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3 cheers for Diana Nyad...

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3 cheers for Diana Nyad...

Old 08-08-11, 11:16 PM
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3 cheers for Diana Nyad...

...swimming from Havana to Key West at age 61...

Live tracking:

http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2...yad/index.html

Her website:

http://diananyad.com/about-diana/

Los Angeles endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, is braving shark-infested waters for a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West. She's doing it to seek redemption. She's doing it to prove that you're never too old to go for it.

And she's also doing it without a shark cage.

Nyad's motto is "60 is the new 40." As she prepared to slip into the waters at Marina Hemingway in Havana to prove just that, Nyad said to the media: "I'm almost 62 years old.... I'm standing here at the prime of my life; I think this is the prime, when one reaches this age. You still have a body that's strong, but now you have a better mind."



Nyad tried this swim before, back in 1978, but she had to quit after 42 hours in the face of huge waves. Now, Nyad, a speaker, author and travel expert, sees this swim as unfinished business. In her goal to become the first person to make the swim without a shark cage, she wants to inspire her contemporaries that it's never too late -- and that they have many years of vitality, strength and service ahead of them.

This swim has been done before -- swimmer Susie Maroney accomplished it in 1997. But Maroney did it in a shark cage. Nyad will have some protection from the sharks that patrol the warm waters between Florida and Cuba:

A support crew includes kayaks equipped with underwater electrical shark shields -- which emit a frequency intended to shoo the sharks away. If that fails, divers are ready to intervene.

When Nyad announced her plans, the haters pounced. "I get emails from people saying they are shark experts," she told The Times. "They say I will be like a dinner bell out there. I've started deleting those immediately."

Maroney did her crossing in 23 hours, 47 minutes, an astonishing time that has led some to suspect that the cage helped Maroney draft in some fashion. Nyad expects to take about 60 hours. She started Sunday night, taking off from Marina Hemingway after snatching a trumpet to play a few jaunty verses of "Reveille." She expects to arrive on Key West's sandy shores sometime on Wednesday. She will take breaks for food and water, but cannot touch any of the craft accompanying her or she will be disqualified.

It's safe to assume Nyad probably did not spend last week watching Shark Week on the Discovery channel. But she has spent years pursuing this as a dream. Slashing through the red tape alone was daunting, given the frigid relationship between the United States and Cuba, never mind her grueling training regimen that included daily swims that could last up to 12 hours.

Now, Nyad is primed for vindication. She says she's a better athlete today than she was in her 20s.

CNN is accompanying Nyad -- safely, from a boat -- on her trip and plans to parlay it into a TV documentary hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "Diana Nyad: Xtreme Dream." CNN also has a nifty chart to watch Nyad's progress.
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Old 08-08-11, 11:48 PM
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Oops! I guess I jinxed her -- 30 minutes after I posted the note above, CNN just sent out a Tweet saying she's abandoned the swim after 29 hours in the water. Sore shoulder, asthma.

Great attempt, nonetheless.
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Old 08-09-11, 04:07 AM
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I don't know about things like this.

They just ran a triathlon here in NYC, and two people died from cardiac arrest. One was a 63 year old man, the other a woman in her early 50's I believe. I know many folks here will disagree with me, but I think it's nuts for people this old to be trying to compete at such a high level in such a fatiguing event. There does come a point when we have to understand we are not 25 years old anymore. We have to understand our mortality.

I'm all for excercise and even some light competition if thats what floats your boat, but triathlons, endurance swims? I don't think so....
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Old 08-09-11, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I know many folks here will disagree with me, but I think it's nuts for people this old to be trying to compete at such a high level in such a fatiguing event. There does come a point when we have to understand we are not 25 years old anymore. We have to understand our mortality.
What doesn't make the newspapers is all the people who die on their sofa with a Krispy Kreme doughnut in one hand and a remote control in the other.
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Old 08-09-11, 08:06 AM
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I like to ride my 20-30 miles and come home and sit on the sofa and eat a Krispy Kreme
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Old 08-09-11, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
What doesn't make the newspapers is all the people who die on their sofa with a Krispy Kreme doughnut in one hand and a remote control in the other.
True enough, but there has to be a happy medium between inactivity and over activity.

