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  1. #1
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Overtraining? Bad data? HR data confusing me...

    So, I had two 'great' rides this weekend (felt good, minimal suffering except for a few short steep hills, mostly dodged the rain), and I got the garmin HR monitor working again (after several weeks of confusion, duh...) but I'm not sure I believe the results:

    Both rides report an ave. HR of 149, which according to Ride-With-GPS is right on the border line between aerobic and anaerobic - but I'm not at all feeling like I'm rolling at that point (mostly, except for the hills my breathing is relaxed, I would describe the pace as 'moderate' - certainly maintainable for 2-3 hours.

    My training / riding goals are first continued weight loss (-21 and progressing), then prep for century / fondo type rides, then (a bit further out) I'd like to try some racing...

    So, my questions are these:

    1) Am I committing the training faux-pas of just riding too hard too regularly?
    2) Are my heart rate zone estimates bogus? (per rwGPS, they are z1: 116-127, z2 127-138, z3 138-149, z4 149-160, z5 160-171) - I know this is very individual dependent, so maybe the question is this: is a max heart rate of 171 in the expected range for a somewhat overweight 54 year old? It seems low to me.
    3) Or could it be something completely different?

    thanks in advance...

    Steve

    Now that I've typed this up, I'll go do a search to see if its already been covered...
    Last edited by Esteban58; 12-04-12 at 12:11 PM.
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  2. #2
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Heart rate is quite variable, both between individuals of the same age group and for those individuals day to day based on a lot of internal and external factors. 171 is in the ballpark of a max at 54, but it's a big ballpark and you really do need to actually test a few times with a good protocol to develop a decent zone chart. Same with 149 as an anaerobic/aerobic crossover point...though I'd say it would be on the low side with a 171 max. For me that's a high-ish tempo ride.

    100% of the "your (pick the metric) should be (pick a number) if you're (pick an age) formulas are averages. The number is the midpoint of a range that has some pretty good outliers on either side. I've seen 50 y/o guys with a 220 max.

    A 5 and 20 minute test will give you a good idea of the actual numbers.

  3. #3
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    How long have you been riding? Also, how fast does your heart rate drop after to stop when doing 149 bpm for a long time?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #4
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    How long have you been riding? Also, how fast does your heart rate drop after to stop when doing 149 bpm for a long time?
    Since restarting (after a brief 30 year layoff ), 5 months now... ( I know this isn't very long comparatively).
    Looking at the strava data, it looks like the heart rate drops off pretty fast (into the 120's) when I stop for a light or relax on a downhill after a climb.
    (Sunday's wacky ride) for example. Every low point on the heart rate chart corresponds to hitting a stop light.
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  5. #5
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Hi Steve,

    Heart rate is quite variable, both between individuals of the same age group and for those individuals day to day based on a lot of internal and external factors. 171 is in the ballpark of a max at 54, but it's a big ballpark and you really do need to actually test a few times with a good protocol to develop a decent zone chart. Same with 149 as an anaerobic/aerobic crossover point...though I'd say it would be on the low side with a 171 max. For me that's a high-ish tempo ride.

    100% of the "your (pick the metric) should be (pick a number) if you're (pick an age) formulas are averages. The number is the midpoint of a range that has some pretty good outliers on either side. I've seen 50 y/o guys with a 220 max.

    A 5 and 20 minute test will give you a good idea of the actual numbers.
    ok... 5 and 20 minute test: 5 minute test is the Aastrand? (5 minutes, resulting heart rate between 120 and 160, 'fixed' power output of 50 / 75 / 100 / or 150)?
    20 minute test is this?

    and I must say, my oh my how times have changed since I lasted trained seriously...
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  6. #6
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I think Ex is talking about CP (Critical Power) tests at those durations: as hard as you can go for that time period.

