Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 64 total)
  • Operation 4w/kg + improved upper body strength
  • ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Quick background: I’m 41, 6ft 3in, current FTP is 269w and I’m currently 76.2kg as of my post 2 weeks riding in Scotland holiday weigh in – so 3.53w/kg.

    Between the end of Jan and the middle of June this year I went from 84kg to 75kg via IM and a basic calorie deficit, and my FTP has gone from 210w in December last year, to 246w in February, then 269w in April. This was after completing dirt destroyer 6wk plan & build me up 12wk plan on zwift.

    To keep me motivated and staying active & working out a few days a week, I need a plan/target in place. And that target is…

    4w/kg.

    At least.

    At my current weight that means 305w, adding another another 36w to my FTP. Not only that, but I’m lacking in upper body strength so want to increase that. So if I put on say 4kg, back up to 80kg that means 320w, another 51w… 😩

    I’ll be mostly doing zwift training plans (love or hate them, I like them and they seem to work for me!) as well as some resistance band strength work, squats & deadlifts as well as upper body stuff – I’ll probably also start running again, and of course riding outside on the MTB at least once a week.

    Having experienced 12 weeks of build me up, I know fitting 2/3 days of strength training or running alongside just isn’t possible for me, so how does switching up my training focus every 4-6 weeks sound? For example, 4 weeks of strength work, 3 workouts a week, with supplementary riding/running 1-2 days a week, nothing too hard. Then, 6 weeks zwift dirt destroyer, no strength training in that time. Then repeat, 4-6 weeks strength, 4-6 weeks zwift plan etc etc.

    It’s gonna be hard work regardless, and I’m making it harder by wanting to increase my upper body strength therefore increasing my weight which is the opposite of what you want to do when increasing w/kg! But hopefully some leg strength work will assist in upping the watts.

    Diet wise I’m will go back to my standard calorie intake, maybe a few hundred extra but nothing too big as it’ll be far too easy to put the fat on that I’ve spent the last few months losing, but I’ll keep this flexible.

    Thoughts?

    I plan to keep this thread as a blog with some updates on progress – 4w/kg isn’t a massive target but for an average, if skinny, 40 something I reckon it’s a decent level of fitness – 4.5w/kg would be my ultimate goal but I’ll walk before I can run first!

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    I don’t see why you should be putting on 4kg. That’s a *lot* of muscle to gain. I couldn’t possibly do that, but maybe you know how your body responds to training.

    As a general rule, more steady riding rather than a diet of workouts would be my recommendation.

    Our best 25 mile tandem time trial by far came off the back of a camping tour in the Dolomites. Nothing like carrying camping kit up and down hills day after day for developing a bit of fitness. Never got within a minute of that time before or since.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    The extra 4kg was just a guestimate – I might not put on that much but I’m guessing I will put on a bit of extra weight – either way I’m going to need a fair few extra watts to hit the goal.

    Noted about including long steady rides, I’m definitely not going to just do continuous zwift training plans but will include a block of longer rides into the plan too.

    DrP
    Full Member

    I’d agree that you’re unlikely to put on 4kg in upper body…
    I tried REAALLY hard a few years back, and put on 4kg ALL OVER. It soon came off once i stopped lifting.
    You’ll probably find you can remain the same weight (Ish) and simply increase the muscle strength and function..

    Also, I reckon, with the FTP gains you’ve made, we should do the build me up again and aim for that target..

    I really reckon my FTP has gone from 312 to about 270… but i’ve not been on zwift or done functional training for months now!

    Good luck!

    DrP

    mjsmke
    Full Member

    Interesting stuff. My FTP (according to Zwift) is about the same W/kg and I’d like to get to 4 W/kg too. I’m much lighter though at 59kg so would need to get to 236w. Not tested in over a year and been running a fair bit as an experiment.

