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Old 11-16-07, 11:49 PM   #1
ShortStuff
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Tour de Tucson ride report

I know I'm starting this thread early (the ride is tomorrow), so consider this a pre-emptive strike.

I rolled down here last night from Las Vegas with Asia, Hollywood and Kara (a new Garrett Gang convert). We met up with Gene "JustMe" and Karen "Inked In Pink" who converged in Phoenix. This morning the four of us headed over to the convention center, getting lost on the way due to the construction. Not the best way to start the morning, but at least the check-in was smooth and organized and the bike expo was pretty decent. We also hit Performance Bike for some good sale items, grabbed some grub and then spent the day just hanging out shooting the breeze.

During this time, little did we know that Gene and Karen were off on another one of their "adventures." You'll remember their last adventure at Cool Breeze involved a detour to the old-folks home and an impromptu haircut at the salon! This time, Karen (aka "Einstein") decided to test a new math theory for calculating the distance between 2 points. They started from our hotel and rode 8 miles towards the convention center. However, it seemed to take them 22 miles to get back to the hotel. Hmmmmmm. Gene claims that Karen was just showing off her crit-riding skeelz by going in circles. When they realized they were lost, they asked a police officer for directions. His response, "Just don't get onto the freeway." Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Now, we are settled into our hotel with bib numbers already on our jerseys and helmets. We are ready to ride. It will be Kara's first century, so Asia and I will be riding with her for support. Anyone who is doing this ride, have a great time and I hope you look for us in our black and white UNATTACHED RIDER kits. Wave as you fly past us and say "hasta la bye bye." Can't wait to read everyone's ride report afterwards and see the great pics! Ride on . . .
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Old 11-17-07, 04:13 PM   #2
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Ride report!
Tucson is an absolutely beautiful place in november. That being said, no way in hell I'd be here in july.
Bike road great, I now believe in perpeteum (sp?). Really fun to be out in a city shut down for the ride. I think next time, I'm going to put the mtn pedals on, the river crossings were tough. Scary being in a crowd that had no clue what it was doing, great weather. Wonderful support. Official time was 5 3something, but I averaged almost 22. The timer starts with the gun, and I was in the very back.

Lessons Learned

1) Team in Training should be banned/have their own category. I saw soo many near misses b.c they were clueless. They should be set up in the back. Also, less time spent on outfit, more time spent making sure yer bike fits, is set right, and works!

2) Recumbents shouldn't be allowed - again, too many near misses cause Fred wants to ride his own way in the most efficient bike possible.

3) If you wanna make a paceline, pull some to! At least don't let me pull you for 50 miles, refuse to take a turn and then try to drop me at the finish.

4) Show up on time! If you don't, you get stuck in the very, very, very back. And you have to fight through above mentioned crowds. Oops.

Last edited by gr@sshopper; 11-19-07 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 11-18-07, 10:52 PM   #3
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Long Report--Sorry :o

Wow...I loved it--just my style of century! In learning about this ride, ETdT sets up a category of riders who start in order, platinum first, then gold, silver & bronze. You can line-up anywhere in these except platinum. Platinum riders are national & international racer level, Cat 1 & 2. OR--have finished El Tour previously in less than 5-hours. So, I had my goal--less than 5-hours; about 22mph. Do-able pace, but I've never done it for 109 miles. Plus, I hadn't really been training for distance plus speed--it's off-season: LSD rides, baby! Also, SCVRider had listed this as his goal, too, so I hoped to meet up with him & some others so we could work together to accomplish this.

Went down on Friday. Left home around 9-ish. Got to Tucson around 6:30 (who woulda thought Phoenix has rush-hour traffic too ) Went to Convention Center to check-in & get ride numbers/materials. There is no materials pick-up at the start.

Saturday morning was waaay too early, but I suffered through (plus, AZ is 1-hour earlier than us). I get up at 4am (or 3 LA time!), out the door at 4:35, and get in line at 5. The line is already starting to get long--a good 60-70 yards of about 10+ riders side by side! I had read to get there about 5:30 or so...glad I didn't listen to that! Being my first time, I naively thought my ample girth could keep me warm in the pre-dawn air--nope Other riders who had done this before--if they didn't have a friend helping at the start--(important tip for anyone next year) bundled up in thow-away items: garbage bags or consignment shop sweats. Then, as the start approached, they peeled them off and left them on the side of the road. The organizers pick it all up and donate it to one of their charities.

