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Thread: Drafting

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    Thomm124
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    Drafting

    I was reading in one of my cycling books about the benefits of drafting. I thought I would post some of this info since some folks are somewhat skeptical about "old guys" riding at 30mph.

    The book I have says you can save up to 26.7% drafting in a paceline. I just saw another bit of research when I did a search online that says you can save up to 33.7%.

    Using the 26.7% number: if the group is cruising at 30 mph and you are tucked in nicely drafting, then you would be putting out enough power to go about 22 mph if you were alone.

    I try to alway keep this number in my head especially when the group exceeds 30. Another important thing to remember is to not be looking at the speed on your cateye. Just shift and ride as usual. You should only be watching cadence if anything.
    Last edited by thomm124; 10-16-10 at 09:16 AM.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I don't know about energy being saved, but I don't have any problem riding with a B group pace line. They usually ride about 18 to 22 mph. I like riding by myself better though.
    George

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    I think there are a fair number of folks who post here that ride with groups or race where drafting is the norm. I also think there are a fair number of folks for whom going fast is not their top priority. If, however, you ride in groups and want to go fast, it's hard to beat a well functioning pace line. Of course the "race of truth" is the time trial where you can't draft. Different strokes for different folks.

    I do agree, however, that not paying attention when in a pace line is not the smartest strategy.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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    Thomm124
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I do agree, however, that not paying attention when in a pace line is not the smartest strategy.
    I don't think I said anything about not paying attention. If I did, it wasn't my intent. You have to pay attention all the time when in a paceline else you could cause an accident
    Last edited by thomm124; 10-16-10 at 09:57 AM.

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    When I'm in a fast pace line I'll look at my cadence when one or two spots back. Once I'm on the front I make sure that I keep the cadence the same throughout my pull. If it is a fast rolling pace line that is taxing me, I'll end my pull as soon as my HR starts to go up. While I'm drifting back the HR will continue to rise.

    In a race I never look at mph, just cadence, heart rate is a non-issue as I am riding at the race's pace or long gone!
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    Even if there are only two of you- drafting will save energy for one at any speed. Mountain bikes- Offroad and into a headwind- Whoever feels strongest gets on the front. It does help the weaker rider and was probably the only way I was able to do the long Offroad rides I used to do. Not many times I was in front but on a 6 hour ride it still used to save energy---A Lot of Energy.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Here is some data from the Aussies about track racing but has a lot of info on drafting and power requirements. http://www.ridethetrack.com/pdf/character_of_track.pdf

    Recently, Jeukendrup etal.[7] published SRMpower output profiles on elite team pursuit cyclists during a World Cup competition. Both researchers reported power output requirements for riders cycling in the lead position.

    An average power output of 607 ± 45Wwas reported by Broker et al.[53] which was slightly higher than the 581 ± 43W found for riders under actual competition conditions.[7] This variation could be caused by differences in riding speed, skill, technique, position, body mass, frontal surface area, equipment design, environmental and track conditions. For cyclists riding in positions 2, 3 and 4, Broker et al.[53] reported average power output values of 430 ± 39, 389 ± 32 and 389 ± 33W, respectively. Such values clearly demonstrate the importance and advantage of drafting and the associated high degree of skill required to be a successful team pursuiter. The closer one cyclist follows another, the greater the drag reduction, with the total wind resistance declining from an average of 44% at 1.7m between riders (or zero wheel gap), to only about 27% at 3.7m between
    riders (or a 2m wheel gap).[58] Figure 4 presents the power output profile


    Riding slightly down hill with the wind at your back in a peloton or pace line is easy with very low power levels required. At 30 mph, it may be as low as 150 watts if the wind and grade are right i.e. the fast sections of any ride. The riders up front will have to break the wind but that is easily done with 300 watts of power. Slight uphill and into the wind is a totally different story. It may take in excess of 600 watts to break the wind and 350 watts to keep up.

    Speed in a peloton is not what generally tires out cyclists. It is the accelerations or increases in power when exposed to increased grade and wind. At 30 mph, any slight grade is very tough.

