The Interview

Posted on 20141025


“I have been told,” the merchant began, “that you were a Brahman, a learned man, but that you seek to be in the service of a merchant. Might you have become destitute, Brahman, so that you seek to serve?”

“No,” said Siddhartha, “I have not become destitute and have never been destitute. You should know that I’m coming from the Samanas, with whom I have lived for a long time.”

“If you’re coming from the Samanas, how could you be anything but destitute? Aren’t the Samanas entirely without possessions?”

“I am without possessions,” said Siddhartha, “if this is what you mean. Surely, I am without possessions. But I am so voluntarily, and therefore I am not destitute.”

“But what are you planning to live off, being without possessions?”

“I haven’t thought of this yet, sir. For more than three years, I have been without possessions, and have never thought about of what I should live.”

“So you’ve lived off the possessions of others.”

“Presumably this is how it is. After all, a merchant also lives off what other people own.”

“Well said. But he wouldn’t take anything from another person for nothing; he would give his merchandise in return.”

“So it seems to be indeed. Everyone takes, everyone gives, such is life.”

“But if you don’t mind me asking: being without possessions, what would you like to give?”

“Everyone gives what he has. The warrior gives strength, the merchant gives merchandise, the teacher teachings, the farmer rice, the fisher fish.”

“Yes indeed. And what is it now what you’ve got to give? What is it that you’ve learned, what are you able to do?”

“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”

“That’s everything?”

“I believe, that’s everything!”

“And what’s the use of that? For example, the fasting– what is it good for?”

“It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn’t learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what fasting is good for.”

“You’re right, Samana. Wait for a moment.”

Kamaswami left the room and returned with a scroll, which he handed to his guest while asking: “Can you read this?”

Siddhartha looked at the scroll, on which a sales-contract had been written down, and began to read out its contents.

“Excellent,” said Kamaswami.

“And would you write something for me on this piece of paper?”

He handed him a piece of paper and a pen, and Siddhartha wrote and returned the paper.

Kamaswami read: “Writing is good, thinking is better. Being smart is good, being patient is better.”

(Herman Hesse, Siddhartha).


Posted on 20140923


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

(George Gordon Byron).

What does it take to win the Tour de France?

Posted on 20140906


Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches for the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all.

(Ecclesiastes 9:11).

Vincenzo Nibali won this year’s Tour de France.

I was happy that he won the race. If riding was my life, I would aspire to race like Nibali– a complete rider.

Cycling, as a sport, is often reduced to numbers. The courses are measured in distance, altitude and elevation gains, grades. The equipment changes depending on the nature of the course, so discussion of gearing, tire pressure, and equipment aerodynamics and weight is prominent. Finally, there are the engines– measurements of the riders’ physiological ability: weight, power output, VAM, VO2max, efficiency.

The numbers, of course, are important. The terrain of the course not only determines the equipment used to race it, but typically also what type of rider will win it. For example, a muscular sprinter with a high short-term power output will usually prevail on a flat course. If the course features high mountains, gravity ensures that a leaner, lighter rider will be first across the line.

To win the Tour you have to find a racer whose parents have passed on the genetic qualities to win the Tour de France. You don’t win the Tour because you have decided to win it, you don’t win the Tour because you have trained better than the others. You win the Tour de France because you have the physical and biological qualities required.

(Cyrille Guimard, inCycle UCI: Bastille Day).

But the numbers are not everything. The field for the Tour de France is close to 200 riders. To avoid crashing, a cyclist must be adept at cycling in a group. The course may present rough roads, and the mountains are descended fast, so skilled handling of the bike is also necessary. Then there is the weather– rain demands better bike handling; hours in the heat, wet, or cold require psychological toughness. Finally, drafting and the presence of teams means that strategy, tactics, and the ability to read a race can be employed to win over even physiologically stronger rivals.

What I like about Nibali, as a racer, is the fact that he has mastered the non-numerical aspects of racing– the art of the sport. He is a great descender, shines in miserable weather conditions, and is astute, tactically brilliant– and sometimes even daring– on the bike. Off the bike, he is a good sportsman– polite, respectful of his competitors, openly grateful for his team and support. He’s described by those close to him as someone who is reserved, even sensitive. That’s a personality I have more affinity for than the braggarts and playboys of other sports.

But the moral of this year’s Tour, for me, was something else. Nibali had the most prized blessing in sport, the envy of athletes, strategists, and gamblers around the world.


