It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I was just there a month ago to train on each of the three big climbs, so my confidence level is pretty high as for being able to complete this tough challenge. However, I still feel a few nerves that start to shake and undermine said confidence.
Why?         […]

It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I […]

Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with […]

The Residents of the Hills have a Message for Us

The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back […]

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    It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north […]

    Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be […]

    It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I was just there a month ago to train on each […]

    Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with new roads that will allow for the infrastructure to be […]

    The Residents of the Hills have a Message for Us

    The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back wheel as we propelled ourselves up Buckhill.  We stopped so […]

    Popular News

    It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I was just there a month ago to train on each of the three big climbs, so my confidence level is pretty high as for being able to complete this tough challenge. However, I still feel a few nerves that start to shake and undermine said confidence.

    Why?                         

    Well, thanks for asking. I was hoping you would.

     

     

    Road Captain in 2017
    Being asked to be a Road Captain for this year’s event is a big deal to me and something I take seriously. We are told to maintain the advertised pace, to watch out for safety, keep an eye on the riders in our group and keep the Oasis rest stops to a minimum of 15 minutes. The other three B peloton captains are so very strong, and it can feel a little intimidating to know that I have to keep their pace – if you want to know the inside truth.  Kameel Abdurrahman, Jorge Feliciano and Claudia Garrell are accomplished cyclists and have less body fat than I do… and I think they have more gearing than Goldilox does (not that they need it to climb about 10,000′ a day for 3 days).

    Coach Kameel Abdurrahman / MotionFit.net

     

    Jorge Feliciano with sweet Elizabeth (who is leading C group)
    Cute thing Claudia Garrell

    What makes the pressure even greater is that I requested to help lead the B peloton. Originally I was slated to help with the C group.

    Gulp.

    Eating Crow
    I’ve had a slice or two of Umble Pie and it is just that – humiliating. “Open mouth —> insert foot” is something I’m pretty good at since I’ve had multiple opportunities to practice this discipline in my half century on this planet.


    Have you ridden with people who show up with excuses pouring out of their mouths before ever rolling out of the parking lot? Sure you have. It’s not an attractive quality. I try hard not to make excuses for a less-than-expected performance. My good friend, David Benzel, has taught me that “It’s just the ego talking…” when excuses are uttered. Some days we just have a bad ride. Other days we fail to prepare fully and have a lackluster experience as a result. The best thing to say when this occurs is this: “It’s just not may day.” Excuses only make it worse and make us look weak.

    I hope not to have to say such a sentence at Titans next week. I have trained, have put in the miles and the elevation. I feel ready. I am stoked! I just hope to live up to my own expectations of myself – and those of others. When I think of it that way, the jumpy nerves shrivel up and fall to the floor.

    Reasons Why Titans Will Be AMAZING in 2017
    The organizers have done their job well. Many participants are past Titans so it will be like a family reunion. The weather is forecast to be clear with lows of mid-50’s and highs around 72. PERFECT! With an event as challenging as this, the focus is really mind over matter. If I lose my mind, it won’t matter because I’m in great company, beautiful scenery and riding my bike. How does it get much better? I’ve got this!

    www.RoadTitans300.com

     

    It’s not too late to register! What are you waiting on? Use my promo code, gear up and let’s GO!

     

    All photos below are from Road Titans organizers for promo purposes

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Except this one… it’s from Facebook and too good to pass up

    Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with new roads that will allow for the infrastructure to be laid out first.

    I became involved in this issue at the request of the residents on the top of Sugarloaf, as they know this new growth will certainly affect us. And it will. Greatly. In reality, we should be thankful that it has taken this long to occur, as the first deal was cut back in the 1990’s. It feels pretty inevitable that it will go forward at this time, but it will take time. Lots of time.