    Strava is a pretty broad brush from an analysis standpoint - you might want to open an account at trainingpeaks.com. They have a free version, and it will get you used to the lingo everyone uses, since the Training Peaks folks defined a lot of it: e.g., Training Stress Score, Nominal Power, Etc. They are also the authors of the most popular training software (WKO+).
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  7. #7
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    I think Ex is talking about CP (Critical Power) tests at those durations: as hard as you can go for that time period.

    Strava is a pretty broad brush from an analysis standpoint - you might want to open an account at trainingpeaks.com. They have a free version, and it will get you used to the lingo everyone uses, since the Training Peaks folks defined a lot of it: e.g., Training Stress Score, Nominal Power, Etc. They are also the authors of the most popular training software (WKO+).
    I've noticed references to TP and figured out it was Training Peaks... I was planning to shell out the bucks for a 'premier' membership in one of these plans starting
    in January, is TP the one that most of you use? (I think it was googling TSS that lead directly to Training Peaks).

    And from searching 'critical power test', yep, that seems to be it... ok... off to generate some data, reporting back later this week (weather permitting).
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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Strava-calcuated power is usually quite inaccurate. If you don't have a power meter you can get the best calculated numbers by doing your tests up a hill and accurately weighing your bike and yourself for the test. Then plug the numbers into one of the on line calculators like http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html or http://kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

  9. #9
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    I've noticed references to TP and figured out it was Training Peaks... I was planning to shell out the bucks for a 'premier' membership in one of these plans starting
    in January, is TP the one that most of you use? (I think it was googling TSS that lead directly to Training Peaks).

    And from searching 'critical power test', yep, that seems to be it... ok... off to generate some data, reporting back later this week (weather permitting).
    If you don't need/want data 'in the cloud', then you can also buy WKO+ desktop software for a one time fee. TP has spent most of their development time lately on the web service, but have just started a project to upgrade WKO+, which most consider the current "gold standard". There is also a solid free application called Golden Cheetah. But both of those may be overkill unless/until you have power data. I have both the paid web service and the WKP+ software, but that's because I needed to share data over the cloud, but also wanted the extra power of the desktop software. I've stopped also loading into Golden Cheetah and Garmin Connect... I'd down to 'only' two solutions, LOL.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  10. #10
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Strava-calcuated power is usually quite inaccurate. If you don't have a power meter you can get the best calculated numbers by doing your tests up a hill and accurately weighing your bike and yourself for the test. Then plug the numbers into one of the on line calculators like http://www.analyticcycling.com/ForcesPower_Page.html or http://kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm
    hum...
    I plugged in the 'best estimate' numbers for my best time on an uphill (just 1.1%) strava segment (Foothill, Arastradero to Edith for you bay area types).
    Strava reports 183 watts for the segment. ForcesPower_Page reports 176 watts (my time for this segment: 5:13), Kreuzotter reports 246 watts.
    In any case, I'll use this segment for a 5 minute CP test, and see what that turns up...