“I was lucky.”
“I am lucky that I have whatever I have that makes me have a successful career, if you will.”
“It’s got to be a little more than luck, because the amount of work that you would put into characters…”
“Well, then I’m lucky I have the drive to do the work. But you’re always lucky.”

(Robert De Niro / CBS News, Robert De Niro: Just a Lucky Guy).

The most obvious evidence of Nibali’s luck was the fact that his main competitors did not finish the race. Christopher Froome, winner of the 2013 Tour– and probably this year’s favorite– crashed out early in the race. Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 and 2009 editions, was considered by many to be Froome’s main challenger. He crashed about halfway through the race, fractured a tibia, and retired.

Whether Nibali would have won had the others stayed in the race is an open debate. Nibali dominated the race from the beginning and demonstrated exceptional form. But even by Nibali’s admission, the absence of Froome and Contador made his race easier.

The examples of Froome and Contador also demonstrate another way that luck decided the Tour. Froome crashed three times before he abandoned the race. The first crash was simply due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second and third happened in the rain. One wonders what might have happened on a drier day– but in any case, if I recall correctly, the second and third crashes were again due to chance. Contador crashed because he hit a pothole at the wrong moment.

In a way, the fact that Froome and Contador were not able to stay upright is perhaps indicative of Nibali’s mastery of the non-numerical aspects of cycling. With his skills, they might have avoided the crashes. But it’s also possible that luck could have ended Nibali, too. A loose dog, a stray water bottle (which took down a teammate), a drunken spectator, a front flat tire on a descent– among many other things– could have ended Nibali’s Tour. Nibali was lucky that all of these were absent.

The chances are great that the best potential athlete in the world is an overweight, sedentary smoker. Right now, sitting in front of a television somewhere, is this person born to be the world champion in cycling and to dominate the sport as no one else ever has. At birth he was blessed with a huge aerobic capacity and all of the other physiological ingredients necessary for success. The problem is that he never had the opportunity to discover his ability, even though the motivation may have been there at one time. Maybe he was born into poverty and forced to work at an early age to help feed the family. Maybe he lives in a war-ravaged corner of the world where staying alive is the number-one priority. Or perhaps cycling just never caught his attention and he instead found success in soccer or playing the piano. We’ll never know what he could have been.

(Joe Friel, The Cyclist’s Training Bible).

But Nibali was also lucky in other ways. He was fortunate enough to be born to parents who passed on the genes that grant the physiology to win the Tour de France. Had Nibali had the same life he has had– same opportunities, same training– but with the genes of the average professional cyclist, his victory would not have been possible. The numbers do count for something, after all.

On the other hand, even with the genes, victory would not have been possible with parents who would have pushed him to become an accountant rather than a cyclist. And even with genes and a supportive family, Nibali could have been born to a poor family in Vietnam, or to an upper middle class family in Iraq– rather than a nation steeped in cycling history and industry.

And even with the genes, the family, and the opportunity, Nibali might not have won the Tour had he reached his peak form a few years prior– when doping was more common– or had he not found the right team to support his efforts. The list goes on, and it is long.

Is there room for merit? Effort? Individual achievement? For the hours of hard work Nibali put in, his dedication to training, his willpower in pushing himself to the edge of physical ability?

I am not sure. How much is the ability to push oneself through pain genetic? How much is dedication to training about being fortunate to have good parents– parents that raise you with a good work ethic? How much is the ability to train for a cycling event a matter of being raised in the right country, with appropriate infrastructure?

Extrapolate the point outside of cycling at your own risk.


Posted on 20140814


The extraordinary patience of things!
This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses—
How beautiful when we first beheld it,
Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs;
No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing,
Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop rock-heads—
Now the spoiler has come: does it care?
Not faintly. It has all time. It knows the people are a tide
That swells and in time will ebb, and all
Their works dissolve. Meanwhile the image of the pristine beauty
Lives in the very grain of the granite,
Safe as the endless ocean that climbs our cliff.—As for us:
We must uncenter our minds from ourselves;
We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident
As the rock and ocean that we were made from.

(Robinson Jeffers, Carmel Point).

The Leopard: “Their vanity is stronger than their misery.”

Posted on 20140707

After the happy annexation– I meant to say– after the propitious union of Sicily and the Kindgom of Sardinia– it is the intention of the government in Turin to proceed to nominate some illustrous Sicilians as Senators of the Kingdom.

