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  1. #26
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    At your weight, little guys are always going to drop you on hills. There's nothing you can do about that, because if you do get faster and start riding with faster groups, the little guys in those groups will be even faster going up hills. It's nothing but power-to-weight ratio, and smaller riders have a huge advantage there.

    Get yourself a 12-27 or 11-28 cassette - that will help you not have to mash as much up hills. Or maybe even an 11-32 MTB cassette.

    Don't worry too much about specific training for hills - a climb is really nothing more than a hard interval of some sort. Longer ones at or just below your aerobic threshold, shorter ones can be anaerobic (but not too badly anaerobic because you won't recover enough after the climb to avoid getting dropped). Mix things up on your trainer - do some 3-5 minute intervals that are pretty tough, maybe even in a hard gear at low cadence. But DON'T relax afterwards. It does no good to kill yourself on a climb if you're so dead at the top you can't continue, so you have to work on continuing.

    Make sure you're getting enough recovery time between hard rides, too.

    Most of all, just keep riding. You'll get better.

  2. #27
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    I personally like the relative solitude of cycling. I'll stop and jaw with people I run into along the way if I choose, but generally I really like that for a small window of my day, my time is mine and my headspace is mine.

    Riding motorcycles seems to have a similar group fetish aspect to it and I never really liked group rides very much either aside from the rule of threes for offroading. Even with that, I liked that people were in range, but during the ride, I liked to ride my own ride.

    I find it a lot more enjoyable to only meet my own timelines and my own goals. I ride with Strava for the convenience of tracking my own data so I can look back after the ride and get an idea for my efforts...I don't even look at it while I'm going along. If I happen to get an "achievement" during the course of my ride, it's just an amusement for me. The only achievements I'm concerned about is my own fitness progress.

  3. #28
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peiper1 View Post
    I simply cannot imaging ever going on a group ride. I have always ridden solo or with my wife, and I/we never worry about average speed, distance, etc. Riding a bike is simply about having fun and getting a good workout. Nothing more.
    If i ever want to really push myself i'll get one of those fancy ride tracking gizmos and a training book.

    Maybe I can show up and say "Is anyone a baseball fan?" so there will be something to talk about....
    Assume nothing; Question everything

  4. #29
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rteesdale View Post
    I'll say I'm more disappointed with my approach to hills, than fearful of hills. Grinding and mashing at hills seems to be my only option on a group ride. I can ride outdoors only 3 days per week, due to time constraints. If two out of the three days are group rides, I'm only left one day for hill training. When I do hill repeats I can be with myself, zig-zag, find my way to the top without stopping. At my weight, I need to spend more time with myself and hills generally so that I am comfortable with my approach.
    The thing is my particular group, while understanding that I am less fit; they've appointed themselves as coaches. They're all self taught, but what works for some of them has not worked for me. I've tried it.
    Here's another example. In the last 6 weeks I went from riding 20 miles to 50 miles. There is no training program that will endorse that rate of increase in distance over time, unless you were probably an advanced rider coming back out after a little hiatus. (I am relatively new)
    I'll think about what you've suggested, but I'm thinking that I need a more disciplined approach to what I am doing.

    Downhill straight or twisty is cool. It's fun. I prefer MTB downhills though. (I've a MTB as well)
    I have a 7mo old baby at home, so I know the limited time thing VERY well. The key I'm finding is take advantage of ever minute you can out on the bike. You never mentioned how long these rides are. And are you allowed more time on the long ride days? Another hour or two will do wonders to your overall progress. If allowed 3hr from the family, ride from home & go ride 2h45min moving time and factor in that 15 minutes for stop lights. 3hr at 17mph ave is about 50 miles x 2 or 3 times a week and you got some serious miles under your belt.

    Speaking of which, I don't think there are written rules to follow since everyone is different, this isn't running. Having some calculated formula written by someone that doesn't know you makes no sense to me how how much or less you should ride. My first day on a roadie bike, less then one hour after buying it my friends dragged me on a 56 mile hilly ride and I was about 250lbs. Sure it hurt like hell, didn't eat enough, ect ect. But that next weekend I did a 60 mile ride. If I can bang out 56 on the first ride, why not do it every weekend right? You will get stronger with more miles under your belt, just don't soft pedal all those miles if you want to get faster. Think SPEED not WEIGHT!!!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Well, riding should be fun, or at least enjoyable, so if you're not having fun, tweak the formula.