    YoKaiser
    Free Member

    Would a series of specific training blocks work better? Try following the perceived wisdom and add in a strength block at the end of the cycling season? Do something like working on your FTP up until say October, try adding a nominal strength session each week. Come October switch to the gym for 3 months, try stronglifts or the like. Then switch back to another FTP builder whilst putting the strength stuff on maintenance,ie one sesh a week. I’d doubt at your age(sorry) that you’d be able to do both to any meaningful extent and would likely under perform in each. As you’ve said 4kg is alot and would take considerable amount of lifting, again at 41 the testosterone available to synthesise this amount of muscle can be wanting. Everyone is different though. Are you looking for genuine strength gains or really just wanting a bit of a better beach bod? Fwiw, and I’m not an expert at all but I’d imagine that at 6’1 and 76kg never mind 80 you’d be able to look a bit stronger up top with a bit of body recomposition rather than gaining mass.

    Anyway good luck, I’ve recently set myself a series of fitness good for age targets as I approach 50 and I really should heed some of my own advice above. Currently running at the expense of pretty much everything else. So much for maintenance exercise.

    Duggan
    Full Member

    Intrigued to see how this goes and good luck. I’m no expert but is running really going to help?

    If the objective is solely to increase FTP (and maybe upper body strength) I personally would ditch running.

    I say that as someone who actually really likes it and I do both but I’ve never felt running will really help with FTP (though there are plenty other benefits).

    Robz
    Full Member

    Running will likely be detrimental to cycling ftp and gaining upper body strength.

    Periodised training exists for a reason.

    lightfighter762
    Full Member

    out of curiosity how many dead hang pullups can you do? What is your max bench, squat etc?

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Are you looking for genuine strength gains or really just wanting a bit of a better beach bod? Fwiw, and I’m not an expert at all but I’d imagine that at 6’1 and 76kg never mind 80 you’d be able to look a bit stronger up top with a bit of body recomposition rather than gaining mass.

    Mostly strength but adding a bit more meat up top won’t hurt – strength wise I want to improve my ability to ride long days/big descents/steep stuff etc – I don’t think I’ll need any real specific training as…

    out of curiosity how many dead hang pullups can you do? What is your max bench, squat etc?

    Not a lot! Not attempted a pull up for ages but maybe one or two, max. I did a few months of 5×5 stronglifts a few years back, don’t have the numbers now but on squats I was around bodyweight which was 85ish kg. No idea where I am now tbh, hopefully better as my legs have grown but nothing else. To give you an idea, I can do about 3 press ups, not going to the floor on each rep, and about 10 resting on the floor. I’m WEAK! 🤣

    So, running would effectively replace outdoor riding for when it’s cold/wet and I need to get out after work – I wouldn’t do that at the same time as completing a zwift training plan but I would do at least 1 or 2 runs/rides a week while doing a 3 weight session a week ‘block’. I can be guilty of going for weeks during winter not riding, whereas running is a lot easier to do. Zwift has helped massively with that, but if I’m doing a strength block I’d still want to ride/run once a week.

    If needed I could drop the running, it’s not big deal.

    I’m hoping that say, 4 weeks of zwift FTP booster, then 4 weeks of strength (including legs, not just upper body) alongside maintenance cycling/running or strength depending what I’m focusing on, will allow my body to recover from the 4 weeks of fairly solid training, but not be long enough to lose any gains.

    Also, mixing it up should keep things fresh – I did 6 weeks of dirt destroyer and then straight 12 weeks of build me up, which was tough going.

    I’d be fine with switching it up of course, doing say 8-10 weeks of each rather than 4 weeks.

    I’m basically trying to find a way of doing some strength training alongside fairly intense zwift training plans and/or racing, and doing them at the same time just ain’t gonna work. But 3 months of each, in my mind – I’d start to lose progress in the area I’m not working on.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    You’ll probably find you can remain the same weight (Ish) and simply increase the muscle strength and function..

    Also, I reckon, with the FTP gains you’ve made, we should do the build me up again and aim for that target..

    I really reckon my FTP has gone from 312 to about 270… but i’ve not been on zwift or done functional training for months now!

    Good luck!

    DrP

    Yeah hopefully I’ll stay around the same weight, I do still have a bit of belly fat but not masses, a bit more bulk up top works guide it though.