Of course, your name was made among the first. A name famous for its antiquity, for the personal prestige of the person who bears it, for the great scientific merits, and for the dignified and liberal attitude assumed in recent events.

Before presenting the list in Turin, my superiors considered it dutiful to inform you, and to ask if the proposal would be appreciated.

The government hopes for your consent.

That is the object of my mission.

A mission which has earned me the honor and pleasure of knowing you and your family, and this magnificent palace.

Prince of Salina:
Explain to me, Chevalley, being Senator, what does it mean? What is it really? Is it an honorary title, or–

Prince, the Senate is the high chamber of our Kingdom, in it are examined, discussed, approved, rejected, those laws which the government proposes for the progress of the country.

When you are Senator, you will be able to make heard the voice of your beautiful land, which now faces the panorama of the modern world. With many sores to heal, many just wishes to fulfill…

Listen, Chevalley. I am very grateful that the government thought of me for the Senate. If it were simply a title of honor to place on a calling card, I would be ready to accept with pleasure.

But like this, no. I can’t accept.

But, Prince–

Have patience.

I am an exponent of the old class, fatally compromised with the old regime, and tied to it by constraints of decency, if not affection.

Mine is an unhappy generation. Straddling two worlds, and disadvantaged in both.

And moreover, I am completely without illusions.

What would the Senate do with me, an inexpert legislator, lacking in the capacity to fool himself– essential requisite for him who would want to lead others.

No, Chevalley. In politics I would not place a finger, they would bite it off.

Prince, I cannot believe you. You will seriously not do the possible to alleviate the state of material poverty, and blind moral misery, in which your own people lie?

We are old, Chevalley. Very old. It is at least 25 centuries that we carry on our backs the weight of magnificent and heterogeneous civilizations, all of them from the outside, none made by us, none which have germinated here.

For 2500 years we have been nothing else but a colony. I do not say it to complain, it is our fault. But we are very tired. Emptied. Spent.

But Prince, all of this is finished now. Sicily is no longer a land for conquest but a free part of a free state.

The intention is good. But it arrives late.

Sleep, dear Chevalley. A long slumber, that is what Sicilians want.

And they will always hate those who would want to wake them, even if it is to bring to them the most wonderful gifts.

And between the two of us, I sincerely doubt that the new Kingdom has many gifts for us in its baggage.

In our land, every expression, even the most violent, is an aspiration for oblivion.

Our sensuality is desire for oblivion. Our gunshots and stabbings– desire for death.

Our laziness, the penetrating sweetness of our sherbets– desire for voluptuous immobility– in other words, again for death.

Prince– Prince, doesn’t it seem to you that you are exaggerating? I myself have met in Turin some Sicilians that seemed everything but sleepyheads.

I did not explain myself well, I am sorry Chevalley. I said “Sicilians”, but should have said “Sicily”.

This environment, the violence of the landscape, the cruelty of the climate, the continuous tension in every thing–

But the climate can be won, the landscape– the landscape can be modified, the memory of bad governments can be erased. I am certain that Sicilians will want to improve.

I don’t deny that some Sicilians, transported outside of the island, are able to wake themselves. But they need to leave very young, at twenty it is already late. The crust has formed.

What you need, Chevalley, is rather a man that can reconcile his own particular interests with vague public ideals.

May I permit myself to transmit some advice to your superiors?

With pleasure, Prince.

There is a name that I would like to suggest to the Senate.

No thanks, I don’t smoke.

That of– Calogero Sedara. He has far more merits than I for being elected.

His stock, I am told, in ancient… or will be soon.

And he, more than what you call prestige, has power. If he does not have scientific merits, he has practical ones.

Almost exceptional. His activity was very useful during the crisis in May. In terms of illussions… I don’t believe he has more than I.

But if necessary, he is clever enough to invent them for himself. He’s the man you need.

Yes, yes. I have heard talk of Sedara. But if honest men like you retreat, the road will be free for men without scruples, without perspective– indeed, the Sedara. And everything will be the same as before, for more centuries.

Listen to your conscience, Prince, and not the proud truths you have mentioned. Prince. I beg you, try– to collaborate.

You are a gentleman, Chevalley. And I consider it a privilege to have met you. You are right in everything.

Except when you say… that certainly the Sicilians will want to improve. They will never want to improve… because they consider themselves perfect.

Their vanity is stronger than their misery.

But sit down a moment, I want to tell you something…


Posted on 20140706

Suppose a recently wedded couple is arguing over what color to paint the living room.

