Ally Rose’s adventures: 3 Peaks Challenge

Sunlight on the mountains

Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete Ally Rose Ogden has recently had her article published on the Bicycle Network website. 

For those who wonder what is involved in riding a LONG way in a day, here is how Ally Rose approached the day and how she coped with the challenge of the 3 Peaks Challenge.

Article by – Ally Rose Ogden

Pain, pleasure or persistence? Many have wondered, including myself at times, what it means to be a cyclist – or more specifically, what drives the hundreds of our kind, labelled by the community as no less than ‘crazy’, ‘obsessive’ or plainly ‘insane’, to spend whatever free time we have pedalling on a machine that 200 years ago didn’t even exist. It is a culture that cannot be explained to an outsider and it was not until I had completed the Three Peaks Challenge that I really appreciated that a combination of all these factors was essential for one to truly distinguish oneself as a cyclist.

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Confession- I didn’t actually start out as a cyclist, but rather a runner and later on a triathlete. It was though my triathlon, that my passion for cycling was born when I realised through a school project, that it was in fact the cyclists who had the greatest advantage in triathlon and not the runners. As a result, I joined a cycling club and despite the many achievements following trips across the country to compete in athletics or triathlon events, I fell in love with the world of bikes.

Fast forward about a year to November 2015 where my mate Xabier, hill climber extraordinaire, mentions to me a ride he’s entered in March called the Three Peaks Challenge and asks whether I wanted to do it. I didn’t know much about the ride at the time, only the name really- which probably accounts for my inexplicable response of ‘Sure let’s do it!’. Albeit, when I actually went home and looked up what we were doing I almost fell off my chair. 235km is a VERY long way. Yet, the stupid and maybe delusional person that I was, decided to throw myself into it anyway. However, as it was only 3-4 months out from the event, all tickets were booked out. I soon found myself before Christmas, frantically scrambling on the Three Peaks Facebook Page for not only a last minute entry, but accommodation to go with it!

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As the months and eventually weeks approached, I found myself overwhelmed. I would actually have to do this. This was no longer an abstract concept: a map on a website, a date on a calendar, a discussion on a forum. I was no doubt intimidated – the longest ride I had ever done previously was 130km, more than 100km less and in no way close to the elevation Three Peaks offered; however, I still couldn’t contain my excitement.

So the day finally arrived where after a night’s worth of fitful sleep, I woke in the dark to join another 2,000+ riders in which can only be described as a surreal moment. With our, Garmins, lights, fuel and bikes prepped and prepared, there was nothing left to do but sit on the start line and have faith for the forthcoming day.

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Another confession- In the second half of 2015, I had found myself losing sight of what had originally drawn me to the sport of cycling. After a bad fracture in my wrist, and subsequently being off the road for close to 12 weeks in a period leading up to the World Duathlon Championships, I found myself chained to the wattbike/trainer for the duration of my recovery. I was soon caught in the trap of training for results rather than enjoyment; and even after my wrist had recovered, I still questioned if the stress was all worth it. The Three Peaks came at a time where I really needed to reconnect with riding for the simple love of riding, rather than for accolades, recognition or chasing a win. Even Xabier, my Three Peaks riding partner and fellow racer admitted it was almost refreshing to be involved in an event that didn’t require stressing about tactics, position and a sprint to the finish line.

Confession number three- In the two weeks leading up to the event, I was involved in two nasty crashes; both of which resulted in other people being taken off to hospital with very serious injuries. Although I wasn’t seriously injured, two of my bikes were and I had been left with rattled confidence. There was even some doubt, up to 3 days before the event, if I would in fact have a bike to ride on. I did make it however, and so did a bike. However, I was not prepared to take ANY chances in that first descent. Despite my wariness though, the descent of Falls Creek could only be described as a pleasant and almost surreal experience. Although congested, nobody was complaining about the first 30 km being downhill. With the ‘peak’ of Tawonga Gap soon following the descent’s conclusion, Xabier and I found ourselves constantly making jokes of Tawonga’s validity of ‘peakness’ compared to the other two that loomed. To be perfectly honest, we tried to not take the ride too seriously. Although we obviously ensured proper hydration and nutrition, and understood the enormity of what we were undertaking; our conversation less focused on the ride itself, but often consisted of debates over which of the bikes surrounding us deserved the higher appraisal!