    I’d be up for build me up again come autumn deffo – was a good plan. I’ve not done an FTP test since the end of that but I wasn’t lacking in climbing performance in my 2 weeks in Scotland – I did 155km and 5700m of climbing on the bike in those 2 weeks, over 8 rides.

    lightfighter762
    Full Member

    I think to keep it simple just aim to do 20 pull ups every other day. Not all at one time in the beginning. Even negatives, jump up and lower slowly. Overall strength will massively increase. 50 push ups on the same system too. This is not hype training. It is not fun but the gains will be very good. 2 minute planks too.

    Running 5 minutes every day. Small jog warm up followed by 5 minutes (20 sec run/ 10 sec sprint (FLAT OUT) x2 for 1 min) x5. You will be one tough fast bastard and will not mess you up on the bike. If anything you will be faster. Master the basics.

    steve_b77
    Free Member

    What’s the actual aim of all this, are you getting ready to hit the national XC series, race CX all winter, get bashed around in Cat 3/4 crits or is it just for the hell of it?

    4kg is a huge amount of lean muscle mass to gain, just how weak are you? Train for what you need, not want you think is needed.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    The aim? To continue increasing my fitness, which in turn affects my ability to ride, making rides more fun and easier.

    Please, ignore the 4kg of weight gain – that was purely a throwaway comment on how I’d need more watts to hit 4w/kg, if I put on some muscle. I have no aims for muscle, aside from getting a bit stronger. I am very weak/skinny in my upper body so any strength increase should also benefit my riding.

    Essentially I’ve seen really good results from zwifting since last December, both in power and weight loss, and I’m now probably the fittest I’ve ever been. I just want to continue that upward trend. I know that if I don’t have a plan in place, or scheduled workouts, I tend to get lax and not ride as much as I should, which then means I suffer on riding trips, which then means I don’t ride when I get back, and my fitness spirals downwards. So an attainable target will keep me motivated. Might even bribe myself with a reward at the end if I can hit the target!

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    Yeah you could treat yourself to a season of riding in A cat on zwift getting thoroughly thrashed by proper cyclists like I did over the past winter 🙂

    nixie
    Full Member

    On the strength/weight thing I was 75kg before starting weight training. Shape in the common day areas still send the same. Upper body is definitely bigger, legs are as well. I’m around 3kg heavier now though some of that is from not doing as much cardio and eating a bit much. Strength has helped outdoor riding, especially longer descents and fatigue. I’m down on best zwift performances however that’s not surprising as not doing the same effort level I was.

    While getting beasted in A will help to an extent (it did for me) ultimately it was building lots of fatigue so I’m currently trying to get more load with less fatigue.

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    I’m presuming the 4W/Kg aim is for a 20min effort.

    If racing helps motivate you, target short races on Zwift that will take less than 20mins to complete and try to hold ~4W/Kg, ideally after a decent warmup.

    For example, 9Km TT at 1003 this morning https://zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=3071872 (Electric Loop) will take ~13mins at 4W/Kg.
    https://zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=3071883 (10Km Preimeter Park) at 1100 will take a few mins longer
    https://zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=3071897 (9Km Innsbruckring) at 1205

    Do all three back to back, focus on your power and not race tactics, train your body to recover from hard efforts! 😆

    4W/Kg has been a goal of mine for a few years, things have been a bit lax the last couple of weeks with too much eating and not enough training, but I was right on the cusp of hitting this goal. Once or twice recently I was on target without realising when the race/TT finished at 18-19mins.

    scaredypants
    Full Member

    Between the end of Jan and the middle of June this year I went from 84kg to 75kg via IM and a basic calorie deficit

    what’s IM ? 😳

    crosshair
    Free Member

    You’ll smash it by the sounds of it 👍🏻

    I’m aiming for “4.0 by 40” in January but progress is definitely not linear for me 🤣 Peaked at 3.8 or so in May and now back to 3.6 after grass pollen season.

    I’m hoping I can start chipping away at the weight again but I definitely struggle to add watts and lose weight concurrently now.

    If I can get somewhere handy again over the Autumn. then hopefully a block of Jan Zwift racing will add the icing to the cake and get me there.

