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Frustrated with cycling clubs

Old 03-27-22, 12:38 PM
  #26  
John E
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My compromise is to ride solo, but to pick my routes and times of day carefully to minimize risk from motorists. I have a couple of decent local climbs on quiet residential streets, so I can get a decent workout.
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Old 03-28-22, 08:45 AM
  #27  
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I feel your pain. I once complained about this sort of thing on a ‘private’ mailing list, and got blackballed for the rest of the year. AND our church riding club once dropped a new rider friend of mine who is Jewish. They heard about that one, too.

As others are doing, if I ride on the road it’s where there is a lot of bike traffic, so I feel a little bit safe.
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Old 03-28-22, 09:42 AM
  #28  
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Joined an “all abilities” club about a year ago looking for the monthly, social, club ride, just like in my UK teens.
Not even close… as soon as they spot a hill, gone! My feeling, I could have chosen my own route and cycle on my own, rather than be stuck on your route, still on my own.

So I organized a group outside of the club for a No Drop 50.
Totally social, chatted the entire way. Had a blast.
It’s a matter of trust… once riders can trust they won’t be struggling alone to catch the group at the top of the next hill they come and try.

Our next ride is a locally organized Metric Century (Chico Flatflower 4/24/22), same rules, No Drop. Although I will own up, because these are not thrown open to a club, it’s easier to extend invites to riders of a minimum pace/endurance. Although I have committed to cut the group loose and hang with a straggler if the need arises.

Barry

🙂 The IronMan among us got an email from his coach…
”What on earth we’re you doing for 4.5 hours @ 77w ?” his reply “having fun”

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Old 03-28-22, 11:59 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by milton banana View Post
I tried a "no drop" ride once. Everybody lit out like their hair was on fire. Wasn't even over the first hill and I was by myself.
Oh, I've been on those rides before. I just continued on at my snail's pace and waited until I caught up to someone who left too hard and had totally bonked, then rode along with them just for the company. Tortoise and the Hare kind of thing. Lately there seems to be more and more rides where the group doesn't even wait for the slower riders to catch up at stop signs or intersections where the route turns. I don't know what their definition of "no drop" is, exactly, but I know which ride groups tend to do that, and avoid them like the plague (or Covid.)
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Old 04-01-22, 11:32 AM
  #30  
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My club rides have a 'no drop' policy, although that doesn't mean they all ride together. It just means that someone in the group will hang back so you're never alone as long as you maintain the minimum pace. Does not apply to the fast (A) rides, which are stay-with-the-group-or-you're-toast. Also, the speed classes of ride are based on 'pace' which is defined by effort needed to do the speed in flat, no-wind conditions.
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Old 04-01-22, 07:10 PM
  #31  
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Looks like some clubs should be for training before a rider gathers enough confidence to ride on his or her own.
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Old 04-02-22, 07:13 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Looks like some clubs should be for training before a rider gathers enough confidence to ride on his or her own.
It seems to me to be the other way around. RIders start out solo, and then gain enough confidence to begin riding in a group.
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Old 04-02-22, 01:29 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Gundo View Post
I can sympathize. Everyone in my club is younger and faster. They wait for me on the hills but i feel bad about making them wait for me.
Similar to my experiences. The problem, as I see it, is that I am kind of a "tweener", not quite a C rider any more, but more than a D+ rider. On C rides, there are usually several people who are really C+, but ride with the C's and then rush to the front of the pack and push the pace - really pisses me off.

Last year we have had one ride leader who began to lead "Slow C" rides, averaging 11.5-12.0 mph (advertised as 11-11.5). That was great with really nice people. That lasted for maybe 4 or 5 weeks when faster riders joined. The last time I rode with them, after 2 miles I was already a good 100 yards behind. I simply turned around, called the ride leader, who begged me to stay with them ("we'll wait for you just down the road"), but I said thanks, I don't want to hold back the group. I then did a further 17 miles and finished at an average speed of 12.0 mph.

I then decided that I would either find another club, or do primarily solo rides. I love this sport too much to get aggravated doing it.

