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  1. #276
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    AzTallRider, You are doing well, don't beat yourself up. You are riding with guys who have been at it a long while. With training you will be able to finish the bridging effort and stick with the group. It can really hurt when the effort is Z5 then having to recover while still in Z4. I'm not sure that I would want to ride with guys who blow red lights then drop the guys following the law. Hang in there and keep your head up. Remember you are a 50+ newbie and the young guys have youth on their side.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  2. #277
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Cleave, We were happy the weather turned out okay Saturday but we missed you at LAVRA.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  3. #278
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AzTallRider, I agree with A'Jet. You are doing really well. Cycling, like golf and tennis, takes a long time to improve. We all have faced the unclosable gap that seems so close but in reality it might as well be a mile. Your bridging power will improve over time. But as you discovered, it is better to stay attentive to the pack.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #279
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I did my first race of the season today. I raced in the Cat 4 race that had 60 or so riders. I'm not sure of the total but 49 were pre-registered and they took same day entries. It was a fairly flat 47 mile race with 12 mile laps that had three river valley crossings per lap that worked the pack pretty hard. I stayed near the front of the pack on the first lap and had to burn a couple matches latching onto the back of the leaders when the guys in front of me let a gap open. At the conclusion of the first lap we had to make the steepest and longest of the river crossings. I believed the pack would get split on the climb and got up the hill with the first 5 guys. We had a 50 yd lead and tried to make a break away. It worked for about 1/2 mile but we got caught because we were not organized and only me and another guy took pulls. As soon as we got caught another break went off the front and by the time I got around slower riders I needed to bridge 50 yards up to the attacking group. Three others riders and myself did catch the 8 or 9 man break. I was really gassed by the three very hard efforts in 10 minutes and could barely hang on to the group. After about 2 miles with the break group I had to let them go and drifted back to the main field.

    I recovered by drifting to the rear of the main field and just sat in for 2nd half of the lap. On the third lap I decided to make the rest of the race a good work out and moved up to the front of the pack. I was in 2 or 3 unsuccessful break attempts and bridged the whole group back up when some guys got off the front a little. Our Cat 4 race was pretty fast as we passed the Cat 3 race on the 3rd lap. As we were passing the neutralized Cat 3 field one of the riders inside of me pulled over and pushed me off the road and into a drainage ditch. I must have used my cyclo cross skills as I was able to ride the bottom of the ditch then ride back up the side and back into our pack. Luckily some guys saw me coming back and yelled "your good, your good" and let me back in right in front of them.

    On the last lap I rode right near the front waiting for any break. With 5 miles to go the pace dropped off and the chess game began. I stayed at the front going up the last 2 hills but there were no break attempts. With 2 miles to go three guys went off the front and I bridged up but the field soon followed. Two more riders did the same thing and I got on their wheel and they tried to ride off the front. I thought that I was gold for the field sprint then they both blew up with 350 meters to go. As the field passed I got around and tried to sprint but was used up by then and just rode home with the back of the field. The field sprint was for pride, as we never caught the break group. The race was won by a pro mountain biker who is working to cat up to be able to ride Cat 2 by August.

    Ended up with a really great racing workout. I believe I rode very strong for my first race and had a lot of snap in the first 5 pedal strokes anytime I needed it. The hills were a strength of mine today. I can't wait to race guys my age at the Steel City Showdown Crit in Pittsburgh in mid-April. Next up is the rescheduled race on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next Saturday.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  5. #280
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Thnaks so much for posting your race. It was fascinating reading it. Good on you.

  6. #281
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Great report, Jet. I would have been in a heap at the bottom of the ditch. Oh wait. No I wouldn't, because I would have been way off the back, and not tangling with the Cat 3's! I love hearing reports from you fast guys - major motivation.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  7. #282
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I raced at LA Velodrome indoor 250 meter wood track, 45 degree banking in Carson, CA. I did the 500 meters and 2K pursuit. My time in the 500 was 42.17 seconds and 2:55:51 in the pursuit. In July, last year my best time was 2:47:20 in pursuit and 40.2 in the 500. I negatively split the laps in the 2K. It was a fun time and my wife raced as well. This time the center of the velodrome was occupied by a teenage girl volleyball tournament. We arrived at 8AM and left at 2PM. The girls will still going at it and some had started running laps around the top of the stadium.

