de France. As you know, we have immense appreciation for all species of bike race, but there is no denying the spectacle that is the Tour de France. We know it is looming when the heat has become unbearable and even the short walk to the post office to send out new jerseys becomes an act of masochism (but we persist, for it is a noble cause). Heroes become martyrs. During this time of year we can think of little else other than freeze pop rations and how to befriend someone with a pool. Conversation becomes terminally insipid– “It’s so hot out.” “Yeah. I can’t believe how hot it is.”
In the midst of this languidness, it is only the Tour de France that can throttle us from our heat strokes. It is something we look forward to, a particular time of year with a singular aura. The tour always finds a quorum of heroes at headquarters in Chicago. Watching the race becomes integral to our daily routine. We gather each morning, with a poised French Press on the table and a still languid pug at our feet (the pug is eternally languid, regardless of the weather) and via the transportive magic of flat screen TV we embark upon this psychogeographic journey we have so anxiously awaited. Together we will move from Liege to Seraing, to Vise, Tournai, Metz, and so on and so on. Together we will laugh, cry, explain the polka dot jersey to interns and speculate as to Gilbert’s next hairdo. When it is all over for the day, we will turn off the TV and cheerfully embark on our various hero duties– building frames, packing tee shirts, designing water bottles, making tacos– with a sense of vigor and comaradery not seen since the first time the temperature rose above 80 F many, many weeks ago. As Guy Debord says “the spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people mediated by images.” Tenspeed Hero concurs and would like to add that the spectacle is what revives us from our midsummer malaise.
So what images can we speak of for stage one. Well first we must turn to our illustration of the Coq Walon set behind the talented and young slovakian Peter Sagan. Like a Champion Rooster coming into his prime, Sagan signaled his arrival by provocatively resting his hands just below his hips, an image reminiscent of the Paris Opera Ballet’s very own Nicolas Le Riche and his animalistic performance of Bolero! Such hubris and sexual petition cannot be dismissed. His second gesture in Seraing while winning his first ever stage of the Tour de France was of the more prototypical weight lifter flexing his muscles. Easier to interpret amongst the masses, Tenspeed Hero applauds him for his common touch. Honorable mentions for the stage go to Fabian, he makes a fine yellow sail for other’s victories. Such is life.