Now imagine that while they are carrying out this argument, the house is on fire. Smoke fills the room, embers crash around them, melting synthetics drip onto their skin. Despite the heat and vanishing air, they continue to debate, their last words spent on the merits of a particular shade of color.

Alternatively, imagine the captain of a ship plotting a route through a storm, or double checking how many supplies he needs to take on at the next port.

Perfectly reasonable and legitimate activities in the ordinary course of business.

Now imagine that the ship is sinking. And the captain, rather than preoccupying himself with the evacuation procedures, continues to plot course and calculate supply.

Now you are the first mate. And being of a kind, disciplined, and intellectual disposition, you attempt reason.

You ask the captain whether it might not be more opportune to focus on evacuation, rather than the future course of a sinking ship.

The captain replies that planning the route is of utmost importance, and that failure to plan could have grave consequences.

You state your agreement with that statement, but remind him that the ship is sinking now, and that the ship’s sinking means that route planning is no longer a priority.

Before the captain can respond, the second mate strikes him on the head with a wrench. The captain falls to the floor, unconscious, but not dead. The second mate exclaims that the captain must have gone insane– that this could be the only explanation for his inability to respond to the obvious change in circumstances.

You take over and begin the evacuation procedures.

There are probably better examples, but the intuition that I want to convey, and stress– and it is probably an obvious one– is that an accurate understanding of one’s context is fundamental.1 Decisions, plans, and priorities– proven and established in one context– may border on insanity in another.

A couple wants to argue decor over Sunday morning breakfast, fine. During a fire? Expect them to burn.

A captain routing through a storm: responsible, professional, and diligent. But not when the ship is sinking.2

Here’s one application of the intuition: the Earth and its climate is our house, it is our ship. But political leaders and everyday citizens– even those who acknowledge climate change and the gravity of its impacts– carry-on living their lives and running their government as if– as if one day we will still have a living room to paint or a storm to avoid.

In the meantime, the house is on fire, and the ship is sinking.

This analogy is obviously a simplification. The ship– our planet– is sinking relatively slowly, in human terms. And so a captain may be reasonable in trying to keep the engines running, in attempting repairs, and in charting a course through future storms. But the priority– the end of all this other work– must be to keep the ship floating.

To do otherwise means to end up with a planned route and no ship.

Unfortunately, humans are creatures of habit more than of reason. So while the smoke builds up and floods from ceiling to floor, the discussion at breakfast is of the economy, sporting events, celebrities, the next acquisition, the upcoming trip abroad.

“Is something burning?”
“I think a cool gray-green would be soothing, and elegant.”

In another context– life values, ambitions, goals.

Christians, for example, believe that this life is temporary and lived under judgement. The result of that judgement will be an eternity of one type of another. Given this context, they try to live their lives in a certain way, in accordance with certain values, hoping for the better outcome.3

In an atheist’s context, things are different. One life. No judgement, no recollection. There is no reminiscence, no replay at the end of the story. No reincarnation, except perhaps for Hamlet’s.4 The story can end at any time. For a sliver of time, conscious existence– perception of the senses, a memory, a voice, an identity, the illusion of action.

More context: the needs and fragility of the body, instincts and hormones, society and affections, culture, politics, the economy, education, work, war. The size of the universe, the duration of life.

In this context, how does a reasonable, attentive captain command the ship of the soul?

This is not something I plan to answer now– or possibly ever.5 But I think of the context of life often when I confront my impulses, ambitions, desires, goals. Even more so when I am presented with the idea of what society holds out as the well lived life: “success”, fame, wealth, pride. Years wasted indoors, under fluorescent lighting, to achieve these.

Wealth and pride do not carry over after death. Dead, one does not enjoy one’s fame, and humanity’s collective memory is of questionable reliability. Many are the things and people forgotten.6

The pillars of life, the strategic terrain, key features– are consciousness, the perception of the senses, thought, recollection. A full life– a well-navigated life– relies on these winds. It takes into account the brevity of these circumstances and the relative insignificance of their possessor. It enjoys the opportunity of experience, before relinquishing it forever.

The intuition, at this point in life, is not exactly a hedonistic carpe diem. The body has needs (and one needs a job and live in society to fulfill them). The consciousness comes with a memory and is under the influence of hormones and emotions. There is a place for work, and misery, and sacrifice for the future. There is recognition that there is an economy of time and pleasure, that certain feelings or perceptions only came after years of work and training and delayed satisfaction. But there is also the balance that now is the only certainty one has.

