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Weight Training and Base Building

Old 11-24-08, 01:39 PM
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Weight Training and Base Building

I'm starting to add some weight training to my weekly training, but I'm a little confused about what I should be doing for other workouts on the bike for this time of year. Last year I was very unstructured with training over the winter, but I have a 20 mile RT commute by bike every day, many days through quite a bit of snow.

Here's my current schedule:
Sun - off
Mon - easy (Z2 or Z3) commute, weight lifting at night
Tues - LT commute
Wed - normal commute in, long run at lunch (7-9 miles), extended commute on the way home
Thurs - easy commute, weight lifting at night
Fri - normal commute
Sat - weight lifting in the morning

It seems to me that there are 2 schools of thought for winter training on this forum -
1. Do a lot of longer rides on the bike (lots of base miles) - I believe this is for increasing endurance
2. Do more short, intense rides, try to increase FTP

A veteran racer on my team told me that it's difficult (or impossible) to increase strength and endurance at the same time, so I should concentrate on one or the other. His theory is to "keep the engine tuned up" with the bike rides, and increase strength with weight lifting. Once you get closer to race season, start transitioning from the weight room to more time on the bike. To "tune the engine", the suggestion is to do 1 endurance ride, 1 LT ride, and 1 VO2 Max ride per week.

The real question is: To those of you who are strength training with weights in the winter, what are you doing on the bike to complement that?
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Old 11-24-08, 02:01 PM
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There have been a ton of threads on here about weightlifting. There's been virutally no data posted in any of those threads that lifting weights will make you a faster road cyclist.

My coach's approach is do resistence training on the bike, i.e. stomps, power starts and muscle tensions. Each winter when I talk to him about weight lifting, his response is I can make a better weight lifter or a better cyclist, which do you want?

On the bike resistence training has the benefit of being sport specific.

So, I try to do some light upperbody, and core work in the gym, and work for the legs is on the bike.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:01 PM
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I do four sub FTP rides and 3 days in the gym every week. My rides consist of dedicated low cadence work, high cadence, and 1 1/2 SST workouts.

Hoping the weight lifting/cardio days help me shed a few lbs this winter while at the same time giving me a small break from the bike.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:09 PM
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its about the weights complementing the bike training, not the other way around. actually, you shouldn't really need to do any upper body work at all. all core and leg work.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
There have been a ton of threads on here about weightlifting. There's been virutally no data posted in any of those threads that lifting weights will make you a faster road cyclist.

My coach's approach is do resistence training on the bike, i.e. stomps, power starts and muscle tensions. Each winter when I talk to him about weight lifting, his response is I can make a better weight lifter or a better cyclist, which do you want?

On the bike resistence training has the benefit of being sport specific.

So, I try to do some light upperbody, and core work in the gym, and work for the legs is on the bike.
I would tend to agree with this (although I do think squats and some other excercises may help sprinters) upper body strength will make you heavier, and a heavy lifting session will make you hungrier, as in gaining weight.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:21 PM
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I lift three days per week and ride three to four days per week. I look at weight lifting as just another method of staying in shape. The weight training probably will not make you faster but there are other benefits to it such as increased bone mass, and of course you will look better on the beach.

Right now I only do upper body and abs. I do not work my legs. If I want a leg workout, I find the nastiest hill I can find and climb it in a hard gear. I may start doing squats, leg curls and leg extensions but in the past when I have done this my legs were so burned out the next day that couldn't ride. I think I need to start gradually on the legs and eventually I will get accustomed to it.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
There's been virutally no data posted in any of those threads that lifting weights will make you a faster road cyclist.
Translation: There have been relatively few studies that are specific in regards to experienced road cyclists and targeted weight training but one aspect is fairly certain, the more experienced you are (which generally equates to more watts/kg), the less benefit you will receive.

