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Old 05-24-08, 05:55 PM   #1
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Ah ... finally!

I finally took advantage of the opportunity to get out and take a longer ride today. Before today my longest ride of the year had been only 10 miles. I've been traveling some, had repairs on my bikes, the weather has gotten in the way a few times, and I've skipped it a number of times. The 10 mile rides had been discouraging, because I found them more difficult than 30 mile rides last fall - my legs got out of shape. Excuses, excuses.

Today I made some more adjustments to my new Fuji, swapping my Terry Fly Ti saddle to it, bringing up the adjustable stem another notch, installing new ergonomic grips, and adjusting the position of the saddle. I purchased the bike new in March and the longest ride I had taken on it to date was only 6 miles.

Had some yard work to do this morning, owed my wife a couple of favors, and so didn't get out of the driveway until 2 pm.

I drove down to the wonderful little town of New Glarus, which is the trailhead of the Sugar River Rail Trail. Took a 22 mile ride, through wetlands teaming with cattails & frogs, flowers lining the path in many places, under mostly sunny skies & near 70 temps. Absolutely perfect.

The Fuji was great. So smooth for a rigid fork, with my Conti Contact 700x32 tires one can barely feel the fine gravel of the surface in your hands. It handled the trail find too, plowing over bumps and small tree branches with no problem. I'm definitely faster on it than on my recumbent or Trek hybrid. Over the first six miles, into a slight headwind, I averaged 13 mph on the dirt/gravel surface. That's very good for me. On the return, over the same section of the trail, but now with a slight tailwind, I averaged 14 mph. Those are including having to make 3 stops at intersections and having to slow down a few times to pass families with small kids weaving across the trail.

Upon getting back to New Glarus, they had a community festival going on, with a live blues rock band playing. I stopped by the food tent to get a hot dog (locally made by a German butcher shop out of locally grown meat) and an ice cold diet Coke, then listened to the band for a while. Wonderful way to end a ride. My legs had that low burn that let's you know you got a bit of a workout in.

This was the kind of day that you hate to see come to an end.
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Old 05-24-08, 05:59 PM   #2
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Woo-hoo! Way to go, Tom. That's the kind of pain that hurts so good!
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Old 05-24-08, 06:30 PM   #3
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Yes it does. I'm hoping to get in a 30-miler in the next week. Will probably stick with the Fuji for the next few rides to see how that goes.

This is the first time I've had a chance to put the 105 group set through its paces. It was nice, quick, smooth, and quiet. The close gearing is not something that I'm used to, it's a 12-27 ten speed cassette. Several of the gears are only 1 tooth different. I'm used to 2- and 3-tooth shifts.
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Old 05-24-08, 06:32 PM   #4
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Sounds fantastic, Tom- here's to many more! BTW, 13 on packed gravel ain't nuttin' to sneeze at...
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Old 05-24-08, 06:34 PM   #5
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You know, a nice 20 mile rise can be so satisfying.
Did one myself (21 miles) today and after the mileage mania of the last 3 weeks, it was a real good ride.
Then, if you're planning a 30 miler next week, you've upped the ante.
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Old 05-24-08, 07:38 PM   #6
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I also had my first ever experience in putting air into a tube with a Presta valve. Having to unscrew the valve stem makes no sense to me.
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Old 05-24-08, 07:55 PM   #7
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Hehe, I'm new to Presto valves and they may become the bane of my existance; I seem to struggle to get them "started" so!

Maybe I'm just not holding my mouth right...
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Old 05-25-08, 01:37 AM   #8
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If the band was any good- I think I would have aborted the ride and just got back to the music.

Had a couple of weeks of working for the wife and not much riding has been done. This morning and it is pouring down. Time to get the bike out for a quick ride as I don't think I will be able to work outside much today- but I might try the marshes this morning. Don't think the back will take the hills at present.

Great to get out and ride- but have to agree about the milage. It takes me 20 miles to get into working the body after a lay off of decent rides. Just a pity I don't fancy 40 miles in the Rain. (Or is that common sense)
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Old 05-25-08, 03:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
I also had my first ever experience in putting air into a tube with a Presta valve. Having to unscrew the valve stem makes no sense to me.
The nut your are unscrewing is not necessary for the operation of the presta valve. If you fill the tire and let it set there, no more aire will leakout than if the nut is screwed back in.