The platinum rider designation was ostensibly a safety issue for the organizers. They didn't want fast riders over-taking slower, inexperienced riders without group experience and potentially causing a crash. So they moved the faster riders up front. The Gold riders are supposed to be able to finish in less than 6 hours, the silver 7, and so on. Well, apparently some riders didn't read all the instructions. As I started, within the first mile, I was passing slower riders (some considerably slower) left and right as I tried to get up front to work on my sub-5 hour time--and I wasn't even at the back of the Gold start group. A few got upset, but, they shouldn't have started up front--and I was sure to not cause any accidents .

The ride went fine. I love riding in well-defined groups & packs. In the first 50-miles, we had a group of 100-150 riders strong. Excellent. After the 65-ish mile mark, we progressively thinned out. I finally finished in a group of 15 or so. The only short-coming: many either were too tired to work in a paceline or didn't know how. We could've finished 15-minutes sooner than we did if we had worked well. Instead, a rider or two would work on the front until too tired, we would follow too long getting slower, then someone would surge to the front to take over.
  • River Crossings, aka, CycloCross
    There are 2: first at mile 8, second at mile 60-ish. I liked them. Rivers were dry. Just like walking/pseudo running through a dirt trail. The second helped me stretch my back a bit. I'm told that SpeedPlay pedals don't do so hot with the dirt setting stuck into the cleats (I ride Look Keos ) Plus, no other ride has river crossings that I know of.
  • Road Conditions
    Some were excellent--smoothly paved. Others were horrible--patches & cracks everywhere. I even had one of my water bottles get scared and jump off my bike I couldn't retrieve it as we were clipping along at about 25mph. Luckily, nobody hit it. The last mile, someone thought it a good idea to set up cones for us to ride behind, but they squeezed us down into a 2-rider wide lane, with poor pavement all around. Cones had been knocked over and one was in the way.
  • Water Stops
    These were ample. I'm told they had 17 or 18 of them Not too much in variety of food that I saw, though. Mostly water. But then, I only stopped at one, and barely had time to see the others. Trying to set a time has its disadvantage: you don't want to stop for fear of losing contact w/the group you're in. I managed to grab some water at the second river crossing as it was set up right in the middle of the river (good choice, BTW). I did manage to dehydrate, I'm sure, but re-fueled throughout the rest of the day.
  • Traffic
    For 99% of the ride--excellent. Police shut down each and every intersection we went through, even if it meant a long line of cars! However, the course was still open with potential for injury: We were in a 4-lane divided highway, going along at about 25-30mph. Our group of 150 riders strong had pretty much taken over our two lanes. However, a noticeable hillbilly pickup didn't let that stop him! He came up on our group from behind in the left lane. riders tried to get over when we all started shouting "Car back!", but it wasn't fast enough for him. The pickup tried to squeeze through anyway. He even went over the curb on the meridian to get through. A car just behind him did the same. Luckily, no one was run over. Unfortunately, we were between intersections so no police saw it.
  • Safety
    Although this is always a cycling issue, here, it is probably more so. Some riders are racing. Some are enjoying life. Mix 9,000 of the two together... I saw at least three accidents, each with two or more riders involved. Of course, these were all riders from the--even faster than our group--group as we came upon them after they were already down. I have no idea on incidents involving non-"racer" types. However, at 5pm that night (5 hours after I finished), I did see at least two non-racing riders being medically treated (probably for heat exhaustion/shock) with one cramping very severely and loudly.
  • Price
    I signed up last minute. The price was way too much at first, but I had a wonderful time. If I had signed up earlier and done some fund-raising (it is a charity ride), it would have been considerably less.

How Did I Do?
We were doing fine on our goal of sub-5 hours. Pretty much everyone in the group I was in had this as a goal. Otherwise, why would they ride so hard? We got to a point about 10-miles from the finish. 30 minutes to go for our time. We could do it. But, headwinds, and poor paceline technique--I was worried. And I had even resigned myself to my fate. I tried to increase the group's pace a couple times, but as soon as I pulled off for a breather, everyone would shut down the tempo. Of course, this only succeeded in decreasing my already dwindling energy reserves. Finally, I could only just hang on to the middle of the group. I had nothing left. I didn't think we were going to do it.