    Here are some pics courtesy of Pat Benson, a local racer, who photographs races for the events.

    LAVRA 2K pursuit suffering and killing the black line. If you ride the black line at the track it is the minimum distance to travel and records the fastest time. It is harder to do on the 250 meter track with the added G force and shorter radius turns.



    500 meter finish.



    We saw Pat last week when we were in LA and asked her to come to event to take some shots. Here I am when I saw Pat at the start when we were getting ready for the 500 meters.



    My wife's 2K Pursuit



    500 meter finish

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  8. #283
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AJ, Congrats on a great first race of the season. My heart skipped a beat when you wrote that you were forced off the road into a ditch. Fortunately, you are a great bike handler as well.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  9. #284
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    This time the center of the velodrome was occupied by a teenage girl volleyball tournament. We arrived at 8AM and left at 2PM. The girls will still going at it and some had started running laps around the top of the stadium.
    If you gave them half a chance, I'm sure they'd take over the track as well. I watch a lot of girls volleyball. My stepdaughter plays, and my wife went through college on a volleyball scholarship. SoCal is the girls volleyball capital of the known universe. Great healthy sport for the girls, and boys too when you can pry them away from football and basketball.

    Great shots, Hermes. Does how you compare to last year make sense given where you are in your training cycle?
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  10. #285
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Nice start on the season Hermes. Those time are pretty close to peak performance. Why do you use aero bars and drop bars? Do certain races differentiate the choice?

    My endeavor onto the ditch was weird, almost slow motion. Possibly since we were only going around 18-20 mph I had time to react or quite possibly the recovery was just another cyclo cross maneuver, or my coach may suggest it's all the core/stability work he prescribed over the past few months. He needs to justify some of the pain inflicted.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  11. #286
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    If you gave them half a chance, I'm sure they'd take over the track as well. I watch a lot of girls volleyball. My stepdaughter plays, and my wife went through college on a volleyball scholarship. SoCal is the girls volleyball capital of the known universe. Great healthy sport for the girls, and boys too when you can pry them away from football and basketball.

    Great shots, Hermes. Does how you compare to last year make sense given where you are in your training cycle?
    The parents of the girls were in the stands and they had very large spreads of food. It certainly looked like a great time.

    I do not know about the results versus training cycle. Last year, I started racing on January 1 and did a stage race mid March. I closed the season the end of October. My peak was in July. So this year, I want a Peak a couple of months later. So I am happy with where I am today. There are number of techniques besides raw power in doing a great pursuit or 500 m. There is the standing start. One has to practice a lot of starts to get good. I have not been doing any. The other aspect is riding the black line and negative splitting the effort. I have that part down. So to peak up for a race is practice starts and motor pacing or overspeed efforts. I am going to do more z4 and SST efforts on my TT bike and in the drops so that when I get to an event that is important, I can peak for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Nice start on the season Hermes. Those time are pretty close to peak performance. Why do you use aero bars and drop bars? Do certain races differentiate the choice?

    My endeavor onto the ditch was weird, almost slow motion. Possibly since we were only going around 18-20 mph I had time to react or quite possibly the recovery was just another cyclo cross maneuver, or my coach may suggest it's all the core/stability work he prescribed over the past few months. He needs to justify some of the pain inflicted.
    At the track, all mass start races require drop bars as well as the flying 200 meters and match sprints and team sprint. Pursuit, 500 meters and kilo allow aerobars. Most kilo and all pursuit racers use aerobars. 500 meters is a toss up. My wife thinks she can control the bike better (ride the black line) and start more explosively in drop bars. One produces about 2 Gs in the turn so riding the black line with aerobars looks easier than it is and many racers end up above the red line in the 500 meters. In the 500 meters, one is standing the first 3/4 of a lap and the start is everything. Plus, you have to transition from the drops to the aerobars at max power in the 500 which some racers do not want to do and think it costs more time than the aerobars provide after the transition.