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    One other thing that is worth noting is that you can definitely squeeze out a bit of extra performance with practice at the test itself, eg assuming you want to do a measured 20 min. My absolute best was the 2nd test in a sequence of 3 last summer when I did the first as a bit of a “sighter” and then aimed for just 5W watts more based on how I’d felt and what my pulse had done. (3rd week I went up a bit more and blew, which didn’t surprise me.) A good 20 min playlist might also help – I had a number of Rocky themes 🙂

    I’m fitter in some ways now – certainly running better – but don’t believe I would come close to matching that 20 mins now without a bit of preparation. I also never got close in any zwift racing.

    (I was assuming the 4.0 referred to 95% of 20 mins as per zwift/zwiftpower protocol meaning 4.21 for 20 mins, but whatever).

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    what’s IM ?

    Ahh, typo – should have been IF – intermittent fasting.

    I’m presuming the 4W/Kg aim is for a 20min effort.

    If racing helps motivate you, target short races on Zwift that will take less than 20mins to complete and try to hold ~4W/Kg, ideally after a decent warmup.

    4w/kg FTP is the aim, so 0.95 of a 20m effort.

    I held 284w for 20 mins on my last FTP test. At 76kg I’m going to need to hold 320w.

    I’ll be doing some zwift racing, yeah – racing is relentlessly hard but at least I’ll be creeping towards the top of cat B along the way. Those are TT events, would you recommend them rather than normal races? I’m guessing you can control your watts rather than having to react to other racers to try and stay with them.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    The original 20min protocol included an all out 5 minute effort beforehand to get rid of some anaerobic capability. So Zwift race pop-ups are perhaps a little high (although not if they come later in the race I suppose).

    Coggan lists the ‘7 deadly sins’ of methods to work it out as follows:


    1) from inspection of a ride file.
    2) from power distribution profile from multiple rides.
    3) from blood lactate measurements (better or worse, depending on how it is done).
    4) based on normalized power from a hard ~1 h race.
    5) using critical power testing and analysis.
    6) from the power that you can routinely generate during long intervals done in training.
    7) from the average power during a ~1 h TT (the best predictor of performance is performance itself). ”

    Me personally- I’m not going to be fussy. A Zwift race notification or an intervals.icu, Strava or Garmin predicted FTP will all do.

    Interestingly, my best ever tested FTP in a 20 min protocol (with the 5 min all out pre-effort) was actually the worst predictor of my fitness of the lot! Mainly because you can still ‘fake it’ with high willpower if you have good anaerobic capacity. The next month of training on TR was a disaster as I slowly dug myself a hole training at the new level.
    The Ramp Tests on the other hand tend to work quite well and I hard-stop at a very realistic figure.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Well, back on the Zwift horse today, feeling pretty good. An hour of C. cadence pace partner at 193w (2.53w/kg) and average HR of 139. Also couldn’t resist pushing a bit for the sprints (who can!) and managed to improve my 1 and 2 second power, with new records of 782w and 758w respectively.

    Then, wanted to tick off another badge for one of the Paris routes, and while doing that I tried to hold 300w for 5 minutes… I managed 4:30 at 300w or so… 320w watts (or more) for 20 minutes is going to hurt, but I will get there!!

    onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    I added 10% to my ftp by just upping it and doing wahoo/sufferfest at new higher ftp. It was tough for a few weeks but soon became ok. It did work in increasing ftp by a bit over 10% at next ramp test

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Ahh, typo – should have been IF – intermittent fasting

    Don’t want to turn this into a weight loss thread but those were some enviable results, how did you mix deficit and intermittent fasting?

    I’m getting back on the weight loss horse although doubt 4W/kg would EVER be realistic (would need to go from 280ish to 340ish at my best ‘racing weight’). I am enjoying my climbing at the moment though despite being my heaviest ever at 88kg so losing 3 or 4 kg couldn’t hurt…

    First week of deficit at an average of 1800kCal a day felt reasonably easy but I don’t think that’s much of a deficit, so considering a couple of 600kCal days midweek when I can’t realistically ride anyway.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Don’t want to turn this into a weight loss thread but those were some enviable results, how did you mix deficit and intermittent fasting?