  1. I am not sure I am ready to either appropriately summarize, fully explain, or develop the intuition. This is an attempt, an initial exploration.
  2. There are probably better examples for the intuition, which do not need to rely on such stark contrasts to make the point. In most cases the issue of context is likely to be shades of gray. For example, a few crucial but hidden facts that if revealed make one course of action ridiculous.
  3. This is another simplification.
    Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
    convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your
    worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
    creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
    maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
    variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
    that’s the end.

    A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a
    king, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

    What dost you mean by this?

    Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
    progress through the guts of a beggar.

  5. I have other priorities at the moment. But when I have the time, a developed understanding of the context of life would be the first order of business. How one should attempt to live in that context is a secondary question.
  6. Ecclesiastes


Posted on 20140704


200405. New York, NY, USA.

MST, after a walk around Roosevelt Island. Our introduction came through acting a scene from Hamlet; in retrospect– probably not a good sign. The worst thing about relationships is that one learns one’s lessons off the suffering of others.


200505. New York, NY, USA.

Cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island. The last month of high-school. I remember optimism. It would vanish by the end of September.


200605. Paris, France.

After a miserable freshman year of college, a beautiful summer. It began with a month spent in Paris, living alone on Rue Balard. This photograph was taken in the Montparnasse Cemetery. A few nights later I was beneath it, wandering the Paris Catacombs.


200705. Bronx, NY, USA.

PdV’s classroom, where I took History of Religion and AP European History in high-school. PdV was an incredible teacher, one of many at HM. By comparison, and despite the “credentials”, I struggled to find comparable intellectual engagement during my first few years of college. I visited HM in 2007 in search of answers. I was a miserable adolescent but still have very fond memories of my teachers and their lessons.


200805. Bologna, Italy.

The upside of college was the chance to learn from life, rather than from professors. My third year, spent abroad, provided many useful lessons. The photograph is of the “Studentato” Poeti, located on Via Barberia. Renaissance exterior, a hospital’s interior. I remember eating lunches while sitting on those windowsills.


200905. Middletown, CT, USA.

Looking back, a touring bicycle might have solved much of my misery in high-school and college. My last year at Wesleyan University, with an automobile and a mountain bicycle, was by far the happiest. My first, only, and last automobile, a gift from my parents– a 1976 Alfa Romeo Spider. It had character and I had some fun on it. It also gave plenty of headaches, and was useless when I returned to New York.


201005. Garden City, NY, USA.

My second drill with the unit. Downtime. There is probably not a Marine in the world that does not recognize this scene.


201105. New York, NY, USA.

With HS after the Hudson River Swim, my first open-water race.


201205. Reggio-Emilia, Italy.

Recovering in Italy after my first year of law school. My grandmother, NP, and cousin, EN.


201305. Napoli, Italy.

Recovering in Italy after my second year of law school. I first hiked up the Vesuvius in 2008. The view from the second ascent, made via bicycle. How much can change in a year– I would ride up very differently (mostly lighter) these days.

When I look back now, the feeling is mostly one of guilt– unearned luck, privilege, the enormity of my carbon footprint. I have taken more from the world than given back.

The Giro Rests

Posted on 20140628

They were about to commence drinking, when Pausanias said, And now, my friends, how can we drink with least injury to ourselves? I can assure you that I feel severely the effect of yesterday’s potations, and must have time to recover; and I suspect that most of you are in the same predicament, for you were of the party yesterday. Consider then: How can the drinking be made easiest?

I entirely agree, said Aristophanes, that we should, by all means, avoid hard drinking, for I was myself one of those who were yesterday drowned in drink.

I think that you are right, said Eryximachus, the son of Acumenus; but I should still like to hear one other person speak: Is Agathon able to drink hard?

I am not equal to it, said Agathon.

Then, said Eryximachus, the weak heads like myself, Aristodemus, Phaedrus, and others who never can drink, are fortunate in finding that the stronger ones are not in a drinking mood.


It was agreed that drinking was not to be the order of the day, but that they were all to drink only so much as they pleased.

(Plato, Symposium).

“We drank to excess yesterday, let’s drink more moderately today.” Take out the unusual names and the dramatization and the scene becomes familiar. Perhaps somewhere in the world, right now, at some festival or party, a similar conversation is taking place. And if one were to read Plato’s words to the present day participants, perhaps they might even empathize with the protagonists, and understand the symptoms which lead to their agreement. Two thousand years of history have not been enough to alter humanity’s relationship with alcohol, the liver, and hangovers.