    The only way to know is to do it both ways and see which works better.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  12. #287
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    We took off - 50+ riders in the A group. This group is at the opposite extreme of a no-drop group. When the group was split by a light turning red, right at the start, the ones that made the light (most of them by running it ) just rode off. Didn't even slow.
    Hi AzTallRider,

    IMHO, this is the problem with race pace training rides. These kinds of rides encourage people to do dangerous things, like running lights, because the rides become informal races. If you can eventually find some like-minded training partners, you can still get a great workout without increasing the risk of getting run over.

    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    This was the fastest group I ever tried to hang with. It is somewhere past the edge of my limits. How much, I'm still not sure. I have no margin of error. If I get gapped, I'm done. I was with the front group of what had become A-2 (those of us that hadn't made the light), when they unexpectedly pulled into a shopping center. Way early for a stop, but I figured it must have been a planned regroup, so I slowed a bit. Wups. They were just cutting through the parking lot, and that little error got me dropped by that group of 8-10. I kept my pace up, and caught a couple of guys that had either been dropped by that little group, or the main A-1 folks. I tucked in behind, and we did a small paceline with 60 second pulls. Another guy we passed hooked on, and we motored through to the real water-stop. I filled and left right away, solo, and ended up having to wait for folks that really knew the route. There was an out and back section that didn't really show well on the Google Earth route map I was using. After I reconnected with the old paceline, the main group came blasting back the other way, and we all turned around to chase them.
    A cooperative paceline is a good way to get a good workout and a good way to work on group riding skills. You work as hard as you can when you pull -- hard enough to be high Z3 or just into Z4, but not so hard that you can't get back into the line when you come off the front. It sounds like the missing ingredient with your "A-2" group was cooperation. Otherwise, everyone would have known that the shopping center was a short cut.

    The problem with riding with a group like this and getting dropped early is that you get a very intense, but short workout. For the same amount of time on the bike you'd be better off doing intervals by yourself.

    As a beginning racer it can be hard finding a good group ride for race training. I would suggest finding a club with a lot of racers. You can generally find a few guys (and gals) who have similar training objectives where you can get a better group training ride.

    If you can't find a group like that, Plan B is to keep going to the ride and eventually, as you get stronger and learn the tactics of the ride (like which lights are likely to split the group) you should be able to stay in and get a longer, harder ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I did my first race of the season today. I raced in the Cat 4 race that had 60 or so riders.

    Our Cat 4 race was pretty fast as we passed the Cat 3 race on the 3rd lap.

    I can't wait to race guys my age at the Steel City Showdown Crit in Pittsburgh in mid-April. Next up is the rescheduled race on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next Saturday.
    Hey Allegheny Jet, sounds like a pretty "exciting" first race of the season and a great effort on your part. I prefer a little less excitement.

    It looks like there are some significant differences between racing in Ohio versus SoCal. I don't know that I've ever seen a Cat 4 field catch a Cat 3 field and a Masters 45+ field is almost always faster than a Cat 3 field in my neck of the figurative woods. The thing about doing a Cat 3 race in SoCal is that I am racing against a number of guys who are less than half my age. I did a Cat 3 race last year where I was the oldest guy in the field. (I didn't beat very many of them. )

    One other point that I didn't mention about the Valley of the Sun road race stage is that the Masters 45+ field did one more 16.5 mile lap than the Masters 50+ field. I looked at my time for the 50+ distance and even with being in a dropped group, my time was about 8 minutes slower than the 50+ winner rather than 35 minutes down to the 40+ winner. Hindsight is 20-20 but I won't make the same mistake next year. I'll be entering the "age appropriate" race instead of racing "down."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I negatively split the laps in the 2K.

    This time the center of the velodrome was occupied by a teenage girl volleyball tournament.

    Here are some pics courtesy of Pat Benson, a local racer, who photographs races for the events.
    Hi Hermes, I dream about doing negative splits. I really need to figure out how to meter my effort better in these short events because I think negative splits in the 2K are one of the keys to success.