    I was riding with a friend last week in SoCal and we came to a section of road that was very smooth, down wind along the ocean and slightly down hill. I said to him this is the fast section and he stepped on the gas. We did 35 mph down this stretch with him on the lead and I was at 350 watts to hold is wheel. He had to be doing 425 watts. He won National Track Championships this year in Texas in the 2K pursuit. He tried to ride me off his wheel. When we were finished, we were not gassed of dead and recovered easily the next day.

    So yes, drafting is an advantage, doing 30 mph is totally possible with not much power and it is totally possible to get tired on a 40 mile ride with fast riding and accelerations.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Thomm124
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    Asker Jeukendrup

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Here is some data from the Aussies about track racing but has a lot of info on drafting and power requirements. http://www.ridethetrack.com/pdf/character_of_track.pdf

    Recently, Jeukendrup etal.[7] published SRMpower output profiles on elite team pursuit cyclists during a World Cup competition. Both researchers reported power output requirements for riders cycling in the lead position.

    An average power output of 607 ± 45Wwas reported by Broker et al.[53] which was slightly higher than the 581 ± 43W found for riders under actual competition conditions.[7] This variation could be caused by differences in riding speed, skill, technique, position, body mass, frontal surface area, equipment design, environmental and track conditions. For cyclists riding in positions 2, 3 and 4, Broker et al.[53] reported average power output values of 430 ± 39, 389 ± 32 and 389 ± 33W, respectively. Such values clearly demonstrate the importance and advantage of drafting and the associated high degree of skill required to be a successful team pursuiter. The closer one cyclist follows another, the greater the drag reduction, with the total wind resistance declining from an average of 44% at 1.7m between riders (or zero wheel gap), to only about 27% at 3.7m between
    riders (or a 2m wheel gap).[58] Figure 4 presents the power output profile


    Riding slightly down hill with the wind at your back in a peloton or pace line is easy with very low power levels required. At 30 mph, it may be as low as 150 watts if the wind and grade are right i.e. the fast sections of any ride. The riders up front will have to break the wind but that is easily done with 300 watts of power. Slight uphill and into the wind is a totally different story. It may take in excess of 600 watts to break the wind and 350 watts to keep up.

    Speed in a peloton is not what generally tires out cyclists. It is the accelerations or increases in power when exposed to increased grade and wind. At 30 mph, any slight grade is very tough.

    I was riding with a friend last week in SoCal and we came to a section of road that was very smooth, down wind along the ocean and slightly down hill. I said to him this is the fast section and he stepped on the gas. We did 35 mph down this stretch with him on the lead and I was at 350 watts to hold is wheel. He had to be doing 425 watts. He won National Track Championships this year in Texas in the 2K pursuit. He tried to ride me off his wheel. When we were finished, we were not gassed of dead and recovered easily the next day.

    So yes, drafting is an advantage, doing 30 mph is totally possible with not much power and it is totally possible to get tired on a 40 mile ride with fast riding and accelerations.
    Thanks for that info Hermes. Jeukendrup's book High Performance Cycling is where I first got my 26% number from. That book is pretty old though. That guy , Jeukendrup, is one scientific SOB!

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    I did a metric century last weekend and we had a really nice double paceline going for about 15 miles. I'm guessing there were 20+ in our group and we were cruising along at 25-27 mph on rolling roads. I never felt stressed even when I was pulling through. Great stuff. I generally see about a 20 per cent lower HOUR in a paceline-depending on the grade of the road.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomm124 View Post
    I was reading in one of my cycling books about the benefits of drafting. I thought I would post some of this info since some folks are somewhat skeptical about "old guys" riding at 30mph.

    The book I have says you can save up to 26.7% drafting in a paceline. I just saw another bit of research when I did a search online that says you can save up to 33.7%.

    Using the 26.7% number: if the group is cruising at 30 mph and you are tucked in nicely drafting, then you would be putting out enough power to go about 22 mph if you were alone.

    I try to alway keep this number in my head especially when the group exceeds 30. Another important thing to remember is to not be looking at the speed on your cateye. Just shift and ride as usual. You should only be watching cadence if anything.
    I think you may be making an error in the way you do this calculation. Generally, estimates of the advantages of drafting are estimates of power saved. Power and speed are not related linearly in cycling. If you compare the power required to go 30 MPH (626 watts using generic drag coefficients according to this calculator http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/Pro.../bikecalc1.htm) and then estimate that you may save 26.7% power in a pace line would mean that you need 466 watts to keep pace. An output of 466 watts using the same calculator corresponds to a solo speed of 26.5 MPH.