If, however, you struggle to get triple digits when doing your CP6 test, then you will likely notice a benefit with even limited time using weights.
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Old 11-24-08, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I would tend to agree with this (although I do think squats and some other excercises may help sprinters) upper body strength will make you heavier, and a heavy lifting session will make you hungrier, as in gaining weight.
I still think that low weight high rep weights for the arms can be a little beneficial for climbing since you want to pull up on the bars hard when out of the saddle as this allows you to push down harder on the pedals.

I don't have any data, so this means nothing, but I can see the application for building strength and endurance over muscle mass. Though, if you find a hill and do the same thing, i.e. ride up out of the saddle and pull up on the bars, you're doing pretty much the same thing. So it's a bit of a moot point.
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Old 11-24-08, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
There have been a ton of threads on here about weightlifting. There's been virutally no data posted in any of those threads that lifting weights will make you a faster road cyclist.
Hi Merlin,

Amy Taylor-Mason's study showed improved in several areas with resistance training in a study using 24 male cyclists in NZ.

From my own experience weight work can have a direct impact on peak sprint wattage. While I've solo'd to a few wins, more often I've had to out-sprint other riders.

People like to cookie cutter this into a one-size-fits-all debate without acknowledging the variance in response due to the physiology and state of the athlete. "It didn't work for me therefor it's carp".

More than one Protour riders incorporates weight training, including Lance. Some don't. You should test before and after to see if you benefit. And I'll throw my own test in there as to what you might want to focus on:

Is it your legs or lungs that give out first?

To answer the OP's question, when I'm in a weight phase I lay off intensity completely and do recovery rides. We'll schedule in one longer ride but that's about it.
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Old 11-24-08, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

Is it your legs or lungs that give out first?

To answer the OP's question, when I'm in a weight phase I lay off intensity completely and do recovery rides. We'll schedule in one longer ride but that's about it.
You mean the lungs giving out first is a possibility?

I actually can't even fathom that.

I've been doing some weight training because I'm lacking the motivation to ride much lately.

Today I decided to try some long sets of single leg press. Normally I would do ~5 sets of 10 reps, but today I did 5 sets of 80 reps at a relatively low weight (about 40% of the weight I would use for 10 reps). Ouch! Kind of felt like L5 intervals, without the hard breathing.

It's better than sitting on the couch, anyway.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
I still think that low weight high rep weights for the arms can be a little beneficial for climbing since you want to pull up on the bars hard when out of the saddle as this allows you to push down harder on the pedals.
lolzers...is this a limiter for anyone? "Dude, I would have had you on that climb, but you just out-pulled me on the bars..."

Doing low weight high rep generally does not increase strength, it increases endurance.

Personally, I lift for overall fitness and to protect myself(shoulders mainly) in the event of a crash.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ottsville View Post
lolzers...is this a limiter for anyone? "Dude, I would have had you on that climb, but you just out-pulled me on the bars..."

Doing low weight high rep generally does not increase strength, it increases endurance.

Personally, I lift for overall fitness and to protect myself(shoulders mainly) in the event of a crash.
Right, and you can't continue to do 'sets' of pulling up on the bars for extended periods of time if you don't have endurance. You're agreeing with me aren't you

Your arms can get pretty tired if you're climbing out of the saddle for extended periods of time.

Helps the sprints too since that's where the short term strength comes into play even more.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

People like to cookie cutter this into a one-size-fits-all debate without acknowledging the variance in response due to the physiology and state of the athlete. "It didn't work for me therefor it's carp".
+1 Master athletes and women almost always stand to benefit from strength training. Most studies are done on young men.

Originally Posted by fuzzthebee View Post
You mean the lungs giving out first is a possibility?

I actually can't even fathom that.
You are a smart man. Ventilation or even cardiovascular output are not performance limiting during endurance events (you're not at max HR or suffering from angina pectoris are you). The onus is on the legs; but of course other things about the legs besides strength can be the limiter (capillary/mitochondrial density etc).

