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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-04-10, 08:41 AM   #51
john423
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What pedals do you have? Most all of the one-sided road pedals I've seen and used are weighted so the front hook points up when your foot isn't engaged, so in theory you can easily slide the leading edge of your cleat into it, then step down. I say "in theory" because if you miss that on the first try, and you pedal through a crank revolution just to keep going, momentum can sometimes swing the free pedal into a less-than-optimum position for your second try. If, however, your pedal is "upside down" on the very first attempt, and you're having to flip it, I'd have someone take a look at it. The bearings may be binding somehow. It should spin freely.
I've got the Shimano R540. That right pedal always seems to be where I don't want it to be. What you said about momentum sums it up. If I don't get it on that first try, it gets tougher and tougher, and I can't seem to do much pedaling without being clipped in.

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If you have the flexibility to look into getting different pedals, something like the Time Z-Control pedals mentioned by Pamestique could be the way to go. Clipless pedals, with a platform which means that you can also ride with normal shoes without any problem, with all but the thinnest of shoes. To take a quick look at those, see here: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/L...?ModelID=25492

As for the seat, I had similar problems with the seat that came with my bike. I replaced it with a seat that had a split through the middle, and problem solved.
Like I said, my seat has a split through the middle. I'm convinced I'm riding too far forward on it, and need practice sitting back. And I'd love to have a set of pedals like that, that would be the best of both worlds. I have to get used to clipping in, though, I've already seen what a difference it makes on hills.

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I think I see the problem. Your bike (Allez Elite Double) is a race geometry bike. Not an extreme example of race geometry but still a significant difference from your commuter bike. One won't fit and feel like the other no matter how hard you try and pound the square peg into the round hole. Oh, and you should be thankful that you got the saddle that was just a board with a white cover. You could have got the saddle that was a bag of broken glass.

Yeah, I knew it wouldn't be a commuter bike, but I thought I could adjust to the differences better. I will, I just need time.

For clipping in on a hill, you are aware that you can still pedal without being clipped in right? Unclip your dominate leg at stops leaving your other foot secured to the pedal. When you start to go, place your dominate foot on the pedal and continue about your way. I don't have this problem as I use mountain bike dual sided SPD pedals on my cyclocross (road) bike. It just takes practice, you'll get it. Or, if you've only road it a few times and absolutely hate it, see if your LBS will return it and let you purchase a Secutar or a Roubaix. Those two bikes have a much more relaxed "comfort" geometry.
I can't pedal worth a crap if I'm not clipped in, it's tough. I can't get anything going if the pedal is on the opposite side. If I deep-six the road bike, I'm getting a better commuter I can also take on long rides.

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You can use mtb pedals that are two sided I use Crank Brothers Smarty/candy whatever on both my bikes they are so easy to clip into I often get clipped in when I really dont want to be like rolling up to a stop with my foot resting unclipped then I go to put my foot down and I am clipped back in. I still say that you should go with a cheapo set of platforms while learning the ropes on the roadie.
Dumb question - will pretty much any set of pedals fit on the bike?
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Old 11-04-10, 09:17 AM   #52
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Not a dumb question but yes for the most part the threads are standardized the cleats are different though but usually come with a set of pedals. The crank brothers I use "candy" are not platform but have a rather large area for your foot. I got my last set off ebay brand new for $25. I really like these pedals and do not plan on replacing them anytime soon.
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Old 11-04-10, 09:54 AM   #53
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[QUOTE=john423;11730606]I

Riddle me this, though, everybody: How do you get in the clips and get moving? Here's what I do: I get in the left clip and get going. I then get in the right clip with the bike moving. Hopefully this doesn't take too long. I'm usually successful, but I can't get moving going uphill, it seems. So I have to go downhill, get clipped in, then turn around and start going uphill again.