However.......................if you go for a ride on the tire, air will burp out as the valve vibrates. So, the locknut is to keep the valve secure under vibration conditions.

The presta valve is nothing more than a small spring loaded disc at the bottom of the valve tube. Air pressure from the inside holds it shut. The weak spring assists in centering the disk and giving you a starting tension when there is no air in the tube. The pump does not have to depress the locknut or rod to cause air to go into the tire. More pressure iin the pump than in the tire causis air to go in.

Special things about presta valves.
If you unscrew the locknut too far and press the pump on too far, you will bend the shaft. The minimum to get the job done is proper.
The guage on you pump only reads the pressure in your pump. Unless you are in the act of pumping and air is flowing into the tire due to differential pressure, you are not seeing the pressure in the tire.
Good technique is to unscrew the locknut a couple of turns, tap it (air will burp out) to unstick the valve so that you will not have to create a great overpressure to get air to flow into the tire.
When you disconnect your pump, the air you hear is not coming out of the tire but rather out of your pump.

Presta valves are strong, simple, dirtproof and light. They will remain in operation for a very long time if they are not treated like they just came off the Chevy.
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Old 05-25-08, 12:43 PM   #10
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The guage on you pump only reads the pressure in your pump. Unless you are in the act of pumping and air is flowing into the tire due to differential pressure, you are not seeing the pressure in the tire.
I have no way of determine the pressure in the tire. For of course, none of my tire pressure gauges work on these stupid presta valves.

When I totaled up my final score of positives and negatives on the Fuji, my #1 negative was that it came with presta drilled wheels. #2 was that the cables are too short for me to raise the handlebars very much. I suspect an entire set of new cables will be needed soon - which irritates me because I know they cut the cables down to this size. Just like they cut the steerer tube on the fork to an inch lower than I would have had it cut. Now I have to put on long, steep stems to compensate for something that was once on my bike but someone cut it off.
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Old 05-25-08, 01:38 PM   #11
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I too had problems at first with the Presta's. I kept bending the stem by putting the pump on too far until a friend told me to be a little gentler. Another problem I had was when I tried using my cheap frame pump from WMart it didn't have a hose on it and I pulled the stem partially out of the tire while pumping. Tom, a very handy thing for any type tube is a pump with a guage on it, like a Joe Blow or equal. Then when airing up your tires you see the pressure as you go.
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Old 05-25-08, 02:12 PM   #12
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I have a Joe Blow.
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Old 05-25-08, 02:28 PM   #13
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The nut your are unscrewing is not necessary for the operation of the presta valve. If you fill the tire and let it set there, no more aire will leakout than if the nut is screwed back in.

However.......................if you go for a ride on the tire, air will burp out as the valve vibrates. So, the locknut is to keep the valve secure under vibration conditions.

The presta valve is nothing more than a small spring loaded disc at the bottom of the valve tube. Air pressure from the inside holds it shut. The weak spring assists in centering the disk and giving you a starting tension when there is no air in the tube. The pump does not have to depress the locknut or rod to cause air to go into the tire. More pressure iin the pump than in the tire causis air to go in.

Special things about presta valves.
If you unscrew the locknut too far and press the pump on too far, you will bend the shaft. The minimum to get the job done is proper.
The guage on you pump only reads the pressure in your pump. Unless you are in the act of pumping and air is flowing into the tire due to differential pressure, you are not seeing the pressure in the tire.
Good technique is to unscrew the locknut a couple of turns, tap it (air will burp out) to unstick the valve so that you will not have to create a great overpressure to get air to flow into the tire.
When you disconnect your pump, the air you hear is not coming out of the tire but rather out of your pump.

Presta valves are strong, simple, dirtproof and light. They will remain in operation for a very long time if they are not treated like they just came off the Chevy.
Thanks for that great explanation.
I've been using presta valves for a couple of years now but thought that asking how to use it properly was a "dumb question".
When I bought my first road bike, the LBS never even explained to me that the valve was different from your normal tire valve.
The first time I needed air and went to a service station,
I was surprised to see that the air hose fitting would not fit.
I now carry an adapter with me at all times.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-25-08, 03:51 PM   #14
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Thanks for that great explanation.
I've been using presta valves for a couple of years now but thought that asking how to use it properly was a "dumb question".
When I bought my first road bike, the LBS never even explained to me that the valve was different from your normal tire valve.
The first time I needed air and went to a service station,
I was surprised to see that the air hose fitting would not fit.
I now carry an adapter with me at all times.