    Credit: my iPhone 🙂

    This is an overview of the proposed developments, road changes (in hot pink), roundabouts (pink dots) and a few other notes added to the photo so that you can see what we were shown. By the way, I did not see one other cyclist at the meeting. None that I recognized anyway; most attenders were Sugarloaf Mtn. residents. I was quite surprised that no one else came out, but very glad that I did.  I learned a lot about this project, the planning that has gone into it, the considerations that are being made on the behalf of the cycling community and even some forward-thinking to add bike lanes, trails and paths so that the thousands and thousands of residents living in this area will have a trail system to get from place to place within the developments. However, I still have great concern about how this will change the beautiful, scenic and somewhat sacred roads that we enjoy riding on so much. I am even more concerned with how we will be able to share the roads with motorists in such a congested area. That will certainly take some give and take (and following the laws) by both parties.

    Shannon Hidiago is a South Lake Chamber staff member is involved with Bike / Walk Central Florida and was at the workshop representing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. She is an excellent spokesperson for our cycling community at the municipal level. Thank you for your efforts, Shannon.

    Per the South Lake chamber and others who have met with him, the developer is amenable to the following:

    • The highest point of Sugarloaf will be a mini-park
    • They will add a trailhead
    • 3 Trails with access to trailhead, Lake Apopka Loop Trail/Scenic Mountain Overlook and South Lake Trail Connection
    • Complete Streets approach within the residential/commercial development
    • Buffered 120,000sq/ft commercial with setbacks along CR455
    • 4 Ft bike lanes along CR455 and portions of 561
    • They have prepared (2) possible roundabouts one has a bike lane option within it, the other has a detour for bicyclists- this Mayor Kelley has stated he would like recommendation from BWCF as to the best option for event cyclists/recreation cyclists
    • They have completed an agreement with the adjacent developer Hills of Minneola to donate 30 acres of adjoining lands for a school site with trail connectivity to the school site
    • The golf course is being abandoned and will be homes/open space

    ______

    Per my own notes:

    – Sugarloaf Mountain Road will remain passable for cyclists via a bike trail or road closed to motorized vehicles
    – Sugarloaf Mountain Road will be resurfaced
    – It will have either roundabouts installed at the two 90 degree turns or made into cul de sac with bike trail between them (going by the water treatment plant)
    – CR 455 will remain a 2 lane road as it is designated a Florida Scenic Highway; bike lane proposed to be added
    – The commercial development area will be on near The Wall and the current roundabout at the base of The Wall
    – 561A to be 4-laned and be changed to intersect 561 near the top of the hill going north, near the power lines, with a roundabout
    – The Epicenter of Minneola will be the new exit at the Turnpike that will lead traffic to and from these new developments
    – Scrub Jay will be straightened out (for the most part – see map)
    – Citrus Grove Road will be modified to take traffic from Hwy 27 to Grassy Lake more easily
    – The name of the extension from the Turnpike exit will be North Hancock Extension
    – This interchange is to be completed by summer of 2017 and will be called the Turnpike Interchange
    – The development highlighted in blue is the Hills of Minneola
    – The development highlighted in light pink is Richland Communities
    – By 2036 this entire area will be built out
    – To the west of 561 (Buckhill area) is owned by individuals on at least 5 acre lots; I was told that we don’t have to worry about a mega development coming there (we will see)
    – Turnpike to be widened to 8 lanes to handle traffic demands
    – Traffic calmers (speed bumps, roundabouts) to be implemented in these developments to keep traffic flowing
    – Roundabout installed on 561 (near power lines, crest of the hill prior to Turnpike Road) to push traffic from 27 or 561A. Turnpike Road remains unchanged.

    ____

    All in all, I do not oppose growth and development but I do have a few questions that have yet to be answered:

    1) Where will these future residents come from? Is this type of development substantiated or is it a money grab?
    2) Event organizers and promoters will decide whether the routes we have utilized in the past are still viable, safe, scenic roads that we wish to use in future events. Safety of the athletes is premium.
    3) Like most of you, if we deem it unsafe, we will ride somewhere else. Our support of the local economy is probably a drop in the bucket of the new revenue that will be brought in with these developments, families, schools and commercial businesses that are coming in to service these huge communities.

