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Social Reply: Has UCI/USA BMX Relationship Helped or Hurt the Sport?

November 17, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Social Reply: UCI and USA BMX

Posted on Facebook by Bryan Jones, we answer here, since the reply was too-long for FB.

In this question, we have to do something we do not normally do–separate, exactly, what “the Sport” is.

The bulk of the sport is rank-and-file families, who bring their kids to the BMX track to get in on some true family-oriented fun. Some climb the pyramid up to inter, expert, state races, Gold Cup, and national racing.

The tippy-top levels of the BMX pyramid is made up of Elites, with A-Pros (in the USA) below them, and hotshoe Experts who are considering making the jump to the next class-up.

The former, rank-and-file folks, are not affected by UCI at all (unless they go to the Worlds).

The latter are, however, affected in different ways.

The USA BMX format is, by far, the most mature set of BMX Racing rules in the world. Their self-contained system is set up to promote grassroots racing, on-up to the A-Pro, Pro Women and AA-Pro classes. No other country has such a system.

When an outside force, like UCI, comes in to place certain rules and requirements on the “American flavor” of BMX racing, it DOES hurt the sanctity of the American flavor of BMX Racing, though may not hurt “the Sport,” as a whole. Sit back, as we unpack it.

Three mains, for example, is a uniquely-American format, and is rooted in giving the pros more exposure to the fans. That is critical to sponsor value in supporting athletes.

Also: the inability for the USA BMX #1 pros (Men and Women) to run their #1 plate here at home (even if the UCI #1 is not in attendance), hurts the value of those titles and, by extension, pro/elite racing. (NOT a problem in 2017, with BIG props to our own home-grown UCI World Champions: Corben Sharrah and Alise Post!!)

That said, the pros have done some things to hurt their own program, without UCI or USA BMX influence. Namely, the Friday/Saturday racing schedule. News has been on-record as opposing that since its inception; it denies the Sunday crowd—which is appreciably-larger than the Friday crowd—the opportunity to see their heroes in action.

The reasons for having pro/elite classes, in the first place, are said to include “giving the younger riders something to strive for,” “giving kids ‘heroes’ they can look-up to,” and “providing ‘influencers’ for sponsors to represent products and services.” If that is the case, there is a lot of “optimization” available to make BMX Elite/Pro racing better for all concerned.

So, back to the question at hand: “Has the Relationship Between UCI and USA BMX Helped or Hurt the Sport?”

The UCI program is the gateway to the Olympic Games. The fact that all of the USA BMX Pro Series races are also UCI-calendar events HELPS our athletes earn both nation and athlete points toward Olympic qualifying. That’s a BIG positive.

But, it comes at somewhat of a cost to the “soul” of American BMX Racing. In order to be on that lympic bandwagon, USA BMX has to conform to UCI rules (one main, no USA BMX #1 plate on the track, etc), plus their “equal pay” scale for Elite Men and Elite Women classes.

All of the proverbial players know how that game works and, though the equal pay rule doesn’t make a lot of sense when you have 30 Elite Men and eight Elite Women, it’s a system born in the European tradition, the current thinking of which is equal pay.

OUR BOTTOM LINE: “The Sport” is a big place. In the US, we are fortunate to have the USA BMX system of proficiencies, support for local programs, and a genuinely-good “pyramid” that allows BMXers to participate at the level they are most comfortable. Can you imagine a BMX local scene where there was only one proficiency, by age, here in the USA? Me neither.

For those who ARE affected by UCI influence (Elites, mostly), to borrow a line from Godfather II, “this is the business (they’ve) chosen.”

Thanks to Bryan Jones for posting the big question.

—Mike Carruth


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Social Reply: UCI and USA BMX

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes

November 7, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes

As the calendar gets thinner and thinner, the particulars of the new season are coming into sharper focus. We already have the full national schedule and, on Monday, we now have the USA BMX rule changes for 2018. Per usual, adjustments to the most mature BMX racing ruleset on the planet are greeted with both love and hate but, by-and-large, make sense for the purpose under which they were created.