    In fact, the power saved in a pace line can be highly variable. It depends on ones placement in the paceline - how close you are to the nearest rider, how many riders there are in the line and their arrangement. I've seen power-saving numbers of up to 40% for being in the back of a tightly packed peleton. If you are really saving 40%, then your 30 MPH draft is the same as a 24.5 MPH solo effort.

    It's your life and your ride, but count me as among the skeptical. Riding 100 miles a week is generally not enough to allow one to hang with a group at 30 MPH for 4-5 miles. Maybe you are gifted. But when you say that you aren't actually reading your spedometer, my credulity diminishes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomm124 View Post
    I don't think I said anything about not paying attention. If I did, it wasn't my intent. You have to pay attention all the time when in a paceline else you could cause an accident
    I was attempting to reaffirm you comment about not looking at the cateye.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

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    Thomm124
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    I think you may be making an error in the way you do this calculation. Generally, estimates of the advantages of drafting are estimates of power saved. Power and speed are not related linearly in cycling. If you compare the power required to go 30 MPH (626 watts using generic drag coefficients according to this calculator http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/Pro.../bikecalc1.htm) and then estimate that you may save 26.7% power in a pace line would mean that you need 466 watts to keep pace. An output of 466 watts using the same calculator corresponds to a solo speed of 26.5 MPH.

    In fact, the power saved in a pace line can be highly variable. It depends on ones placement in the paceline - how close you are to the nearest rider, how many riders there are in the line and their arrangement. I've seen power-saving numbers of up to 40% for being in the back of a tightly packed peleton. If you are really saving 40%, then your 30 MPH draft is the same as a 24.5 MPH solo effort.

    It's your life and your ride, but count me as among the skeptical. Riding 100 miles a week is generally not enough to allow one to hang with a group at 30 MPH for 4-5 miles. Maybe you are gifted. But when you say that you aren't actually reading your spedometer, my credulity diminishes.
    Well, you can think what you want. I glanced down today and we were at 28.7 mph just getting started good. After the speed run, my max was 32.3 which I checked at the break. I was in 7th gear. 52 on the front,11/23 on the back for much of that run and we had wind today.

    In 2005 when I started cycling for real on my Trek 1000, I promised myself a nice bike if I was able to average 20 miles per hour on the 18.7 mile loop we did after work. There were two of us but the wind is usually 10-15. Anyway, after being able to do this several times, I got the litespeed (approx 15.7 lbs) and in 2006 started riding with the "fast" group in Pensacola. Btw, my Trek 1000 weighs around 23 lbs.

    Also, I'm almost 6' and 188. People always say I need to gain weight. They think I weigh 170 or less.

    Btw, when I was first getting started, I had several crashes after those 18.7 mile runs due to exhaustion or minisleep. We would be just cruising back to our cars afterward. I didn't understand this until I saw them spraying down the tour riders this year with cold water to wake them up!
    Last edited by thomm124; 10-16-10 at 12:57 PM.

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    Thomm124
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I was attempting to reaffirm you comment about not looking at the cateye.
    I put that note in about only watching cadence because when I first started noticing we were riding 30 mph or better it seemed to freak me out a bit. This was back in 2006 and of course, I'd be at some ridiculous rpm of over 100 since I really didn't know how to ride yet.

    But you're right about paying attention, and I have the scars (and new teeth) to prove it. Did you know it takes about 2 months to heal up from broken ribs? I learned that after overlapping wheels while looking back. Also, if your helmet is from Trek, less than a year old, and you break it, you get a new one free of charge!!

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    Now the nice thing about living and working in the city is that the speed limit is 30, so I can--and do--draft just about anything.

    Buses, delivery vans and SUVs create the best suction. I once drafted a Lincoln Navigator at 35 mph for a couple of miles. It's so habitual that one time I found myself drafting a police car, and wishing he would go faster. I immediately came to my senses and dropped out of his draft.