    The Kreuzotter report is trying to factor in some stuff (tyre type, rider height, riding position, wind speed) that ForcesPower doesn't seem to bother with.
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  11. #11
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    If you don't need/want data 'in the cloud', then you can also buy WKO+ desktop software for a one time fee. TP has spent most of their development time lately on the web service, but have just started a project to upgrade WKO+, which most consider the current "gold standard". There is also a solid free application called Golden Cheetah. But both of those may be overkill unless/until you have power data. I have both the paid web service and the WKP+ software, but that's because I needed to share data over the cloud, but also wanted the extra power of the desktop software. I've stopped also loading into Golden Cheetah and Garmin Connect... I'd down to 'only' two solutions, LOL.
    I've been uploading to Strava and rideWithGPS, and sometimes Garmin Connect... Holding off on buying Premier package till I had more experience. Loading stuff like this to the cloud doesn't bother me too much, but I don't currently 'need' to share it... It seems like creating route analysis websites is a balkanized industry. I'll probably check out the 'free' version of TP first, what the heck, what's one more upload. If its mapping capabilities match or surpass rideWithGPS, there'll be no reason to use rwgps, if its analysis is better than strava, there's no need for strava, and my life becomes that much simpler...
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  12. #12
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    In my experience, nothing beats ridewithgps for mapping (in advance, that is), but none of the other online services can touch training peaks for analysis. It's also very good if you want to track your net calories, and it has a huge database of food to help with that. You can even scan barcodes from items in the store, or restaurants that have barcodes, to get that into your caloric intake. I can't remember for sure which features you only get with the paid subscription. I even have my Apple calendar pulling my training peaks data, so it shows up on my iPhone, along with any other time commitments I have. TP has a decent iPhone app you can use for that purpose as well, I just like it aggregated so I see when work meetings will conflict with my training - so I can change the work meeting, of course :-). TP a good central repository. In fact, my workflow is to load everything into TP, make my annotations there, then pull it from there into WKO+, which is the format my coach wants to receive. He loads it into his copy of WKO+ and has my complete training history.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  13. #13
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    The Kreuzotter report is trying to factor in some stuff (tyre type, rider height, riding position, wind speed) that ForcesPower doesn't seem to bother with.
    I've found that calculator to be very accurate, certainly on climbs.

    All those things noted above have a significant impact on time/distance as it relates to power output.

  14. #14
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    In my experience, nothing beats ridewithgps for mapping (in advance, that is), but none of the other online services can touch training peaks for analysis. It's also very good if you want to track your net calories, and it has a huge database of food to help with that. You can even scan barcodes from items in the store, or restaurants that have barcodes, to get that into your caloric intake. I can't remember for sure which features you only get with the paid subscription. I even have my Apple calendar pulling my training peaks data, so it shows up on my iPhone, along with any other time commitments I have. TP has a decent iPhone app you can use for that purpose as well, I just like it aggregated so I see when work meetings will conflict with my training - so I can change the work meeting, of course :-). TP a good central repository. In fact, my workflow is to load everything into TP, make my annotations there, then pull it from there into WKO+, which is the format my coach wants to receive. He loads it into his copy of WKO+ and has my complete training history.
    Well, I'll definitely check it out. No coach (for now), so no requirements there. No smart phone (yes, I'm a troglodyte), although I'm wavering on that front. I was out Sunday and hit a road closure - it would have been nice to whip out the phone to see if there was an alternate route. And yes, Its important that you have your work / training priorities straight (I noticed that I started putting training ahead of work as the days started getting shorter. I'm still scheming as to how to fit in some 'work from home so I can ride when I want to' days...), in any case, thanks for the info.
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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I've found that calculator to be very accurate, certainly on climbs.

    All those things noted above have a significant impact on time/distance as it relates to power output.
    Just to be clear, that's the Kreuzotter?
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    hum...
    I plugged in the 'best estimate' numbers for my best time on an uphill (just 1.1%) strava segment (Foothill, Arastradero to Edith for you bay area types).
    Strava reports 183 watts for the segment. ForcesPower_Page reports 176 watts (my time for this segment: 5:13), Kreuzotter reports 246 watts.
    In any case, I'll use this segment for a 5 minute CP test, and see what that turns up...

    The Kreuzotter report is trying to factor in some stuff (tyre type, rider height, riding position, wind speed) that ForcesPower doesn't seem to bother with.
    You are just getting back into cycling and have a lot of work to do. I think you may be going too hard.

    The terrain you are cycling is tough on beginners / returning cyclists. When I returned to cycling, I thought Arastradero, Alpine and others on the loop you did were hard and called them climbs. Today, I consider that ride a flat to rolling ride that is pretty easy. Of course one can make any ride hard by going faster.

    That segment may not work well for testing. I suggest using a climb like Old La Honda or Kings Mountain road. Another choice for flat to rolling terrain is the time trial course on Canada Road. That is farther but a good warmup with similar features to Alpine and Arastradero and Portola. When you go north from the start it is about 5 miles to the turn around with a 397 foot drop in total elevation.