2018 USA BMX Rule Change Highlights

  • Upper-age 20” classes have been remodeled to 17-20, 21-25, 26-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51 & Over.
  • Moto building in the “race manager” program will be re-worked to behave similarly to pre-2017 logic.
  • NAG/NAT will now count your best EIGHT scores (instead of seven), plus the Grands. A MINIMUM of four national scores will be required to earn a NAG plate.
  • Canadian NAT/NAG riders will be required to run a maple leaf sticker on their plate
  • Striders will run on Friday and Saturday of each weekend.
  • As of July 2018, all riders at USA BMX Nationals will be required to run “side plates,” ala UCI
  • Trophy slips must be exchanged for a trophy or stamps at the event in which they are earned.
  • If you pull out before the cutoff, you will be issued a refund, instead of a credit.
  • No more 7-day membership.



“The

2018 USA BMX Rule Changes – Official Release

New Classes
The 2018 Rules Meeting brought forth a few changes in the available classes for Novice, Intermediate and Expert riders. Starting at age 17, the new structure will look like this: 17-20, 21-25, 26-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51 & Over.

The restructuring of the classes between 17 & 35 years of age should make for some exciting classes and accounts for the transitional phases in life that riders go through. The 17-20 Expert division will be amazing to watch and certainly have title implications.

And the 51 & Over classes should help bring more older riders into the sport, while keeping some of the existing “old guys” racing 20” a while longer.

Moto Building
With the moto building changes, the name of the game was rolling back the clock to a simpler time. Novice and Girl riders will continue to check up 3 years to find a legal class of 3 (or more) riders.

For Intermediate and Expert riders, we will go back to checking up 1 year and Novice riders can (once again) theoretically move up to the Expert level.

Girls will first move to Intermediate if they cannot find a legal Girls class, which is where they checked in 2016 and previous years. Expert riders will check up in age, then drop into the Intermediate class of that age (giving the class Expert points).

After checking up with Experts, Girls will reset to the Girls level – Novices reset to the Novice level. Again, this basically takes us back to the moto building process of a few years ago, which should produce more desirable results (for the most part) than the 2017 process.

USA BMX National Series
For 2018, the best eight (8) scores will be counted for NAG/NAT points, plus the Grands. Riders must have a minimum of four (4) national scores to earn a NAG plate.

To better assist the announcers and scorers, CNAG and CNAT riders will be required to run a maple leaf on their number plate if they are using a non-issued plate (the trailer will provide them, if needed).

Balance Bike classes will be offered on Friday and Saturday of each weekend, with the classes run at the beginning of the event.

Finally, we will be requiring the use of side plates at national events beginning in July 2018.

Many riders who attended the UCI Worlds this year in Rock Hill, South Carolina might have seen “side plates” for the first time in their BMX career, but they make the job of the stagers, starter and scorers MUCH easier.

The July deadline will give number plate manufacturers time to stock up on side plates in advance of this requirement going into effect.

In terms of policy changes, trophy slips will need to be exchanged for the award (trophy or Saver Stamps) prior to the conclusion of that event. While riders have always picked up their trophy or plaque at each event, many would keep their trophy slips to redeem for Saver Stamps at another national event. Now, that trophy slip will need to be redeemed for either a trophy or Saver Stamps at the event it was earned.

Another policy change will affect riders that pull out of an event prior to the close of sign ups. Beginning in 2018, refunds will be issued rather than a credit. Refunds will be issued based on your method of payment for that event.

Memberships

There will be no 7 Day Membership available in 2018 and beyond. The original intent of the 7 Day was to generate online profiles, and (unfortunately) too many 7 Days came in where no online profile had been created. Even worse, in some cases, tracks were telling people to call the Membership Department and they will create the online profile for you, which simply was never the case. At any rate, the 7 Day will no longer be an option.

Scanning teh Interwebs, the side plate rule is probably the one drawing the most ire, while the rejiggering of age classes is popular in certain circles, and not-so-much in others. The general consensus is that 26-35 should have been broken in half (no opinion on that here at the BMX News Global Command Center).