    The volleyball tournaments, from what I understand, are what really pays the bills for the velodrome. I can't believe some of the food tables that the parents set up for those things. It's kind of like tailgating for a football game, but without the beer.

    Pat is a good friend and former clubmate. She and I talk about photography almost as much as we talk about bikes. She really got some good shots of you and MEA.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  13. #288
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    The volleyball tournaments, from what I understand, are what really pays the bills for the velodrome. I can't believe some of the food tables that the parents set up for those things. It's kind of like tailgating for a football game, but without the beer.
    At a recent tournament, one of the dads made machaca con huevos breakfast burritos. Incredible. The beer happens at the post-tournament cocktail hours and dinner. I go to out-of-town tournaments, even when my step-daughter isn't participating, so I can hang with the parents over dinner and drinks. Fun stuff!

    And as a side note factoid, Junior Volleyball not only supports a bunch of facilities around the country, it is also the primary source of funding for our Olympic Volleyball Teams.

    Thanks for the great advice, Cleave. This thread has become a big part of my racing education.

    Crit race tonight. My goal is to get settled into the D race pack as smoothly, and with as little effort, as possible, then finish with the pack. I tend to get so worked up, I'm in HR z5 within seconds. For the "C" race, I'm supposed to hang with the pack as long as I can. When dropped, I'm to rest up a bit outside the course, then rejoin when I can and once again stay with them as long as possible. Rinse and repeat. Without disrupting things, of course, which means at the back, which means lots of slow cornering and hard acceleration. My heart is pumping just thinking about it! Can't wait.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  14. #289
    Senior Member Dominae's Avatar
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    First road race

    Hoping for some friendly advice from other 50+ ers re: my first road race ever this coming weekend. It is a mens 40+ Cat 5 event, which should take some of the pressure off, nevertheless, I already have a case of the "nerves." I am fairly strong, having ridden in regular group rides with Cat 2s and 3s, but I expect that riding in a paceline on a Saturday morning is nothing like a race experience. What can I expect?

  15. #290
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Tell us more about the race (distance, grades, etc), or post a link to the flyer/website. I won't have that much to contribute, but others will, and that info will help them.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #291
    Senior Member Dominae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Tell us more about the race (distance, grades, etc), or post a link to the flyer/website. I won't have that much to contribute, but others will, and that info will help them.
    Its a thirty mile course, and is fairly flat. The longest sustained grade is 3-4% for a mile or so. There are also some small rollers. I am a slight guy, and so my strength is endurance and climbing. I am not a sprinter, and have done very little interval work at this stage of the season.

    By the way, my goal is simply not to embarass myself

  17. #292
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Is the race one lap or for example 3 laps up the one mile climb? Does the race finish on the flat or on the climb? One major difference between a Sunday hammer and nail ride and a race is that there will be some experienced racers who know how to use features of the course and wind to make the race extremely hard. So the first thought is course analysis and discussion with other locals who have course experience about what typically happens in this race. Where are the attacks? One would surmise that the peloton will go really hard up the hill to break up the field. A 3 to 4% grade generally does not break up a peloton but if you are out of position and get gapped AND the wind is cross, you may go off the back. It does not take much. If the wind is blowing into the face of the peloton on the climb, it neutralizes the climbers.

    If the course has technical features such as several high speed corners, expect huge accelerations out of the corners. Once again, you do not get that on hammer and nail rides and you will not be used to the power.

    You will need to rely on getting in the right position in the pack and do not get caught behind slow guys - easier said than done. Since you are slight, your advantage will be to hide in the peloton and conserve energy. Save your power until you need it. It may play out that you survive with the lead group and can use what sprint power you have at the end.

    The goal of a Cat 5 racer is to line up and start, keep the rubber side down, learn by experience and finish. Whether you win or drop out, you still get the same credit for entering the race toward your Cat 4 upgrade.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  18. #293
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    That sounds like a fun course. All I can offer is what I know my coach would say: "Sit In. Be Patient. Sit In." Sit In is her favorite piece of advice, and it's clearly the best way to avoid embarrassment. No obligation to pull in a race. She would also ban me from the bike the day before (as part of a low volume week that has a few short "race pace intervals"), and make sure I have my nutrition act together. 30 miles though. You can go pretty hard for thirty miles.

