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Jul. 14, 2009
Passport to Spain—Zabriskie and Frischkorn on Camera
Dave contemplates video games while waiting for cars to pass…travel, police, and initial arrival in Girona behind us, I awoke my first morning to the booming sound of bells. Thank goodness there were actually bells this time, and not just the ones I sometimes hear when I don’t get enough sleep.

Three sets of church and cathedral bells—all offset from one another by about 2 minutes—made for quite a symphony come the top of each hour—24 hours a day; adding a very rich layer to the experience. We were so close to the Girona Cathedral, in fact, that you could actually feel the ringing reverberate in your chest. Needless to say, there wasn’t much sleep that first night. Fortunately, I wasn’t there to sleep, I was there to work. And hopefully sponge in whatever of Girona’s medieval history I could along the way.

Our first interview for the day was Dave Zabriskie—7am. Apparently he likes to get things done early. So do we. Up at 5:30, check chargers, check hard drives, head down to the lobby for a hand-crafted coffee—slam it—then to the cathedral to do some last minute scouting and set up. Dave arrived on-the-dot, which we learned tends to be the way of the pro cyclist. Between training rides, races, and media/PR/sponsor junkets, these boys have become nothing short of walking timepieces. You say 7am and they’re there at 7:00:000. I’m trying to learn from that.

A bit of a chill in the air, we thought we’d take advantage of the clear sky by shooting Dave on a wall overlooking the town; red clay-shingled roofs and church spires providing a killer sunrise backdrop to the west. ‘Perfect.’ Or at least it was, for the first 5 minutes of the interview…at which time the church bells began to chime (for some reason off schedule). Here’s how a lot of the shooting went:

‘Clang clang clang clang!!!’

‘No problem, we’ll wait…’

‘Ok, no more bells…and, rolling…’

‘Wait…car……ok, car’s gone, go ahead…’

(12 seconds go by) ‘Wait…another car…’

‘Ok we’re good…wait…what question was he answering? Oh yah…ok, rolling…’

Bells behind us (for the moment), we soon moved into the auditory land of the automobile. After 5 minutes of variable car traffic making too much noise to shoot over, we glanced over the edge of the castle wall and noticed that we’d set up on the edge of a neighborhood ‘morning-commute’ route. Again, they just looked like walkways to us, but with those small cars anything’s legal. So one by one—every 15 seconds or so—a diesel belching car or high revving scooter would blast through the narrow corridor below…loudly. Being that we were working with pretty sensitive sound equipment, all background noise was making it into the shot. Zabriskie’s a good-natured guy (not to mention absolutely hilarious…I don’t even think he tries to be, he just speaks and brilliantly funny things spew), so he graciously relocated with us to a second spot; one that we thought might be less traffic riddled. So, up went the cam, cords, booms, bags, everything.

Off to our 3rd of 3 locations in an hourLocation #2, 7:30am…aaand the same thing happened. We were surrounded! So, after 5 more minutes, we decided to trudge up onto the backside of the Girona Cathedral, where only birds, dogs and slight puffs of wind might visit. Finally…silence. Freezing cold in the still shadowed corridors, but that’s ok…it would make for a clean shot.

Once shooting—‘for real’—we were barraged with one-of-a-kind ‘Dave Z retorts; answers and shared philosophies ranging from the importance of organic foods to what he does in his rare but spare time (used to be mostly video games, but now he’s got the family thing going on so that’s appropriately won out)…all the way to how he prefers to throw everything he plans on eating in a single meal into a single bowl, mixes it up, and downs it—just so he doesn’t have to spend time doing extra dishes. As Dave said, “I wish everyone knew this technique.”

Needless to say, along with birds, wind, bells, dogs barking and autos careening down the corridors, a good bit of laughter made its way onto the reel as well. We tried to fight it, but it was an act of futility at best.

‘Captain America’ interview in the can (or on the hard drive), Eric and I did a little scouting for our 2pm interview with Will Frischkorn, before strategizing on how we were going to get all the equipment into the car (which was parked on the ‘wrong end’ of a 100meter-long, one-way, cobble stone street), and then on how to get the car down to an organic market (daily) that Dave Z. and Team Physiologist, Allen Lim, had agreed to meet us at, by noon. Constant logistical ‘strategizing’ fast had Eric and I appreciating more than ever the simple pleasures of convenience, parking spaces, two way streets, and—generally—‘knowing where the heck you’re going.’ But that’s travel…that’s what makes it fun.

Will nabs some fruit for the dayUltimately we did make it to the market—indoor and outdoor—and it was amazing; fresh produce, fish, flowers, meats—everything. And incredibly cheap! Though, compared to San Francisco I suppose a lot of things are cheap. Anyway, it was great. Dave and his wife (and baby) showed up and shopped, as did Allen and Will; a biweekly pilgrimage for many on the team.

Some of what we shot in the market showed up in our final CLIF SHOT Bloks pieces, currently running on and Take a look! (shameless plug)

After the market, we met up with Will in the lobby of the Hotel Historic (home sweet home during our stay) and shot over to a public park where in the summer they have bands, DJ’s, bars, dancing, etc. Tres cool.

Will Frischkorn—as with the other riders we got to spend time with—was extremely gracious and well spoken; a very ‘human’ dude for someone who has a totally inhuman job. That said, of all the Garmin-Slipstream clan, I’d put Will at the top of the list when it comes to the passion for and appreciation of food. Good food. Well, ok, maybe he’s tied with Allen Lim.

Anyway, Will’s a huge food enthusiast, cooks a ton, and knows where to get the best of whatever you’re looking for in Girona. Wine to cheese, bread to Spanish ham…the boy loves his calories and makes every one of them count. Which is saying a lot when you’re in the practice of consuming 6,000-8,000 calories a day.

Will Frischkorn Interview in the parkBeyond food and training (and mentioning he wished we made Pino Noir (wine) flavored SHOT Bloks), Will also talked about how excited he was (as were other riders) that a stage of the Tour would travel through Girona this year. It is their home and they are proud of that, so it meant a ton for the Tour to touch down on familiar turf.

After Will’s interview, we did some more scouting, scheduled to shoot a group ride the next day, aaand we finally got to eat breakfast around 4pm; two tasty bocadillos from a local café. Then it was back to the hotel so Eric could start to offload and back-up the ever-precious footage, and we could both try to figure out how to plug 6 things in for recharging using the limited power strips and EU socket converters we had to work with. I think, over 3 days, Eric blew the fuse in his room no less than 4 times.

The owners of the Hotel Historic were amazing hosts though, and always tended to our needs, electrical or otherwise, with a smile and a helping hand. It seemed the Catalonian way.

Next up: Christian Vande Velde and David Millar. Stay tuned!

Want to see more photos from this leg of Swanner's adventure in Girona? Check out
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Team Clif Bar, Tour

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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