So-called "Side Plates" at the UCI BMX World Championships

Speaking of the side plates: we asked USA BMX if they can be any-old side plates (think Uni and Seca side plates from the 80s). They confirmed to us that the side plates they are talking about are the UCI-style plates, behind the head tube (above). No word on whether a sticker would suffice. Box Components currently manufactures the “Phase Two Side Plate,” which is available on their website for $9.99. But you have until July to get that done.

No evidence that this is some kind of BMX Illuminati, New World Order push to bring USA BMX closer to the UCI’s brand of BMX racing. Be sure to wear the right socks though, just in case.

News also asked USA BMX if this was the full-extent of the rule changes. For example, are there still-to-come changes to team-related rules for 2018. USA BMX said: “There will be some team changes that will be outlined after the Grands. No other changes will be in the new rulebook.”

Thanks guys!

—Mike Carruth





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2018 USA BMX Rule Changes

Donny Does Nickelodeon Day of Play in NYC

September 20, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Donny and Tiffany Robinson at Nickelodeon Day of Play/NYC

By Donny Robinson
For over a decade, Nickelodeon has hosted targeted events all over the US, that help encourage kids and parents to turn off the TV and play, specifically, outdoors. By offering a slew of activities (such as bicycle riding, baseball, basketball, football & soccer, to name a few) Read more

2017 Grands Entry Fees Skyrocket. Or Do They?

August 30, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2017 Grands Entry Fees
BMXers woke up to a Tuesday morning in full social media meltdown over entry fees at the upcoming 2017 USA BMX Grand National. Post, after post, after post had the same screenshot from the USABMX.COM (mobile) pre-registration site, along with all-manner of “angry” emoticons, all-caps-jabs Read more

Practice, Preps and Pep Talks

July 24, 2017 by · Comments Off 

2017 UCI BMX Worlds Team USA Photo
Day two leading-up to racing at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships got underway on Monday. Day one went smooth, until the weather dealt a wild card to the schedule.

Team USA got it’s Sunday practice in, but two of the later groups were rained out, as a wicked thunderstorm kicked up in the mid-afternoon. The Monday practice schedule was rejiggered, and the two groups that missed out on Sunday got in early on Monday, and then later in the day.

The Sunday storm put the expo area on spin cycle, tossing tents and soaking staff, and later pulling the power plug on parts of Rock Hill, which included the Wintrop Coliseum, site of the Team USA all-rider meeting.

Meanwhile BMXers from all over the world flooded into area stores, buying up provisions for race day: bottled water, sandwich supplies, ice, and every-manner of other accompaniment you can imagine. When they talk about “economic impact” of an event as large as this, you get a real sense of that by watching tables of hungry diners at the Outback, or full carts at the local grocery store, or “No Vacancy” signs on hotel-after-hotel.

I lucked out by the Sunday reschedule of the team meeting; I was driving here during the time it was originally scheduled, but got to see the event, in full, this afternoon, when it started at around 2:10PM.

Winthrop University Coliseum is an honest-to-goodness basketball stadium (college-level), and fully-half of its capacity was jammed with Team USA riders and their families.

USA BMX COO, John David kicked-off the festivities with an introduction of the dozens-deep support staff, brought in to make sure all 1000+ members of the team are well-cared-for.

Chris Luna spoke about some of the do’s and don’ts of UCI racing—which is different than many of us are used to. Some great tips in his briefing that will keep American riders on the right side of the rules.

Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols addressed the audience, with words of support from the home town crowd. And Carley Young gave a well-executed pep-talk to rally the excitement, and get everyone’s focus and stoke aligned just-right.

Once the meeting was adjourned, the staff staged-up a team photo (above), so those of use in the media, and every parent with a smart phone had a chance to capture this epic, unprecedented crowd—all in one place, all wearing a singular jersey “TEAM USA!”

Later in the afternoon, after practice was concluded, we learned of a change to the program for Tuesday’s Cruiser racing.

The Event Management team is aware that weather patterns are forecast that will interrupt racing and could cause danger to riders.

Likewise, a combination of very high temperatures and humidity greatly increases the likelihood of heat-related injuries for all participants, including event and team staff, riders, and the public.