Most importantly, please stay safe out there.

Best regards

Last edited by flan48; 04-02-22 at 01:31 PM. Reason: grammatical error
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Old 04-02-22, 02:49 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post

Personally i prefer riding solo or with one closely matched partner. I do what i can to mitigate risks, with visibility, road selection, and situational awareness, but i also accept the inevitable risks.
We have this in common. I prefer riding alone because any that would ride with me would be late, like to creep up alongside or overlapping my back wheel. Anyways, I ride alone. Yeaaaaah all by myself....
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Old 04-05-22, 12:35 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
Joined an “all abilities” club about a year ago looking for the monthly, social, club ride, just like in my UK teens.
Not even close… as soon as they spot a hill, gone! My feeling, I could have chosen my own route and cycle on my own, rather than be stuck on your route, still on my own.

So I organized a group outside of the club for a No Drop 50.
Totally social, chatted the entire way. Had a blast.
It’s a matter of trust… once riders can trust they won’t be struggling alone to catch the group at the top of the next hill they come and try.

Our next ride is a locally organized Metric Century (Chico Flatflower 4/24/22), same rules, No Drop. Although I will own up, because these are not thrown open to a club, it’s easier to extend invites to riders of a minimum pace/endurance. Although I have committed to cut the group loose and hang with a straggler if the need arises.

Barry

🙂 The IronMan among us got an email from his coach…
”What on earth we’re you doing for 4.5 hours @ 77w ?” his reply “having fun”
The only hills on this route is to get up on the levee. Although the wind can be brutal. I hope you started in Sacramento so you could ride with a nice breeze at your back.
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Old 04-10-22, 03:28 PM
  #36  
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I've never been able to do group rides with a club. They are either too slow or too fast, and they are always better climbers than me. The serious riders are always too fast, have no patience, and usually a bunch of jerks. The club beginner riders are usually too slow and don't realize how little conditioning they have. And there was me, in-between both groups. It just was never any fun.

What has worked better for me is to find people that ride at my pace when doing group events like centuries. You can usually identify them because you keep seeing them on the ride even if you keep to yourself. But keeping to yourself is never the point of these rides, and usually you fall into a group.
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Old 04-10-22, 03:48 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I've never been able to do group rides with a club. They are either too slow or too fast, and they are always better climbers than me. The serious riders are always too fast, have no patience, and usually a bunch of jerks. The club beginner riders are usually too slow and don't realize how little conditioning they have. And there was me, in-between both groups. It just was never any fun.

What has worked better for me is to find people that ride at my pace when doing group events like centuries. You can usually identify them because you keep seeing them on the ride even if you keep to yourself. But keeping to yourself is never the point of these rides, and usually you fall into a group.
This past weekend I volunteered to drive SAG on a charity ride. There were 3 routes - an 8 mile "family" route (mostly on the local MUP), and 33 / 66 mile road routes that had some overlap. I SAGged the 33 mile group. Everyone started out together. By around the 15 mile mark, I started to notice a lot of people riding solo, even though there were other riders slightly ahead or behind them riding at the same speed. I thought "Why don't they ride together? At least they could draft off each other and have some conversation and company." Temps were only in the 50s, so I doubt anyone was too sweaty and stinky.

There was one group that did stay together. I was at a shared rest stop (20 miles on the 33 mile route, 53 miles for the 66 mile group) talking to some riders, when the "A" group went flying past (we don't need no stinkin' rest stop!) at around 20+ MPH.
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Old 04-10-22, 08:39 PM
  #38  
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Even when I've joined pickup groups during events we still don't necessarily ride completely together, you drift in and out. And unless you are doing a fast pace you don't need to draft. And it was just a few years ago when I took off with someone on a 50 mile ride and we found ourselves ahead of everybody. It wasn't supposed to be a fast ride, but we were the first to finish! If only I could ride like that now.
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Old 04-12-22, 01:54 AM
  #39  
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I typically join one of three rides when I want a group ride; one is with my racing team - sometimes road but often MTB XC - another with a road biking Club that has a no-drop policy which we all respect but we do have to wait for the slower riders from time to time and has been compared to an intermediate to fast group by visitors. It does have a 20mph average quite often and we are in a hilly area so puts some folks off. It has a core group of regulars but a lot of tourists join in so we get to meet new people.