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It was during Hotham that I was able to really appreciate why people ride, without the need for a reward in crossing the finish line first. Maybe I had become delusional after 30km of uphill, but for the first time in a long time, I was climbing without stress of numbers and figures. I wasn’t focused on getting to the top, but rather enjoying the journey. That said, the last 10km too many times dashed my hopes; having me thinking I had reached the top before another 10% ramp awaited me around the corner!

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I had decided from the very beginning that it was not an option for me to fail to reach the finish line. This did not, however mean that I found the experience remotely easy, nor that I was always in positive spirits. Ironically, it was during the descent, not the climb of Hotham, in which I had started to doubt of my abilities. My body had started to feel the toll and although we had passed the 100 km to go mark, we still had a long way to ride. I can’t describe it any more accurately in that during that descent, in an almost altered state of consciousness, I had quite literally felt like falling asleep (pretty scary when you’re travelling at 50+ kph). That section towards the Omeo rest stop was probably my lowest point in the ride. Although ‘only’ having ridden 160 km, my mental strength was really starting to fail me, I’m not even ashamed to admit that I called Mum with the opening line of ‘give me some motivation’. We were at around the same pace as the 11hour group, so I knew we had some time, and at no point was I seriously considering quitting. I was going to fight till I could literally ride no further, but I was starting to question if I had eagerly bitten off more than I could chew. I knew though, that I had no choice to get back on the bike and continue the journey.

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It was only later on, and by that I mean about 20 minutes down the road, that I discovered the Hydrolyte they were feeding us, really did have a purpose. Unable to eat at the Omeo rest stop, I had instead guzzled two concentrated drinks and had subsequently started to feel noticeably more alive. In hindsight, I had not adequately replaced the salts in which I had lost in the 7 hours I had been riding. Although I was hydrated and fed, I had only consumed one electrolyte drink in that time. My body had started to react to this lack of much needed salts in my system and coupled with the warm weather, I had not coped well as a result.

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It’s truly amazing the connection the mind and body have with each other as there was a direct correlation with my body’s recovery and the return of my motivation after I had consumed the much needed electrolytes. To be honest, I think I had Xabier questioning my state of sanity for a while as I had quite literally gone from 0-100 in my energy levels. From that point, I found myself becoming vocally motivational at almost ‘personal trainer level’. For more than an hour I was like a high school cheerleader, chattering nothing but how far we had come and how comparatively little we had to go. Although this outward motivation was directed at others, I was partially using the opportunity to inspire myself. The excitement for the Three Peaks had returned and with this regaining of energy, I was starting to think that we could really complete this.

The Valley

The Back of Falls: It was the monkey on our back and the climb in which so many cyclists and cycling forums had eloquently described as ‘soul destroying’, even without 200km already in the legs. Keeping this in mind, I had beforehand told my super speedy climber of a riding buddy to go on ahead and complete the climb at his own pace considering he’d be needing all available momentum get up with his 25 back cog (I never had any doubts he could make it to the top with that gearing, but how he did never ceases to amaze me). Never have I been in so much pain for such a long period of time. Not only was the nature of the climb enough to push any cyclist to the limit, but due to the large amount of fuel I had consumed in the lead up, I was feeling inexplicably sick. Never in my entire life has every cell in my body screamed at me so loudly for me to quit. But there was only one way up and only one way to get there. I knew that the pain I had been in then would be nothing compared to the pain I would be in if I decided to give up. So despite my having to get off and walk at times, feeling as if I had to throw up, I still never stopped moving forward. Every 100 metres felt like an eternity and I subsequently have questioned the strategic placement of this climb. How many people (including myself) would surely decide that this hell wasn’t worth it if it wasn’t so close to the finish?

But with heavy legs, arms that could barely support my body and a state of pure exhaustion, I finally reached Trapyard Gap. 12km later I reached the summit of Falls Creek and ultimately the finish line of The Three Peaks Challenge; crossing it with the ever smiling Xabier who had come back to ride with me after already crossing the finish line himself. It was truly a moment I will never forget. The absolute joy of simply completing this challenge is one thing, but us to do it as two sixteen year olds made it all the more special and something that can never be taken away from us.

Sunlight on the mountains

Cycling is more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle and a community in which only those who are a part of it can understand. The Three Peaks helped me to reconnect with my riding in a way that doesn’t relate to accolades or a leader’s jersey; but instead for the pleasure it brings along the journey. Pain, pleasure and persistence- one aspect alone cannot be attributed with the cycling culture because none can be achieved without the presence of the other. But most of all, cycling is not a lone sport, but one that needs be shared. I know that this ride, would have been a much less enjoyable on in my memory, if it hadn’t been shared with a mate.

