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Another Year Younger!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's been a WAY crazy busy week with not much room for celebrations but I already have SO many ways to celebrate the passing of another year.

So as busy as it's been I slowed down tonight to take stock of my "presents":

---of course every time I hop on my bicycle I am so grateful for the pay-off of a body that can immerse my being into the world of nature and friends who share my enthusiasm. And the journeys I've made this year locally and to the Catskills...all have been precious and cherished.

---bouncing back from the blood thinner jitters!

---tweaking and finding even better ways to manage my Achilles Heel: FOOD!

---checking in with RealAge www.realage.com and finding I'm still staying ahead of the curve with a "Real Age" 3 years younger than my chronological age...growing YOUNGER not OLDER! :-)

---checking in with my waist & hip measurements, finding them to be another couple of inches down from the springtime of this year!

---creeping ever closer to my goal weight of 200

---wearing my "skinny" size 38 jeans!

---wearing "large" or size 16 shirts not only with room to spare, but noticing while wearing a more trim t-shirts greater definition of my biceps. No muscle man, for sure, but I'll take muscle curves over flab anyday! :-)

---noticing more muscular definition in my super-duper, Catskill-mountain-climbing quads and calves!

---improving my self-image a notch or two, as measured by a lessening of self-perceived unattractiveness...still haven't reached a point of being able to psychologically claim an increase in attractiveness...but in time...? Who knows?

Arriving today for my birthday are my new bicycle tights. Another milestone. Back in the day I absolutely ruled out wearing any lycra / spandex stuff, sparing myself and the world of such a horrible sight! That was before my backside met the hard truths of good bicycle saddles...lol! So begrudgingly I was dragged under protest into the world of bicycle shorts, or what I called "dorkey" shorts! Not that I was calling the shorts "dorkey" but actually calling MYSELF "dorkey"-looking when I wore them!

Now? I'm kicking it up a notch a ready to tackle full length bicycle tights! Louis Garneau Oslo Airzone Tights...arrived today, right on my birthday, whaddya know?

Now I'm ready for cycling a bit more in colder temps. Although I doubt I'll ever be anything but a fair-weather rider in terms of precipitation. I just cannot imagine enjoying myself, regardless of gear, enjoying cycling in the rain or snow.

It's great to take stock of our accomplishments now & then and am sending this out not only to celebrate MY birthday and accomplishments but hoping you all are either savoring accomplishments made or YET to make!

Thank you everyone among our SparkFamily for adding your part to making this the place where we continually make our dreams come true, share, celebrate and pay them forward to each other!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BROOKLYN_BORN 10/20/2014 4:29PM

    Happy Belated Birthday! That's the way to celebrate, by rewarding yourself with new workout gear.
I like the RealAge site too.

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FRECKS96 10/20/2014 9:36AM

    Happy Belated Birthday Don! And thanks so much for all the ongoing encouragement, support and inspiration.

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DOGLADY13 10/18/2014 11:08PM

    Happy Belated Birthday. You got all kinds of cool presents!

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WOMANWITHGRIT 10/17/2014 10:40PM

    Well, Happy Birthday, Don. So much to be grateful for...My younger son shares this birthday....

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SANDICANE 10/17/2014 10:27PM

    Happy Birthday!!! Wow, what a way to celebrate your birthday...firstly remembering all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for and 2ndly receiving those fab new biking shorts!

You sir are one BEAUTIFUL human being!!!

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MTN_KITTEN 10/17/2014 1:14PM

    Haaaaaaaaaappy Biiiiiiiiiiiirthday to you ... gorgeous!!!!!!!

We are not getting older ... we are getting better!!!!

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IHCSURVIVOR80 10/17/2014 12:06PM

    Happy Birthday!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/17/2014 10:20AM

    Happy BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! Definitely love getting younger not older (real age!)

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L*I*T*A* 10/17/2014 10:13AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 10/17/2014 7:52AM

    emoticon You deserve a wonderful day. Your health and dedication to exercise is inspirational. Enjoy wearing your new exercise clothes.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/17/2014 7:39AM

    Yay!!! Happiest Birthday Ev-er, amigo!!! You are amazing and your list of accomplishments is over-the-top miraculous, dontcha think? I do. May this year be your best-ever year and continue proving that we CAN make our dreams come true!!!!
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SPINNINGJW 10/17/2014 7:22AM

    I found myself agreeing with WATERMELLEN's comments. You are a great inspiration to many. Hope you had a very Happy Birthday and many more to come!!

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BKWERM 10/17/2014 7:14AM

    emoticon Don! Sounds like life is good and getting better all the time! I hope this is the year that make all your goals a reality!

Take care.

