Eight riders from the globetrotting MASH SF crew plan to ride the entire 750 miles of the Amgen Tour of California on fixed gear bikes. The eight-member MASH unit plans to ride seven- to 12-hour days, leaving ahead of or after the peloton. These fixie hipsters even have sponsorship from CLIF BAR, which bills itself as the nutrition sponsor for MASH's Tour of California ride.
“We’ll be using the same bikes we ride every day,” said MASH rider Garrett Chow. “We ride them to get a burrito. We all cycle passionately when we can. It’s kind of like, ‘Why do people climb Everest? Because they can.’ We’re giving it 100 percent and seeing what we can do.”
Three riders from MASH appeared on stage with Garmin-Chipotle at a CLIF sponsored bike talk last night in Berkeley, California. Christian Vande Velde gave the MASH guys some grief about their equipment needs when he quipped, “I break my best stuff and they give me a new one right away. You guys are screwed!”
MASH cyclist Garrett Chow shot back, “We’ve got two spare tires and two spare chains. That out to get us through the nine stages.”
As the Garmin riders talked about preparing for the heavy rain anticipated over the next week, Chow revealed his team's plans for the weather: “Yeah, we brought two pairs of jeans.”
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I predict they DNF Stage 1. Howell Mtn Road is extremely steep, and unless they are in fact swapping chainrings the gearing needed to get up it would be awfully annoying in the flats. Not to mention that the bike would want to run 300 RPM descending Deer Creek. That would require some serious knee work to backpedal down that hill, after grinding up Howell. A skilled rider might do some skidding, but it's supposed to rain every day for the next week, not exactly good for skidding.
Then if they get past that alive, Petrified Forest and Calistoga Road await. A pro woman cyclist laid it down on Calistoga and almost killed herself, with a freewheel and dry roads.
Still love their stuff but this ain't going to work, IMHO.
Sure someone could win the Tour de France on a fixed gear, but only before they added the alpine stages and before anyone even had 10-20 speed bikes. But get real, someone on a fixed gear could never win the modern Tour de France with Alpine stages. Even if someone could keep up on the climb, they'd be a bid screwed on the 50mph descents.
I personally will be very impressed if these guys can make it up Sierra Road and all the other climbs without walking or swapping out gears.
I saw one of the MASH guys in Santa Rosa and tried to talk to him, but I couldn't get through the crowd to talk to him. I'll try to catch them in Santa Cruz tomorrow -- I'm really interested in this myself.