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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102

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    Today was one of those group rides where I wanted to kill someone! It's really nice out, so hence there were about 30 people for the 30 mile ride and another 30 for the 40 mile ride. Things went badly right from the start, with starts/stops, waiting, the sweep having a flat, and several people in the 30 mile group I was in pulling out in front of me and then stopping. Finally, we split the group in 2 and it calmed some, but even staying up front didn't help so much. I really like this route, so I just kept going, got good exercise and fresh air. My average was low with all of the stopping/starting, but I am good with that.
    Now to get ready for a haircut with my 3d new hairdresser in 6 months.... the one i had for years left and now the other 3 have left, too.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    My favorite Oxnard climb is on a paved private road. It’s only a 4.6 mile climb from the ocean into the northern most part of the santa monica mountains but it’s a steady hard effort for 3 miles of it. Perfect for a ride before driving home and for refocusing my mind after a day of work. Today had a heavy overcast with temps in the mid 60’s which was perfect for some hard climbing. The road starts with a section of wild geraniums covering the side of the road and a lemon orchard. There are also some great high views of the Oxnard farming Plain on the climb












    and back down to the pacific coast highway
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 05-11-2016 at 10:37 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  3. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,828
    Ok so, the Tour de Cure. It was last Saturday. It didn't rain on us. Yay!! I was sufficiently prepared. Yay!! By the end we had sunshine and blue skies. Yay!!!!!

    The website said that people riding the metric needed to average at least 11.5 mph and that the course closed at 3 pm. No problem, I have prepared for this.

    It was a phased mass start. First the metric riders checked in and started, then the 30 milers, etc. The volunteer at check in hands me a cue sheet on blue paper and tells me to follow the orange arrows. I say what? The cue sheet is blue. She says they're all blue.

    I started fast because it was 48F at that point so I needed to warm up. But riding 15-16 mph I was dropped by almost all of the other metric riders. I was actually okay with this, because the roads were wet from overnight rain and I was happy to avoid the spray from other people's rear wheels. It was very humid so I was more than ready to remove several layers by mile 10. There was still rain in the area so we had plenty of dark clouds but the precip stayed north of us.

    I stopped at a rest stop at mile 19. Okay here is my first big gripe. They are celebrating 25 years of TdCs this year, so you'd think there would be a big book of How to Organize a Bike Ride that all the chapters can use. Apparently not. After 10 straight days of rain, they set up the registration table at the start so that the volunteers were on a paved sidewalk but all the riders had to walk and stand in mud. Wet, cold, squishy mud. In bike shoes WITH CLEATS. I am not a morning person, so I'm not good at dealing with annoyances at 6:30 am. To say I was peeved at having to walk through cold wet mud was an understatement. Fortunately as a person with freakishly cold feet I was wearing neoprene booties and had another pair of booties in my car, so after registration I changed into dry booties. Then tried very hard to turn my mood around (starting out fast was part of this -- pedal off the peevishness). So I reach the rest stop at mile 19 and find they have set up all the tables and the one portapotty in the mud. This was at a school with a large paved parking lot. But no, we had more walking through mud and standing in line in the mud. You know how hard it is to walk on your heels with your toes off the ground? It's even harder when your heels are sinking into mud.

    Oh by the way. That volunteer at the start who told me to follow the orange arrows -- she was wrong. The metric was marked with blue arrows. Note that I checked in with the first group of the day and everyone checking in at that time was doing the blue arrow route. Who told that young lady to tell us to follow orange???

    Okay so anyway put-it-behind-you-put-it-behind-you-put-it-behind-you-turn-that-frown-upside-down. I start riding again after the rest stop. And my leg muscles are aching -- that burning feeling in your quads when you've been riding too long or too fast and you're worn out. But I'm only at mile 20 out of 62!!! And the steepest hills are still in front of me!! I was worried. By now there were only a few riders anywhere near me on the road, so I tried to focus on pacing myself (I had long since slowed down from that fast start). Made to the next rest stop at mile 30 where once again EVERYTHING WAS SET UP IN THE MUD. Good lord what were these people thinking??? There is so much pavement around that could have been used. I got water and used the portapotty but skipped the food table because I'd had enough of sinking my heels into the mud.