About 4-miles to go, still about 10-15 minutes. One of the riders surges to the front and keeps going. One or two more go with him, but soon fall back. We all up our pace. I'm hurting. Cops were peeling out their motorcycles trying to get ahead of us and shut down intersections. Cool.

We turn left onto the home stretch, about 1-mile to go. I have no idea on time. Again, some riders were sitting on front, getting tired and slowing everyone down. We all start hollering, "Get off the front! Let someone fresh come through!" They sort of did, but I and 2 others had enough. We surged out of the coned area into the street--it was safer here anyway--and sped to the front. Last right turn with about 70-yards to go. out of the saddle, pedaling hard--where am I getting the energy??

I cross the finish line and notice the clock overhead--4:59:14 Yahoo!! Amazing! I didn't think I would make it.

I really enjoyed the riding and will be going back next year, actually training for it this time
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Old 11-18-07, 11:02 PM   #4
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Great report! Congrats on your finish!
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Old 11-18-07, 11:04 PM   #5
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Great job, Mr. Platinum!
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Old 11-18-07, 11:05 PM   #6
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Results are posted:


http://www.pbaa.com/!ETT/ETT07Results/ETT07-FS.html
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Old 11-18-07, 11:09 PM   #7
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Wow, great time!
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Old 11-19-07, 08:39 AM   #8
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Wow, great time!
Thanks.

I'm sure Asia & gang took some pictures. Unfortunately, I was a little preoccupied .

I never did hook up with SCVRoadie, though, so Lee, pipe in. (He did say he's off through thanksgiving, so his report'll be awhile.)
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Old 11-19-07, 08:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gr@sshopper View Post
Ride report!
Tucson is an absolutely beautiful place in november. That being said, no way in hell I'd be here in july.
Bike road great, I now believe in perpeteum (sp?). Really fun to be out in a city shut down for the ride. I think next time, I'm going to put the mtn pedals on, the river crossings were tough. Scary being in a crowd that had no clue what it was doing, great weather. Wonderful support.
Official time was 5 3something, but I averaged almost 22. The timer starts with the gun, and I was in the very back.
Aww...you just missed it. Sorry to hear that! That would've really depressed me.

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Lessons Learned
1)
Relay for Lifers should be banned/have their own category. I saw soo many near misses b.c they were clueless. They should be set up in the back. Also, less time spent on outfit, more time spent making sure yer bike fits, is set right, and works!
Are these the Team in Training riders? I looked it up--there were 787 registered! Amazing. However, you are right, there's too many of them that didn't know what they were doing on a bike in groups.

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Originally Posted by gr@sshopper View Post
2) Recumbents shouldn't be allowed - again, too many near misses cause Fred wants to ride his own way in the most efficient bike possible.
Or at least have them start at the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gr@sshopper View Post
3) If you wanna make a paceline, pull some to! At least don't let me pull you for 50 miles, refuse to take a turn and then try to drop me at the finish.
In our group, the front riders never got off the front. Of course, when they did, nobody pulled through, either

Quote:
Originally Posted by gr@sshopper View Post
4) Show up on time! If you don't, you get stuck in the very, very, very back. And you have to fight through above mentioned crowds. Oops.
+1
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Old 11-19-07, 08:53 AM   #10
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Mark, that is a great story, congratulations.
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Old 11-19-07, 09:15 AM   #11
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Oops - Relay for Life=Team in Training. Sorry. I really admire what they did, and do, for fundraising. It's also great to see so many people who would otherwise not be active, be active. But.... I definitely was very worried about some of them.


Oh, and the time was meant to be 5:30 something (actually 5:25, now that the times were posted). When I saw how far back in the start I was, I knew I was going to make it, so I just went out to ride.

Amazing place though, huh? When else are you going to be able to ride like that?

Oh, and I'm guessing nobody was seriously hurt, as I haven't heard anything about it? I did see 2 pretty scary looking downed riders, so....