War is an extreme trial of moral and physical strength and stamina. Any view of the nature of war would hardly be accurate or complete without consideration of the effects of danger, fear, exhaustion, and privation on those who must do the fighting. [...] No degree of technological development or scientific calculation will diminish the human dimension in war. Any doctrine which attempts to reduce warfare to ratios of forces, weapons, and equipment neglects the impact of the human will on the conduct of war and is therefore inherently flawed.

(U.S. Marine Corps, MCDP 1: Warfighting).

The short clip linked to above, of the 1957 Giro d’Italia, left me with a sensation similar to the one I found reading Plato’s introduction to the Symposium.

Fifty-seven years have passed. Bicycles are now made of carbon fiber, riders wear skinsuits tested in wind tunnels, and they tweet their feelings after a stage. Despite all those and many other things, I was surprised by how familiar everything felt. The difficulty of a grand tour, the effects of weather, the confidence or lack of confidence in one’s form, crashes and injuries, strengths and weaknesses, the course, general classification predictions– it is almost as if nothing has changed in the sport. The Giro is the same script, interpreted again, each year, by new actors.

Following is a quick translation of the video:

After eleven stages, for a total of 2136 kilometers, first day of rest for the 40th Giro d’Italia. A rest truly well-deserved for the 97 competitors left in the race after the high medians1 sustained in the last few days. A large part of the riders have already brought themselves to Forte dei Marmi. Others, instead, have remained in Montecatini. Among these last, Louison Bobet, who has taken advantage of the rest day to go visit an old friend.

Two great champions meet at Montecatini. Fausto Coppi, who has won five tours of Italy, and who this year, injured, cannot take part. And Louison Bobet, winner of three tours of France, who attempts for the first time the conquest of the Giro, that until now has escaped him. Fausto Coppi himself will do the welcoming honors for the Frenchman.

Good day, how does it go?
Well, it goes well, this morning– may I talk in French?2
Maybe it is better, I could talk in French, but I don’t understand very well– I don’t explain myself very well.
Yes, yes, yes. Better than I. Than me. I’m sorry. And so…
How do you find this Giro d’Italia?
I find it very rapid, it resembles very much the tour of France right now, we are going 50 km/h every day, we depart at 50km/h, I don’t know how we will climb up the Dolomites, but I believe that [?], that some seconds are more important.
I think that now, the riders no longer fear the champions, and so they attack every day, and this is the reason why it is so fast. And you?
It’s true, it’s true, it’s correct. I believe that now there is much less difference between a first class rider and a second class rider. And so one has many [?], it is very normal.
I believe the same thing, that there is not that much difference, as you say, and above all the roads, the gears, and all the rest, let’s say.3
Yes, it’s true, there are many etceteras and etceteras.
I am very glad to see that you are carrying yourself well, you have a good figure, and possibly you will [?] the Tour of Lombardy, [?].
Yes, I hope.

What do you think of tomorrow’s stage?
Well, I think it will be very difficult, characterized by a route that is not very [?], but will have much wind. And I think that a rider like Baldini may be able to take the pink jersey, [?] two minutes [?] on Defilippis, it is very little, I believe.
He says that tomorrow’s stage is not very difficult, but he judges it also very difficult because there will be wind. And he thinks that Baldini will take the pink jersey. I, for my part, judge that Baldini is the favorite, number one, but from here to taking the pink jersey seems a little difficult to me, because also the others which are in classification for sixty kilometers should be able to hold.
Yes, it’s true. [?] And Defilippis is a very good rider [?], and he is very courageous, who will want to defend his pink jersey with tenacity. In closing, I think that Baldini will also want to do a great thing, [?] all the Italians [?], it will be very difficult, sure, but the whole world [?], Baldini [?] climbs well in the hills and [?] rolls in the flats.
He says that Baldini has a big responsibility, that all the Italian sportsmen hope that Baldini will take my suggestion, and also that of Bartali and Magni, naturally, and this will incite him to do very well. And he also says that he hopes, and wishes, and believes, that he will do the hills well, and with this he could do a beautiful Giro d’Italia. This, I also think, because Baldini is a classy rider, and that one has the class that he has, one can do anything.