    The other thing you can do is climb to the top of Old La Honda and note your time. Start timing when you cross the bridge at the bottom and stop at the stop sign at the top. However, that climb may be too tough for you today.

    Generally, my rides start from Canada and Edgewood road and go to Alpine via Portola Valley and Mountain home and then out to Foothill College and then back. Or I may start from home and I can climb to the top of Skyline. We also ride to the coast from Canada Road and go up Old La Honda or Kings Mountain.

    For longer z3 or z4 training, climbing Old La Honda is hard to beat. It is 7.2% average grade for 3.1 miles perfect pavement and beautiful scenery. Kings Mountain is another great climb which is 6% grade for 4.2 miles.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    The other advantage to using the time trial course for testing is that it has wide bike lanes and no stop signs. You can go really hard and when you quit, you have a wide bike lane to stop and get off the bike out of traffic, if necessary.
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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    Just to be clear, that's the Kreuzotter?
    I use Kreuzotter but I find this to be better:

    Analytic Cycling.


  19. #19
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    You are just getting back into cycling and have a lot of work to do. I think you may be going too hard.

    The terrain you are cycling is tough on beginners / returning cyclists. When I returned to cycling, I thought Arastradero, Alpine and others on the loop you did were hard and called them climbs. Today, I consider that ride a flat to rolling ride that is pretty easy. Of course one can make any ride hard by going faster.

    That segment may not work well for testing. I suggest using a climb like Old La Honda or Kings Mountain road. Another choice for flat to rolling terrain is the time trial course on Canada Road. That is farther but a good warmup with similar features to Alpine and Arastradero and Portola. When you go north from the start it is about 5 miles to the turn around with a 397 foot drop in total elevation.

    The other thing you can do is climb to the top of Old La Honda and note your time. Start timing when you cross the bridge at the bottom and stop at the stop sign at the top. However, that climb may be too tough for you today.

    Generally, my rides start from Canada and Edgewood road and go to Alpine via Portola Valley and Mountain home and then out to Foothill College and then back. Or I may start from home and I can climb to the top of Skyline. We also ride to the coast from Canada Road and go up Old La Honda or Kings Mountain.

    For longer z3 or z4 training, climbing Old La Honda is hard to beat. It is 7.2% average grade for 3.1 miles perfect pavement and beautiful scenery. Kings Mountain is another great climb which is 6% grade for 4.2 miles.
    OLH is on my 'I think I'm ready for this' list. Certainly it'll be useful for gathering 5 and 20 minute CP data. What's frustrating is that 30 years ago I thought nothing of jumping on the bike and riding up Hwy 9 to Boulder Creek. In any case, OLH, Kings Mountain, or the Canada time trial course are all 15+ miles out from home (as the crow pedals), so this looks like it'll have to happen over the next couple of weekends.

    Thanks... I'll report back when I have some data.
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    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I use Kreuzotter but I find this to be better:

    Analytic Cycling.

    Ok... That's what I was calling the 'ForcesPower' page - Analytic Cycling it is then - and interestingly Strava was closer to this than to Kreuzotter (probably due to bad guessing on my part with the data I put into Kreuzotter, given all their different variables). We'll see where this leads.
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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    If you are using HR as your training metric, the 20 minute test will get you in the ballpark. HR varies for many physiological reasons, but for someone who is not racing, can be a good metric to have on board when riding. The end goal of that test is to find your threshold HR, which is the typical HR you would have at 60:01 after going as hard as you can for an hour. With this metric you can set your training zones. But it won't give you your max HR, which isn't really that important in the grand scheme of things. I have hit my max HR twice, each time in races when I was OTF solo on the last lap on the way to the win. I wasn't paying much attention to my computer at the time.