The Three Peaks Challenge undoubtedly leaves a mark on all that strive to conquer it. It has certainly left its mark on me.

– Ally Rose Ogden

Black wins JK Lambeth memorial race

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Kelly Cycle Coaching cyclist James Black won the 70km JK memorial handicap road race in Geelong last weekend.

James is a masters rider who does most of his training around Williamstown, the You Yangs and the Great Ocean road.

James is currently in training for the Gran Fondo World Championships to be held in Perth over the first 4 days of September.  Riders wanting to compete in this event need to reach a qualifying time or placing at a selection event.  James participated in a NZ road race to achieve his qualification.

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Below is a race report written by Mandy Hoskings:

JK Lambeth Memorial Race 2016

Out and back Forest Rd, Larcombes Rd, out and back Nobles, out and back Forest Rd to Grays, Hendy Main, finish at Larcombes Rd (A) 70kms.

The inaugural running of the JK Lambeth memorial race saw 40 racers brave the elements today. Donning every article of warm clothing in the wardrobe was a good call. Even Juddy wore his arm warmers…yes it was that cold! Now throw in 25 kilometre North Westerly winds with gusts around 35kph and a 70 kilometre undulating course and you have a tough race to contest.

Limit riders Ken Mansfield and Ian Sumner were given a whole 47 minutes head start on Scratch. Gavin Gamble and John Bell (33 mins) had to wait 14 minutes before they could set off. The 26 minute bunch had two of their bunch fail to show on time, so Mandy Hosking, Joe Gulino, Graeme Wilson and new to the club James (watch this space) Black took off with no expectations…track turns was call from the get go.

Tina Stenos and Paul Bubb received their instructions and were given the choice to start with the 14 minute bunch or take off in a bid to catch their bunch…they chose the latter and to their credit stayed away for a considerable time from the large group containing the rugged up Juddy, Vic Mason, Dave Spence, Pete Ladd, Robbie Nicholls, Paul Beasley, Paul Bird and Andrew Booth; whom had been dragged a bunch having won last week’s Rocket Ascent.

The 9 minute bunch took off 38 minutes after limit and reports say they worked well until they were reeled in at the last turn around in Forest Road by scratch, 2nd and 3rd scratch. Visitors from Footscray, Steve Firman and Mark Micallef, (who has just returned to racing after a horror crash that saw him hit by a car and catapulted along the road, sustaining terrible injuries, which also smashed his beloved bike in half; may she rest in peace)…were in the mix until Steve punctured.

Back to the front of the race, John Bell had ridden Gavin Gamble off his wheel racing up Nobles Road and rode solo until catching limit, on the second trip down Forest Road at Gum Flats Road. Ian Sumner jumped on and hung on until the 26min bunch (who’d collected Gavin Gamble) came sweeping by, led by James Black, Graeme Wilson and Joe Gulino, with Mandy Hosking trying to keep up; Ian dropped soon after.

The chasing bunches combined and bearing down on the bunch, James called out to Mandy, John and Gavin to “Have a go, we’ll stay away if we all work.” The three managed a few turns, but Graeme and James were pulling such strong turns, the bunch disintegrated to just three turning into Grays Road…10 kilometres from the finish.

A strong tailwind saw James, Graeme and Mandy hitting 43kph at the end of Grays. A quick check to see if a chase bunch was threatening saw the three breathe a sigh of relief until Graeme discovered he’d punctured. Graeme left James and Mandy to ride away at Jack’s corner and finish off the race for the one, two. Shame, as “Graeme had ridden like a champion and deserved a place.” said Mandy.

The speeds hit by the combined scratch bunches were insane, spitting out riders left right and centre. At the top of the chicane the bunch realised they were racing for the minor placings.

James Black had Mandy riding on the rivet in the strong side headwind up Hendy Main to the Larcombes Road final 700 metres. Mandy sat up leaving James to take out a well deserved first place, by 15 seconds and a good 150 metres. With Scratch giving it a red hot go to the finish, Mandy had to get a wriggle on to the line or be caught. Anthony Seipolt crossed the line a good two bike lengths in front of Josh Williams, who was followed by Noel Taylor, Tony French, Nick Brown, Rich Lyle, Dave Warren and finally Vic Mason.

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As always the race could not be conducted without the support of our club officials and marshalls. A big thank you goes to everyone that helped out today. Special thanks to Rob Lambeth and his Stepmum Norma for putting up the awesome trophy. We’ll be looking forward to next year’s race!