Thanks again.
You really don't want to be filling bike tires at service stations with either type of valve. Get a bike pump. Many work with either type, some without changing the head. There is no need for adapters.
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Old 05-25-08, 04:29 PM   #15
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Regarding Prestas, I've also found that if you don't screw the valve closed after you've pumped it, someone with big dumb feet might inadvertently hit the valve stem and cause all your air to gush out real fast! It also adds mechanical support to the plunger needle, which keeps your tube (or tire in the case of a tubular) usable!

Other than those cautions, there's really no concern with Prestas. One may think that it isn't possible to read pressure accurately, and while I can't say that accurate guages don't exist, I think the same issue that makes it hard for Prestas exists with Schraders - air loss and hence pressure loss while decoupling the pump.

I don't think the number is actually very useful. Your fingers (squeezing the tire) should be your first clue that something is amiss with tire pressure, anyway.

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Old 05-25-08, 04:35 PM   #16
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I finally took advantage of the opportunity to get out and take a longer ride today. Before today my longest ride of the year had been only 10 miles. I've been traveling some, had repairs on my bikes, the weather has gotten in the way a few times, and I've skipped it a number of times. The 10 mile rides had been discouraging, because I found them more difficult than 30 mile rides last fall - my legs got out of shape. Excuses, excuses.

Today I made some more adjustments to my new Fuji, swapping my Terry Fly Ti saddle to it, bringing up the adjustable stem another notch, installing new ergonomic grips, and adjusting the position of the saddle. I purchased the bike new in March and the longest ride I had taken on it to date was only 6 miles.

Had some yard work to do this morning, owed my wife a couple of favors, and so didn't get out of the driveway until 2 pm.

I drove down to the wonderful little town of New Glarus, which is the trailhead of the Sugar River Rail Trail. Took a 22 mile ride, through wetlands teaming with cattails & frogs, flowers lining the path in many places, under mostly sunny skies & near 70 temps. Absolutely perfect.

The Fuji was great. So smooth for a rigid fork, with my Conti Contact 700x32 tires one can barely feel the fine gravel of the surface in your hands. It handled the trail find too, plowing over bumps and small tree branches with no problem. I'm definitely faster on it than on my recumbent or Trek hybrid. Over the first six miles, into a slight headwind, I averaged 13 mph on the dirt/gravel surface. That's very good for me. On the return, over the same section of the trail, but now with a slight tailwind, I averaged 14 mph. Those are including having to make 3 stops at intersections and having to slow down a few times to pass families with small kids weaving across the trail.

Upon getting back to New Glarus, they had a community festival going on, with a live blues rock band playing. I stopped by the food tent to get a hot dog (locally made by a German butcher shop out of locally grown meat) and an ice cold diet Coke, then listened to the band for a while. Wonderful way to end a ride. My legs had that low burn that let's you know you got a bit of a workout in.

This was the kind of day that you hate to see come to an end.
Tom, great ride report! I love it when I have a ride like that. I really have a similar pattern every year, that the first few rides are hard, short, and sluggish, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to move this year. But lately I've come back from 30 and 40 milers feeling like I could have gone farther, and realizing I've gone up "that hill" a little easier! Nice to see I'm not the only one who sometimes has to struggle back into shape.

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Old 05-25-08, 09:41 PM   #17
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Tom, glad to see you really like your new Fuji and can finally get out and enjoy it. Sounds like you got yourself a bike made for you.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:12 AM   #18
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Made for me except for the 52t ring. I knew that going in. It is essentially useless to me. When I was spec'ing parts for a potential build, I decided to go with a mountain bike crankset, something along the lines of 44/34/24. In retrospect, when I purchased the Fuji, I should have had the crank swapped for one of those. But I was enamored of the external bearings bottom bracket and stayed with the stock 52/39/30 set. And it was cheaper to just leave it the way it came.