    It's frustrating riding with people who are faster than you but that's also the fastest path to getting faster yourself because you will push yourself harder than you would solo. 17mph is a pretty respectable average, but obviously there are faster people out there and there will always be people out there who are faster than you. Just shake it off and keep at it, sounds like you are doing well.
    I agree with this.
    I began riding with a group and it's really annoying how the skinny guys are up the hills no problem, and im in Zone 84 or whatever they call it. The whole time i'm thinking ''Lets get everyone a 40 pound weighted vest and see what happens"

    However I must admit that I've made more progress than I would have riding alone.

    It seems like your ''group ride'' is more like a group of friends / acquaintences who are a little lax about the group thing.

    In my bike club, they have different averages: A is 18+ mph
    B is 16-18,
    B- is 14-16,
    C is 14
    These are the actual averages at the end of the ride (like my bike computer says I had a 17.2 avg - not to be confused with "Well I was going 19 for most of the ride"

    In regards to my group, theres a tuesday ride where the route is pre-determined. It is posted Sunday is is not subject to change- ESPECIALLY adding hills. If anything, the lower groups will cut out a section or two.


    In regards to advice, i'm young and people tend to give me some advice on occasion, but luckily they're not overboard and becoming a coach.
    I had one guy tell me to not pass on the right (during a downhill- but he was about a foot away from the double yellow line)
    He probably wouldn't have said anything if I was his age.
    FACT: You can shave all the hair on your body to save 100 grams

  6. #31
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    OP : You will only get better at climbing hills with practice. I've been riding semi-regularly for the last year and a half and still struggle on the "easy" hills and I'm not even a clyde (been under 200lbs for most of this year). The fact that you can contain a average speed of 17mph for a 50 mile ride shows you are more conditioned than I am even in a higher weight class, my first and only 50 mile ride I only averaged 12.5 MPH. In my defense I ride mostly on gravel/stone dust trails and had my fair share of 12%+ grade hills to climb, although on the flats my speedometer didn't see below 15mph once.

    My regular 25 mile loop recently has turned into a 30 mile loop with a monster hill due to some road construction, add in head/cross winds that tend to follow me no matter what direction I'm going and my cadence drops instantly resulting in a much lower average speed.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  7. #32
    Senior Member smahler's Avatar
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    I tend to shy away from group rides too. To my knowledge, there aren't any Class C or D groups in my area (Maryland's Eastern Shore) - the ones I would feel more comfortable riding with. There's no way I'm good enough (yet) to ride with the Class A or B guys, so I ride by myself (try to go Tues/Thurs mornings before I go to work at noon) or with my girlfriend (who is slower than I am). I use the mornings I go alone to work on my speed and technique, and the times I go with my girlfriend (usually longer rides...+20 miles...Sunday mornings) I just concentrate on putting in miles, enjoying the ride and nature, and spending time with her.
    LET'S GO FLYERS! And O's! And Ravens!

  8. #33
    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peiper1 View Post
    I simply cannot imaging ever going on a group ride. I have always ridden solo or with my wife, and I/we never worry about average speed, distance, etc. Riding a bike is simply about having fun and getting a good workout. Nothing more.
    I guess I don't quite follow your argument. I find that I have more fun and get a better workout during group rides.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

  9. #34
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    Thanks for all the responses. Since the group is not very disciplined, I've worked out a plan to schedule a lot more "alone time". I'll link up with groups on a case-by-case basis, experimenting to see which may the best fit.

    I think the bottom line is that you have to be able to hold your own in a group so that whatever challenges come your way are still fun. I'll give it a shot again when I think I'm ready
    Last edited by rteesdale; 08-19-13 at 01:57 PM.

  10. #35
    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rteesdale View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I since the group is not very disciplined, I've worked out a plan to schedule a lot more "alone time". I'll link up with groups on a case-by-case basis, experimenting to see which may the best fit.

    I think the bottom line is that you have to be able to hold your own in a group so that whatever challenges come your way are still fun. I'll give it a shot again when I think I'm ready
    My approach is "I'm going to try and keep up, but if I get dropped, NBD." If you ride with fast riders, you'll get faster, even if that means getting dropped every time.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

  11. #36
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rteesdale View Post
    However, my body is saying that I'm doing too much too fast. I don't think I will improve by throwing myself into the deep end like this.
    Your body's response and info is key. If it is saying you're going to hard, then back off. I personally listen when I can, but at times I want to give it all I got and then some so I will "ignore" my body but then give it some time off. This month has been slow for me so when I do ride I thrash pretty hard to get a workout in, and I have been doing some light body weight exercises in the meantime.