For the safety of riders and staff a decision has been made to amend the format for racing of the Cruiser categories on Tuesday 25 July.

Riders will compete over two (2) Motos, then move to the qualifiers and the main final.

This change will reduce the length of racing and the time at the venue, so that the racing is finished prior to the forecasted storms and adverse weather patterns and so that everyone is less exposed to the possibility of heat related injuries.

For the future day’s events of the 20 inch categories, a decision will be made each evening for the following day of racing once the updated weather forecasting information is made available. A decision on the format for the following days racing will be communicated via a communique to the Team Managers.

Be assured this decision was not taken lightly and has been made in the interests of safety for all.

IN SUMMARY:
The race format for the Cruiser categories will consist of two (2) Motos then progressing to the qualifiers and the main final.

Norm McCann
BMX Secretary
UCI Aigle, Switzerland

Tuesday’s Cruiser racing has 1024 entries, to be run in 150 motos. The largest class is 40-44, with 107 riders.Racing gets underway at 8:00AM Eastern time, and our estimate is that it will be concluded by 1:30PM.

Stick with News throughout the week for more from the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships.

—Mike Carruth

Drop in on the live stream of Tuesday’s Cruiser racing





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2017 UCI BMX Worlds Team USA Photo

USA BMX “Epicenter” May Have Found a Home

July 5, 2017 by · Comments Off 

US Steel Evans-Fintube Site - Tulsa, OK
Last month, BMX News reported that contractural conflicts arising from soft drink “pour rights” at the Tulsa Fairgrounds had effectively ended the plan to bring the USA BMX “Epicenter” facility to Expo Square, site of the annual USA BMX Grand National.

In a release, USA BMX CEO, BA Anderson Read more

Coca-Cola “Pour Rights” Take the Fizz Out of
USA BMX Expo Square Plan

June 15, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Coke Pour Rights Take Fizz Out of USA BMX Tulsa Deal

On April 6, of last year, BMX News celebrated with the rest of the BMX universe, as voters in Tulsa County, Oklahoma approved a ballot initiative called “Vision 2025.”

This initiative had a lot packed into it, but a small portion of the $882 Million plan included about $16 million for the construction of a new USA BMX headquarters complex, training facility and dual hill, indoor BMX track (a facility we have taken to call the “Epicenter project”), at the Northeast corner of the Expo Square fairgrounds—home to the USA BMX Grand National.

All systems seemed to be “go” to proceed for a 2019 move-in date—just in time to train the 2020 US Olympic BMX Team for the Tokyo games. That is, if all went according to plan.

Anyone who has remodeled a bathroom in their own home knows that construction projects routinely go off the rails. Completion dates slip, budgets balloon, and you’re taking a shower in the “temporary” stall in the backyard for a lot longer than you ever thought possible.

Fast forward to this week, when local media in Tulsa (links below) carried the story that a long-standing agreement between the Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Expo Square requires that only Coke products are poured on the property. Seems like a small thing at first blush, but when you go a bit deeper, it was a deal breaker for USA BMX, at least for the Expo Square location.

BA Anderson told News, via a statement:

USA BMX is certainly disappointed that we were unable to come to an agreement with Expo Square as the future home of the USA BMX headquarters. This was certainly not from a lack of effort from all parties including USA BMX, Expo Square and the Tulsa Sports Commission.

As this agreement spans multiple decades it became very challenging to ensure that certain limitations would not hurt the long-term sustainability of the new venue. Multiple limitations required by Expo Square which were out of their control simply became too burdensome to allow the agreement to move forward.

Regardless, this has in no way hampered the relationship between USA BMX and Expo Square for our most coveted event, the Grand Nationals.

I also want to reiterate that we remain completely committed to the relocation to Tulsa. The City and the Mayors office is dedicated to finding the best site for the long term growth and development of USA BMX. In fact last week I personally visited 3 alternative locations.

So, the project will progress, though on a side-track, instead of the express rails. BMX Racing continues on its merry way, and USA BMX staffers will call the 602 (well, the 480, really) their home for the foreseeable future. It is going to be 120 degrees in Gilbert on Tuesday—a perfect day for an ice-cold Coke Pepsi.