The third is a larger group that is generally fast and the return leg a race - it attracts some serious talent given it is organised by an ex-pro.

There are Clubs for all paces around though.


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Old 04-12-22, 10:43 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
This past weekend I volunteered to drive SAG on a charity ride. There were 3 routes - an 8 mile "family" route (mostly on the local MUP), and 33 / 66 mile road routes that had some overlap. I SAGged the 33 mile group. Everyone started out together. By around the 15 mile mark, I started to notice a lot of people riding solo, even though there were other riders slightly ahead or behind them riding at the same speed. I thought "Why don't they ride together? At least they could draft off each other and have some conversation and company." Temps were only in the 50s, so I doubt anyone was too sweaty and stinky.

There was one group that did stay together. I was at a shared rest stop (20 miles on the 33 mile route, 53 miles for the 66 mile group) talking to some riders, when the "A" group went flying past (we don't need no stinkin' rest stop!) at around 20+ MPH.
A lot of riders are uncomfortable riding close to others.
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Old 04-13-22, 01:41 PM
  #41  
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The emphasis on going fast on bicycles has driven me nuts most of my cycling life, and that's a good fifty years. I simply don't understand riding as fast as you can for twenty or thirty miles. If you are racing, well then, racing is another sport entirely. I'm a hiker and would never consider hiking as fast as I can to my destination and have never left anyone behind with whom I was hiking. The same is true for me when I cross country ski. I ride alone most of the time or occasionally with a friend. I like to have conversation when I'm cycling with others, something that is impossible if we are all speeding along. I do ride with a local club every now and then that claims to not drop riders but they do anyway. If you are going to do something with people, why would you want to leave them behind? Imagine going for a walk with a friend and then speed walking and leaving the friend behind. Makes no sense to me.
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Old 04-13-22, 04:11 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Anyone in our bike club can call for a lead to ride at any speed they want to name. Try doing that yourself. You might be amazed at how many show up.
BTW label it a NO DROP ride, and make sure that is abided by.
“I have tried to organize a D pace group to piggyback with the usual club rides, hopefully drawing on some of the beginner group that wish to pick up their pace slightly. Sometimes I'll get one or two riders, sometimes no one wants to ride with the 'old, slow guy'.“
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Old 04-13-22, 04:40 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by jackb View Post
The emphasis on going fast on bicycles has driven me nuts most of my cycling life, and that's a good fifty years. I simply don't understand riding as fast as you can for twenty or thirty miles. If you are racing, well then, racing is another sport entirely. I'm a hiker and would never consider hiking as fast as I can to my destination and have never left anyone behind with whom I was hiking. The same is true for me when I cross country ski. I ride alone most of the time or occasionally with a friend. I like to have conversation when I'm cycling with others, something that is impossible if we are all speeding along. I do ride with a local club every now and then that claims to not drop riders but they do anyway. If you are going to do something with people, why would you want to leave them behind? Imagine going for a walk with a friend and then speed walking and leaving the friend behind. Makes no sense to me.
I race and most of the group rides I go on are either team rides where we may be working on specific race situations or training, or race rides which are sort of unofficial races. Even in those kinds of rides there are definitely neutral portions where the pace is easy and there's plenty of conversation. I really look forward to those parts of the ride. I would also note that--in my experience--when racers go on no-drop social rides, they are not the ones pushing the pace. That's the Cat 6 brigade.
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Old 04-17-22, 07:49 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would also note that--in my experience--when racers go on no-drop social rides, they are not the ones pushing the pace. That's the Cat 6 brigade.
^^^This. Some of the most chill rides I've ever been on were with racers on their recovery days. Those folks know when a ride is supposed to be easy!
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Old 04-17-22, 10:12 AM
  #45  
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I ran into a colleague from work that was a racer with his group at the Rapha shop in Soho/NYC sipping their cappuccinos and they had just finished the races in Prospect Park and he invited me along. But what happened is that they were riding so slowly that I had to excuse myself because for me it was supposed to be a workout day. Of course he gave me crap the next day at the office for "showing them up" and had a laugh. I couldn't keep up with those guys if my life depended on it and we both knew it.
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Old 04-25-22, 03:21 PM
  #46  
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Just put this up on the club FB page. I've gotten a few replies in a matter of hours, and it's caught the attention of the club.
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Old 04-25-22, 08:31 PM
  #47  
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Addressing some of the group ride issues mentioned above . . .
Why are people on group rides riding by themselves? Because there are no two cyclists who ride at the same level of comfort, whatever that might be, on every slope of every road. Many people want to keep it simple and just ride as it pleases them, whether easy, moderate, or hard.