  22. #22
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If you are using HR as your training metric, the 20 minute test will get you in the ballpark. HR varies for many physiological reasons, but for someone who is not racing, can be a good metric to have on board when riding. The end goal of that test is to find your threshold HR, which is the typical HR you would have at 60:01 after going as hard as you can for an hour. With this metric you can set your training zones. But it won't give you your max HR, which isn't really that important in the grand scheme of things. I have hit my max HR twice, each time in races when I was OTF solo on the last lap on the way to the win. I wasn't paying much attention to my computer at the time.
    I'll bet. And yes, for now (till I'm ready to invest in a powertap setup, HR is what I have to go with. I have aspirations and the straw-man of a plan. We'll see how it goes from here.
    One follow up question: If money was not an issue, would you prefer the Quarq crankset or the Powertap hub?
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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    I'll bet. And yes, for now (till I'm ready to invest in a powertap setup, HR is what I have to go with. I have aspirations and the straw-man of a plan. We'll see how it goes from here.
    One follow up question: If money was not an issue, would you prefer the Quarq crankset or the Powertap hub?
    From what I've been able to find out, the Quark is a cleaner installation. Also, you get to keep your wheels. The Powertap is less expensive, and the ANT version is a clean install, too. However, you either have to use the wheel the hub comes with (usually a Mavic OpenPro rim) or have the hub laced to your rim (I understand Easton doesn't condone the use of the PT with their wheels). As far as accuracy, I have read they're very close, with the Quark being slightly more accurate.

    All that said, Look has finally released their "pedals with power" system. It's pricey, like the Quark, but simple, and moving it from bike to bike would be easy.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  24. #24
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I have both. Here's some pros and cons.

    A Powertap is generally cheaper. The wheel is heavy because the hub is heavy, although the latest models (G3) are reasonably light. A wheel can be swapped between bikes easily without tools. You also get another wheel out of the deal, and a wheelset if you get a cheap front wheel. I have a Powertap SL+ (wireless) wheel on my CX commuter bike with a $79.00 Neuvation front wheel to match.

    A Quarq, SRM or other crank based power meter is generally more expensive than a Powertap wheel. However, if you race, it's ideal in the sense that you can swap different race wheels and pit wheels out and still have calibrated power. Cranks can be swapped depending on each bike's particular setup, but it requires tools.

    Both of my bikes are set up for as much cross-compatibility as possible, i.e. 10 speed Shimano, 3T bars, Toupe saddles. etc. so that if I crash my race bike and destroy something I have a spare either on the CX bike or on the shelf. The Powertap falls into this category. If my Quarq has to be sent back for service, I have an Apex crank on the shelf, and the Powertap wheel from the CX bike. No time without power. But I am a racer, and I need this capability. You may not.

    One of the best deals in power meters out there is the used Powertap Pro+ or SL+ wheel. Avoid the Elite because it's a slug. The going rate for a clean used one is $600. If you have an ANT+ head unit with power capabilities such as the Garmin 500 or 800, it's pretty much plug and play. I bought my first Powertap SL+ from www.slowtwitch.com for $550, trained and raced the hell oout of it for a year, then sold it for $600 to fund the Quarq. When I got my club race reimbursement I bought a Powertap SL+ wheel from a fellow racer for $600 that had just come back from Saris after a full rebuild. That is what I have on the CX bike.

    Power is critical for a dedicated racer, but pretty much informative for a recreational cyclist. Think hard before you drop the coin. Buy used to minimize the depreciation in case the wonder wears off.

    Good luck.

  25. #25
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esteban58 View Post
    I'll bet. And yes, for now (till I'm ready to invest in a powertap setup, HR is what I have to go with. I have aspirations and the straw-man of a plan. We'll see how it goes from here.
    One follow up question: If money was not an issue, would you prefer the Quarq crankset or the Powertap hub?
    If money is no object:



    SRM. Like Porsche, there IS no substitute.

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