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Winter is On!
Team CLIF Bar's Winter Stoke Meter is HIGH!
Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Feb 15, 2009
Day 1 from the Road…

Last week at the Clif Bar theater in Berkeley, two very different appreciations for the bike were introduced to one another. Two worlds collided and, over a brief few minutes, started to make sense to those who collectively made up the audience. We hosted the Garmin-Slipstream professional cycling team to give them a proper send-off as they made their way to Sacramento for the start of the Tour of California. We also took the opportunity to introduce the audience that was comprised mainly of traditional bike racing fans to the MASH crew who will be covering the same routes as the pro peloton, only on fixed-gear bikes. A huge undertaking to say the least...Most especially because of the forecasted rain, wind and even snow. 50mph descents are challenging enough to navigate, let alone when your only rear brake is whatever pressure you can apply in a skid without a freewheel. The two groups of individuals that make of their respective squads found some common ground in the theater that night. They both love bikes. They’re also linked by the common love for the food and nutrition that is Clif Bar and will be using it to sustain themselves for the next 750 miles. For the next eight days they’re going to face similar and different challenges. I’m hear to do my best to capture that all for y’all.

Early yesterday morning I met everyone from MASH who’s doing the ride at the Clif Bar HQ in Berkeley. We loaded the trailer and the biodiesel van with all of the necessary supplies (or so we hope) and made way for Sacramento. Rain was in the forecast for the entire day, but fortunately for us it stayed dried almost entirely. We wandered the Capital Mall and took in the TTs of each of the pro riders. I checked in with the Garmin-Slipstream crew and watched them attempt to keep their legs warm while the masses of their fans tried to catch photos and head-nods in their direction. The team certainly does seem to be in great fighting condition this early in the season and they’ve got a great crew of guys specifically for the Tour of California. Early on in the time trials, Svein Tuft set the fastest time and held on to it for quite some time. By the end of the 130+ field, he still held on to a top ten finish in ninth place and Garmin’s own David Zabriskie took third. All in all a great showing for the Garmin-Slipstream team.

After the TTs were finished and the aftermath of Lance fandom began to fade, the MASH crew returned to the trailer, got their bikes and rode the same route...only they were sharing it with cars and without the masses of people lining the road to cheer them on. That didn’t affect them, however. You can tell these guys get all the inspiration they need from one another. Rather than loading the bikes back up in the trailer to go the extra miles to the hotel, they simply asked for directions from the Capital Mall, wrote them down on the back of their hand and said, “See you at the hotel”.

Below you’ll find some highlighted shots from the day. It’s now 6am on Sunday and we’re about to head-out for the day. More to come over the next full week. Stay tuned…

-M@










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