So yeah, everybody should sign up for this one!
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Old 11-19-07, 12:18 PM   #12
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Well....let me get my ride report out of the way.
Saturday morning at the crack of dawn we were all up and met at the waffle house for breakfast. Lara, Kara, Hollywood and myself arrived at the start line right as they began the countdown to start. Keep in mind we were at the back of the line. I mean the absolute back of the line. There were 10,000 people in front of us This ride was going to be Kara's first century - the most distance she had in her legs to that date were 45 miles. So Lara and I decided we would give up our attempt at platinum and ride with her to keep her motivated.

Once we finally got going I realized this was going to be a loooooooong day. At mile 12 I explained to Kara we cannot ride 10mph on a 109 mile course. So I could see she was already getting frustrated so Lara and I pulled ahead and decided we would have fun to make the time go faster. We wanted to set a record for the most stops on a century. We were gonna hit all 19 rest stops and REST at each. This had to be the most ridiculous idea I have ever had. But it worked for awhile......we waited for Kara at each stop and would wave her on to keep going because certainly she didn't need to stop at every one. Unfortunately by mile 70 I couldn't take it anymore. I told Lara I had to roll and leave her to the motivation. My legs were starting to get tight.

I took off.....with a twinge of guilt but rolling along at 19mph felt great!!! Then Inkedinpink (karen) called me on my cell to tell me Gene (justme) was doing the same and she would stay behind with Kara. So I slowed my pace a bit and low and behold Gene pulls up. We were almost to mile 85 when Lara comes up. We began chatting it up and when we looked back Gene was blown off the back sorry Gene. We waited about 30 minutes and he didn't show up. We were worried at first but figured he must be waiting on the ladies. Then Lara (who is always the voice of reason) said we really should wait for kara and ride into the finish with her Okay Okay leave me alone I will wait what's another hour. We then proceeded to ride slow. First we said we weren't going to go faster than 12 mph, then 14 mph, then 16 mph. But the team in training folks were all over the road so I told Lara we were just gonna break past that whole group and wait at the very last rest stop at mile 105. Well we waited and waited and waited. I had enough melon and animal crackers to sustain me for my next ride. As the sun began to set I began to whine again I wanted off that bike. I had enough lounging at rest stops.......poor Lara tried to divert my focus but then Gene and Karen came up.......thank God. So now Lara knew there was no stopping me. She said Kara was only 1 mile back. We all waited about 5-10 minutes for her to show but for some reason it felt like an hour. So we took off and Lara was resigned to wait. But then the guilt resurfaced and I called her and told her she better pick up the pace for those last 4 miles or they were gonna pull them off the course. That lit the fire !!!

I had so much fun on this ride. It obviously didnt feel like a century to me. I laughed more than ever on this ride...wayyyyyyyy longer than I would have liked...but my good friend Kara would have never made it without us talking **** for 95 of the 109 miles. Well worth it. I would gladly sacrifice a ride again so someone else can feel the satisfaction of such a great physical accomplishment.

SUMMARY -- not platinum, not gold, not silver, shouldn't have even gotten bronze : pictures to follow later. Of course I didn't see any familiar faces on the ride cause heck we were at the tail end but I did manage to see Lee and his beautiful wife at the finish. The after ride dinner at some mexican joint with Cyn, Joe, Dr. Dog, Stanc, Jed, Gene, Karen,Shelli, Kara, Lara and Hollywood was the bomb!!!!!


P.S. Nope I wasn't on GMR Sunday. I could have easily ridden GMR after the above 23 hour pedal and coast and eat and drink ride..... but we stuck around in Arizona and did and even better ride on Sunday. But thanks for looking out REDAL.

Last edited by nygirl777; 11-19-07 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 11-19-07, 12:22 PM   #13
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For Christmas, I give Asia this

Great write-up!! Now where are the pictures?
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Old 11-19-07, 12:25 PM   #14
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For Christmas, I give Asia this

Great write-up!! Now where are the pictures?

Hmmmm I don't see anything
Are you happy now........
Pics later.......can't download them at work unfortunately.
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Old 11-19-07, 12:31 PM   #15
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I am kinda happy. yeah.