    I’m getting back on the weight loss horse although doubt 4W/kg would EVER be realistic (would need to go from 280ish to 340ish at my best ‘racing weight’). I am enjoying my climbing at the moment though despite being my heaviest ever at 88kg so losing 3 or 4 kg couldn’t hurt…

    First week of deficit at an average of 1800kCal a day felt reasonably easy but I don’t think that’s much of a deficit, so considering a couple of 600kCal days midweek when I can’t realistically ride anyway.

    Nothing really that complex tbh, I just did 16/8 IF so missing out breakfast, then having lunch at 12pm and then nothing after 8pm. I was at around 1700kcal, obviously on days where I was training/riding I’d have a bit more allowance. Did that every day, with the odd cheat day of course. I was getting proper hungry in the morning at first but after a week or 2 didn’t find it that hard art all. All tracked in my fitness Pal which linked into Garmin which then added any exircise calories. I set my fitness pal at ‘not very active’ as any be active calories would be added by the garmin. 1700 put me at a 400kcal deficit.

    I could probably do with losing a bit more off the belly but I’m hoping increased training load and ‘normal’ eating should help shift a bit (and having more up top will balance it out).

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Actually tell a lie, I only did IF from May onwards – prior to this I was still tracking calories at a 1700kcal goal, but was also doing 12 weeks of build me up on zwift so that helped a lot.

    When I started IF corresponds with the steep downward section on that graph, I lost 4kg in a month – 79.6kg on the 6th May to 75.5kg on the 7th June.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Oof, 4kg in a month?

    I’ve always been scared of skipping breakfast, but it does feel like the meal I would miss least, have often pushed through to 11am and felt fine.

    I’m not tracking exercise calories but hoping they will balance out little slips like today when visiting friends with a new pizza oven 🙄

    🍕🍕🍕

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    I did some 5:2 IF a while back when it was trendy, seemed to work ok (IIRC you were allowed a few hundred cal on the “fasting” days and we had a bit extra to account for a significant bike commute). It’s interesting learning what it feels like to be properly hungry for a while. But generally if I eat sensibly and am not off exercise for some reason, I stay light enough anyway. Maybe 2kg heavy right now due to laziness and holidays, it will drop when I start running properly over the winter.

    Daz
    Free Member

    One very unscientific approach I used to get back down to race weight was a training session first thing in the morning with only a strong coffee for fuel, so kind of training fasted. Good healthy breakfast after that and a fresh smoothie blasted up to sip on until lunch. Worked wonders for me and stopped me snacking on rubbish.

    Daz
    Free Member

    Continual gains up to 4.5wkg might get difficult OP, that’s a very high bar and would have you competitive up to A2 level and above. You will hit a plateau at some stage and need really specific training to push on through that. It sounds like you prefer programs and riding to graphs so maybe trainer road would suit you better? It’s a bit more scientific than the Zwift programs

    gingerflash
    Full Member

    Just a word on the upper body strength.

    I have tried gyms and upper body “work-outs” at various times. Never stuck to them, never got into the habit of making time.

    However, I have a pull-up bar in the door frame of my home office and use push-up handles (deeper drop so very much harder) and I now have a habit of doing either a set of pull-ups or push-ups every time i leave the office for a coffee, the loo etc. It’s maybe a minute of exercise, 10+ times a day. It fits into the day nicely and has made a very positive effect. I’m never going to have a big upper body and don’t want one, and maybe there are some muscles not covered by the two exercises, but it has greatly increased strength and tone without gaining (but probably losing) weight.

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    I’d definitely recommend doing a fitness test (ramp test + aerobic assessment). I ended up doing one many years ago. Looked like this: Fitness test

    Turned out my base level of fitness or my ability to utilise fat as an energy source was shocking

    things that really worked for me

    * Changed my diet (4 hour body/idave). after this went from 75kg to 67kg in 6 months.
    * lots of 1hr turbo rides in zone 2 improved the % of fat used in zone 2 (didn’t need to really long rides to improve this) i was time crunched at the weekend
    * deadlifts – this improved my functional strength and core
    * Made sure i stuck to training mostly everyday with consistancy
    * lots of structured turbo sessions

    example workouts: power based workouts

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    I’ll definitely check out trainer road, zwift is a little limited in terms of training plans, TR does look better in that respect after a quick look.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Continual gains up to 4.5wkg might get difficult OP, that’s a very high bar and would have you competitive up to A2 level and above. You will hit a plateau at some stage and need really specific training to push on through that. It sounds like you prefer programs and riding to graphs so maybe trainer road would suit you better? It’s a bit more scientific than the Zwift programs