The Dutchman Wout Wagtmans, winner of the stage to Terni, has an exponent of excellence with his directeur sportif, Constante Girardengo.
Wagtmans is not a specialist for the time trial stage. He will lose some time, but I hope he will recuperate it in the mountain stages. But Holland will be well represented because van Est is a great time trialist.

Baby-blue ribbon at the hotel of the Belgium-Cora, the rider Impanis, who is one of the favorites of the classification, has received some good news, his fourth son has been born.
[?], yes.
And naturally you are very happy.

With the Belgian Impanis is Spanish rider Miguel Poblet, winner of three stages, Miguel, first of all, how is your health?
The health, one can say, goes well, but in the meantime I have a cold that makes breathing hurt a lot, with great difficulty. Yesterday, for example, the stage was always with water, in sum it made it terrible for me.
Will this bother you for tomorrow’s stage?
Yes, inevitably, because tomorrow is stage that one always has to depart with great ease in breathing, because it a short route, but very violent.
And your favorites for tomorrow’s stage, who are they?
Favorites for tomorrow, maybe Baldini.
And the favorite for the final outcome of the Giro?
Eh, we’ll have to see, there are many climbs, maybe Gaul.
Gaul. And Miguel Poblet, what will he able to do for the pink jersey here?
This we’ll have to see, let’s hope we can do something good, but I believe it will be difficult with those climbs for us.
But in [Verona?] you found yourself well [?]. At [?] you went pretty well.
Yes, yes, yes. I can’t say anything bad.
So you still have some hope?
Yes, always.
Many wishes, Poblet.
Thanks a lot.

Favero, Carlesi, and Boni. A three-of-a-kind of youth in the great poker of the Giro d’Italia.
Favero and Carlesi are at their first Giro d’Italia.
Yes, for my first Giro d’Italia I am sufficiently happy, I won a stage and I hope that now that climbs arrive to do a bit better.
Yes, Favero awaits the climbs, Carlesi instead hopes much for tomorrow’s time trial stage.
Yes, I truly, well, I don’t hope much, because there are some great champions that go hard, and then on the stage to Siena I lost many minutes. That [?] that happened at the feed zone, I remained there. In any case I will try to defend myself the best possible, and to regain some lost time.
For Guido Boni it is the third Giro d’Italia.
Yes, this is my third Giro d’Italia. Without a doubt the hardest, because every day there has been a battle, a great battle, there are some foreigners who go hard, very hard, and it will be difficult to oust them. But in any case, us young riders, will continue to fight until the last breath. To try, I don’t know, maybe to be able to win something ourselves sometime.

This is Gaul with his bicycle. The fastest bicycle on the climbs. Tomorrow will be hard, Gaul?
Yes, tomorrow will be hard for me because it is all flat.
But the whole world says that you are in great form, is that true?
It is possible that you will make a beautiful ride, even tomorrow.
Yes, that is also for me the plan, but [?] it is not the mountain.
And who is your favorite?
Baldini and Fornara.
Baldini and Fornara, the favorites of Charly Gaul.
And here is Guerra, to whom the Italian riders should declare war,5 you three times have brought a foreigner to victory at the Giro.
Well, I don’t believe that there should be frontiers in sport.
And on the other hand the Italians have won in France. It’s true. And you personally have always made a great contribution to Italian cycling. What do you think of tomorrow’s stage?
Tomorrow’s stage is hard for one who is not a great time trialist, there will be– I think the winner will probably be Baldini.
And the position of Gaul at the arrival?
It will be excellent.
Is Gaul better than last year?
Yes, he is more determined. With greater form and more determined to win.
So he can repeat the feat of ’56?
I think so.

In the house of Chlorodont, tomorrow’s trial is awaited with great faith. The men of greatest prominence are Nencini and Moser, and on them are appointed the hopes of the directeur sportif, Gaetano Belloni.
Moser, tomorrow morning you have to make in whatever time, 10 or 15 kilometers, to be able to prepare the muscles for the time trial.
Alright, I will try to make a beautiful run, but it’s too bad that yesterday I lost those four minutes. But the Giro is long and one never knows, when we are in deep, I hope to be able to do something.
Nencini, you who are a little harder, you need to do a few more kilometers than Moser.
Yes, I think I’ll do some thirty kilometers. To put myself in condition the muscles, to render the maximum. I feel healthy, the Giro has been very hard until now, and I have spent a lot of energy, but I am healthy, and I think that tomorrow I will make– I will obtain a good result.