Newbie mistake... thinking to take off you must be clipped in to both cleats... I never unclip the left, I only unclip my right. This varies for riders. When I stop my left leg (still clipped in) I position forward, with my knee bent so imagine you have some room to push down and use this as your start stroke. As I push off with the left leg I get onto my saddle and I just start to peddle, I don't worry about the right foot being clipped in; either it will just clip in by itself or once I have sufficient speed, I can then take the time to clip in. After awhile it all becomes natural.

Here's where I screwed up yesterday: I had the bike in a really high gear, so it was hard to get the bike moving and keep it moving. So I couldn't get clipped in for trying to keep the bike going. And that was a pain considering I wasn't cllipped in on my right foot. So I learned to watch what gear I'm in before i get moving. I got off the bike, picked up the back wheel, and geared down to a much easier gear. I then got clipped in without a problem. So I learned something.

As you approach a stop you just adjust your gearing lower... this is especially important when moving fast on flats and your gearing it high. The lower gear will help you get moving again and then you can adjust back up.[/QUOTE]

As to the reach/handlebar problem... The Allez is an agressive styled bike... it's meant for young, flexible 140 lb guys who can bend at the waist almost horizontally... no problem... the stem can be shorter and adjusted upwards. I assume the stem is probably 120 or 130mm - see if a 100 or 90mm shortens the reach for you. Also consider a 15 degree rise in the stem. This will take the pressure off the "taint" and but you back on the sitz bones and hopefully give you the proper bend in your elbows.

You can fix all this... just give it alittle time...
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Old 11-04-10, 10:27 AM   #54
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I've got the Shimano R540. That right pedal always seems to be where I don't want it to be. What you said about momentum sums it up. If I don't get it on that first try, it gets tougher and tougher, and I can't seem to do much pedaling without being clipped in.
This is why mountain bike pedals and shoes are so great! The pedals have clips on two (or more) sides, so it's easier to get clipped in. If you don't get clipped, the pedals are flat enough and the shoes have enough tread that you can easily pedal without being clipped in. The Shimano PD-M520 is the way to go, in my book. Shop around a bit and you can find them for $35.

BTW, don't forget that you can change gears with the bike stopped. Get off the bike, click the shifter to an easier gear, then lift the seat so the rear tire is off the ground and spin the crank a couple of times until the chain moves to the right gear.

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Dumb question - will pretty much any set of pedals fit on the bike?
All clipless pedals should fit your bike. If you're looking for a cheap pedal that isn't clipless you'll want to buy one with a 9/16" spindle.
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Old 11-04-10, 11:27 AM   #55
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... 5. Being bent over the handlebars makes my lower back hurt like heck.
Aside from getting a proper fit, have you tried a cycling specific strength training regimen?

If not, choose one that concentrates on your core muscles. I can only talk from personal experience. I found that strengthening my core will helps me maintain a healthy posture while on my bike. Since I started more strength training, my back pain has dropped to almost nothing. Only on long rides when it gets tired does it start to hurt.

You might want to talk to the personal trainer at your gym about specifics, or find a book on the subject. I just picked up one called "Weight Training for Cyclists." It seems to have a sensible routines that go year round starting with strength training in the fall/winter and tapering to a maintenance routine during the season.

Much luck with it. Keep it up
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Old 11-04-10, 12:49 PM   #56
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Aside from getting a proper fit, have you tried a cycling specific strength training regimen?

If not, choose one that concentrates on your core muscles. I can only talk from personal experience. I found that strengthening my core will helps me maintain a healthy posture while on my bike. Since I started more strength training, my back pain has dropped to almost nothing. Only on long rides when it gets tired does it start to hurt.

You might want to talk to the personal trainer at your gym about specifics, or find a book on the subject. I just picked up one called "Weight Training for Cyclists." It seems to have a sensible routines that go year round starting with strength training in the fall/winter and tapering to a maintenance routine during the season.

Much luck with it. Keep it up
I do need to strengthen my core. I'm trying to stay on the bike as much as possible, but a cold snap may send me running back to the gym. I'll try some Googling to see if I can come up with something.