    The others can help more with exactly how to stay in the pack with the least amount of effort, something I have definitely not yet become good at!

    EDIT: Like Hermes just did!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  19. #294
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominae View Post
    Its a thirty mile course, and is fairly flat. The longest sustained grade is 3-4% for a mile or so. There are also some small rollers. I am a slight guy, and so my strength is endurance and climbing. I am not a sprinter, and have done very little interval work at this stage of the season.

    By the way, my goal is simply not to embarass myself
    There is a high probability that you will go off the back and get dropped by the lead pack. If and when this happens, do not immediately try to race as hard as your can to catch the pack. In general, that is futile. Instead, see who else is OTB and see if you can organize a chase group or at least a couple of other racers to work with. This will be more fun and you will learn more. Everyone goes OTB and DFL is okay also. Good luck.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  20. #295
    Senior Member Dominae's Avatar
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    The race is three laps around a ten mile course. The finish, as I understand it, is at the top of the 3% grade climb. Also, I am riding with a buddy who has much more race experience than I do, and plan to hide behind him. He is a strong sprinter, but does not have the same endurance that I have.

    Based on what I perceive to be my "strengths" it would seem that I would not benefit from riding along in the pack for the entire time hoping to do well in a sprint finish. I am stronger going harder early and maintaining that pace for 30 miles. The problem is I don't want to be out front by myself or with just a few other guys at any point in this race.

  21. #296
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    A lot of good advice has been offered already. I would add that you make a list of everything you need for the race and pack it all the night before. Don't do anything to your bike other than clean and lube it. As stated, don't lead ever!, even if guys are yelling at you. If they make you lead then go at a pace that you like, when it's not fast enough they will pass you, then grab a wheel and follow. There are always guys who want to impress everyone early on in the race never to be seen during the 2nd half. As for how to find a good wheel?, look for the big smooth guy and get behind him but look over his shoulder to keep an eye on the front especially, while climbing the 1 mile grade.

    Relax, enjoy the race, analyze the race afterwards and be sure to report your results here.

    Good luck.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  22. #297
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Just got back from this evening's crit, and I can tell you one thing: 'tis better to lap than to be lapped. :-) For the first time, I actually was able to implement my race plan. I didn't blow myself up getting settled in, made the right choices to stay in the front group, and was there in the sprint (6 of us I think) at the finish. I was 4th in a field of 12-15 (smaller fields today because of a couple of big crits this weekend). In the C race, I let myself get stuck behind a guy that was fading, as I was also tiring, and ended up OTB. After following him awhile, I knew we'd be lapped, so I dropped out, rested two laps, and rejoined the main pack. I was then able to hang in until they called lapped riders off with 2 to go.

    Huge difference from the last time out. I'm jazzed.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  23. #298
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    AZ, Way to go. It sounds like the training, tactics and racing are paying dividends.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  24. #299
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Sweet race AzTallRider. Riding both races will add to race learning experiance and provide a better workout. Keep it up!
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    Last night I did a trainer workout that simulated the track sessions at the LA Velodrome which was two sets of a basic interval pyramid but the high power efforts done at high cadence. On another note, do not fall off the rollers and land on your elbow. Last year in July, I was warming up on the rollers and fell off onto concrete. It was a typical 3 point landing which included a bleeding bruised elbow. The wounds healed but the elbow continued to hurt. Over the last few months, it continues to improve but I noticed the other day a sack of fluid on the elbow.

    I was now convinced it was more complicated than I thought and I saw a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Stanford Hospital today. The good news is my elbow is structurally perfect. He said where I landed typically causes trauma that lasts around a YEAR. This just keeps getting better. I love when very nice highly educated and skilled people articulate HTFU. I am to reduce my weight lifting load on that elbow and ice as required. If it swells up, he can drain it.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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