Why do people want to ride hard on group rides and even challenge each other? Because it's impossible to ride as hard by one's self as one can when presented by a challenge to ride harder. It's a health and fitness thing. You want to ride strong, you have to ride with someone stronger. That's really the basis for most group rides. And going on a group ride to converse with your voice is a really bad idea. That means riding abreast which is not a good idea at all. On a path, you take up too much room and on a road, you force vehicles to increase their exposure time to the oncoming traffic, plus you're distracted. It's exactly as dangerous as using a phone while driving. On a ride, you talk with your bike, which many times is more expressive and interesting than casual conversation. Riding abreast is generally forbidden on group rides around here unless one is passing another rider. That said, on very low traffic roads some groups will do rolling pacelines.

Average ride speed is a useless metric. You're supposed to publish what the leader's speed will be on the flat. Our tandem will run at 16-18 on the flat, 5 on a steep climb, and 45 on the descent. Insofar as cycling is a sport, it's all about riding uphill and there's a lot more inequality on that point of sail as it were, than on any other. Climbing is how we get strong. Everyone I know who rides a lot, rides for fitness and one has to ride hard to get fit.

Of course it's a whole 'nother story if one doesn't see cycling as a sport but rather as a recreational activity like fishing, walking, or photography. I do see people out on the MUPs doing that. Yesterday we passed a group of 3 riders on fat ebikes, going maybe 8 mph on a MUP, single file.
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Old 04-26-22, 04:17 PM
  #48  
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Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

"Many people want to keep it simple and just ride as it pleases them."
True, but not all people find riding solo is what they enjoy. Personally, I've adjusted my speed down to stay with a slower rider, sometimes just to converse, sometimes to give a little encouragement. If I ask "how are you doing?" and get "Okay, I'm fine, you go ahead" then I'll leave them to ride alone.

"Why do people want to ride hard on group rides and even challenge each other? Because it's impossible to ride as hard by one's self as one can when presented by a challenge to ride harder. It's a health and fitness thing. You want to ride strong, you have to ride with someone stronger. That's really the basis for most group rides. And going on a group ride to converse with your voice is a really bad idea. That means riding abreast which is not a good idea at all. On a path, you take up too much room and on a road, you force vehicles to increase their exposure time to the oncoming traffic, plus you're distracted. It's exactly as dangerous as using a phone while driving. On a ride, you talk with your bike, which many times is more expressive and interesting than casual conversation. Riding abreast is generally forbidden on group rides around here unless one is passing another rider."
Believe it or not, there ARE actual 'social rides' that people participate in. If you wish to participate in a group training ride, that's fine. Oh, and during those social rides, people will actually converse with each other in the normal manner, rather than talking with their bike (what the heck is that, anyway? Can I just use a translator app on the phone?) Riding abreast - at least around here - is the preferred method on a group ride, and is perfectly legal. The idea is to force vehicles to wait until it's safe for them to pass, rather than trying to pass too closely while other vehicles are coming the other way.