The 39 & 30 rings are good, very useful. But the 52t might as well have the teeth filed off and then it can function as a chain guard. I attempted to use it the other day, I can't use the large 27t rear sprocket with it because that's cross-chaining. I can use the 24t okay, but once I shift up to 3rd gear (21t) that's already too tall for me on level ground. So I have one useful gear, which is a duplicate of gears I already have off of 39t & 30t rings.

As I said, I fully knew it would be useless going in, as I almost never used the 48t ring on my hybrid. I just had the hybrid's cassette replaced because I wore out the 4th & 5th cogs. About 80% of all of my miles last year were done riding my 36t front and 16t & 18t rear. Then if you added 3rd & 6th gear, the 14t and 21t cogs, you just covered 95% or more.

I'll keep riding it and see how things go. But I'm already thinking that maybe next year, I'll go back and have the crank swappped ... at considerable more expense than it would have cost me to have it done at the time of purchase when I had the tires and pedals swapped. Or see if there is anyway to replace the large ring with a smaller one, but I don't think that can be done on this crankset. It would be nice if I could drop it down to a 46t.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:26 AM   #19
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Tom, if the rest of the bike suits you, then it sounds like the crank swap would be a worthwhile investment.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:51 AM   #20
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Made for me except for the 52t ring. I knew that going in. It is essentially useless to me. When I was spec'ing parts for a potential build, I decided to go with a mountain bike crankset, something along the lines of 44/34/24. In retrospect, when I purchased the Fuji, I should have had the crank swapped for one of those. But I was enamored of the external bearings bottom bracket and stayed with the stock 52/39/30 set. And it was cheaper to just leave it the way it came.

The 39 & 30 rings are good, very useful. But the 52t might as well have the teeth filed off and then it can function as a chain guard. I attempted to use it the other day, I can't use the large 27t rear sprocket with it because that's cross-chaining. I can use the 24t okay, but once I shift up to 3rd gear (21t) that's already too tall for me on level ground. So I have one useful gear, which is a duplicate of gears I already have off of 39t & 30t rings.

As I said, I fully knew it would be useless going in, as I almost never used the 48t ring on my hybrid. I just had the hybrid's cassette replaced because I wore out the 4th & 5th cogs. About 80% of all of my miles last year were done riding my 36t front and 16t & 18t rear. Then if you added 3rd & 6th gear, the 14t and 21t cogs, you just covered 95% or more.

I'll keep riding it and see how things go. But I'm already thinking that maybe next year, I'll go back and have the crank swappped ... at considerable more expense than it would have cost me to have it done at the time of purchase when I had the tires and pedals swapped. Or see if there is anyway to replace the large ring with a smaller one, but I don't think that can be done on this crankset. It would be nice if I could drop it down to a 46t.
you can certainly get a different ring and install it. But I've found I sometimes like to rest a bit by pedaling with a little force at say 60 or 65 rpm. For that at my speeds I want a 52 or 53 tooth gear. but if you spin all the time, do the 46 or a 48.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:26 PM   #21
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you can certainly get a different ring and install it. But I've found I sometimes like to rest a bit by pedaling with a little force at say 60 or 65 rpm. For that at my speeds I want a 52 or 53 tooth gear. but if you spin all the time, do the 46 or a 48.
You think I'm going to spin a 48t at more than 65???

If I want to spin at 65, I'll just go up a gear or two on my 39t. I tried to shift up to the 12t rear cog while on the 39t the other day ... I couldn't get near it. Stopped at the 14t, where I was spinning at 60 max.

Maybe later in the summer I'll try to do that again. I might have gotten down to 12t on the 30t front ring, but that's cross-chaining.

Needless to say the 52t front ring and 12t & 13t rear cogs are going to be like-new condition for a long time.
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Old 05-29-08, 08:01 PM   #22
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*** LONG POST ALERT ***

I'll drop my experiences of the past two days into this thread, as it is related.

So after struggling through 10 mile ride, then finally popping for the 22 miler, which was a mild struggle towards the end, as told in post #1, I went off for two days of riding on central Wisconsin trails.

Day 1 started in Elroy Wisconsin, where the famous Elroy-Sparta Trail, the "400" Trail, and the Omaha Trail all meet. They have a great trail depot and bike supply shop there, selling common accessories at low prices. For example cycling shorts are $20.