I believe in the saying of "growing old gracefully".
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Old 08-09-11, 10:24 AM
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Good for Diana, she gave it a hell of a try and was smart enough to call it when it got to be too much. I hope she will give it another try, or maybe on to the next adventure, I have nothing but respect for anyone who reaches for a lofty goal!
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Old 08-09-11, 10:30 AM
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She did give it a hell of a try! I felt so sorry for her when I heard she had to abandon the swim this morning, I even shed a few tears. However, her response to having abandon showed what a fine athlete and person she is. There's a lot of inspiration out there for us older athletes, and some of those who inspire are incredible. She's one of those.
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Old 08-09-11, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
What doesn't make the newspapers is all the people who die on their sofa with a Krispy Kreme doughnut in one hand and a remote control in the other.
Somewhere between "I'd rather burn out than rust" and "Do not go gentle into that good night" there room for all of us!
I'm not a competitive person -- I don't have to be first across the finish line, or even in the top 50% to the line. If I enter, I finish and enjoy every gasping breath and aching muscle in the process.

Folks who want to get comfortable in their LazyBoy and wait for the knock of the Grim Reaper are hard for me to understand. Not that I don't enjoy my chair -- I just have too much life left to live, places to go, things to do, mountains to climb, vistas to see.
If I die in the process... that life!

My hat's off to Diana. She's a great reminder that age is a number and to live is a verb.
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Old 08-09-11, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
Nyad's motto is "60 is the new 40." As she prepared to slip into the waters at Marina Hemingway in Havana to prove just that, Nyad said to the media: "I'm almost 62 years old.... I'm standing here at the prime of my life; I think this is the prime, when one reaches this age. You still have a body that's strong, but now you have a better mind."
Hi BengeBoy, I have been a big fan of Diana for a long time. She has a weekly report on our local public radio station and I always look forward to hearing her opinions on sports (though I don't always agree with them).

I was very sad to hear about her having to stop her swim. She tried to do this last year but politics with Cuba kept her from even trying. There were weekly reports about what she was enduring on our public radio station and this year there were similar reports leading up to her starting her swim.

I don't know if Diana will try again because even though she says "60 is the new 40" she is also pretty pragmatic in her thinking. I'm sure her trying again will depend on the severity of the issues that caused her to stop and the possibilities of overcoming those issues in the future.

Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I don't know about things like this.

They just ran a triathlon here in NYC, and two people died from cardiac arrest. One was a 63 year old man, the other a woman in her early 50's I believe. I know many folks here will disagree with me, but I think it's nuts for people this old to be trying to compete at such a high level in such a fatiguing event. There does come a point when we have to understand we are not 25 years old anymore. We have to understand our mortality.

I'm all for excercise and even some light competition if thats what floats your boat, but triathlons, endurance swims? I don't think so....
Hi Giacomo, I read the NYT article on the race. Very sad. However, I don't agree with your blanket statement. It really depends on your athletic background. As the last paragraph on the NYT article noted, there are a lot of older people who may have little or no athletic background signing up for these things. Those are the people that worry me. I see these kinds of guys in the races that I do and it is a worry to think that a few months ago they were doing little more than yard work as their main form of exercise.

There are a lot of older athletes that have been training and/or competing for all of their lives. Diana is someone like that. If you have been keeping your body working at higher physiological stress levels, then competing into your 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s can be done successfully and safely. Of course you want regular physicals and health checks but age alone does not define your ability to partake in strenuous athletic events.
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Old 08-09-11, 01:03 PM
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Old 08-09-11, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
Hi Giacomo, I read the NYT article on the race. Very sad. However, I don't agree with your blanket statement. It really depends on your athletic background. As the last paragraph on the NYT article noted, there are a lot of older people who may have little or no athletic background signing up for these things. Those are the people that worry me. I see these kinds of guys in the races that I do and it is a worry to think that a few months ago they were doing little more than yard work as their main form of exercise.