    Okay, back on the road. Legs still not feeling good. Trying to turn my mood around again. Think of a song, think of a song, think of a song. The rest stops were only 10 miles apart but it seemed like forever before I reached the next one. I was hungry. Happily we did not have to stand in the mud at this stop. Yay!! We were 40 miles into the ride and there were more volunteers than riders at this point. They had sandwiches that looked good but I didn't have one because the steepest hills were imminent and I didn't think my stomach would handle it well. So I stuck to simple high-carb snacks. I also filled my water bottle with iced tea and lemonade, which really hit the spot.

    The last 23 miles actually went really well. The clouds were burning off, the steep hills were not that bad, my legs stopped hurting (which made me very happy but was perplexing -- I've never had that kind of burning tired feeling go away during a ride before). I was totally alone on the road so I could sing out loud on the downhills. We had one more rest stop -- again everything on pavement, yay!!! -- with very friendly volunteers. I was very happy as I finished the ride. Average speed was 13.2 mph, and it was a few minutes after 1:00 when I reached the finish. Two hours before the route closed and comfortably above the minimum speed.

    But when I reached the finish line, with its big inflated red arch, I felt like I had missed the cutoff. Usually at this sort of charity ride they make a big deal when you ride under that arch. Often they have a photographer there and you're able to buy photos from them after the ride. But not this ride. No one noticed me as I crossed the line. Okay, that's anticlimactic.

    They told us we would pick up our commemorative t-shirts after the ride. I find the tent, there's a table in the middle covered with t-shirts and a volunteer who is obviously tired. We're supposed to go through the piles and find our size. Seriously? I'm exhausted, I'm not thinking clearly, I just rode my bike for 5 hours. So the volunteer helps me find my size and it's way too big but they don't have anything smaller. I say never mind, keep it, I'll never wear it anyway. Moving on, I really need food. Have to pass in front of the DJ who is playing music way way way too loud on my way to the food tent. And I shouldn't have bothered. The tent is empty except for one volunteer who is cleaning up like the picnic is over. There are three long tables. One is empty except for a plate of sliced cheese. The second is empty except for a small pile of something -- potato chips maybe. The third is empty except for a bowl of lettuce ("salad") and a pile of things wrapped in foil labeled "veggie burgers." These are clearly the things that no one else wanted, so you know they're ice cold. The choices for drinks are water and pre-bottled sugar-free iced tea. I say to the volunteer, seriously, this is really all you have?? She looks surprised -- I really don't think she knew that people were still out on the course. She says she can get me more food. Well if there is more food then why are you hiding it?? I am way too tired and glycogen-depleated to deal with this. So I give up and go back to my car where I have an assortment of Clif bars and fig bars to eat. Then I clean off my bike, change my clothes, put the mud-covered booties into a plastic bag, pack up everything and drive to a convenience store up the road for more food. I bought a Klondike Bar and sat on the curb by my car and looked up at the blue sky while I enjoyed it.

    I knew this would be an emotional day. I signed up for this ride because my friend had just died, in part due to complications from diabetes. But I also was remembering previous Tours de Cure that I rode years ago. I did the first one with my friend Lauren, who had led the first group ride I'd ever done. I did another with Reese and Scott. Scott could have ridden with a group of faster friends that day but he chose to stay with me and Reese to make sure we were okay. He even helped Reese with some saddle adjustments along the way. Both Lauren and Scott died a couple of years ago. So this year's ride was full of memories for me, and sadness. At the end I was glad that the cycling part had gone well.

