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          Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015
S T A G E   4 :
          Seraing > Cambrai | 221 km

the project | preliminary | clamshell | title page | descriptions | colophon | postcards | composite

Stage 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Rest | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Rest | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21

2011 edition | 2012 edition | 2013 edition | 2014 edition

2011 - 2015 posters grouped by topic

Available as an individual print
or in our clamshell box edition

In words :
  "4th time is a charm"

. . .

Start time today : 5:19am

Completed : 10:36pm

Time today : 17 hours : 17 minutes

Time to date : 69 hours : 48 minutes

Runs today: 3 (handrolled Martin in black from his team jersey for the stage win, yellow Martin for winning the Yellow Jersey, cobblestones from woodtype Os, red heart, red trident)

Runs to date : 17

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The day's story

Preliminary notes before we get to the details.

1) We were sick to hear that Fabian Cancellara was out of the Tour, having broken 2 vertebrae in that high speed crash yesterday. But a "Holy crap" callout to him for finishing the stage with a broken back. These guys are tough.

2) We saw Didi. Didi is a famous spectator of the Tour de France. We saw him in the live broadcast during our first Tour de Lead Graffiti edition then. Back in 2011 we decided we would pay homage to him (he typically wears a full body red Spandex suit with a devil cap and carries a trident spear), so we included him. Then we saw him again, so we decided we would include the trident (actually a wood type bracket and not originally intended to be a trident at all). Didi has had some serious health issues for the past year or so and we didn't see him last year at all. The Internet said he was retiring from his Tour effort. But for one brief second we saw him on the right side of the road and so we reintroduced our trident symbol. Welcome back, Didi.

Today's stage included 7 sections of the classic French cobblestone roads. It was clear from interviews that the riders were generally against them being in the Tour de France. They race cobblestones in a number of classic races and didn't feel the need to do them again. The longest section was 2.5 miles long. Last year it rained the whole stage and slippery cobblestones are the worst. Rain was scheduled for today, but never showed up. Thank the cycling gods for small favors.

The stage itself was pretty uneventful except the winds kept breaking the peloton into groups. But the cobblestones let the groups join back together until toward the end when a select group of about 25 finally separated ahead of the herd.

It was clear from the interviews that Tony Martin was out for the Yellow Jersey. In the opening day time trial he had come in 2nd, just 5 seconds behind the stage winner. On Stage 2 Fabian Cancellara gets the 4-second time bonus for coming in 3rd and jumps in front of Martin by 1 second. Stage 3 has Chris Froome coming in 2nd and his 6-second time bonus moves him into the Yellow Jersey, 1 second in front of Martin. Now if that isn't a string of bad days for Tony Martin I don't know what is. That 2nd stage ended up having a huge impact on Martin's résumé.

Normally in pre-race interviews the cyclists are pretty close-mouthed about strategies. Martin wasn't. "Yellow Jersey." Period. All he had to do was beat Froome by 1 second.

A couple of kilometers from the end the lead group was pretty bundled up and all of a sudden Martin was gone in a solo breakaway. Everyone had to know it was coming, but no one seemed to have the legs. Martin clearly wanted it bad. Really bad.

So the poster has Martin twice. Once with bouncy baselines to the wood type to pay homage to the cobblestones and once in yellow. Mark, who was collaborating with us on this poster, also collaborated with us last year on the cobblestone stage. So we thought we would pay another bit of homage to last year while adding something completely new. Here is last year's poster.

We thought we would be clever doing that massive handrolling lockup. Turned out to be a massive problem. Just hard in a variety of other ways.

We pulled a bunch of Os from our wood type collection to represent the cobblestones. We ran Thinline above cobblestones across the entire page which is surprisingly hard to maintain an alignment when you print below the middle of the sheet. We probably spent 90 minutes alone trying to figure out how to get the paper to stay tight to the cylinder. A photo below shows Tray's idea for using a paint brush which worked great, but then added another problem we had to solve.

We wanted to pay homage to the cyclists who fluttered across the bone-jarring cobblestones like butterflies. That is surely a massive stretch, but you get the point. We decided to try (strangely this is our first serious try with all of the experimentation we do) doing a rainbow run where you print using the press' inking rollers with multiple colors at the same time. We disengaged the yoke that causes the vibrator roller to move back and forth (normally refreshing the ink constantly) and locked it in place with two strips of book board (we are finding new ways to use book board all the time).

It was Tony Martin's first day in yellow, so it was a good day for yellow, blue, red...

We used words that reflected on what your butt must feel like ridding the cobblestones and printed them in two runs so to get some dancing overlaps. One run used 6 colors and the 2nd run was 8. Worked out pretty well. We'll have to do a bit more experimenting to get the process down really well, but overall we were pretty pleased.

So, hats off to Tony Martin, having previously won 4 stages in the Tour, for his first day in Yellow. They guy looked happy standing on the podium after the race.

Printing details

Signatures : Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, Tray Nichols, and Mark Deshon

Size : 14.5" x 22.5"

Stock : Somerset Textured White 300 gsm

Main typography : wood - Velo Bold 12 line (House Industries) ; metal - Thinline

Production notes : handset wood & metal type. The stage details and signature block were preprinted using Boxcar photopolymer plates.

Press : Vandercook Universal III

Images from Stage

Above: The profile of today's stage

Above: Stage 4 desserts at the Glass Kitchen - 2 carrot cakes and a Key lime pie.

Above: Preparing the "bouncy" words.

Above: The inking glass while we were doing the 1st handrolled run.

Above: Tray's system to avoid the need for the tapes to hold the paper to the cylinder. This house brush was rammed against the cylinder and taped to the two form rollers. It turned out that the paper wrapped completely around and the cobblestones reached the brush. So we had to stop the press before that happened, removed the paper, advanced the press forward, and then reversed things to get the cylinder back to the feedboard.

Above: The lockup of the trident we include when we see Didi.

Above: The lockup of the first run with 5 different elements that needed to be handrolled.

Above: The vibrator roller during the first rainbow run.

Above: Ray pushing the vibrator roller left and right about 1/4" (that is how much room we had) to help smooth out the ink a bit. You can see the two strips of bookboard along each side of the roller.

Above: Tray printing on the composite print with Mark removing them from the press. The longer we go the more important it is that we work with two people as we have to start slip-sheeting the prints because of the amount of ink on them. We use rubber-based inks and every couple of days Jill will cornstarch them to dry the surfaces.

Above: Jill is going to do a one-off book of all of the draw downs for all of the colors for this year's Tour. She has threatened to do this for a while. I think she may get there this year.

Above: A close-up of some of the rainbow printing.

Above: Ray getting ready to fire off an Instagram entry.