    Thanks for the trainerroad suggestion @Daz – after a good bit of research and looking at the forums I’ve signed up for it, the training plan looks to be much better than zwift, and they have advice about including strength training with reccomended time between workouts, doing them on days off Vs cycling days, etc. etc.

    I’m going to run TR simultaneously along with zwift on my big TV so I’m just waiting on a couple of ant+ dongles and some other bits so I can use my PC for that rather than the Apple TV.

    Today, I thought I may as well get a good baseline figure in, and seeing as TR uses the same ramp test with 75% of your best 1 min power, I did a ramp test on Zwift tonight.

    Result? FTP of 280w. 😲

    My last test was in April, and was a full 20 test but I’m feeling strong after riding/walking for 10 days out of 14 in Scotland, and I knew completing the 360w minute would get me to 270w, one more than my previous FTP, I managed about half the 380w minute before my legs gave in, so I reckon that’s pretty accurate – I don’t find it easy to pace the 20 min tests.

    That puts me on 3.68w/kg @ 76kg (Weighed in this morning at 75.3kg but I’m hovering around 76kg).

    I’ll get my set up for TR/Zwift sorted this week, get a plan in TR and start off with another ramp test on TR at the weekend. 👍

    Daz
    Free Member

    Definitely think you’ll see good progress using TR with Zwift for motivation. Consistent balanced training definitely works and becomes an enjoyable habit. It was my intention to use the same approach over winter for this race season, unfortunately Covid put paid to that. A business sideline I’d been playing about with kinda got more serious so I just let this years racing go. I hope to do exactly what you are doing from October on and see how I go.

    We must jump into some races as a singletrack team on Zwift for the laugh and show the roadies how it’s done 😉

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Have a search for Empirical Cycling Podcast on your usual podcast app. Then look through the episodes for strength training and FTP building.

    From what I’ve gleamed from it is if you want to build strength but not bulk then you need to lift heavy weights (all things being relative) using low rep counts.

    Link below to their website. They do get quite technical at times but I enjoy it.

    https://www.empiricalcycling.com/podcast-episodes/category/all

    joebristol
    Full Member

    From what I’ve gleamed from it is if you want to build strength but not bulk then you need to lift heavy weights (all things being relative) using low rep counts.

    In my experience of weight training the above combined with a calorie surplus is how you both build strength and bulk up.

    If you’re new to weight training I’d aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps on most exercises. I’d push ss hard as you can so towards the end of sets it’s hard and on the last set you’re failing before the 10th rep.

    If you don’t want to put on bulk then keep your calories at a sensible level – you’ll struggle to weight training properly with a calorie deficit (you’ll end up burning muscle if you’re not careful) but equally don’t operate a net calorie surplus at the same time.

    I’d concentrate more on the bigger lifts rather than a body building style program:

    Barbell Clean and press
    Deadlifts
    Squats

    Pull-ups
    Press ups
    Dumbbell rows
    Bench press

    Try and keep things balanced and concentrate on form – the last thing you want is a back injury etc (I was building cycling ftp nicely from 225 to 251w whilst dropping weight from 82kgs ish down to 75kgs ish – but my back spasmed about 6 weeks ago randomly and I’ve barely ridden since and currently having physio / massage to try and fix it 😞)

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Cheers – I’ve done a bit of strength training a few years back using stronglifts 5×5 so know roughly what I’m doing there – never done strength training with bands before though so might take a while to get used to them.

    I’ll be doing the big lifts so squats, deadlift, overhead press, press ups, & bent over rows.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Try and keep things balanced and concentrate on form

    I think this contradicts the ‘reps to failure’ advice doesn’t it? e.g. if you’re deliberately pushing to failure you’re hardly going to be maintaining form?

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