Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015
S T A G E 1 0 :
Livarot > Fougères | 190 km
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In 5 words :
"Deep in the Pain Cave
. . .
Start time today : 5:15am
Completed : 5:54pm
Time today : 12 hours : 36 minutes
Time to date : 181 hours : 32 minutes
Runs today: 2 - handrolled arrows and Froome in Team Sky blue, Yellow Jersey yellow, and King of the Mountains Jersey red.
Runs to date : 43
Click image to advance
The day's story
If you ask me, "Why the Tour de France," it isn't exactly about determination or withstanding pain. It is about a cyclist seemingly discovering something that didn't seem like it was there, but circumstances dragged it into the light. This discovery doesn't happen every stage, but it seems to happen on at least one stage each tour. More often than not it seems like a moment that shouldn't logically have happened. One thing that is completely clear is that these special days don't happen if you don't try to make them happen.
There are probably a dozen stories on some stages that fit this description. They just don't have a cameraman on the back of a motorcycle catching it. On top of that, for me, it just doesn't happen in the major sports or even in the endurance sports. In cycling, it seems personal.
Today was a perfect example of one of those moments. Here are 4 other favorite days in the same vein over the 4 years of our project and the posters we made for them (Schleck 2011, Voeckler 2012, Froome 2013, Majka 2014).
This stage had a mountain top finish on the Col de Soudet, an out-of-category test. The ride from the bottom to the top was 16.5k long, a climb of 1300 meters, and a gradient averaging around 10% (10 feet forward and 1 foot up).
We can like a lot of different riders in different situations. On a stage like this (and for the overall Yellow Jersey) we are in Chris Froome's army. We were so disappointed when he crashed out last year during Stage 5 and so we have two years of enthusiasm saved up.
Halfway up the mountain the main five contenders were starting to spread apart. Nibali, last year's tour winner, was dropping back, Contador was looking tired, and only Quintana and van Garderen were hanging tough in Froome's leading group that was dwindling fast. You could feel the tension as 3 members of Team Sky lead the group. We kept wondering who would make the jump and if anyone had the legs left to keep up. Froome had to be thinking about a stage in 2013 where Quintana, in a similar way, won the stage over Froome. So it has to be going through their heads, "The same?" or "Can I reverse it?"
Froome leaped out with a blistering burst of acceleration. Quintana was right with him when he started and for a moment looked like he would jump on Froome's wheel. But Froome was off and gone, adding distance with every pedal between him and his rivals on this first GC challenge of this year's Tour. And he kept the pace all the way to the top.
Froome has to have been the odds-on favorite this year, but things can happen in the Alps and Pyrenees. Your legs give up. Your team helpers give up. You give up. Someone has a good day and you have a bad one. Today Froome (came in 1st on the stage) had a good one and everyone else, except for teammate Richie Porte (came in 2nd), had a bad one. It was 1-2 for Team Sky.
Froome was already in Yellow. He could have taken the day so much easier and still would have done OK. But he took the offensive on a killer hill. Watching him go as hard as he could all the way to the finish line, finding that energy in a tank that should reasonably have none, is so exciting to watch.
I practically had tears in my eyes as he crossed the finish line. It was a stunning display of endurance cycling. Now to get back to endurance letterpress. Here is the way the times for the main 5 riders stood at the start of the day and at the end.
van Garderen +00' 12'' yesterday and 02' 52'' today
Quintana +01' 59'' and at +03' 09''
Contador +01' 03'' and at+04' 04''
Nibali +02' 22'' and at +06' 57''
Two of the five may have just lost the Tour on this first serious stage unless something catastrophic happens to Froome.
Another story from the day was Richie Porte, one of the other riders on Team Sky. Each team typically starts with one "star" and then adds 8 other riders whose job is to help the star win the Tour or win stages or win jerseys or stay out of ditches. Porte is the main guy who was leading out Froome while everyone else tucked in behind them on the way up the mountain until Froome took off. After a bit Quintana probably had a minute on Porte, but slowly Porte closed that gap. Then in an in-your-face insult, Porte passed Quintana to come in second for the day. So, Team Sky was 1 - 2. That doesn't often happen. Rumors are that Porte is switching to BMC (since verified0 after this year, which will make next year interesting, both for Team Sky and for BMC now with Porte and Tejay van Garderen.
The day and the math were simple. At lunch we decided what we wanted the poster to reflect. Seldom do we print our Tour posters with only two runs (the other good one was actually 1 color, but 2 runs in 2013). With these amazing feats of athleticism, you just stand in amazement and let the winners stand alone.
So, Team Sky blue handrolled with Yellow Jersey yellow and a touch of red.
After the stage was finished Bob Roll, my favorite announcer on the Tour, described Froome perfectly when he said, "Froome came from deep in the pain cave." Exactly. We wanted "the pain cave" on the poster.
Froome stays in the Yellow Jersey. He also wins enough points to leap into the lead of the King of the Mountains polka-dot jersey. Yeah, let's add Bob Roll's quote in a red circle and there you have it.
There's nothing else to be said. It's one of my favorite stages.
Signatures : Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, Tray Nichols, Bill Roberts (always on Bastille Day)
Size : 14.5" x 22.5"
Stock : Somerset Textured White 300 gsm
Main typography : wood - Velo Black 12 line (House Industries); metal - Euro
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
Profile of today's stage
Above: Stage 10 desserts at the Glass Kitchen.
Above: The lockup for Froome and the arrows that we were going to handroll.
Above: Our inking colors. Jill did the blue and red and Ray did the yellow. The technique for applying the color is mostly keeping the roller parallel to the type and just touching it with very little rolling of the brayer. This technique produces a softer edge to the areas of color which we like sometimes.
Above: The lockup of the team name and the circle quote. We figure out how long the quote needed to be to make the right sized circle to "sort of" make the poster into an exclamation point or a rocket. About 31 picas if we did our math right by remembering the formula of a circle (circumference of a circle = Π * diameter of the circle)
Above: A photo of the lockup.
Above: A better view of what was happening with it. Worked great and easy to figure out.
Above: All of us checking the color on the final run of red for the team name and the circle quote.
A great day and great fun with Bill, a longtime letterpress friend of Lead Graffiti.