    But listen to your body like you have, if you ignore it too much you'll burn out and be off a bike for several days and then be dissatisfied when you get back on. I hurt myself and didn't listen, well a few weeks later I couldn't ride and was off for a week. Not fun when it is a long weekend and beautiful riding weather and you're stuck at home.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  12. #37
    Senior Member smahler's Avatar
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    My gf (who I usually ride with) and I did a group ride (sponsored by the head of the local bike group - trying to make our city more 'bike friendly' - of which she is very involved) recently and I couldn't believe how clique-ish some of the riders are - not all but some. She does go on some group rides with some local ladies, but I won't do any (there are only Class A & B riders around here and I'm not at that level yet) and go out alone (where I try to work on my speed, endurance, etc.) or with my gf (where I focus on putting in miles, enjoying nature and being with her).
    LET'S GO FLYERS! And O's! And Ravens!

  13. #38
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    I use group rides to push myself further and faster. There you have an ability to tuck in, recoup energy and maintain speeds. They always discuss short cuts and pick up points if you can't keep up and just don't have it that day!

    These are not chat rides and I would never expect those superior riders to hold back for the weaker riders, not fair to their training needs.

    Look at cycling like golf, you are just competing with yourself to get better. Better can be healthier, faster, stronger, thinner, tanner, etc....etc....
    Pedal for health, pedal for fun......Just pedal!
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  14. #39
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    FACT: You can shave all the hair on your body to save 100 grams

  15. #40
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steeljag View Post

    Look at cycling like golf, you are just competing with yourself to get better. Better can be healthier, faster, stronger, thinner, tanner, etc....etc....
    +1000 to this


    and if you don't use it already, Strava helps track everything for you, every hard hills, every sprint point, every time trail in town...... anything you want!! Drive you beat yourself and you SHALL

  16. #41
    Junior Member MiddleAgeMan's Avatar
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    Rteesdale - This will probably be long and ramble on, so I apologize in advance.

    It's not just about riding with a group, it's also about riding with the right mix of people in the group to keep you motivated, but not frustrated. You need a certain combination of personalities and camaraderie with the people you ride with to make the group rides enjoyable. And I think that you haven't found the right group for you.

    I still ride with the guys that got me back into cycling because they are fun to be around. We have the tall goofy guy who is pushing to become a Cat 2 cross country racer who always tells us he is going to take it easy and then leaves the rest of us behind multiple times during the ride; we have the ham-calved short guy who can barely fit on his bike but has been doing MTB races as well and finishes mid-pack; the dead-pan delivery, over-worked beer-drinking guy who just loves riding, races occasionally, and is great riding sketchy lines downhill but is really slow when climbing; and then myself, the over-the-line off-color joke teller clyde who everyone has to wait for and seems to spend more time walking than riding the bike, who can climb somewhat okay but is scared S-less of rock gardens, and has crashed more times with injuries (some major) than the rest of the group combined.

    We spend most of the ride either making fun of each other or cracking jokes which makes some of the difficult riding we do fade into the background. The over-worked guy decided he was going to shave his head for a while, so we started calling him Darth Vader or Anakin Skywalker and made all sorts of Star Wars references when talking to him such as telling him to use "The Force" as we wait for him to get up the steep slope we just climbed. We poke fun of the Cat2-wannabe because he has never really grown up and is about a scatter-brained as you can get, most of the time hiding a piece of his equipment or doing something to his bike to get a rise out of him. I get laughed at when we stop for a break and I squeeze my helmet to my head and all of the sweat pours out like a waterfall. After one of my many falls, I was still lying on the ground when the others came up to stand over me and Cat2 says "I think we should piss on him." For Christmas Darth bought me a big roll of bubble-wrap and told me I had to wear it on the next ride. There is just so much laughter during our rides and that is what keeps us riding together. We've started doing road riding (except for Darth) which I am much more comfortable and competent with and quite often find myself waiting for Ham-calves.