Bike's in the shop now - ran into some trouble with the front shifter - apparently the cable was stretched, LBS owner said. When I'd try to shift to the larger cog in the chainring, as soon as I let go of the shifter, it shifts back to the smaller cog. The only way to keep the chain on the larger cog is to keep the shifter constantly shifted, which is tricky.

So while I have it down there, I'm having him flip the stem. Maybe that'll make it easier. Then I can go from there. Cold and rainy tomorrow anyway.
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Old 11-04-10, 01:17 PM   #57
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...When I stop my left leg (still clipped in) I position forward, with my knee bent so imagine you have some room to push down and use this as your start stroke. As I push off with the left leg I get onto my saddle and I just start to peddle, I don't worry about the right foot being clipped in; either it will just clip in by itself or once I have sufficient speed, I can then take the time to clip in. After awhile it all becomes natural.
I've noticed that people that have ridden motorcycles are much more likely to put the left leg down. Some motorbikes are heavy. In the states, you put your right foot down on a street with a steep slope down towards the gutter, you are much more likely to drop the bike at an intersection.

Clipping in from a stop is one of the reasons that i stick with SPD pedals, and mountain bike shoes. I always get shoes with tacky rubber in the arch of my sole. If I miss clipping in, then I just ride with the pedal on the rubber arch of my shoe, and clip in when I can over the next 2-3 revolutions. No biggie.

Road shoes are too slippery to try something like that very often.
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Old 11-04-10, 04:20 PM   #58
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Road shoes are too slippery to try something like that very often.
I do it quite often. Took a bit of practice to get the placement of the foot right and you need to stay centered over the pedal but it works with my carbon-soled shoes on SPD-SLs. That being said, SPDs are much easier to learn on.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:16 PM   #59
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I'm about the clumsiest person I know, and I've pedaled standing with my left foot (the one I put down) on the underside of the pedal because I (clumsily) missed the engagement of the pedal and didn't have time to flip the pedal around to clip in. I wouldn't recommend it, but learning clipless is simply a matter of time and experience, and no matter what system you use, this will always be the case.
I remember riding with a guy who was a guest on a club ride who would disengage both feet, then put them down as he came to a stop. I told him that he was asking for his cash and prizes to be mashed to a pulp, and told him that he needs to only decleat one foot (have to decide which one he preferred), and that way he won't crush his junk on the top tube when one or both of his feet get caught on the ground with the bike still in motion.
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Old 11-04-10, 07:28 PM   #60
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This is great stuff... keep it coming! I plan to dabble in road biking myself one day; once I either a) come into a cash windfall that allows me to buy a bike without having to justify its expense to the Missus, or b) reach my next weight-loss goal, at which time I've already been given the go-ahead.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:02 PM   #61
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When I raced, I found myself drawn too cycling not because it was easy but because it was a challenge.. I played many sports growing up and in high school and also at a collegiate level but cycling still at it's highest level was just a physical and mental challenge..

Yes it is not for everyone..
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Old 11-05-10, 01:03 AM   #62
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The main draws of cycling for me are that it can be done with others or alone, and the only limits are my mental fortitude and my physical potential.
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Old 11-05-10, 05:12 AM   #63
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When I raced, I found myself drawn too cycling not because it was easy but because it was a challenge.. I played many sports growing up and in high school and also at a collegiate level but cycling still at it's highest level was just a physical and mental challenge..

Yes it is not for everyone..
but you've also been around long enough to understand that cycling isn't just a sport...and that road cycling isn't all about racing, right?
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Old 11-05-10, 05:41 AM   #64
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When I raced, I found myself drawn too cycling not because it was easy but because it was a challenge.. I played many sports growing up and in high school and also at a collegiate level but cycling still at it's highest level was just a physical and mental challenge..