—MIke Carruth

BMX News will update you on this story as developments develop.

Links

The Frontier: Soda sales likely to keep proposed BMX training facility from Expo Square

Tulsa World: City scrambles to find new site for BMX facility

BMX News: Tulsa Voters Clear Path for USA BMX Epicenter





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Coke Pour Rights Take Fizz Out of USA BMX Tulsa Deal

Reader Letter: How Much Are the Worlds?

April 19, 2017 by · Comments Off 

How Much are the 2017 Worlds

My daughter qualified for Worlds and we are ready to sign her up. I have seen a lot of varying information on Facebook on how much it is going to cost. Some say $500, some say $900, some say $700. We are trying to get the money together to do this, but don’t know how much we’ll actually need. Can you help?

LB—Southwest

Thanks for writing LB. To get right to it, the answer to your question is “Yes, we can help.” As for the cost, the answer is not as straightforward. There are a lot of variables that could impact the final cost of your registration.

For this excursion, you need to start out with a USA Cycling membership (since USAC is the direct affiliate to UCI). That membership is $100 for riders 18-under, or $200 for riders 19-over. We will figure $100, since you are taking care of the registration for your child. You must have a USA Cycling membership number in order to complete your online registration at USA BMX (so we recommend you don’t run it right down to the deadline).

(Select the “International” membership —> BMX Racing —> “Challenge”).

*NOTE: UCI doesn’t have pro and amateur like USA BMX. Instead, it is “Championship” (Junior Elite, Elite and Masters) and “Challenge” (all others). So, technically, you are racing the “2017 UCI BMX World Challenge,” and the Elites are racing the World Championships. Generically, however, the whole event is referred to— even by UCI— as the UCI BMX World Championships.

OK, back to the question at hand.

The entry fee for one bike is $350. That is paid to USA BMX, via usabmx.com, and covers your registration fee, one Team USA Jersey and various support services at the race (outlined below).

If you want your name on the back of the jersey, add $15. You can also have a sponsor logo on the front (4” tall by 12” wide). Add another $15 if you want that (and have the artwork ready when you go to sign up, because there are no changes permitted once you submit).

So far, we’re at “approximately” $480 (if you want the name and sponsor logos).

You can get an extra Team USA jersey for $50 (plus name and logos, if you want them). $50-$80 total. Now, you’re at $560.

Add a second bike, if you choose, for another $350. You will get a second jersey as part of that entry fee, thus no need to buy a second one.

So, on the low side (one bike, no add-ons, for a rider 18-under), you’re at $450 for one bike. On the high side, an over-18 rider would be at approximately $960 for two bikes, with add-ons for two jerseys.

That is the REGISTRATION portion. Also be sure to budget-in funds for spectator tickets. These are not included in your registration, and any non-riders must buy a ticket in order to be admitted into the event. Tickets will cost $12.50 for a day pass, or $50 for the full five-day event (if purchased before the event).

Your $350 per-bike registration includes:
UCI Registration Fee
Team USA Jersey
On-Site Support (coach for every age class)
Athletic trainer and medical staff
Team Mechanic
Water/Sports drinks and “race-oriented” snacks

DOES NOT INCLUDE: USA Cycling Membership (+$100 or +$200)

What if I Didn’t Qualify?
If you did not qualify via one of the four qualifying races, you can file a “discretionary petition” and plead your case on why you should be allowed to race. If there is room in your class (32 US riders are allowed in each class, since we are the host country), your chances are good (but not guaranteed).

Important Dates
April 28 – Deadline to submit discretionary petitions
May 12 – Registration deadline for qualified riders
May 19 – List of “Approved” Discretionary Petitioners Released
May 26 – Reg Deadline for Approved Discretionary Petitioners

Links

USA BMX 2017 World Championships Info Page





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Letter: Why Do We Earn District Points Outside our District?

February 9, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Letter: Why are there district points outside the district?

I just saw your article about the Gold Cup finals and noticed that those races count for QUADRUPLE district points. Earlier this morning, I saw a Facebook post shared from Tyler Brown talking about how all these big races were killing the local scene. Suddenly, it made sense, what he was talking about.