    Drafting bikes, well I don't run into that many that are making any real speed.
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    You don't have to be over 30 mph. We vacation on Ocracoke Island, where constant winds of over 20 mph are very common. There a no rental cars, so we rent bikes Trips to and from the beach require pulling a trailer withchairs, umbrella, and other beach supplies. It's amazing how much the thing benefits from drafting. It does require a lot of attention and reminds me in that respect of formation flying.

    Paul
    Last edited by PaulH; 10-16-10 at 01:52 PM.

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    Reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite Missourians, Mark Twain.

    "Get a bicycle. If you live you will not regret it."

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    I find a pace line keeps me motivated to keep up with the group when I'm tired. WHen I ride alone and I'm feeling a little tired, I just slow down. That's not the best way to build endurance. Other advantages of the pace line is a group is more visable and more likely to get a wider berth when being passed by cars. I also like to ride with a group in case of a mechanical failure. Over 90% of my road rides are pace line groups.
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    I find a pace line keeps me motivated to keep up with the group when I'm tired. WHen I ride alone and I'm feeling a little tired, I just slow down.
    +1. Sometimes I remind myself that paceline miles aren't earned with the same effort as solo miles. That's why I ride alone too. But definitely there are long rides when I would have lost the will to hammer if it were not for the need to stay with the group.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    I think you may be making an error in the way you do this calculation. Generally, estimates of the advantages of drafting are estimates of power saved. Power and speed are not related linearly in cycling. If you compare the power required to go 30 MPH (626 watts using generic drag coefficients according to this calculator http://www.mne.psu.edu/lamancusa/Pro.../bikecalc1.htm) and then estimate that you may save 26.7% power in a pace line would mean that you need 466 watts to keep pace. An output of 466 watts using the same calculator corresponds to a solo speed of 26.5 MPH.

    In fact, the power saved in a pace line can be highly variable. It depends on ones placement in the paceline - how close you are to the nearest rider, how many riders there are in the line and their arrangement. I've seen power-saving numbers of up to 40% for being in the back of a tightly packed peleton. If you are really saving 40%, then your 30 MPH draft is the same as a 24.5 MPH solo effort.

    It's your life and your ride, but count me as among the skeptical. Riding 100 miles a week is generally not enough to allow one to hang with a group at 30 MPH for 4-5 miles. Maybe you are gifted. But when you say that you aren't actually reading your spedometer, my credulity diminishes.
    +1
    I'd agree that the above is much closer to reality.
    Strictly from a 'seat O da pants' power meter, one Sunday ride in our area, 'The Worlds', a very fast group of 25 to 40+ riders often reaches speeds at and slightly in excess of 30, with longer stretches at 28. Even tucked tight into the peleton, I'm at max at the 30 mph pace. Given the same terrain, riding solo withe the same effort on a non-TT road machine, I would be just over 25 mph with nothing left to give. The usual route is not flat, but certainly not 'climby' either.
    I think the power numbers above would be accurate.
    If I get unlucky enough to hit the front at 28-30, I've got to get off well before 30 secs has passed or I will detonate before recovery.
    As to riding in a tight group and riding alone - 2 different things, both with fun facets.
    My reservations as relates to a tight group are tied to the experience level of group riders.
    Races aside, if I don;t have a good feel for the rider group I won;t ride in a position where I don't have an 'out' if things go wrong.
    as for looking at electronics, I never do it. it takes all my attention to ride alertly at a hard pace. The only time I'll take a quick glance, if at all, is when I've done a pull and have just pulled off, and that's rare.
    AS Allegheny Jet said, the numbers are inconsequential, you're either in the group or shelled off the back.
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    Thomm124
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    +1
    I'd agree that the above is much closer to reality.
    Strictly from a 'seat O da pants' power meter, one Sunday ride in our area, 'The Worlds', a very fast group of 25 to 40+ riders often reaches speeds at and slightly in excess of 30, with longer stretches at 28. Even tucked tight into the peleton, I'm at max at the 30 mph pace. Given the same terrain, riding solo withe the same effort on a non-TT road machine, I would be just over 25 mph with nothing left to give. The usual route is not flat, but certainly not 'climby' either.
    I think the power numbers above would be accurate.
    If I get unlucky enough to hit the front at 28-30, I've got to get off well before 30 secs has passed or I will detonate before recovery.
    As to riding in a tight group and riding alone - 2 different things, both with fun facets.
    My reservations as relates to a tight group are tied to the experience level of group riders.
    Races aside, if I don;t have a good feel for the rider group I won;t ride in a position where I don't have an 'out' if things go wrong.
    as for looking at electronics, I never do it. it takes all my attention to ride alertly at a hard pace. The only time I'll take a quick glance, if at all, is when I've done a pull and have just pulled off, and that's rare.
    AS Allegheny Jet said, the numbers are inconsequential, you're either in the group or shelled off the back.
    You guys may be right with your power numbers, but I cannot ride 5 miles alone at 26 I don't believe. I can however ride in a paceline at 30mph that far. Maybe it's the motivation of the group, but I'm thinking draft.