Yes it is not for everyone..
Hey, this is what I do, period - I've been a commuter for a while now, and I have zero plans of stopping that. Plus I will do a century at some point, be it on this road bike or some other bike. Obviously, I got the road bike because I have specific goals - I wanted to ride in group rides and compete in fundraising-type metric centuries and centuries. I could've done that with another type of bike, but I wanted a road bike because there's tons of mountains in my area and I wanted to try to take them on and figured a road bike was the best bike to do so.

And so you hopped right on a road bike and just started cycling at its highest level first day? No learning curve at all?
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Old 11-05-10, 06:10 AM   #65
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Nobody does this with zero learning curve. Like most, but not necessarily all, I learned to ride as a kid, but even though I had a ten-speed (Schwinn Varsity), I didn't encounter toe clips and straps until I was in college. And I rode those for 6 or 7 years before I decided to give cleated shoes a try. And I probably rode those for another year or so before I felt confident enough to begin reaching down and tightening the straps on a regular basis (talk about having to plan ahead when you stop - with that system you had to have enough awareness to reach down to loosen those straps before you could even think of pulling your shoe out - it makes clipless pedals seem the epitome of ease of operation now). But I liked how it felt to be attached to the bike, and knew that was how I wanted to ride from then on, so when Look introduced the first clipless pedal I saved up and bought a pair, and never looked back.

Maybe in my case that's what made it seem so easy - I had been used to standard cleats with clips and straps, which was a whole other world of bother. You'll get it, though. Stick with it - I predict by the middle of next season you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

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Old 11-05-10, 07:23 AM   #66
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I do need to strengthen my core. I'm trying to stay on the bike as much as possible, but a cold snap may send me running back to the gym. I'll try some Googling to see if I can come up with something.
Eh. Do it now .

Good old squats, crunches and push-ups all will work your core and don't require anything but your body weight. And there are scads of other bodyweight exercises, if those are boring, too hard, or require movements that aren't safe for you due to old injuries. Even putting in 5-10 minutes a day will help. The big thing with bodyweight stuff is to be religious about good form, since you need all the little tiny stabilizing muscles and a lot of the time the cheaty methods will cheat you of the stabilizing muscles.

As a side benefit, they make climbing easier too. And just plain old walking hurts less when you're stronger.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:53 AM   #67
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Maybe I just don't get it.

You get off a upright commuter and get on a race geo'ed road bike and expect to feel the same?
Most here think your fit is off, I agree. But we don't change things in extremes. We change things a little bit at a time.

Your commuter will never feel like your road bike. They are not any thing alike,except they are both bikes, and you need to pedal them.

IMO; You need to go try to get a better fit on the road bike. Then SLOWLY, start doing rides on the road bike. Make small adjustments to it as you go along.
Clipless take getting use to, everyone has problems when they first try them. Keep working on it. Don't think "I can never do this".

Working on your core strength will help, but it's not a cure all, nor can it be achived overnight.
Nor can ridding a road bike be mastered in a few weeks.
It's a slow learning curve.

Good luck
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Old 11-05-10, 09:17 AM   #68
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Maybe I just don't get it.

You get off a upright commuter and get on a race geo'ed road bike and expect to feel the same?
Most here think your fit is off, I agree. But we don't change things in extremes. We change things a little bit at a time.

Your commuter will never feel like your road bike. They are not any thing alike,except they are both bikes, and you need to pedal them.

IMO; You need to go try to get a better fit on the road bike. Then SLOWLY, start doing rides on the road bike. Make small adjustments to it as you go along.
Clipless take getting use to, everyone has problems when they first try them. Keep working on it. Don't think "I can never do this".

Working on your core strength will help, but it's not a cure all, nor can it be achived overnight.
Nor can ridding a road bike be mastered in a few weeks.
It's a slow learning curve.