There are a lot of older athletes that have been training and/or competing for all of their lives. Diana is someone like that. If you have been keeping your body working at higher physiological stress levels, then competing into your 50s, 60s, 70s, or even 80s can be done successfully and safely. Of course you want regular physicals and health checks but age alone does not define your ability to partake in strenuous athletic events.
I hear what your saying, but I guess I believe there is a certain order to life.

Besides the very few gifted older athletes, who as you say have kept themselves in top shape, the rest of us should just leave it alone. We had plenty of time to prove ourselves physically. There comes a time when it is the senior citizens who have to keep society straight with wisdom, not physical prowess. It is the seniors that need to dress appropriately, speak well, wear their hair nice, get us back to church, teach us faith, sit us down and teach us the lessons of life. IMHO, they don't teach us much by trying so desperately to stay young, look young and be so youthful and pushing their physical limits beyond what they were meant to do. This society will spend anything and do anything to stay young, when growing older should be a time of joy, relaxation and pondering. It isn't that bad, we should try it!

Society needs our seniors knowledge and wisdom, not world record times in the seniors division from a 72 year old....

Just a thought!
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Old 08-09-11, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I hear what your saying, but I guess I believe there is a certain order to life.

Besides the very few gifted older athletes, who as you say have kept themselves in top shape, the rest of us should just leave it alone. We had plenty of time to prove ourselves physically. There comes a time when it is the senior citizens who have to keep society straight with wisdom, not physical prowess. It is the seniors that need to dress appropriately, speak well, wear their hair nice, get us back to church, teach us faith, sit us down and teach us the lessons of life. IMHO, they don't teach us much by trying so desperately to stay young, look young and be so youthful and pushing their physical limits beyond what they were meant to do. This society will spend anything and do anything to stay young, when growing older should be a time of joy, relaxation and pondering. It isn't that bad, we should try it!

Society needs our seniors knowledge and wisdom, not world record times in the seniors division from a 72 year old....

Just a thought!
Can I add a different point of view to that thought? Please understand that I am not piling on, just giving a different perspective.

You can use me as an example for this discussion, both ways. I am NOT a gifted "older" athlete. I was a 183 pound confirmed kitchen, umm - tramp, and wine consuming couch potato not that long ago. Through a wake up and goading by (concerned) friends I changed my lifestyle and became active. My fitness grew as my weight came down, and suddenly I found myself an athlete. Last September, at 58 years old, I participated in my first triathlon. I finished it. This past May I finished my second tri, and my third is in six weeks. I've run several 10K races, ridden three metric centuries and one full century, and many, many, many 100 plus mile weekends since my first triathlon last September.

As I said, I am NOT a gifted athlete. I am completely average, but I AM fit - now. I am NOT trying to prove anything to anyone, not even to my self. I am not trying to regain lost youth. I am just enjoying my fitness, reveling in things that I did not know I could do, and in the larger sense, getting more out of life than I ever knew I could.

It is true that there are people who attempt athletic competitions who do not have the fitness required to either compete in or finish the event. A triathlon is a demanding physical endurance test, true, but there are different levels in the sport at which one can participate. Also, the nature of a tri is three different disciplines. And, the person is going against themselves and the clock (if they choose to), not other competitors. One can go as hard or as easy as they care to, and they can stop after doing one of the disciplines.

Who knows why the folks who died in the NY tri passed. They may have had medical conditions, they may have worked too hard, gotten overheated, what ever. However, I don't think that means that they went into the event knowing they were attempting something too strenuous for their bodies to survive. I also don't think that other people should avoid an athletic competition because of it. And, it does not take an "elite athlete" to participate in a triathlon.