Last edited by Enthalpic; 11-24-08 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Hi Merlin,

Amy Taylor-Mason's study showed improved in several areas with resistance training in a study using 24 male cyclists in NZ.

From my own experience weight work can have a direct impact on peak sprint wattage. While I've solo'd to a few wins, more often I've had to out-sprint other riders.

People like to cookie cutter this into a one-size-fits-all debate without acknowledging the variance in response due to the physiology and state of the athlete. "It didn't work for me therefor it's carp".

More than one Protour riders incorporates weight training, including Lance. Some don't. You should test before and after to see if you benefit. And I'll throw my own test in there as to what you might want to focus on:

Is it your legs or lungs that give out first?

To answer the OP's question, when I'm in a weight phase I lay off intensity completely and do recovery rides. We'll schedule in one longer ride but that's about it.
I think the majority of studies on the subject all point to the same conclusion: weight training does not improve endurance in experienced cyclists. As far as I know, all studies showing an improvement in cycling performance after weight training have used untrained subjects.

As for sprint power, yes lifting can help. That being said, athletes like track cyclists that lift to improve their sprint have very specific routines aimed at training explosive power, and this is done side by side with sprint training on the bike. There's no reason to believe that simply going to the gym and doing a bunch of leg presses will improve your sprint. You may have seen an improvement while lifting, but you weren't controlling for other variables. There are lots of other people who have increased their leg press 1RM significantly never saw any improvement to their sprint as a result.

As for the legs vs lungs issue, that's a complete fallacy. Force is never a limiter during submaximal exercise. If your legs are burning it's because you've exceeded the respiratory capacity of the working muscle and are accumulating lactate in the blood. Strength has nothing to do with it and lifting weights won't help.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:51 PM
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Lots of great anecdotal evidence and opinion in this thread, too bad none of it means anything.

Joe Friel, one of cycling's best know coaches, advocates weight lifting. Here's a quote from his book, "The cyclist's training bible"

Originally Posted by Joe Friel
Research has demonstrated positive gains in cycling-endurance performance resulting from strength increases. Nearly all the studies show that riders enjoy an increased 'time to exhaustion' - meaning the subjects could ride farther at a given intensity level - after following a leg strength program for a few weeks. The endurance improvements have typically ranged from 10 to 33 percent, depending on the intensity of the effort.
These studies don't generally show any improvement to the aerobic capacity following a strength program
I'll take the word of someone who knows more about training and has vastly more experience than anyone on this board. Also, the fact that weight training has been shown to benefit athletes for EVERY other endurance sport is another reason to at least try it.
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Old 11-24-08, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hocam View Post
Lots of great anecdotal evidence and opinion in this thread, too bad none of it means anything.

Joe Friel, one of cycling's best know coaches, advocates weight lifting. Here's a quote from his book, "The cyclist's training bible"

I'll take the word of someone who knows more about training and has vastly more experience than anyone on this board. Also, the fact that weight training has been shown to benefit athletes for EVERY other endurance sport is another reason to at least try it.



FYI one of Friel's best attributes is his thirst for knowledge. He is not too proud to change his opinion when presented with compelling evidence. I expect major revisions to the T bible if another comes out. Read his blog http://www2.trainingbible.com/joesblog/

I assure you that he doesn't want his book to be taken as fact.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sgrundy View Post
As for the legs vs lungs issue, that's a complete fallacy. Force is never a limiter during submaximal exercise. If your legs are burning it's because you've exceeded the respiratory capacity of the working muscle and are accumulating lactate in the blood. Strength has nothing to do with it and lifting weights won't help.
ill have to track it down, but i recall more then a few studies that advocate lifting bases on the idea that increasing your overall strength means that any effort below max is now taking a smaller % of max effort, and the lower % of max effort you are exerting, the longer you can maintain it.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post



FYI one of Friel's best attributes is his thirst for knowledge. He is not too proud to change his opinion when presented with compelling evidence. I expect major revisions to the T bible if another comes out. Read his blog http://www2.trainingbible.com/joesblog/