    I'm still just amazed at the lack of organization throughout the whole day, and am working on a list of lessons learned from it to share with people I know who organize cycling events every year. Mostly it's about communication, making sure volunteers know the things that the riders need to know and that the people at the rest stops and post-ride picnic know that just because the big crowd has gone home doesn't mean it's time to shut down. That the slow riders deserve as much respect as the fast ones. And for the love of all that's holy, don't set up the tables in the mud when you've got plenty of dry pavement available.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102
    Well, it sounds like the riding part went well and the weather held out.
    The last 2 charity metrics I did had about 3-4K feet of climbing, so I started at least an hour before the start. These were local things, though. Assuming everyone is averaging over 15 is not nice after you have ridden 62 miles and there's no food left!
    ETA: I hate hogging this thread, so just adding in I rode to work today. Decided to take the long (5.6 miles instead of 3 miles) way home and then cursed myself, as it involves a climb that I never like, but... after that I am approaching home from a different direction, and while it some involves traffic, it's downhill, and I don't have turn left across Main St into my street. The great thing about my new commute from the condo, is that even at the height of rush hour, there's nothing particularly challenging, in terms of traffic. My office is moving July 1, and it will involve riding through the village, which can be horrible if it coincides with the commuter rail stopping and the traffic backing up, because when the train stops, the gates go down near the station, as the train actually extends into the road. There is a go around, which would mean riding as I do now, and then cutting across on the street my office is on, from a point past the station. There is a light here, and it's a steep downhill, so I would not want to be stopped in the middle of this downhill, but I guess it's better than sitting in traffic.
    Last edited by Crankin; 05-12-2016 at 03:35 PM.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,828
    I put the bike and all my gear in the car on Wednesday in case we had enough of a break from the seemingly-endless rain to go for a post-work ride. It didn't rain, but I just could not motivate myself to get out there. Left all the stuff in the car, maybe Thursday will be better. Well again it wasn't raining but I'm just done with the damp gloomy chill. And besides I was neglecting my strength training in favor of getting in shape for the TdC so I decided to hit the gym instead. Left all the bike stuff in the car again, just in case Friday was better. Sure enough it rained in the morning but then OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT BLUE STUFF I SEE OUTSIDE MY WINDOW IS IT THE SKY YES IT IS THE SKY HALLELUJAH HALLELUJAH. So when I finished work I changed into my bike clothes -- short sleeve jersey with NO BASE LAYER woo hoo!! and headed to the community center where I like to start my evening hill rides.

    It was a 75 degrees when I started. It was also almost 8 pm and the sun was about to set. So I packed a vest and arm warmers in the handlebar bag and wore my lightweight tights. They were more than I needed but they're covered with reflective stuff and besides I expected the temps to drop into the 60s soon.

    The crazy thing is that after only a few miles I felt like turning back. I just wasn't into it. It's early May and I'm already burned out. So lesson learned, don't plan any more ambitious rides in the early spring that require lots of training and forcing myself to ride in crap weather. Anyway I rode on and realized I just didn't want to ride the hills. There's really no way to avoid them in the area where I was riding but I was able to change the route to skip a few hills and take less-steep alternatives to others. As I neared the flatter part at the end, I felt much better. I ended up riding 17 miles.

    This morning I cleaned my bike. It was a mess after the wet roads of the TdC. So I gave the frame a thorough cleaning, wiped down the wheels, cleaned the impractical white bottle cages, cleaned and lubed the chain. The endless rainy gloom has now been washed away and banished to the past!

    Tomorrow will be a long flat ride with the bike club that includes a stop at a strawberry festival. It should be breezy and cool but SUNNY. I'm really glad it will be mostly flat.

    p.s. This was the sky outside my office window as sunshiny joy washed over the land.

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    Last edited by ny biker; 05-14-2016 at 10:10 AM.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102
    So, we led the AMC New Members' ride today, our 8th year... if it's sunny, we usually have between 35 and 60 people, hence, we have 4 leaders and 2 groups. We changed the ride to a different location last year, much less traffic and pretty, too. So, today, we had only 15 people! It is gorgeous out, on the way to 80. We made the decsion to go out together, and keep the pace a bit below what the faster group does, and have one of the other leaders stay in the middle, and one be the sweep. There were people who were more in line with the back of the slower group speed, so this worked out well. DH and I rotated being on the front, and then one of us would stay at a corner until the sweep came by. We also regrouped a few times.
    So 4 of these people are friends my friend who is a regular friend, that I helped start riding a few years ago. They are experienced cyclists, but are not good climbers. We have ridden with them once before. The 2 women would not shut up. Bragging about what they can do, etc. One (the one who is friends with my friend) kept going in front of DH at the beginning of a climb, so she "wouldn't fall back" and then generally passing us on downhills. We were moderating everything, so everyone would be happy. Finally, as we were going down a longer hill in Boxborough, she said to us, "I never put my brakes on, on a descent." I flat out told her that is not good strategy for a group ride, and generally dangerous. This woman had a very serious crash commuting to work a few years ago, and broke her neck. I know it was on a downhill in the city I grew up in, very close to Boston. A place where you have to be foolhardy to commute, as the drivers are terrible. She got it, and then, besides her constant yapping, it was better.
    AMC is more safety oriented than traditional bike clubs, and it really irked me. But, everyone ended up happy. I think there were less people because it's a week later in the season than usual, and there are lots of things going on. Well, next year, it will definitely be the first Saturday in May, as DS#2 is graduating from Claremont McKenna College, after his 9 year detour from U of A, on the second Saturday.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,828
    Well it was wonderfully sunny today. A good 20 degrees warmer than average for May, barely 50 degrees when we started our ride today and never getting much into the 60s. But it was windy! The forecast I checked when I woke up said 10-15 mph but it seemed much worse than that, strong enough to feel in the car when I drove to the ride start.