Eildon Road Race

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Kelly Cycle Coaching had several great results at the Eildon VRS road race last weekend.

The A Grade women won the VRS fastest team award with 3 riders featuring in the top 10. Both Kirsty and Anna featured in breaks before the climb, then Bec and FiMac took over as the team’s climbers.

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The A grade men also rode well with Stefan finishing 11 in a small but strong field.  Paddy and Kyle were both in earlier breaks to help set things up for Stef.

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Our masters riders, Andrew, Paul, Damian, Wayne and Rob all rode strongly with the race featuring the 6km climb of Skyline.

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Paul anna and FiMac

Our C Grade women also raced welll with Ally Rose and Saff finishing in the top 10.  Great riding ladies.

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This race was also an opportunity for KCC to help showcase the new Essendon SKODA Superbe that was decaled up in Tour de France signage. We thank Essendon SKODA for lending us the car for the weekend.

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SKODA's on skyline

Representing Australia at the UCI World U19 Champs

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Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete, Maccie Carter has recently been named as part of the 3 male U19 riders selected to represent Australia at the UCI World Road Championships in Qatar in October 2016.

Maccie started with KCC in 2013, with aspirations like any young kid, to get stronger, bigger and faster.

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Maccie has worked hard over the past 3.5 years, consistently doing his training and gradually seeing the improvements.  And like many aspiring young cyclists, his results certainly didn’t happen overnight. He needed to learn to pedal well, develop some core strength and stability and understand positioning and tactics.  All these facets of cycling have taken a few years to develop.

It wasn’t until 12 months ago that some real strength gains began to show and then the results followed. And what is really pleasing is that his scholastic results have improved over these past 3 years also.  A real win-win outcome which shows that sport can be the catalyst for academic endeavours.

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Congratulations on your achievement Maccie.  His fellow team mate and school friend, Alastair Christie-Johnston also made the team.  A great effort.

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Carter comes 4th and 5th at Nationals

Maccie TT

Kelly Cycle Coaching athlete Maccie Carter finished 4th today in the Australian TT championships.

Maccie raced the Australian U19 TT chanpionships held in Canberra today.  In clear sunny skies, he finished 23sec behind the winner, Queensland rider Harry Sweeny, in a time of 32mins 13sec.

A fantastic ride by Maccie.

Maccie backed up the following day with a 5th place in the road race.  He was in a 4 man break that was caught 50m from the line.  His fellow team mate CJ finished 2nd.  A great ride by both.

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Andrews in Belgium

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One of our Kelly Cycle Coaching athletes, Ben Andrews is racing in Belglium.  He is joined by former rider, Cyrus Monk.

Good luck as he does battle with the rain, mud and cobble stones.

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Edwards treks the Kokoda Trail

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Kelly Cycle Coaching Year 11 student Jack Edwards has just returned from treking the Kokoda trail in PNG. Read all about his adventures here.

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How did you get the opportunity to hike the Kakoda trail?

The opportunity arose through a Victoria Police project of which my school is involved in. The school runs multiple immersions and I was selected through a small interview process to be selected by my school to join the immersion.

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What is the history behind this trail?

The trail was a local track connecting the remote villages of PNG to the large city of Port Moresby. during 1942 it was home to the battle between Japanese and Australian forces during World War 2. As the Japanese advanced towards their goal of capturing Port Moresby and positioning themselves in a more suitable and strategical position to attack the shores of Australia, Australians aged between 18 to late 30’s from the Australian Infantry Forces and Australian Militia Forces ( AKA Choccos) advanced towards Kokoda going to war for their country. The track was home to some of the war’s most brutal close quarters combat ever to be seen and cost the lives of 1,647 Australian soldiers but more so 13,600 Japanese Soldiers.

 

How many were in the trekking party?

I was one of 42 hikers in the trekking group made up of students, teachers, sponsors and police. In addition we had 28 porters from PNG Trekking Adventures group which helped lead the group.

What sort of training did you do for it?

The training consisted of a 20 week block to which every Wednesday we walked steep hills within Pascoe vale ( gradients hit up to 30% on these local streets ) and training at St Bernard’s College ( My school ) up the 101 stairs we have between the bottom oval and classrooms. In addition to this every second weekend consisted of 20km plus hikes around Macedon and Dandenongs. All the training was done with our packs that we weighted up with roughly 16 to 18 kg the same weight we walked the track with.