I do think people should gauge their fitness before they do try a three hour endurance test. Get off the couch and ride and trot and swim at least a month before the event to see how they feel. Ask their doctor if they are overweight or have medical issues before they "tri" it or train for it. And the key - train for it. Training is not only the key to fitness, it's a filter. Trouble will usually show up on the road to an event through that training.

Finally, age is a factor, but it's not the road block you painted. Unless a person has medical conditions that dictate otherwise, that person can take up athletics and become fit, and even compete, at ANY age.

All that said, I do see your point. I also believe, sadly, that most people do agree with your POV. That's fine. It's their life.
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Old 08-09-11, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I don't know about things like this.

They just ran a triathlon here in NYC, and two people died from cardiac arrest. One was a 63 year old man, the other a woman in her early 50's I believe. I know many folks here will disagree with me, but I think it's nuts for people this old to be trying to compete at such a high level in such a fatiguing event. There does come a point when we have to understand we are not 25 years old anymore. We have to understand our mortality.

I'm all for excercise and even some light competition if thats what floats your boat, but triathlons, endurance swims? I don't think so....
But keep this in mind: Diana is not some "jump off the couch and run a marathon" type. She's been an elite-level athlete (and world-class swimmer) for literally DECADES. Yes, that does make a difference.

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Old 08-09-11, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I don't know about things like this.

They just ran a triathlon here in NYC, and two people died from cardiac arrest. One was a 63 year old man, the other a woman in her early 50's I believe. I know many folks here will disagree with me, but I think it's nuts for people this old to be trying to compete at such a high level in such a fatiguing event. There does come a point when we have to understand we are not 25 years old anymore. We have to understand our mortality.

I'm all for excercise and even some light competition if thats what floats your boat, but triathlons, endurance swims? I don't think so....
Actually, the older you get, the more you should risk. It's not like you have fifty or sixty years ahead of you. What are ya going to do? Die? You're going to do that anyway.

I do understand my mortality, I'm going to die. I'd rather go out having fun then wondering if I could do something that is outside my comfort zone.
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Old 08-09-11, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I hear what your saying, but I guess I believe there is a certain order to life.

Besides the very few gifted older athletes, who as you say have kept themselves in top shape, the rest of us should just leave it alone. We had plenty of time to prove ourselves physically. There comes a time when it is the senior citizens who have to keep society straight with wisdom, not physical prowess. It is the seniors that need to dress appropriately, speak well, wear their hair nice, get us back to church, teach us faith, sit us down and teach us the lessons of life. IMHO, they don't teach us much by trying so desperately to stay young, look young and be so youthful and pushing their physical limits beyond what they were meant to do. This society will spend anything and do anything to stay young, when growing older should be a time of joy, relaxation and pondering. It isn't that bad, we should try it!

Society needs our seniors knowledge and wisdom, not world record times in the seniors division from a 72 year old....

Just a thought!
I think there may be a littlebit of that I would agree with, but not much.
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Old 08-09-11, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sarals View Post
Can I add a different point of view to that thought?
Very well said, Sara.
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Old 08-09-11, 03:39 PM
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Good points of views guys!

I only will add, that as seniors, it will one day be our responsibility to be the care takers of society. Society and our youth will need us and we will need to spend at least as much time providing our years of knowledge and wisdom with them as we do competing in the senior division of some competition. The problems we see in society today, could very well be because we refuse to grow old, as if growing old is something to be looked down upon. In the Far East, age is considered something to be looked up to, and they are revered and I would say their society appreciates what their seniors provide them far more than we do here. Our continual need to look hip and cool in front of our kids instead of looking and being worldly and sharing our years of learning is a real problem IMHO. I think there is a certain amount of selfishness to doing such events at a certain age. It shouldn't be about us at that point, it should be about being the caretakers of society. To die in one of these competitions at a time when we have so much to give to others, is a tragic loss to society and to those around us....

