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Day 23 - Harrisonburg, Virginia to Ashland Virginia
123 miles
4500' climbing

Earlier in the trip, Gerry Tatrai, who had just won RAAM dropped by on his way to Michigan with his race mechanic. He left his RAAM winning bike, a softride, in case anyone wanted to try it out. John decided to give it a go, and set it up the night before.

We started the day with our last major climb of the trip. Ray had been having trouble with his back and had only been riding half days. I suggested he could noodle along with me and probably make it all day. We decided to try this, but he didn't want to leave early. Knowing we had a big climb first thing, I rolled out at my usual time, figuring Ray would catch me by the first stop.

I waited for a long time at the first stop, but then got nervous about the rest of the day, and rolled out, expecting him to catch me at the second. But I guess I was feeling better than I realized, and I didn't see him until lunch. While at lunch I noticed John was moving pedals around. Apparently Gerry's handlebars could not be adjusted to suit him, so he was trying Lon's bike, which was identical, except for the stem. On this bike, he could get the handlebars higher. He was really enjoying the Softride, so I suggested that he ask Lon if he could use it on the qualifier. But Lon had already offered, which obviously meant that Lon felt John had excellent chances of doing well. We ended up jockeying back and forth, as John had to make several adjustments to his seat position. At one point I looked at my cue sheet and noticed that we would be passing through a town named Bumpass. This was an ideal photo opportunity, and I had to get a shot off John on the Softride in front of the Bumpass sign.

The next day was our final day, and while most of us were glad to be this close to the end, we were also a little sad that it was almost over. I realized that I had not asked Susan to ride her tandem yet, something I had really wanted to do. She said that she never got to ride the last day, and decided to ride in the morning. I put my pedals and seat on her bike, and got things set up for my ride with yet another RAAM champion.

When John planned his trip over from Ireland, he had arranged to do some work here, so he could stay around and ride the qualifier in Illinois a couple of weeks after PAC Tour. I had helped him put together a crew, consisting of Ray, Robert and Mike. I suggested that Ray spend some time with Joanne getting some tips on crewing. So John and Ray went off to dinner with Pete and Joanne to do some RAAM qualifier strategizing.

After dinner, John, Nancy and I headed off in search of ice cream. We decided to find a supermarket with Ben & Jerry's since there was no DQ around. After a long walk in search of an open store, we hit pay dirt, but kind of forgot about spoons. Nancy showed resourcefulness, using her lid as a spoon, until we found forks at a Taco Bell.