    From a fitness stand-point, it is one of the most unlikely combination of riders you'd ever find, but the major reason we still ride together is because we have a great time even when one of us (usually me) is sucking. I can definitely say that my fitness has gotten to be much better riding with them than if I had just ridden myself. But there are also times when we each need to ride solo: Cat2 has a lot of training he needs to get in without having to wait for the rest of us bozos; Darth has a work schedule that does not always let him ride when we ride; and sometimes no one can ride when I am available due to child care scheduling. We each get to work on what we need to when we're solo, and get together when we need our fix of hi-jinx.

    One of the things I have learned when with a group is how important it is to keep together, at least within reasonable proximity. The four of us also ski or board. Our roles on the snow are totally reversed. I am the best rider on the snow with Cat2 always bringing up the rear. When we are skiing I am by default the leader and I always keep in mind how I feel when I get left behind while MTB'ing. I might make a suggestion here or there on ways they can be more efficient, but most of the time I just let them ride and experiment on their own. I always make sure that the rest of the guys are within my view and that everyone is okay, even when I just want to tuck and go back down to the lift. And I am okay with that, because I know I can go do some mogul runs or speed workouts later or another day by myself, but if there are problem I need to make sure everyone is safe. There have been many times when Ham-calves has had a boot issue or Cat2's breathing issues crop up and we've had to nurse them down to the lodge, cutting the day short. I've also OTB'ed and broken my collar bone in the middle of the woods 4 miles from the car. Since we were together, at least one of us always sacrificed our ride to make sure the guy having a tough time was able to get back. And there is nothing more important than that.

    There is a guy at work who rides often and is always asking me to ride with him. I'd love to but I know that he is at least 6 mph faster than I am and he quite often talks about how many people he drops during rides he's been on. I know it really isn't a good fit and if I take him up on the offer I'd wind up riding by myself in an area where I don't know the roads very well. That would just lead to bitterness and frustration, which is not something I'm up for in these early stages of my road riding.

    It sounds like the group you were riding with had no interest in helping you get through the ride, and just threw you to the wolves when you couldn't keep up. That's never a good motivator and can even dissuade newer riders from riding at all. I've had that done to me when learning to ski. Imagine this - It's your first ever weekend on skis and your "friends" take you to the top of a mountain like Mad River Glen in VT and then promptly disappear down the slope because they are tired of waiting for you, leaving you there with no skills and no way down the mountain without attempting to get unlatched from the bindings yourself and walking. It's not a good feeling. Find a group, or even a small core of guys like mine who are willing to stay and help you through a ride. If they are serious about riding with you they will push you to be better, but they will also work within your limits. If they are willing to sacrifice some of their riding time to help bring your level up, then pretty soon your limits will be much closer to theirs. And that is when everyone will benefit.
    Last edited by MiddleAgeMan; 08-20-13 at 10:10 AM.

  17. #42
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rteesdale View Post
    Thanks guys for the positive posts. It really is a "performance = self worth" thing sometimes.

    What I find most encouraging about this forum is examples like 2 wheeler's distance. It's OK to do "short" rides to build foundation. It's really important to have clear goals and stick to them.


    I just had a long talk with one of the guys from the ride this morning. (He did the talking mostly, I did the listening). He pointed out that the other guys on the ride thought my cadence was too high on the flats. I'm very comfortable with,what every one says is, 90-95. I tried to explain that, apart from being comfortable, I can ride at (the perceived) 90-95 for days with no issues. I don't have a cadence meter.
    He's insisting that I should drop a gear and go down to 80-85. Ok. Been there, done that, and you know what ? I get tired and cramp up by the end of a long ride with such a low cadence. What's the problem if I can maintain a high cadence, comfortably for the same distance?
    The guys also have racing cranksets. Since their 38 chainring and my 34 chainring are not the same, my cadence was a little higher, TO KEEP UP!
    (I'd be "mashing" on a smaller sprocket, with the lower cadence.)

    Could someone explain if my "science" is correct?
    Uhm, I worked hard to get up to 80-85 sustained. I WOULD LOVE to be able to sustain 90, let alone 95!
    Old school before what meters, higher cadences were recommended!

    You went, that's a win. You were smart enough to not get hurt trying to over reach, that's a double win.

    Are you better today then yesterday?

  18. #43
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeMan View Post
    We each get to work on what we need to when we're solo, and get together when we need our fix of hi-jinx.

    Sounds like a great group to ride with! But how can Darth also be Solo?