    Btw, the world speed record on a bicycle drafting is 152.2mph set by John Howard in 1985. Actually, now it's 167.044 mph set by Fred Rompelberg.

    John Howard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py94okBKDU0
    Last edited by thomm124; 10-17-10 at 04:46 AM.

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    Thomm124
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    [QUOTE=Hermes;11631152]Here is some data from the Aussies about track racing but has a lot of info on drafting and power requirements. http://www.ridethetrack.com/pdf/character_of_track.pdf

    Recently, Jeukendrup etal.[7] published SRMpower output profiles on elite team pursuit cyclists during a World Cup competition. Both researchers reported power output requirements for riders cycling in the lead position.

    An average power output of 607 ± 45Wwas reported by Broker et al.[53] which was slightly higher than the 581 ± 43W found for riders under actual competition conditions.[7] This variation could be caused by differences in riding speed, skill, technique, position, body mass, frontal surface area, equipment design, environmental and track conditions. For cyclists riding in positions 2, 3 and 4, Broker et al.[53] reported average power output values of 430 ± 39, 389 ± 32 and 389 ± 33W, respectively. Such values clearly demonstrate the importance and advantage of drafting and the associated high degree of skill required to be a successful team pursuiter. The closer one cyclist follows another, the greater the drag reduction, with the total wind resistance declining from an average of 44% at 1.7m between riders (or zero wheel gap), to only about 27% at 3.7m between
    riders (or a 2m wheel gap).[58] Figure 4 presents the power output profile

    More power data (above).

    I don't have a power meter, but my max heart rate is about 182. When I first started trying to ride with the A group this summer, I hit 175 on one occasion and 180 on another. So, it wasn't as if I just went out and decided to ride 28-32 mph with any preparation. I don't wear the HRM now (on Saturdays) because I have adjusted to the load.

    The reason I like the hard rides is because it seems to really cleanse the body and mind. After a hard Saturday morning ride, I feel high and refreshed.
    Last edited by thomm124; 10-17-10 at 05:21 AM.

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    About 10 years ago, I did a century out on the SpaceCoast. They held the lights for us. We had a peleton that was three and four riders abreast. I was about 30 riders back from the front. We were taking up a lane on a divided highway going over causeways. When we were going a bit slower, I would check the speed and it was always at 25-27 mph. I figure we were often over 30 mph. I was not working harder than I would solo at 21 mph so I figured I would just stick with the group until I drank down all my water.

    You get a great benefit from drafting like that. But it can come at a cost. I saw riders who had no business riding in that group. They would start to fade and not plan. They would give out and be in the middle of the group and have to slow down RIGHT NOW. So I saw a number of people just ride off the road into the grass at 25+ and crash. I later heard that there were 3 broken collar bones on that century. Testosterone poisoning.

    So sure, I can sustain much higher speeds in a fast group, but I am at the mercy of the skills of or lack of my fellow riders. I don't heal up as quickly as I used to. So I pretty much avoid that sort of stuff.

  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Local Club have started their Winter training rides. 75 miles with not much climbing and nothing over 5%. They have invited me along. The ride is done in around 3 hours. I am not joining them.

    Even with drafting- An average of 25MPH is way above my Speed. I feel overjoyed if I can average over 16 for 60 miles and that will be with my son-in-Law who is fit and Me taking the Rear permsanently.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  24. #24
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    I thought this was going to be about a Fantasy Football league. I'm going over to the cigar thread.

  25. #25
    Thomm124
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    I thought this was going to be about a Fantasy Football league. I'm going over to the cigar thread.
    This guy's too funny! (-:

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