Decided to ride the Omaha Trail, because I've never been more than 3 miles up it and it is paved and I wanted to try out my new Fuji on a paved surface. Had a great 30 mile ride. Chatted with 2 couples at stops, one was a wonderful couple who looked to be in their mid-60s and who had ridden nearly every trail in Wisconsin over the past 3-4 years. They had discovered comfort hybrid bikes about then and found that they could go riding again, which they'd given up due to not being able to ride their old bikes anymore.

This trail has a short train tunnel on it and the sign before you get to the tunnel warns you about ice in the tunnel. Yeah right, it is almost June! Well, there was ice in the tunnel. I cursed it because it is almost June and it should be gone. On the downslope coming out of the tunnel, I kicked it up a few gears and actually got into the 12t on the back (while using 39t middle ring). That's the first action the 12t has seen. It's not going to get a lot.

Had a BBQ sandwich at the trail end (midpoint of ride). None of this energy food stuff for me. Across the 30 miles I passed about a dozen trail users, only 1 walker.

Day 2: The forecast for today (Thur) had been 75 & sunny. Wrong! Never saw the sun. When I took off down the "400" trail at 9 it was 52 and overcast. Was wearing one of my thin Champion C9 jerseys ... after a mile I decided it was too cold for that and went back to my car. A friend recently gave me a high-tech micro-fiber long-sleever Irish soccer jersey. So I put in on over my C9 jersey. The combo was perfect.

Oh, I should admit that on both days I wore lycra cycling shorts UNDER my cargo shorts. The benefits of padding and spandex without the embarrassing appearance. This worked great.

Beautiful ride past the bluffs/cliffs of that area, past wetlands teaming with geese, ducks, and plovers. Birds everywhere, not a quiet spot on the whole ride. Saw an eagle feeding it's chick in a large nest high in a tall tree. Saw & heard a few Sandhill cranes. Stopped at two art galleries and an antique store.

Had a small 6" pizza for lunch and when I came out of the restaurant, it was raining. It was a light rain and I didn't know if I should make for my car (12 miles away) or wait. Decided it could turn into a heavy rain so I ran for it. Cycled the 8 miles to the next bike depot, where there was a covered pavillion. I hadn't ridden in the rain for over 30 years.

My arms got very wet, as did my lower legs, but the combo of two jerseys and two pairs of shorts keep me pretty dry elsewhere. My bike was caked with mud & sand from the dirt trail.

At about 2 miles from my stop, I was moving along at a very good pace for me. The rain was a good motivator. Then I came upon two Sandhill cranes and three deer out in the middle of the trail. I slowed and approached gently. The cranes let me get to about 60-70 yards away and then they started walking away from me. After a few seconds they picked up their pace to a steady jog. It was hilarious riding behind them, watching them totter from side to side. They continued to jog for a good 300-400 yards before finally going to flight. It was great.

I got to the depot and about 10 minutes after getting there, it quit raining. This was in Wonewoc, WI. There's a bakery there run by a 60'ish woman, where all of the prices are like you stepped back in time about 20 years. I got a fresh out of the oven, still warm, chocolate covered cake donut for 35 cents. Then I got back on my bike and headed for my car.

As I approached my parking spot, I noticed that while I had ridden 30 miles, I felt as good as I had at the 3 mile mark. My legs felt great, my back was fine. If I hadn't been dripping wet and caked with mud and fearful of more rain, I would have continued and set my sights on a 40-50 miler.

I just love riding these country trails. Oh, and on today's ride, at the 2 mile mark I passed a guy who appeared to be on a serious tour. Two nice pannier bags and a trailer. That was the only person I saw on the trails during my entire 30 mile ride. So I saw 6 Sandhill cranes, 3 deer, 2 eagles, dozens of geese, ducks, blue jays, goldfinches, etc., 1 person, and obviously, no vehicles on the trail. Such a peaceful ride. On most of the ride the trail diverges far from the roads, so you don't see or hear any traffic. It is like riding through a long park.
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Old 05-30-08, 02:20 PM   #23
Tom Bombadil
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Found out late last night that megaman was also on the "400" Trail at the same time I was. But we never met up. My cell phone had 0 bars and it wasn't until I got home that I got his message, telling me that he was also riding the trail.

Too bad. Would have liked to have chatted & ridden with him. Hope he had as good a time as I did ... and a drier ride.
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