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FERRETLOVER1 10/17/2014 7:12AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 10/17/2014 6:42AM

    Happy Birthday and congratulations on being able to celebrate the things that bring you joy and add so immeasurably to your health and well-being. Who could ask for more than that?!

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BILL60 10/17/2014 6:21AM

    A super b'day to a super human being. Enjoy!!

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WATERMELLEN 10/17/2014 6:04AM

    You are an attractive man. Period. We've seen the pics, heard the videos. No argument.

And: an immensely attractive human being. Kind. Caring, Exuberant, with a great zest for life!

All of which you have undeniably increased this past year!! While dealing with some pretty difficult health stuff.

So: happy birthday!! All best for another marvellous year chugging up the hills and zooming down 'em in this roller-coaster we call life!

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Zen Treadmill

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's been a while since I've used my home gym which I've dubbed my "SparkHaven" :-) The fitness center with it's elliptical, rower, spin bikes and weight machines run a stiff competition and because it's so close to work I can fall right into my workouts pretty easily there.

Once upon a time, pre-fitness center, I had a long, good streak of morning mojo in which I would wake up and hop right onto my treadmill in SparkHaven. Quad speakers set up in all four corners of the room around my treadmill kicking out the tunes.

Since I'm off most of the week doing lots of special projects around the house, the fitness center isn't so convenient. So it was time to dust off the treadmill and start off with the dumb bells, resistance bands and crank through the body weight exercises.

The cool thing about doing this at night is that I leave the lights off with only my 17" laptop running iTunes visualization set to full screen shuffling kaliedoscopically through my thousands of tunes. With the laptop set up just a little way in front of the treadmill I could zone out to the music and the light show on my laptop while working up a sweat with the elevation set to the max of 15 and doing a slow jog, fast walk of 4 mph.

Nice to remember such a different way to work up a sweat!

Keep 'er Sparkin' everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 10/15/2014 7:22AM

    This sounds amazing!!! Not sure I'd have a gym membership if I had what you have at home!

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L*I*T*A* 10/14/2014 9:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JO11YMON 10/14/2014 9:57AM

    Sounds like a great set up!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/14/2014 9:54AM

    Good job! Whatever it takes.

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KANOE10 10/14/2014 8:50AM

    Your Spark Haven sounds like a greet way to get exercise in throughout the winter. Enjoy your new exercise!

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BILL60 10/14/2014 8:09AM

    With a super set up like that, why would you go to a gym?

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_LINDA 10/14/2014 8:04AM

    emoticon set up there! emoticon workout!
I don't have an itunes thingy, but I listen to CD's on my Bose Wave which gives a great sound, although I can't put up the volume as I much as I would like because I am sandwiched between two neighbors in my apartment with thin walls. I love my home workout gym. In place of furniture, my living room floor is covered with anti fatigue matting on which I do workout videos. I use an elliptical as I like to move my whole body and work the arms too. I prefer working out in the dark too. Love the idea of a screen display. I indulged in the biggest LED monitor I could find and it has a great picture. I wanted it in place of a TV since I gave up watching it years ago and I was only using it for my workout videos.
As I can't get around in winter. I learned to love working out at home.
Enjoy your workouts!
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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/14/2014 7:34AM

    I prefer surround sound to ear buds. You've got a great total experience there.

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FERRETLOVER1 10/14/2014 7:33AM

    How nice to have a treadmill so conveniently located! I can't wait until I move into a senior residence that has an exercise room right in the building! emoticon emoticon (By the way, I think SparkPeople should update some of their emoticons to reflect men, don't you?)

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 10/14/2014 7:25AM

    I have the same deal in our pool -- surround sound with an mp3 player hooked up to the system cranking out a variety of music from the 70's to today -- all of which puts me in a very meditative trance while I'm going through my water workout. Some of my best ideas are generated there! When the water gets too cold (usually Dec-Feb), I'll have to check out the fitness center which is, fortunately, only a couple of blocks away or go in the community pool. But, I'll still have the mp3 tunes with me!


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SANDICANE 10/14/2014 12:05AM

    Sounds lovely!

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DOH! Lesson Learned...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Well phooey...the scale is UP! Unfortunately I out-ate the miles I climbed this weekend.

The extra pounds are TOAST and lesson learned re: gauging food that's necessary for the burn vs. indulging the carbie tiger, which has been dutifully re-shackled!

Keeping the SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SANDICANE 10/13/2014 9:15PM

    Yeah, it's pretty easy for those extra cals to climb onto our hips! I'm having a fight with home made apple crisp tonight. It wants to jump into my mouth and I'm saying....woah...tomorrow for breakfast....MAYBE....

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ZELLAZM 10/13/2014 5:08AM

    emoticon Glad you got him shackled!