Nello Fabbri is also a man of classification, and tomorrow his test in the stage of truth is much awaited.
Certainly tomorrow I have no presumptions of winning the stage, because there are men of depth that are sufficiently stronger than I, and they will win, they are unbeatable. I, this year, it depends on the place on the classification, because I find myself in a period of excellent form, and I hope to be among the first at the arrival.

Giancarlo Astrua, already winner of time trial stages, is gradually finding the better form, and tomorrow should give a confirmation.
Well, taking into account the fact that tomorrow it will be difficult for me to aspire to the victory, I believe it is not appropriate to spend the best energies, with the hope that the occasion will present itself to be able to spend them in the future stages.
So we will have an Astrua as protagonist in the Alpine stages?
Well, I wish it for myself, also to give some satisfaction to my fans, who continue to believe in me.

Pasquale Fornara, a specialist of time trial stages, will not be able to render to the best of his abilities in tomorrow’s stage, due to the consequences of yesterday’s fall.
Certainly, for me that fall was not needed, I really suffered in the chase, and even now this harm still torments me.
And so you do not think you will be able to, like you did last year, conquer the pink jersey?
It will be more difficult, indeed, maimed liked this, I don’t know how I will be able to render.
Most of all, what can’t you do, what kind of exertion can you not sustain on the bicycle?
I can’t squeeze the handlebars, even now, I can’t do some movements, I don’t have the strength to lift the arm, my shoulder also hurts.
And how do the legs go?
And the legs also, they took quite a hit, I hurt all over. It was a real disgrace, yesterday.

Ercole Baldini, record holder for the hour record, is the great favorite. Nobody puts in doubt his victory, but will he be able to conquer the pink jersey?
To tell the truth, I hope a lot for the time trial stages, but I don’t even think about the pink jersey, because the gap that separates me from the pink jersey is high, and all of those in front of me on the general classification, are riders that go hard, not only on the climbs but also against the clock. That’s why, I repeat, it is very difficult to conquer the pink jersey.
But do you think that after all these cold days a hot day could provoke some crises?
Well, these stages have been very hard, there will be people who have spent a lot of energy, so if it happens that we find a very hot day, someone may be able to take on a little crisis. But the distance is short, and there are not any major gaps, so even a small crisis is unlikely to affect the yield of this race.
Many have said that you have raced frugally, aiming above all for this stage, how do you find yourself today, in terms of energy reserves?
Everybody says that I raced frugally because I never went on attack in the breakaways, but “frugally” I wouldn’t say, because every time there was a breakaway I always contributed, until their reunion, and energies that others have spent I have also spent. But I hope not to be affected too much, because my physical conditions are pretty good, and I am well, so tomorrow I hope to be able to make a good trial.

The gentleman is served.
“The gentleman is served” is a phrase that Nino Defilippis is a phrase he does not wish to hear tomorrow evening at the end of time trial stage. Instead, Defilippis hopes to defend victoriously his pink jersey tomorrow also.
Well, that is what I wish for myself. Naturally, the time trial stage is very hard, and tomorrow it is important that I guard myself especially from Bobet, who is only thirteen seconds down from me, from Fornara who has a minute, and Baldini who has two minutes and five seconds. To tell the truth I prefer the time trial stage over the past stages, in as much that here we will all compete head to head, and at the least I will be able to defend myself with adversaries that are riding individually rather than all together as it has been in these days.
Do you think you have a particular aptitude for time trial stages?
I hope. To tell the truth, it’s been many years that I have been riding and I still don’t understand myself. That is to say, at times I find myself doing impossible things, other times I don’t even arrive, in a manner of speaking, in the top thirty. It happens that I win sprints against the best sprinter and another day to arrive last in the group. It happens that I go strong on the climbs and another day to get dropped on an overpass. And let’s hope that tomorrow is a day that I can win, which will not be an easy thing, and instead not arrive last.

The events of the time trial stage of Forte dei Marmi will be transmitted live beginning at the 16th hour. The circuit develops around the coast of Forte dei Marmi and amounts to 56 kilometers. The departures will begin around 12:45. The pink jersey Defilippis will go off last at 15:57.

  1. Probably of speed.
  2. My knowledge of French is fading, so my translation is likely not very accurate. I also had trouble trouble hearing parts of the dialogue.
  3. Maybe comparable to some of the sentiments discussed by Nino Defilippis here (“The Problem of Cycling is Progress”).
  4. I could not understand most of this dialogue.
  5. “Guerra” is Italian for “war”.