"Of course it's a whole 'nother story if one doesn't see cycling as a sport but rather as a recreational activity like fishing, walking, or photography."
Imagine that.
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Old 04-26-22, 07:26 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

"Many people want to keep it simple and just ride as it pleases them."
True, but not all people find riding solo is what they enjoy. Personally, I've adjusted my speed down to stay with a slower rider, sometimes just to converse, sometimes to give a little encouragement. If I ask "how are you doing?" and get "Okay, I'm fine, you go ahead" then I'll leave them to ride alone.

"Why do people want to ride hard on group rides and even challenge each other? Because it's impossible to ride as hard by one's self as one can when presented by a challenge to ride harder. It's a health and fitness thing. You want to ride strong, you have to ride with someone stronger. That's really the basis for most group rides. And going on a group ride to converse with your voice is a really bad idea. That means riding abreast which is not a good idea at all. On a path, you take up too much room and on a road, you force vehicles to increase their exposure time to the oncoming traffic, plus you're distracted. It's exactly as dangerous as using a phone while driving. On a ride, you talk with your bike, which many times is more expressive and interesting than casual conversation. Riding abreast is generally forbidden on group rides around here unless one is passing another rider."
Believe it or not, there ARE actual 'social rides' that people participate in. If you wish to participate in a group training ride, that's fine. Oh, and during those social rides, people will actually converse with each other in the normal manner, rather than talking with their bike (what the heck is that, anyway? Can I just use a translator app on the phone?) Riding abreast - at least around here - is the preferred method on a group ride, and is perfectly legal. The idea is to force vehicles to wait until it's safe for them to pass, rather than trying to pass too closely while other vehicles are coming the other way.

"Of course it's a whole 'nother story if one doesn't see cycling as a sport but rather as a recreational activity like fishing, walking, or photography."
Imagine that.
Counting event rides, I've been on maybe 1000 group rides. We have the largest bike club in the country here, last I checked it was about 13,000 members. I've never been on a ride like you describe. Maybe they exist here, I don't know. For sure, no club ride leader is OK with riding abreast, and yes, it's perfectly legal. What you say about making cars wait? Really? Cars pass as soon as they think they can, even if that involves forcing an oncoming car off onto the shoulder or making them almost stop. So far, I've never had to defend against a head-on happening right in front of me, but that's always on my mind and built into my reflex library. I shout at riders who bunch up on short climbs where the cars have no ability to see up the road.

Along those lines of thought, I've read many posts on BF where riders advocate "taking the road." I have a riding buddy who advocates same and he's been hit twice by passing cars. Both times, the car changed lanes into him, having lost track of his location. That would not have happened had he been riding well to the right. He's the only rider whom I know who advocates same and the only one who's been hit. I'll do that on a 2-lane bridge with heavy traffic, but that's the only time. I have an endoskeleton, cars are exo and it's steel. I try to stay out of their way.

Whether we realize it or not, we are always talking with our bike, informing other riders about our ability, experience, and expectations. That's just something one should be aware of. One wants to become a sought-after wheel, aware, smooth, steady, and safe. IME every group ride is a training ride. There's always some way to improve on something which isn't present when riding solo. I'm totally an awareness and safety freak. Cycling is dangerous enough when one is paying 100% attention to what's happening. My group motto is, "We emphasize safety and cooperation." We have social time after the ride.

I'm still leading group rides almost every weekend, though I'm seldom on the front anymore.
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Old 04-27-22, 05:59 AM
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Bald Paul
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Along those lines of thought, I've read many posts on BF where riders advocate "taking the road." I have a riding buddy who advocates same and he's been hit twice by passing cars. Both times, the car changed lanes into him, having lost track of his location. That would not have happened had he been riding well to the right. He's the only rider whom I know who advocates same and the only one who's been hit.
Oddly enough, the one and only time I've been hit by a car in all my years of riding was when I was riding solo, on a straight, flat road with almost zero traffic. I was riding along the white line on the right side of the road. For some unknown reason, the driver didn't want to cross the center line to pass, even though there was no oncoming traffic as far as one could see.

To each his own. Enjoy your rides.
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