    Growth similar to this is going to affect the Mount Dora area as the Wekiva Basin is developed. Perhaps the Minneola Project is a dress rehearsal where we can learn and be proactive, rather than reactive, for the safety measures of cyclists in northeastern Lake County.

    Let’s all work together for the good of the community and safety for all.

    The Residents of the Hills have a Message for Us

    The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back wheel as we propelled ourselves up Buckhill.  We stopped so that she could look at it and a resident came toward us, asking if we needed any help.  She assured him that she had it figured out and while Debbie tinkered with her cadence sensor, I talked with the kind gentleman. I asked him what his neighbors feel about having us in their neighborhood by the scores; his response may surprise you.

    At first he said, “Oh, we like to see y’all out here, exercising and so forth.  It’s nice to see.  But, I tell you what, when you all just stop in the middle of the road, that’s kind of bothersome.”
    I know just what he meant.  You’ve seen it too. We get to the end of south Buckhill and wait for our friends to catch up, and we just stand there on the side of the road, waiting. The problem comes when we have a big group and we stretch across the road.

    He reported that this occurs also at the end of Turnpike Road and 561, as we wait for it to clear enough to cross. I’ve seen it.  Heck, I’m sure I have done it too.  We don’t think about the cars that may be lining up behind us. We have a right to the roadThey just need to get over it. 

    Is that the best attitude? What can we do to help our cause, rather than creating more animosity between driver & cyclists? While  perhaps true statements, maybe we can act on them differently.

    Let’s see if we can be a bit more courteous to those we share the road with. The law is on our side for 2 abreast while riding.  As long as we do not IMPEDE traffic we can safely ride 2 wide.  But we cannot take up the entire lane (events seem to fall under a little different line of thinking that we can address another time.) There is a difference in a driver being INCONVENIENCED by a few seconds and one being IMPEDED.

    In the meantime, why don’t we work our driver / cyclist relationship in the community and see how it can be improved? Talk to drivers, smile, wave and be an ambassador for our sport.

    Harry Fenstad, the ‘water cooler man’ at the top of Sugarloaf has told me just about the same thing as Buckhill Man.  He loves for us to stop by and has even asked me to pass the word that he would like for us to fill his driveway.  He asks that we don’t gather in the road and that we stay on the correct side of the road.  His neighbors get scared when we are over the yellow line.  Let’s build trust with motorists, not make them afraid of us.

    May I encourage you to talk to locals when you stop?To purchase a little something when you use the convenience store rest room?  To say “Hey there!” as you pass people in their yards? It’s really hard to have bad feelings for people when they are nice to you. Let’s see if – together – we can improve our reputation of being rude, self-centered cyclists in central Florida.

    It’s just a little something to think about….

    Popular Topics Of The Day

    It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north […]

    Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be […]

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    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with new roads that will allow for the infrastructure to be […]

    The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back wheel as we propelled ourselves up Buckhill.  We stopped so […]

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    News Of Yesterday

    It’s Time for Road Titans Again!

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I was just there a month ago to train on each of the three big climbs, so my confidence level is pretty high as for being able to complete this tough challenge. However, I still feel a few nerves that start to shake and undermine said confidence.

    Why?                         

    Well, thanks for asking. I was hoping you would.

     

     

    Road Captain in 2017
    Being asked to be a Road Captain for this year’s event is a big deal to me and something I take seriously. We are told to maintain the advertised pace, to watch out for safety, keep an eye on the riders in our group and keep the Oasis rest stops to a minimum of 15 minutes. The other three B peloton captains are so very strong, and it can feel a little intimidating to know that I have to keep their pace – if you want to know the inside truth.  Kameel Abdurrahman, Jorge Feliciano and Claudia Garrell are accomplished cyclists and have less body fat than I do… and I think they have more gearing than Goldilox does (not that they need it to climb about 10,000′ a day for 3 days).