How far is it?  How many days did it take?

The calculated distance by GPS that we recorded was 112km over 8 days of walking. This includes small detours off the track to view old war grounds and historical sites as well as memorial sites.

What were the logistics with eating, carrying food and sleeping?

We all carried our own ration packs of food, maximum carried was the food for that day and the day to follow, these food bags consisted of dehydrated meals for breakfast and dinner which we would add boiling water to and for lunch was an assortment of snacks such as trail mix plus the handy 2 min noodles. The porters would carry our tents and assemble them at each camp site for us to sleep within. In the morning we would pack up our tents and continue with breakfast.

Did you get blisters?

Luckily for myself I only got one blister and that was on the second to last day of walking. For others blisters were on the daily haha

What did you wear for it?  Shorts? Pants?

We were given all the gear and included in this was short hiking shorts and breathable hiking tops, I wore compression shorts with my shorts and just the hiking top to which all worked like a charm for the 8 days.

So no shower the entire time?

There were showers but nothing like the ones at home, most of the time we would head down to the freezing cold rivers with some soap for a clean and recovery session. It was ice baths at every camp site

Was the most memorable part of the experience?

The whole experience was exceptionally great, the stories shared and the relationships made are amazing. The most memorable part for me though will be walking through the Kokoda arches at the end of the track and screaming at the top of my lungs while jumping around and hugging the group of boys from my school. Letting out all the excitement and joy of completing the track and celebrating with the boys who were there everyday to make it all worth while was great.

What was the toughest part?

The track itself was easier then I expected and I surprised myself on how well prepared myself and others were for this walk. But the one climb that was really tough was the second hardest one of the entire walk. The hike up Imita Ridge was brutal the mix of knowing how close you were to the end and yet the steep muddy track consistently made the time go slower and slower was a annoying play on the mind not to mention the unbearable amount of sweat felt like the ancient Chinese torture of the water drop on the forehead.

Were you physical and mentally challenged by this experience

Physical I was completely fine, I would get into the camp tired as usual but all along the track I could complete the days easily and have the ability to play ball with the local kids at the villages and lunch breaks. Mentally it was no issue until the days 6 and 7 these days were hard in terrain but the mind was beginning to get very tired from the rough nights of sleep.

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Would you recommend it to others?  If so why?

I would easily recommend this experience of walking the Kokoda track to others. The scenery is quite breathe taking to see from the large ranges and deep valleys of the Owen Stanley Ranges, Each village erupts to life and the local culture is a whole lot of fun to be apart of with everyone having a smile on their face and a willingness to learn. The trekking itself through the terrain of Papua New Guinea is an amazing physical challenge and always throws a challenge your way on everyday of hiking. Mentally it’s amazing to throw the technology to the side and talk and joke with new people and the others you hike with. You learn so much about yourself both mentally and physically and it gives you the experience to tell yourself that you can really do anything because the only way out of the track was to KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

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Hellman races at Marathon MTB World Champs

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Kelly Cycle Coaching mountain bike rider Chris Hellman competed in the Marathlon  mountain bike elite mens world championships on the weekend.

Chris works fulltime but has managed to juggle the demands of training and qualified for the World MTB champs by finishing top 20 in a world cup race last year.

Unfortunately, Chris got sick a week out from the biggest race of his career so far, but that didn’t stop him giving it his best shot and finishing 120th on the day.  A fantastic achievement to qualify and prepare well for this event Chris.  Sometimes the stars don’t align on the day but that is all part of being an elite athlete.

 

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Hildred and Michaelides perform at Country & Metro Champs

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Kelly Cycle Coaching athletes, Wayne Hildred and Chris Michaelides had a fantastic day out the Country and Metro Road champs.

For Wayne it is a stepping stone towards the World Champs in Perth later this year.  For Chris, it is part of his goal of winning a State Masters title in August.

Well done guys.

 

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Wayne Hildred won the Masters 7 Country Road Champs.

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Chris Michaelides finished 2nd in the Masters 4 Metro Road Champs.

Scouller scores some VRS points

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Kelly Cycle Coaching Masters B grade rider, Paul Scouller sprinted strongly to finish 3rd in the Fred Icke VRS road race in Creswick.

A two man break escaped on lap 2 and were never seen again.  The uphill finish suited Paul who burst from the peleton to win the bunch kick.

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Newby to KCC, Andrew Stevens did well in Masters C, finishing 6th in a frantic bunch sprint.

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