I assure you that he doesn't want his book to be taken as fact.
lol realized that a few minutes ago. Still, he does talk about studies. I've been reading his blog a bit, some good stuff on there, especially the recent posts about hydration.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fatallightning View Post
ill have to track it down, but i recall more then a few studies that advocate lifting bases on the idea that increasing your overall strength means that any effort below max is now taking a smaller % of max effort, and the lower % of max effort you are exerting, the longer you can maintain it.
Based on the idea or based on empirical evidence? Were these studies conducted on trained cyclists? It's been clearly established that force is not a limiter at any continually sustainable power output. If you convert force applied to the pedals into an equivalent leg press weight (do a quadrant analysis to get average effective pedal force at a given power and cadence, take that as your peak force for each leg and divide by 9.81) you'll see that even at pro tour power levels, the force involved in riding a bike is nowhere near the muscle maximum capacity. In fact, when you ride, you're probably generating less force than you would by squatting your own body weight. How long you can hold an effort has nothing to do with what % of your 1RM force you're putting out, but what % of lactate threshold you're at, which has nothing to do with strength.
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Old 11-24-08, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sgrundy View Post
Based on the idea or based on empirical evidence? Were these studies conducted on trained cyclists? It's been clearly established that force is not a limiter at any continually sustainable power output. If you convert force applied to the pedals into an equivalent leg press weight (do a quadrant analysis to get average effective pedal force at a given power and cadence, take that as your peak force for each leg and divide by 9.81) you'll see that even at pro tour power levels, the force involved in riding a bike is nowhere near the muscle maximum capacity. In fact, when you ride, you're probably generating less force than you would by squatting your own body weight. How long you can hold an effort has nothing to do with what % of your 1RM force you're putting out, but what % of lactate threshold you're at, which has nothing to do with strength.
I agree 100% when it comes to aerobic work, that's completely the case. However, during a sprint you're certainly limited by your legs and lifting can most definitely help there.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by sgrundy View Post
You may have seen an improvement while lifting, but you weren't controlling for other variables.
Not being sarcastic, I'd be interested in what you thought those might be. I do/did regular testing and have a lot of data points throughout the season, and repeated this cycle with similar results two years in a row. Last winter I had to cut short my weight cycle thanks to a cross country move, my peak wattage never met my prior maximum. Of course I'm another year older...

BTW the quadrant analysis that I'm aware of was done on a single subject who's not a sprinter and is pretty closed minded about weight training, but will begrudgingly admit that weight training might have some use for track sprinters.

Legs vs. lungs elaboration:

In conversation with my coach today I pointed out that I could remember two occasions last season where I found my breathing to be ragged, i.e. "out of breath". All the other times the limiter was that I simply couldn't push the pedals hard enough. One of the times in question I had gone full out from the pack in a track race for several laps, and could feel my legs going at the same time.

When I first started out I would be out of breath long before my legs would fail. Now it's usually the opposite.

It's quite possible to develop one muscle (the heart/cardio) to a greater degree than another (the quads for instance). To progress and improve you need to bring the less developed muscle to the same level as the more developed muscle.

In "trained" athletes you're going to find most studies are going to show limited improvement using ANY training regime. That's the nature of a trained athlete. If you put a trained athlete at his peak on any program, you'll probably see a reduction in ability. That doesn't mean that program might not be useful during a build phase or for the vast majority of folks on BF. The best lab rats are untrained. Conditioned responders are not as useful when conducting response conditioning studies.

The large miss by some people is to characterize cycling as strictly an endurance event. It is, and it isn't. Endurance is sometimes needed to get to the end of the race in position to have a shot at winning, but often those wins are based entirely on anaerobic ability. Cavendish won a lot more races than Contrador.
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Old 11-24-08, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Not being sarcastic, I'd be interested in what you thought those might be. I do/did regular testing and have a lot of data points throughout the season, and repeated this cycle with similar results two years in a row. Last winter I had to cut short my weight cycle thanks to a cross country move, my peak wattage never met my prior maximum. Of course I'm another year older...