    Coach Kameel Abdurrahman / MotionFit.net

     

    Jorge Feliciano with sweet Elizabeth (who is leading C group)
    Cute thing Claudia Garrell

    What makes the pressure even greater is that I requested to help lead the B peloton. Originally I was slated to help with the C group.

    Gulp.

    Eating Crow
    I’ve had a slice or two of Umble Pie and it is just that – humiliating. “Open mouth —> insert foot” is something I’m pretty good at since I’ve had multiple opportunities to practice this discipline in my half century on this planet.


    Have you ridden with people who show up with excuses pouring out of their mouths before ever rolling out of the parking lot? Sure you have. It’s not an attractive quality. I try hard not to make excuses for a less-than-expected performance. My good friend, David Benzel, has taught me that “It’s just the ego talking…” when excuses are uttered. Some days we just have a bad ride. Other days we fail to prepare fully and have a lackluster experience as a result. The best thing to say when this occurs is this: “It’s just not may day.” Excuses only make it worse and make us look weak.

    I hope not to have to say such a sentence at Titans next week. I have trained, have put in the miles and the elevation. I feel ready. I am stoked! I just hope to live up to my own expectations of myself – and those of others. When I think of it that way, the jumpy nerves shrivel up and fall to the floor.

    Reasons Why Titans Will Be AMAZING in 2017
    The organizers have done their job well. Many participants are past Titans so it will be like a family reunion. The weather is forecast to be clear with lows of mid-50’s and highs around 72. PERFECT! With an event as challenging as this, the focus is really mind over matter. If I lose my mind, it won’t matter because I’m in great company, beautiful scenery and riding my bike. How does it get much better? I’ve got this!

    www.RoadTitans300.com

     

    It’s not too late to register! What are you waiting on? Use my promo code, gear up and let’s GO!

     

    All photos below are from Road Titans organizers for promo purposes

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Except this one… it’s from Facebook and too good to pass up

    Sugarloaf Mountain Megadevelopment Meeting Notes

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with new roads that will allow for the infrastructure to be laid out first.

    I became involved in this issue at the request of the residents on the top of Sugarloaf, as they know this new growth will certainly affect us. And it will. Greatly. In reality, we should be thankful that it has taken this long to occur, as the first deal was cut back in the 1990’s. It feels pretty inevitable that it will go forward at this time, but it will take time. Lots of time.

    Credit: my iPhone 🙂

    This is an overview of the proposed developments, road changes (in hot pink), roundabouts (pink dots) and a few other notes added to the photo so that you can see what we were shown. By the way, I did not see one other cyclist at the meeting. None that I recognized anyway; most attenders were Sugarloaf Mtn. residents. I was quite surprised that no one else came out, but very glad that I did.  I learned a lot about this project, the planning that has gone into it, the considerations that are being made on the behalf of the cycling community and even some forward-thinking to add bike lanes, trails and paths so that the thousands and thousands of residents living in this area will have a trail system to get from place to place within the developments. However, I still have great concern about how this will change the beautiful, scenic and somewhat sacred roads that we enjoy riding on so much. I am even more concerned with how we will be able to share the roads with motorists in such a congested area. That will certainly take some give and take (and following the laws) by both parties.

    Shannon Hidiago is a South Lake Chamber staff member is involved with Bike / Walk Central Florida and was at the workshop representing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists. She is an excellent spokesperson for our cycling community at the municipal level. Thank you for your efforts, Shannon.