Good luck
After reading a bunch of "What kind of bike should you buy?" sites. I bought a Trek 7300.It's a 700c Hybrid. Accepting that it's a does nothing well bike (neither does it's owner) I'm wondering how one should transition into a road bike. Should I slowly upgrade/change components or wait until spring and make the plunge like john423?
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Old 11-05-10, 09:36 AM   #69
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After reading a bunch of "What kind of bike should you buy?" sites. I bought a Trek 7300.It's a 700c Hybrid. Accepting that it's a does nothing well bike (neither does it's owner) I'm wondering how one should transition into a road bike. Should I slowly upgrade/change components or wait until spring and make the plunge like john423?
Slowly, understanding it won't be the same.
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Old 11-05-10, 09:55 AM   #70
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Slowly, understanding it won't be the same.
I went from a mountain commuter to a roadie. I did set it up with a more "level"geometry for myself as I really am not ever going to be a racer just wanted a faster lighter bike for longer rides.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:17 AM   #71
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I went from a mountain commuter to a roadie. I did set it up with a more "level"geometry for myself as I really am not ever going to be a racer just wanted a faster lighter bike for longer rides.
Same idea behind my Long Haul Trucker. It's faster than my hybrid, and I partly got it for that reason, but I'm never gonna race on it.
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Old 11-05-10, 10:35 AM   #72
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I concur most heartily with bautieri that, though a very nice bike, the Allez is probably NOT the right bike for you in terms of geometry. I'm not familiar with the Secutar but I'm about the same weight as you, but probably a little taller at 6'6" and I ride a Roubaix triple. This after coming off a more upright mountain bike just like you. I'm also about a week away from my 68th birthday and would prefer to NOT be bent over as much as I would be on the Allez. I would suggest going back to the shop where you purchased the bike and see if you can't arrange to at least try a bike more suited to your "touring" needs. Although I'd be a bit suspect of the shop that even recommended this bike for you in the first place. I love my Roubaix and after a visit to a bike fit specialist for fine tuning, it fits me to a "Tee". I did swap out the stock seat for a Terry Liberator which works for me very well. Did my first (S)eattle (T)o (P)ortland event (204 miles) over 2 days in July with absolutely no issues. 127 miles the first day and 77 miles the second. I average about 100 – 120 miles a week on this bike throughout the year and how my butt feels is the last of my concerns. Hopefully the shop would be customer service oriented enough to exchange the Allez for a more appropriate model.

As for the clipless issue, I'm pleased to hear that you're practicing. Keep doing so. It will come to you. It was difficult for me initially too. And I fell a couple of times in the first month when either I forgot to clip out prior to stopping (how embarrassing, but EVERYBODY does it at least once) or once when I just chose to grab hold of a light standard without clipping out at an intersection while waiting for the light to change and lost my grip. Opps. That one hurt, as I slid down the pole striking the little box that holds the "Walk" button and opening up a nasty cut under my right eye! That was stupid move which hasn't been repeated since. But now, as many have stated, I can’t imagine not using clipless. As for the dual pedals (clipless and platform) once you’ve mastered the clipless you’ll probably decide to replace them with a clipless only model. Then you never concern yourself about which side is “up”.

So, keep at it John. Through this thread, you're showing that you really are trying to make it work and not just complaining about "how terrible" all this is which, initially, honestly, was my first impression.

But seriously, do look into replacing the Allez with a more suitable stead if at all possible. As my father always used to tell me: “It’s hard to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
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Old 11-05-10, 12:20 PM   #73
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As my father always used to tell me: “It’s hard to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Not that an Allez is a sow's ear.
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Old 11-05-10, 12:50 PM   #74
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But seriously, do look into replacing the Allez with a more suitable stead if at all possible. As my father always used to tell me: “It’s hard to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
I started riding a 2010 Roubaix at 316lb - awesome bike. Not a seconds problem with it in over 2000 miles. The only time I was "uncomfortable" on it was on day 2 of the STP - but after 130+ miles a little backache was expected. I just kept riding and the pain disappeared. I did get a "free fitting" when buying the bike - Im sure that made a huge difference.
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Old 11-05-10, 12:54 PM   #75
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You're absolutely right Craig. The Allez is a fine bike. I only meant that it's probably NOT the bike for John and to try to make it work for John is probably an exercise frought with frustration.
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