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Title: "Tandem Bikers Cross Sierra"
Byline: "By George Draper Chronicle Correspondent"
Bicyle riders Joe Breeze and Otis Guy, driving hard on their custom-built $3500 tandem racing machine, streaked down the eastern slopes of the Sierra yesterday and rolled into Reno 13 hours and 15 minutes after leaving San Francisco.
"It was hard -- we really hauled ass," said Breeze, as he flopped on a bed in a Reno hotel.
The two men believed they set a bicycling record for the grueling 260-mile trip in which they had to climb the 7214-foot Donner Summit of the Sierra on the first leg of a hoped-for record-smashing 11-day crossing of the United States to New York.
Going downhill to Reno on Interstate 80, the bikers hit speeds of 65 miles per hour, well above the legal limit.
The 25-year-old riders, both from Marin County, left the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza at 4 a.m. to the cheers of 100 well-wishers.
The crowd showed up at 3 a.m. to bid them farewell and waited in the chilly air for an hour while last-minute preparations were made.
Ralph Kornahrens, district representative of the cycling federation of northern California, held a watch adjusted to Naval Observatory time and counted off the last minutes before the 4 a.m. moment of departure.
When he reached two minutes, Guy, astride the bike, turned around to Breeze and held out his hand.
"All right, man, let's do it," he said.
Pedaling rapidly under a waning moon that shone through a light layer of fog, Breeze and Guy were across the bridge and rolling through downtown Sausalito within ten minutes.
Aided by a brisk tailwind, they rolled into Sacramento about five hours later, zipped up the capitol mall and kept on going to Colfax, where they stopped for a massage and lunch.
The two riders appeared to be in remarkably good shape when they reached Colfax. They said they felt less tired than they had three years ago when they made the San Francisco-Reno run in one day.
Guy, a San Anselmo fireman, is the front man on the tandem. He steers it, applies the brakes and changes the 12 speeds.
Breeze, who is five-ten, pedals from the rear seat and is known as "the stoker." His job, besides pedaling, is to reach out to a support vehicle alongside for bananas, dried fruit and bottles of water and lemonade.
During the lunch break at Colfax, Breeze said they had planned to stop at Roseville for lunch but decided to keep on going another 12 miles uphill "to get out of the valley heat."
"We've been climbing in a lower gear than we did three years ago and it's not fatiguing us so fast," he said.
Suddenly Breeze's voice went hoarse and he said he would not be able to speak any more. Tony Tom, the bike mechanic of the support team, explained that eight hours of deep breathing such as Guy and Breeze had been doing affects the vocal cords, almost like "a slight case of bronchitis."
Tom occupied himself during the 40-minute lunch break by meticulously checking the Anchor Steamer, the name given the special tandem bicycle in honor of the Anchor brewing compnay which is sponsoring the effort to smash the current cross-country record.
That record was set last August by John Marino who rode from Santa Monica to New York on a single bicycle in 13 days and one hour and 40 minutes."
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