    Per the South Lake chamber and others who have met with him, the developer is amenable to the following:

    • The highest point of Sugarloaf will be a mini-park
    • They will add a trailhead
    • 3 Trails with access to trailhead, Lake Apopka Loop Trail/Scenic Mountain Overlook and South Lake Trail Connection
    • Complete Streets approach within the residential/commercial development
    • Buffered 120,000sq/ft commercial with setbacks along CR455
    • 4 Ft bike lanes along CR455 and portions of 561
    • They have prepared (2) possible roundabouts one has a bike lane option within it, the other has a detour for bicyclists- this Mayor Kelley has stated he would like recommendation from BWCF as to the best option for event cyclists/recreation cyclists
    • They have completed an agreement with the adjacent developer Hills of Minneola to donate 30 acres of adjoining lands for a school site with trail connectivity to the school site
    • The golf course is being abandoned and will be homes/open space

    ______

    Per my own notes:

    – Sugarloaf Mountain Road will remain passable for cyclists via a bike trail or road closed to motorized vehicles
    – Sugarloaf Mountain Road will be resurfaced
    – It will have either roundabouts installed at the two 90 degree turns or made into cul de sac with bike trail between them (going by the water treatment plant)
    – CR 455 will remain a 2 lane road as it is designated a Florida Scenic Highway; bike lane proposed to be added
    – The commercial development area will be on near The Wall and the current roundabout at the base of The Wall
    – 561A to be 4-laned and be changed to intersect 561 near the top of the hill going north, near the power lines, with a roundabout
    – The Epicenter of Minneola will be the new exit at the Turnpike that will lead traffic to and from these new developments
    – Scrub Jay will be straightened out (for the most part – see map)
    – Citrus Grove Road will be modified to take traffic from Hwy 27 to Grassy Lake more easily
    – The name of the extension from the Turnpike exit will be North Hancock Extension
    – This interchange is to be completed by summer of 2017 and will be called the Turnpike Interchange
    – The development highlighted in blue is the Hills of Minneola
    – The development highlighted in light pink is Richland Communities
    – By 2036 this entire area will be built out
    – To the west of 561 (Buckhill area) is owned by individuals on at least 5 acre lots; I was told that we don’t have to worry about a mega development coming there (we will see)
    – Turnpike to be widened to 8 lanes to handle traffic demands
    – Traffic calmers (speed bumps, roundabouts) to be implemented in these developments to keep traffic flowing
    – Roundabout installed on 561 (near power lines, crest of the hill prior to Turnpike Road) to push traffic from 27 or 561A. Turnpike Road remains unchanged.

    ____

    All in all, I do not oppose growth and development but I do have a few questions that have yet to be answered:

    1) Where will these future residents come from? Is this type of development substantiated or is it a money grab?
    2) Event organizers and promoters will decide whether the routes we have utilized in the past are still viable, safe, scenic roads that we wish to use in future events. Safety of the athletes is premium.
    3) Like most of you, if we deem it unsafe, we will ride somewhere else. Our support of the local economy is probably a drop in the bucket of the new revenue that will be brought in with these developments, families, schools and commercial businesses that are coming in to service these huge communities.

    Growth similar to this is going to affect the Mount Dora area as the Wekiva Basin is developed. Perhaps the Minneola Project is a dress rehearsal where we can learn and be proactive, rather than reactive, for the safety measures of cyclists in northeastern Lake County.

    Let’s all work together for the good of the community and safety for all.

    The Residents of the Hills have a Message for Us

    The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back wheel as we propelled ourselves up Buckhill.  We stopped so that she could look at it and a resident came toward us, asking if we needed any help.  She assured him that she had it figured out and while Debbie tinkered with her cadence sensor, I talked with the kind gentleman. I asked him what his neighbors feel about having us in their neighborhood by the scores; his response may surprise you.

    At first he said, “Oh, we like to see y’all out here, exercising and so forth.  It’s nice to see.  But, I tell you what, when you all just stop in the middle of the road, that’s kind of bothersome.”
    I know just what he meant.  You’ve seen it too. We get to the end of south Buckhill and wait for our friends to catch up, and we just stand there on the side of the road, waiting. The problem comes when we have a big group and we stretch across the road.