It is just us old folks like to read your stuff too and old eyes can't track as well as you youngin's!! <grin>
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Old 11-19-07, 12:33 PM   #16
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I am kinda happy. yeah.

It is just us old folks like to read your stuff too and old eyes can't track as well as you youngin's!! <grin>
Couldn't actually read it myself

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Old 11-19-07, 12:37 PM   #17
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<grin>
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Old 11-19-07, 08:58 PM   #18
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Major congratulations to Mark (mkadam68) and Lee (SCVRoadie) for accomplishing the times they did.

ShortStuff and NYG have pretty well described the weekend activities, so I want to say thanx to everyone for such a great time. Didn't take many pictures cause by the time Karen and I got started, it was 8:10 and everyone else was well on their way. So for those that were dismayed at the congestion in the front of the pack, I can tell you it wasn't a problem an hour later (don't ask). Of course the time chip starts at 7:00 when everyone elses does, so your not going to make Platinum, Gold, or Silver time. Nor will you see any traffic control, SAG stops, or other support for the next 20 miles, so you better bring the route slip, map, and an odometer of some sort to find it. But, once you catch the back of the pack, you don't feel quite so lonely.

The first river wash crossing, and the REI awning hasn't come down yet. I think it was because a couple on a tandum were getting the bad news that the problem couldn't be fixed.



Getting the news that the last riders through were still well ahead of us, we pushed ahead past the 1st SAG stop, which was being disassembled, blew through the 2nd and 3rd SAG stops, finally catching the tail end of the mass histeria. The crowds were getting bigger at each rest stop as we forged on, providing some much needed psychological reinforcement.



We managed to make the 2nd river wash crossing where we caught up with Asia lady and little Lara, who were keeping Kara company, lending that much needed psychological support, for her 1st century ride. (Good job Kara)



So after stopping for some quick fueling up, and a brief reunion, (Hmmmm; I'm not sure about these two)



Moving on to the "big climb of the day", little Lara takes a breather at the top anxiously awaiting Kara's appearance on the summit.



OK gang, let's get this game rolling.



So, for the next 40 miles the chase was on. Dam, lady, give me a chance to catch up.

Trusty steeds resting after a day of hard play.


Last edited by JustMe; 11-19-07 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 11-19-07, 09:01 PM   #19
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Our place at the start

10,000 people in front of us -with the line wrapped around the corner

They counted down to START and 20 minutes later we are still here

Kara and Lara (Hollywood in the background) at the start

Getting ready to cross the first creek

Sea of riders crossing the creek

Mostly what Lara and I did while waiting around at the rest stops

Kara not liking us too much after carrying her bike across creek number two

Creek crossing 2
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Old 11-19-07, 09:04 PM   #20
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Yep it's dark


Lee was around at the end

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Old 11-19-07, 09:14 PM   #21
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Next day we did a ride in Saguaro National Park

The entrance to the park

Getting ready to roll

Beautiful scenery

Obligatory cactus pose

karen (inkedinpink)

Stance

Hollywood posing

Dr.Dog posing

Doc posing again
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Old 11-19-07, 09:16 PM   #22
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Shelli and Hollywood

Shelli - she got PLATINUM yesterday
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Old 11-19-07, 09:24 PM   #23
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Just for the record.......Gene was at the second ride but took pictures only. He doesn't put on cycling clothes for anything under a metric century.......okay so the scenic loop was only 13

He also didn't complain about sharing a room with Lara and Kara. HMMMMMMMMMMMM. That Gene is a slick one.

Congrats Kara !!!!
Congrats on Platinum Mkadam and Lee
Congrats Grasshopper !!!

P.S I'm glad Brandy's ladies ride was semi-cancelled....now I can attend it.
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Old 11-19-07, 10:53 PM   #24
merider1
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Great report, Asia.

And I need to move to Vegas. You got:

a. fine wimmin...fine
b. fine men...fine
c. fine men
d. Did I mention...fine men?
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Old 11-19-07, 10:55 PM   #25
nygirl777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merider1 View Post
Great report, Asia.

And I need to move to Vegas. You got:

a. fine wimmin...fine
b. fine men...fine
c. fine men
d. Did I mention...fine men?
And they're single and waiting for you Mary.......literally I know of one that is waiting patiently
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