    But OP, like MAM just said, it's all about the group. I have ridden with guys who only care if you can keep up (which I didn't) and then I have been caught up riding with random strangers when I have been going places. Hope you find some folks that you enjoy the ride with!
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  19. #44
    Junior Member MiddleAgeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
    Sounds like a great group to ride with! But how can Darth also be Solo?
    We'll have to wait for Episode VII for the answer to that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Uhm, I worked hard to get up to 80-85 sustained. I WOULD LOVE to be able to sustain 90, let alone 95!
    Old school before what meters, higher cadences were recommended!

    You went, that's a win. You were smart enough to not get hurt trying to over reach, that's a double win.

    Are you better today then yesterday?
    I sure am. I've planned out a twelve week program starting today; and am I looking forward to the structure. I've the rest of my life for group rides, right now I really need the alone time!

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiddleAgeMan View Post
    It sounds like the group you were riding with had no interest in helping you get through the ride, and just threw you to the wolves when you couldn't keep up. That's never a good motivator and can even dissuade newer riders from riding at all.
    No need to apologize for the post at all!

    Let's just say that it was a build up of "wanna be" coaching and "challenges" that my body was not ready for.
    If I can't breath, I can't ride.
    I realized that it was time for some alone time again!

    I'm not ruling out groups in the future, its just not right for me right now...as you've clearly put it!

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackvans1234 View Post
    Hmmm... I'd say it was more like this:
    http://www.firecold.com/videos/is-it...ator-or-a-log-


    Can you guess who I was?

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    +1000 to this


    and if you don't use it already, Strava helps track everything for you, every hard hills, every sprint point, every time trail in town...... anything you want!! Drive you beat yourself and you SHALL
    Do you have the GPS on the bike's computer? Or do you use a smartphone or watch? I'm seeing mucho possibilities here!

  24. #49
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I have a garmin for when I ride my bike, I like the heads up display of speeds and stuff. But for running, I like to just use my phone, can run the strava app plus pandora for music and only carry one device in my pockets. Warning Strava does use some data when the app is running on your phone, but its free and there are allot of users on this forum running strava and cheering each other on there.

    Below is a snap shot of part of my century ride from last saturday, you can see the segments, PRs, 2nd best, length of segment, mph, grades, ect. Then you can compare segment results with others you are following or yourself, every time you rode it and what speeds. You can see your progression to speed this way. Keeps you honest with yourself too, just like the car racing video games where your chasing those ghost laps.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jsigone; 08-20-13 at 04:39 PM.

  25. #50
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    This thread touched a nerve for me. I like to ride with my wife, but she just rides too damn slow, and the reasons are entirely correctable, i.e., she cannot figure how to shift the damn bike. And other times she lolly gags just because she enjoys the scenery. Well I enjoy the scenery as well, but if we're on flat ground with no headwind I'm going to be going 20+ and I don't want to wait for you while you ride 12 and whistle Dixie.

    So don't think that it doesn't go both ways.

    Anyway, we got a tandem recently. I was very surprised by her power output and how fast we can go. Which points back to one thing, she cannot shift gears to save her life. And she gave me feedback that she was surprised how easy the pressure on the pedals was when I had control of the gears.

    Right, because I know how to shift bicycle gears!!!! And this is with the limitation of a Suntour 14-28 7 speed freewheel drivetrain which has index shifting but none of the modern niceties like ramps and pins that make shifting a lot better on more modern bikes.

    I have the tandem somewhat disassembled right now for a 9 speed drivetrain upgrade. Some of the parts I got are not right so I had to ship them back and order different ones. I left it apart because I don't want to be wasting time doing things over again, especially cables and handlebar tape.

    Last night we went riding after work on our singles and we managed 16 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes on a nice evening (well for Austin TX in August anyway, temps around 90 as opposed to 100-105). I barely broke a sweat, but I guess it was sort of fun. I kept thinking how much farther I could have gone either on my own or with the tandem but oh well.

    But at any rate, I am tired of barking at her to shift gears and she is tired of hearing it. Oh well...

    [edit] To the OP, I would go it alone if I were you. I ride alone a lot, have some regular loop routes from my house out the country and back. Don't have to worry about people going too slow or too fast, believe me I am hardly fast compared to the racer types and I'll only give chase until it's not fun anymore for me.

    The other thing, if you do go on a group ride and get dropped, don't worry about it, it happens to all of us.
    Last edited by brons2; 08-20-13 at 04:43 PM. Reason: more thoughts

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