BTW the quadrant analysis that I'm aware of was done on a single subject who's not a sprinter and is pretty closed minded about weight training, but will begrudgingly admit that weight training might have some use for track sprinters.

Legs vs. lungs elaboration:

In conversation with my coach today I pointed out that I could remember two occasions last season where I found my breathing to be ragged, i.e. "out of breath". All the other times the limiter was that I simply couldn't push the pedals hard enough. One of the times in question I had gone full out from the pack in a track race for several laps, and could feel my legs going at the same time.

When I first started out I would be out of breath long before my legs would fail. Now it's usually the opposite.

It's quite possible to develop one muscle (the heart/cardio) to a greater degree than another (the quads for instance). To progress and improve you need to bring the less developed muscle to the same level as the more developed muscle.

In "trained" athletes you're going to find most studies are going to show limited improvement using ANY training regime. That's the nature of a trained athlete. If you put a trained athlete at his peak on any program, you'll probably see a reduction in ability. That doesn't mean that program might not be useful during a build phase or for the vast majority of folks on BF. The best lab rats are untrained. Conditioned responders are not as useful when conducting response conditioning studies.

The large miss by some people is to characterize cycling as strictly an endurance event. It is, and it isn't. Endurance is sometimes needed to get to the end of the race in position to have a shot at winning, but often those wins are based entirely on anaerobic ability. Cavendish won a lot more races than Contrador.
Woah.
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Old 11-24-08, 11:33 PM
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http://www.performancetrainingsystem..._strength.html
Adaptations to Strength Training

Strength training stimulates different adaptations, seemingly more specific to the short duration, high intensity efforts (Blazevich, 2002). Strength training does not usually change aerobic capacity significantly and induces relatively small increase in oxidative enzymes (Nelson, 1990). It does cause muscle hypertrophy, which aerobic training does not. Strength training does not stimulate growth of capillaries, but since it does increase the cross section of a muscle, it decreases capillary density. Strength training does not increase fat utilization or change the rate of carbohydrate utilization (Tanaka, 1998). Strength training may reduce mitochondrial density in muscles. (Nelson, 1990). Strength training develops significant improvements in max torque at each angular velocity (Dudley, 1985).

How Will Strength Training Affect Primary Sport Workouts?

Research demonstrated that adding strength training to endurance training programs could improve endurance performance. The addition of endurance training and the associated central and peripheral adaptations that occur are not negatively influenced by additional strength training (Bell, 1998). The addition of endurance training and the associated central and peripheral adaptations that occur are not negatively influenced by additional strength training (Bell, 1998). The accumulation of strength may reflect learning specific activation and motor unit recruitment patterns rather than significant intramuscular biochemical alterations, although the possibility of an increased contractile protein per cross-sectional area cannot be ruled out (Hickson, 1988). With greater strength a longer workload could be sustained on the cycle and thereby provided a stronger stimulus for enzymatic reactions to transcribe muscle proteins (Petrofsky, 2003)
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Old 11-25-08, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
Woah.
Exactly.

It's obviously base time. I've been spending a lot of time staring at flat open spaces overthinking things. I took a pair of KCNC brakes apart today after spending several hours on a ride wondering what a set screw was for. I've got a mold making kit to redo the liner on my TT helmet. I've almost convinced myself to get a Retul fit.

I need some zone 3-5 work to kill the mad monkey.
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Old 11-25-08, 02:00 AM
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ridethecliche
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I just spent a few minutes staring at the light from my planet bike superflash wondering why it made me feel warm when I looked at it.

Then I spent a few minutes wondering why I was having this weird ankle pain. And then I decided that I should really do homework since I'm probably not getting much sleep tonight (3hrs last night, probably the same tonight).

Yay!
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