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DINGALLSTOO 10/9/2014 10:47AM

    YOU are such a good roll model, keep up the good work

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 10/8/2014 10:15PM

    Carbs Be Gone is my new mantra!


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L*I*T*A* 10/8/2014 7:50PM

    great to learn the lesson early and quickly!!

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Comment edited on: 10/8/2014 7:51:16 PM

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WATERMELLEN 10/8/2014 6:13PM

    Ya caught it fast -- so that's OK! And as you say -- lesson learned. (You say those pounds are TOAST and I believe you. In my case, it would not have been toast and jam but more likely, yup, potato chips!!)

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APONI_KB 10/8/2014 2:05PM

    ugh sorry about that

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1CRAZYDOG 10/8/2014 1:12PM

    The carb curse! CURSES CARBS!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/8/2014 12:30PM

    Oh yeah, we cannot outrun or out pedal our forks. I've been there.

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_LINDA 10/8/2014 10:42AM

    Oh those carbs!!! Having difficulty with them myself. As no one can do homemade stuffing like my Mom, its to die for and oh so high calorie!!! To refuse it is a crime!
You will lose those pounds, you got this!!

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    Live and learn :))))

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Mountain Pics!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Here are some pics from our Sunday Ride in the Walton - Downsville area:

Group Pic

Curious approach to a home: caboose it! :-)

A few from our lunch stop at Launt Pond, atop Bear Spring Mountain. One of us (not me...hooray!) had a flat to repair:

A group pic at ye olde Downsville covered bridge:

And why not, a selfie up on Bear Spring Mountain, pre-cloud cover, pre-gloves, pre-jacket (thx goodness I at least had THOSE, if not the long pants...!):

All right everybody, keep getting out there and Live Your Dreams! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 10/8/2014 7:41AM

    Great pictures. You all look so happy and healthy!

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SANDICANE 10/8/2014 7:03AM

    I love to see the pics of your rides...I feel like I'm right there beside you, and you're inspiring me to ask DH to go on a hike with me today! Cheers to us all and thanks so much for taking the time to share!!!

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STRIVERONE 10/8/2014 12:42AM

    Nice you got that ride in while there is still color in them thar hills.

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JO11YMON 10/8/2014 12:39AM

    Looks like a great day to ride!

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L*I*T*A* 10/7/2014 10:17PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 10/7/2014 3:55PM

    Gorgeous pics -- and that incline is formidable!! Looks like a super bunch of buddies too.

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 10/7/2014 1:52PM

    emoticon Nice to see the group and the beautiful fall foliage!

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_LINDA 10/7/2014 11:26AM

    Fabulous Fall photos!! Thanks for posting! Nice rest stop you guys found. Got to love ingenuity and repurposing -neat caboose home!

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    Looks so great and so pretty!

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1HAPPYSPIRIT 10/7/2014 9:01AM


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1CRAZYDOG 10/7/2014 8:57AM

    Looks like a wonderful location! That is interesting . . . a caboose turned into a house.

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NUTRON3 10/7/2014 8:55AM


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Twin Peaks Climb!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Today's ride was a triple challenge: 2 REALLY TOUGH CLIMBS each of which brought me a whisker away from having to get off the bike a walk and one WAY chilly day that caught me under-dressed with shorts when I really should've had pants...course that propelled me above and beyond my USUAL need for speed...!

I chatted with a local who asked if I was warm enough to which I said: BARELY! If I pedaled hard enough I could just get by! :-)

No time to post pics yet...perhaps a part II upcoming?

These climbs don't appear TOO terrible on RideWithGPS, but I'll tell you they were nail-biters for me and tougher than anything I'd dealt with during my Catskill Mountain tour loaded down with 34 extra pounds of gear! I dug down and gave it EVERYTHING I had to make these climbs with NO WALKING ALLOWED!

Here's the route:


There were ten of us on the ride...nice number of folks and of course the very BEST people, cyclists always ARE! :-) Although we had full sunshine when we started, the clouds surprisingly gathered and froze us out during our lunch stop at Launt Pond on top of Bear Spring Mountain. I don't think there was anyone who wasn't shaking & shivering when we left...for a screaming downhill of wind pounding away at us...BRRR!

The country through which we pedaled was absolutely GORGEOUS and well populated with large birds of prey of various types arcing through the skies. We saw a flock of wild turkeys grazing in the fields.

The foliage was a bit of a disappointment as much of it had already fallen, leaving many barren limbs of grey throughout the hillsides. Most of the bodies of water were extremely low, if not barren. Even the Cannonsville Reservoir was extraordinarily low. New York City has been THIRSTY, I wisecracked... Plus this water has been leaking and flooding out downstate homes in Warwasing:


What a crime!