    Several years ago I learned the hard way, don't go for a bike ride on a windy spring day. It's like being sandblasted by pollen, and my eyes just can't take it. But with the promise of a sunny day after so much rain and gray skies, and a ride planned to go to a strawberry festival, I forgot that lesson until it was too late. Only a mile into the ride my eyes were already in agony. When we reached the first rest stop (18 miles in) I went into the restroom and tried to wash the pollen away from my eyes with a wet paper towel. But the wind had dried out my contact lenses so badly, even though my eyes were closed I managed to move the lens in my right up and away from where it needed to be. I tried putting eye drops in but the lens refused to move back where it belonged. So I had to take it out and put it back in my eye. After that I could see clearly but it still didn't feel right, and I knew that if I tried to do the full 58 miles that we'd planned to ride I faced a serious risk of the lens drying out again and coming out of my eye. So I changed my plan and rode back to the start by myself via the shortest route. Instead of 58 miles my total for the day was 28. On the one hand I was disappointed, but on the other hand I felt so unmotivated when I rode just two days ago that I think having today be a short, relatively easy ride will help me enjoy the rides I hope to do over the next few weeks.

    Meanwhile there was still that strawberry festival. When I got back to my car I put more drops in my eyes. They didn't feel great but weren't bad enough to be concerned about being able to drive. So I packed up my gear and drove to the church where the festival was taking place. I got there just before it officially opened, and not long afterwards my fellow cyclists began to arrive. We had four different groups from our club, representing different classes (speeds) with some doing the long ride and others doing shorter versions, so I had a chance to visit with people that I don't often ride with. I had fresh berries with whipped cream, a slice of pie that was full of berries and two small tarts. After all the cyclists left I saw two other club members who had arrived by car, and I had more fresh berries with whipped cream (and cake this time) with them. Then I bought a quart of berries to take home. Strawberries are really not my favorite thing, but today they were just so good -- if they were always this good I would eat them much more often.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #23
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    Had a late dinner and stayed with my friend Alexandra last night in Azusa. Today we rode to the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino to spend the day wandering through the beauty of the gardens and doing photography. Nice ride through some interesting and expensive neighborhoods with wide bike lanes (easy riding side by side) the entire ride and no hard climbs to speak of. Overcast all day with temps in the high 60’s low 70’s. A relaxing day with 42 miles of pleasant riding and a day of sharing the sights of some wonderful gardens with a good friend.







    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    Thanks for all the ride reports.

    NYbiker- I hope you'll send some feedback to the Tour de Cure organizers. You worked hard and deserved to have your efforts celebrated.

    This was a much more utilitarian riding week for me! 3 (count 'em 3!) commutes in one week. The commute route I'm on now is about 9.5 miles, mostly on a newly finished section of paved path, and goes along a wash and through some relatively natural desert. So it's great having 7 miles without any cars to worry about- just a few pedestrians and other cyclists. The afternoons are getting warm but it still hasn't broken 100 degrees. The local saying here is that is when the ice breaks on the Santa Cruz River. The Santa Cruz River hasn't flowed year round for over 100 years! But it feels good to get on the bike after buckling down to grade student projects for two hours- helps clear the brain.

    Saturday I took a shortish (21 mile) ride up to Saguaro NP. I lost our annual park pass, which was still good for about 9 months and had to buy a new one. It's $80, but we get our money's worth because it's $5 to get in otherwise- and between my husband and myself, we probably get in at least 30 or 40 visits or more. And it's good for use in national forest sites and other national parks when we travel.

    Sunday- About 8 miles on the Surly because the road bike is sitting in the shop now. I went to look for a rare bird (a Least Tern) at a park about 3 miles away and then back to the grocery store - filled the panniers and tried out my new Brooks Saddle.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    8
    I have a 4-day tour at the end of the month which should be wonderful and post-worthy, but for now I'm just trying to get my miles in. Besides one really nice ride through Ft. Harrison State Park, my rides have all been relatively boring mid-distance rides up and down the rail trail (convenient because I can drop my son off at the YMCA child care and get right on the trail for an hour or so).