Why does USA BMX give district points for races outside the district, in the first place? We are fairly new to BMX, but it seems like the district points should be for your local races, Gold Cup points for Gold Cup races, national points for national races, etc. I would be curious how this practice got started and why they still do it.
—JK, So. Cal

This is a question we, ourselves, have talked about here at the BMX News Global Command Center, and it makes us want to give JK a golden crown, Burger King style, for asking it.

Here is the Tyler Brown post that JK was referring to:

Tyler Brown Post on Local BMX Racing

*Editor’s Note: The Facebook meme shown was not of Tyler’s creation, but he did share it with the caption:

So true! Since when did racing locals become “not cool” I grew up racing multi times a week and it’s such a bummer when race time hits my track half the crowd leaves. It’s cool to train but all the training in the world won’t make you “race ready” #RaceLocals

For the details on JK’s question, we called upon Brad Hallin at USA BMX, who gives us both the history and the present-day thinking behind the practice. Here’s what Brad said:

The foundation of BMX racing is district points and one of the fundamental principles of the American Bicycle Association was the notion that every race would offer district points to riders. Each year, the goal of those riders should be to earn a higher ranking (lower bike number) based on the district points they earned during the previous season.

Some races will offer more points as a result of being designated a double or triple point event, and racing against more riders also earns you more points – as you faced more competition.

One of the things that keep riders interested in BMX is the ability to travel and race against other competitors on different BMX tracks.

This certainly could mean traveling outside of a rider’s district, but the district points will transfer back to his/her district for ranking purposes. For the local tracks hosting these events, the district points (especially for multi-point races) offer incentives for out-of-towners to come race their track.

This benefits the grassroots programs and also benefits the riders by offering them more competition on a different racetrack – keeping them challenged. It is a win-win. This is a proven system that has stood the test of time, as USA BMX celebrates our 40th year as the leader in bicycle motocross racing.

Certainly, riders and parents enjoy being able to see how they measure up. In the über-competitive district points race, that includes all races that those riders competed in.

We understand that people might want to break that down into a smaller, bite-sized pieces and maybe look at how their rider stacks up at the local BMX track – not counting events that happen at other tracks (even within the same district). For that reason, we began last year to show track-based district points on the microsite of each sanctioned track.

With this new tool, riders can search their track-based rankings by class, age group, proficiency or any combination thereof. Some tracks are even doing track awards based on these points, as those are the riders who are clearly supporting that grassroots program the most.

Here are some screenshots showing the AZ01 BOYS rankings for 2016, followed by the BOYS class at Chandler BMX, the 6 year old BOYS class at Chandler and finally the entire Novice class at Chandler.

USA BMX District Points

You can view the Chandler BMX leaderboard for BOYS by clicking this link:

Hopefully, this answers the question and shows that we understand people want more flexibility to view the data to see how their rider measures up.

If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to reach out to me at brad@usabmx.com.

Thanks to both JK and Brad for helping us bring this important question (and the respective answer) to News readers. JK, we’re sending you a BMX News T-Shirt and a Burger King Crown with News sticker affixed.

—Mike Carruth

Podcast: John David on 2017 Pro Pay & More

January 20, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Podcast: John David on 2017 Pro Pay & More

The talk has been thick over the past 14 days or so about the USA BMX announcement relating to the pro pay scale for 2017. For all the hundreds (maybe thousands) of social media comments on the topic, plus a BMX News article relating to the subject, we have not heard the official USA BMX side of things.

On this episode of the BMX News Announcers Tower Podcast, USA BMX COO, John David, joins us to provide the inside-the-walls account of how the decisions were made, and also some points that affect BMXers at every level.

Listen now.

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iOS users: paste the URL below into your device’s browser to listen
http://bmxurl.com/iosjd

What stands out about this episode is that John gives us a rare look at how USA BMX views the pro class, the relationship with UCI, and how that affects the operational decisions made, as well as how cultural shifts in present-day America impact BMX Racing at every level.

Comments are open below, and we invite your opinions and feedback.

—Mike Carruth


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