Well it's time to shut the carbie tiger down. Had my oatmeal this morning and a sub sandwich later. PLUS I even indulged in a brownie before our last climb. I will learn on Weds. weigh-in what price I'll pay for that.

A very curious article I found this week in Medscape, a medical news & research journal which you may have heard of:


You may not be able to open the link without subscribing to Medscape so I'll give a brief synopsis: A preliminary study of only 10 subjects (hardly a significant sample size) suggested that there may be some lifestyle changes which could slow or delay the progression of symptoms for people with Alzheimer's disease. "Six participants had discontinued working or were struggling with their jobs at study outset because of memory problems.
All were able to return to work or continue working with improvement performance, and improvements have been sustained."

What, pray tell, did the interventions entail?

"The interventions used in the 10 patients involved in the UCLA pilot project were tailored to each individual, but they shared similar elements. Typically, patients were asked to eliminate all simple carbohydrates from their diet.
They were also asked to increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, and nonfarmed fish and to follow a strict meal pattern with specifically timed interludes of fasting.

Exercise was a key component of all interventions, and participants were counseled on ways to reduce stress through practices such as yoga and meditation."

I was particularly pleased to see how closely the "lifestyle changes" which were made are so similar to the ones I have made since January of this year: eliminate all simple carbohydrates (i.e. for me it has been eliminating all sugar & grains), increasing fruits and vegetables and eating a can of tuna almost every workday. PLUS they talk about specifically timed periods of fasting. For me that has been a roughly 16 hour fast between bedtime and noontime every day.

It also makes me wonder about the ill effects of eating simple carbohydrates...! Of course I realize the sample size is extraordinarily small and one can't drawn firm conclusions, but this is very interesting...! Also it's great to see a study in Medscape that quasi-legitimizes the benefits of a pattern of eating that pretty closely mimics what I developed for myself thinking it was fairly unique...or weird...lol!

Wrapping up, I'll borrow ONEKIDSMOM's line...life is good! I'm doing my best to make it so! Hoping all of you had a super weekend filling your lives with SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I read that in medscape too and found it very interesting

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WATERMELLEN 10/6/2014 8:50PM

    Great blog -- and I also liked that Huff Post article on your status about the limited research behind the "you've gotta eat breakfast" thing. Interesting to consider that Alzheimer's might be "reversible" with appropriate diet including some limited fasting; my own pattern a lot of the time too.

Golf was very very cold yesterday too!!

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1CRAZYDOG 10/6/2014 2:24PM

    Yes, Dr. David Perlmutter indicates that carbs (obviously the wrong carbs in overabundance) are bad for the brain. He encourages a healthful level of fats and cholesterol since he says that is what the brain needs to function properly!

Sounds like a challenging but wonderful ride.

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L*I*T*A* 10/6/2014 10:08AM

    You did it!!
way to go...........

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SANDICANE 10/6/2014 8:12AM

    You are amazing! I can only imagine riding a bike in those kinds of conditions...as for the alzheimers....good thing they're making some progress in research b/c there sure are a lot of new cases!!!

Have a fab day...and good luck beating back the "carb-monster"!!!

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_LINDA 10/6/2014 8:04AM

    emoticon making it through a very difficult ride cold AND hills! You are amazing!
That is really a shame about those poor people having flooding problems because of a leaky pipe!! You would think they would all get together and sue the City of New York for damages and loss of property values. Seems like these capped buyouts are not enough.
Ever since the loss of Health News on Sparkpeople, I have been hoping to find a website similar that captures all the latest medical and health news and latest research from around the world. Can you recommend anything that is free?
Have a Super Sunday!

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KANOE10 10/6/2014 7:55AM

    That sounds like very challenging rides! I am glad you made it! That was an interesting article on prevention and a healthy lifestyle. I may have to try fasting!

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BILL60 10/6/2014 7:49AM

    Way to conquer those tough hills. Proud of you, my friend. Hang tough!!

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FEEDTHEHUNGER 10/6/2014 7:47AM

    The "No walking" rule is a tough one! As to simple carbs, there are a lot of studies that show that eliminating sugar, grains (and sometimes dairy) relieve a whole host of physical and mental problems in the test subjects. See, for example, the work cited in "Wheat Belly" and "Grain Brain." It's my base diet and, although I feel psychologically better not giving up anything "forever," I feel physically better when I do give these foods up.

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FERRETLOVER1 10/6/2014 7:45AM

    Yikes - sounds like a very cold ride. Congratulations on completing it without walking! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/6/2014 7:46:12 AM

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JO11YMON 10/6/2014 12:11AM

    Congrats on the ride! Those hills do look steep on ridewithGPS. I saw 8-10% grades for part of those! Way to go!

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