    Of note, though, is the fact that I have, for the first time, averaged 14 mph on a ride of any distance. It was only 11 miles, but I'm still proud! This may seem like a small accomplishment, but I am a slow rider -- I always think of myself as a 12-mph-rider. Looking back at mapmyride, my *fastest* ride in May of last year was 12.5 mph. So, I guess I actually am getting faster!

  11. #26
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    632
    I've never done a group ride. Bicycling has always been mostly a solo thing in my life, now and then riding with a friend or two and, these days, my husband. He's very much the causal rider, though. It's not a lifestyle as it is with me.

    Now at the mid-May point and I've managed to ride each and every day, anywhere from 10 to 25 miles each day. A little bit of it has been on backwoods trails and fire trails with the fat bike, but most of it has been pavement miles with the road bikes on county roads, which wind though our beautiful north woods. Now approaching 250 miles and, with luck, may finish out the month with 500.

    The weather has been all over the place this month (even some light snow) but I still have my winter specific bike clothing from when I used to winter commute so I ride, no matter what the weather. Lots of wind, this time of year, of course, but that's all part of the game. One thing for sure, I don't want to fall back into the rut of being a fair weather, only, rider.

    I have both gently rolling routes and some pretty heavy duty hill routes, so my average speed very much depends on which route I take. I can usually stay around 14 mph for an average speed on the gentle routes when I push myself, but the hilly routes cut me way back to 10 or 11 mph, even when giving it my best. I try to alternate these routes one day or two to the next.

    My daily May riding has also given me a chance to compare my different bikes and even after a lifetime on a bicycle, it still amazes me how two very similar bikes as far as specs, can be so different. Each has its personality and that just adds to the fun. Here's one.



    It's a Salsa Fargo, a very unique bike, somewhat the offspring of a 29er mountain bike and a touring road bike. Heaven forbid, if I had to go with just one bike, this would likely be it. Pretty much a go anywhere, any kind of surface, any kind of weather bike, a bike I would pick, first, for exploring unknown country or roads. Not fast, definitely not slow, but always steady and very comfy for long outings, thanks to the steel frame and those big wheels. Not usually a fan of red for a color, but this is a deep metallic hot red. I love it.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-17-2016 at 08:57 AM.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    I get the solo riding. The Fargo does look like a great option especially for your area. Nice design and nicely set up. Whose handlebar bag is that? How do you like it? I’m a paved road rider and hiker in this area and i do like that kind of exploring.....and now missing rural wooded roads

    …..so many places a bike can take you....and moments of smooth and steady
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 05-17-2016 at 02:34 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    8
    That's a fantastic looking bike, north woods gal!

  14. #29
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    632
    Thanks, folks.

    You know, I don't even remember where I got that bag. Have had it for many, many years and it's been on a lot of different bikes. It's about as big a handlebar bag as I would care to use, but big enough to store a rain jacket, some tools and a cell phone and so on. Back when I was commuting, I mostly used a messenger bag and pannier bags for trips to the grocery store.

    Like I said, the Fargo is no speed demon, but it's no dog, either. Very much a steady Eddy kind of bike on pavement, once I get it rolling along. The beauty of this bike is that I can use it off pavement, equally well, on all but the gnarliest single track. Those big 2.2" tires are also great for commuting over some of those horrible pothole and busted pavement city streets. At my age, I really appreciate a bike that doesn't jar my teeth loose every time I hit a crack in the pavement.

    Most of my road miles, this month, though, are with more typical road bikes like my Domane. Our country roads are in pretty good shape.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-17-2016 at 04:50 PM.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    Quote Originally Posted by indiana_jane View Post
    I have a 4-day tour at the end of the month which should be wonderful and post-worthy, but for now I'm just trying to get my miles in. Besides one really nice ride through Ft. Harrison State Park, my rides have all been relatively boring mid-distance rides up and down the rail trail (convenient because I can drop my son off at the YMCA child care and get right on the trail for an hour or so).

    Of note, though, is the fact that I have, for the first time, averaged 14 mph on a ride of any distance. It was only 11 miles, but I'm still proud! This may seem like a small accomplishment, but I am a slow rider -- I always think of myself as a 12-mph-rider. Looking back at mapmyride, my *fastest* ride in May of last year was 12.5 mph. So, I guess I actually am getting faster!
    looking forward to a post on how the tour goes!!!! and BE proud! thinking you'll be getting faster and with more endurance the more you ride. I'm happy to get away for an hour's ride anytime Enjoy the rides, the miles and the tour!!!
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

 

 

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