Good conversation!
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Old 08-09-11, 04:00 PM
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I'm trying to understand how we become caretakers of society, at the point in time we are handing the reins of society on to the next generation. You make it sound like our influence on society will increase past retirement. Is that what you are saying? How exactly do we be caretakers of society? Doesn't that include setting an example of how people should live life fully, and be healthy and fit?
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Old 08-09-11, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
I only will add, that as seniors, it will one day be our responsibility to be the care takers of society. Society and our youth will need us and we will need to spend at least as much time providing our years of knowledge and wisdom with them as we do competing in the senior division of some competition. The problems we see in society today, could very well be because we refuse to grow old, as if growing old is something to be looked down upon. In the Far East, age is considered something to be looked up to, and they are revered and I would say their society appreciates what their seniors provide them far more than we do here. Our continual need to look hip and cool in front of our kids instead of looking and being worldly and sharing our years of learning is a real problem IMHO. I think there is a certain amount of selfishness to doing such events at a certain age. It shouldn't be about us at that point, it should be about being the caretakers of society. To die in one of these competitions at a time when we have so much to give to others, is a tragic loss to society and to those around us...
I just don't see where because a "senior" is fit it's going to make him/her less credible to a young person.

Almost everyone I ride/run/swim/play with is a grandparent. Their grand kids seem to hold them in the same light and as reverently as anyone else's grand kids. I think the notion that we're perceived as looking down on growing old by youngsters is wrong. Quite the contrary. I take care of myself, and I'm complemented and even respected by young folks because I do. That's an aspect, it's not the whole story.

Also, this is a western society. Eastern values, laudable though they are, aren't practiced here in the general population. It would be nice if they were!

I don't think at all that because I choose to live my private life the way I do is selfish or "all about me". Not at all. It is my life, after all.

To die unexpectedly at ANY age is a tragedy. It's a life taken, it is a life lost, and it's so unfortunate (I'm thinking of those 30 souls on the helicopter in Afghanistan). However, cold as it sounds, it's inevitable. When it's your time, it's your time. Dying in a competition is as unforeseen as being hit by lightning. In either case, you're dead and gone. I believe it is much more of a loss for society when a promising young life is taken than the life of someone who has already lived out the bulk of their years and made contributions. But, that's me, IMHO.

Life is a gamble, and we shouldn't walk around when we're "older" thinking we should be careful because we might have a nugget of wisdom to pass on. By the time we get to be seniors, we've already made our mark - if we're going to make one at all.
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Old 08-09-11, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
I'm trying to understand how we become caretakers of society, at the point in time we are handing the reins of society on to the next generation. You make it sound like our influence on society will increase past retirement. Is that what you are saying? How exactly do we be caretakers of society? Doesn't that include setting an example of how people should live life fully, and be healthy and fit?
Agreed, AzT! Also, it seems to me that two generations below us are holding the reins, or are starting to, right now. It's not our responsibility. We have "old school values", and are "out of touch" - right??
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Old 08-09-11, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
...when growing older should be a time of joy, relaxation and pondering. It isn't that bad, we should try it!
Go right ahead. Let me know how it turns out - I'll be out riding my bike and playing with my grandkids (when I have any). Unfortunately, for too many seniors, it's not "a time of joy, relaxation and pondering", it's a time of poverty, loneliness and deteriorating health. But don't get me up on THAT soapbox...

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Old 08-09-11, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
Go right ahead. Let me know how it turns out - I'll be out riding my bike and playing with my grandkids (when I have any). Unfortunately, for too many seniors, it's not "a time of joy, relaxation and pondering", it's a time of poverty, loneliness and deteriorating health. But don't get me up on THAT soapbox...

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I figure there will be no way I'd be able to retire and afford health insurance, but I can keep my bike running and stay healthy.
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Old 08-09-11, 04:39 PM
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I surrender! Just trying to show the bigger picture, but I'm not doing so well...

PS - please understand that I am not against excercise, fitiness, or riding! Just the pushing beyond our limits in endurance competition events. There are far more important things to do than that....
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Old 08-09-11, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
I figure there will be no way I'd be able to retire and afford health insurance, but I can keep my bike running and stay healthy.
You too, huh?

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