    He reported that this occurs also at the end of Turnpike Road and 561, as we wait for it to clear enough to cross. I’ve seen it.  Heck, I’m sure I have done it too.  We don’t think about the cars that may be lining up behind us. We have a right to the roadThey just need to get over it. 

    Is that the best attitude? What can we do to help our cause, rather than creating more animosity between driver & cyclists? While  perhaps true statements, maybe we can act on them differently.

    Let’s see if we can be a bit more courteous to those we share the road with. The law is on our side for 2 abreast while riding.  As long as we do not IMPEDE traffic we can safely ride 2 wide.  But we cannot take up the entire lane (events seem to fall under a little different line of thinking that we can address another time.) There is a difference in a driver being INCONVENIENCED by a few seconds and one being IMPEDED.

    In the meantime, why don’t we work our driver / cyclist relationship in the community and see how it can be improved? Talk to drivers, smile, wave and be an ambassador for our sport.

    Harry Fenstad, the ‘water cooler man’ at the top of Sugarloaf has told me just about the same thing as Buckhill Man.  He loves for us to stop by and has even asked me to pass the word that he would like for us to fill his driveway.  He asks that we don’t gather in the road and that we stay on the correct side of the road.  His neighbors get scared when we are over the yellow line.  Let’s build trust with motorists, not make them afraid of us.

    May I encourage you to talk to locals when you stop?To purchase a little something when you use the convenience store rest room?  To say “Hey there!” as you pass people in their yards? It’s really hard to have bad feelings for people when they are nice to you. Let’s see if – together – we can improve our reputation of being rude, self-centered cyclists in central Florida.

    It’s just a little something to think about….

    Stop It Already

    There are many people in this world who like to argue to hear themselves. Then there are others who would just assume turn and run when it appears conflict is about to begin. And there are those who will stand up somewhere in the middle. This is my attempt to stand up and voice a few concerns to the cycling community with the hopes of getting wheels to turn in the brains of some readers to help make our passion a bit safer for all: cyclists and drivers.

    No matter how inconvenient, this is something we really should work on. Yes, it kills our averages.  Yes, stopping messes up our momentum.  Yes, many drivers wave us through anyway. And yes – we really do need to stop at signs (especially when drivers are present.)

    Why is there animosity between drivers and cyclists? Because “the same rules of the road don’t apply to cyclists.”  It’s just not “fair.” Oh really?  Yet we get mad when they don’t give us 3 feet. We wave our arms (or fingers) at them, yell and scream that “YOU GOTTA GIVE US 3 FEET!!!!”

    Can we have it both ways? Can we really pick and choose which laws to obey and which ones to expect drivers to abide by? Think about it. What if drivers blew through stop signs in our paths?

    I will be the first to tell you that it’s just plain annoying to have to come to a complete stop at every sign. I will also be the first to tell you that when there is no traffic or if I’m in a group where no one stops I go with the flow. Keep in mind, however, that some 29 tickets were given out one Saturday morning at a local ride when the entire group ran a stop sign.  Now that group stops and every single sign, puts a foot down and has just accepted it as “the way it is.”

    So yesterday, while riding through a little town I tried to think of “good” things that can come out of obeying stop signs:

    1) Drivers know what to expect. They feel safer and notice that we, too, want to share the road safely.
    2) It’s a good way to practice tracking.
    3) Provides some power start practice.
    4) It’s good PR for our cycling community.
    5) It builds respect from drivers.  Let’s not give critics ammunition to use against us.
    6) It is safer for everyone.
    7) It’s the law.

    You may not agree. That’s OK, but it is something to consider. It is the law. Do what you think is right but just understand that when drivers see us blow through stop signs their resentment towards us grows.  As for me, I like knowing they give us 3′. When cars are around, I’m stopping.  Share the road goes both ways.

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