New to Utah, looking for some more technical trails- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New to Utah, looking for some more technical trails

    Like the title says I just moved to Lehi and have been in pursuit of some fun and technical trails. The local shop I stopped by pointed me to Skidmaps but was otherwise unhelpful. Two weekends ago I ended up going on a wild goose chase trying to find what I thought would be a good trail east of Kamas, so now I'm asking for some help. I don't want to pick a random trail on Skidmaps and waste another day.

    I'm looking for some moderately technical trails, which can be handled by 150mm of suspension and without a full face, within an hour or so of where I am. I've been to Corner Canyon, Alpine's trails, and the trails off of Dutch Canyon road in Midway. All are great but the technical sections at Corner Canyone were pretty rutted and the others don't have a ton of technical sections.

    I'm hoping someone can steer me to a trail with a few technical features and jumps, maybe even some wood berms. Trying to make the most out of this weekend.

  2. #2
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    Have you checked out utahmountainbiking.com? I'm also pretty new here and have been using this site.

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    Have you played around much in the park city area? There are plenty of trails up there that will give you some variety. If you ever want to meet up, I'd be happy to show you some good rides.

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    I've been browsing through Utahmountainbiking.com, but I've found that it's sometimes hard to figure out what is worthwhile and what isn't. The trail I went to two weekends ago was one I found a review for on utahmountainbiking.com, and it turned out to be a bust. I also find it hard to gauge the actual difficulty with the sources I've found. The Rodeo trail in Alpine is listed as advanced by Skidmaps, but while it is fun Ive found it to be less technical than what I'd describe an advanced trail as. I'm hoping to get a locals opinion of what is worthwhile from personal experience, and also something that has the best fun-to-climb ratio.

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    Haven't been to the Park City area, somewhat in an attempt to avoid an abundance of trail traffic. I'd be down for a ride there, what specific trails would you suggest?

  6. #6
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    Park City/Deer valley/Canyons won't be overcrowded. Better get there quick though, winter approaches. Although Park City has a great trail system that is more XC oriented. Deer valley has lift served technical downhill and lesser tech trails but the season is over.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    Like the title says I just moved to Lehi and have been in pursuit of some fun and technical trails. The local shop I stopped by pointed me to Skidmaps but was otherwise unhelpful. Two weekends ago I ended up going on a wild goose chase trying to find what I thought would be a good trail east of Kamas, so now I'm asking for some help. I don't want to pick a random trail on Skidmaps and waste another day.

    I'm looking for some moderately technical trails, which can be handled by 150mm of suspension and without a full face, within an hour or so of where I am. I've been to Corner Canyon, Alpine's trails, and the trails off of Dutch Canyon road in Midway. All are great but the technical sections at Corner Canyone were pretty rutted and the others don't have a ton of technical sections.

    I'm hoping someone can steer me to a trail with a few technical features and jumps, maybe even some wood berms. Trying to make the most out of this weekend.
    Technical trails are something northern Utah certainly is lacking. There are a few fun patches here and there but you really have to head south to get into solid sustained tech riding. Generally speaking, N Utah is land of the sanitizers and a wealth of intermediate trails. Were you trying to find Shingle Creek or Bench Creek east of Kamas? There is some pretty hairly sustained tech on the upper reaches of Shingle and Bench is more tech than your average trail. Both took a bit of exploring the first few times I rode them to get a route down that I liked. Guidebooks and websites have generally been a let down for finding true tech riding. Seems like the places they tell you to avoid or turn around at are the places I enjoy the most. PC has lots of great riding but tech is few and far between. Deer Valley has some pretty high tech DH but I'd imagine they are shut down for the season. I haven't explored much of American Fork Canyon but I've read there are a few gems there.

    Sorry to be a bit of a buzz kill but it's just the reality of N Utah riding right now. There's a reason that those with a preference for tough trails are intimately familiar with the drives south to Hurricane/StG, Moab, and Fruita/GJ.
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  8. #8
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    I attempted to get to the top of Shingle Creek by climbing Upper Setting Road, but I gave up when I thought that I found the trailhead and it seemed far more horse trail than legitimate MTB oriented singletrack. Now that you're say its worth a shot I might have to go back and explore, I may have been in the wrong place.

    That is unfortunate to hear, guess it's time for a road trip.

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    Is the Bonneville B trail still there?

  10. #10
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    Jacob's Ladder in Corner Canyon i about as technical as valley level trails get. That said, it's one of my favorite little ribbons of trail to take at high speed. Big grins at the bottom.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    I attempted to get to the top of Shingle Creek by climbing Upper Setting Road, but I gave up when I thought that I found the trailhead and it seemed far more horse trail than legitimate MTB oriented singletrack. Now that you're say its worth a shot I might have to go back and explore, I may have been in the wrong place.

    That is unfortunate to hear, guess it's time for a road trip.
    Well, I didn't make it up there to ride it this year so I can't comment on current conditions but I usually head up there a few times a year when I'm dying for a technical trail fix. It's definitely not a cycling built/oriented trail though. It's pretty primitive style hiking/game trail and I'd imagine it probably sees 10 hikers, fisherman, hunters, and horses for every biker. The USFS ranger district up there seems to be very anti-mtb as a whole and sadly there's some amazing terrain available. They've specifically closed off several of the best routes to bikes. I think people used to shuttle Shingle a lot more than they do currently and given that there is no great climbing option not many bother with it. The lack of cyclist use is what I think keeps it technical. If lots of riders were up there it would be extremely sanitized by now.

    How far out on the actual single track did you make it? Assuming you got to the right spot you head out from the parking lot between some big boulders and travrse along for a mile or two out to the lake. Once at the lake you double back maybe a hundred yards or so and watch closely for a trail braiding off to the left. It can be a bit faint at first as this segment doesn't see much traffic heading all the way up from the bottom. Some wet early summers the upper trail braids a few places to avoid some boggy areas. There are also a couple creek crossings that involve shimmying across downed trees rather than traditional bridges. Once you get a bit lower down the tread is more obvious. Lots of chunky rock areas to try to negotiate but it's challenging stuff and very apparent that it wasn't created with a rolling wheel in mind. If you're looking for something that is a bit more bike friendly Bench Creek to Little South Fork is probably a better option.
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    After I got up to the end of the road I followed the trail down to a spot with some boulders and a trail sign. I followed what I thought was the route for Shingle Creek, west from the trail sign, for about 30 minutes. During that time I was hiking as much as riding, not as much technical as it was just simply impassable by bike. At that point it was getting later and starting to snow a bit so I turned back as I wasn't certain I was on Shingle Creek.

    Jacobs Ladder isn't a bad trail at all, it's very enjoyable. The deep ruts formed by water running down the mountain drive me crazy though.

  13. #13
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    Best advice in N. Utah if you want to be challenged is to ride less bike. 6" is massive overkill for *basically* everything. You can find isolated stuff but IMO in most cases here a shorter travel bike will be more fun.

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  14. #14
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    Re: New to Utah, looking for some more technical trails

    Quote Originally Posted by Mookie View Post
    Park City/Deer valley/Canyons won't be overcrowded. Better get there quick though, winter approaches. Although Park City has a great trail system that is more XC oriented. Deer valley has lift served technical downhill and lesser tech trails but the season is over.
    Is you on crack? Park City is the most overcrowded place on earth. Maybe not now with the snow but before the snow came, riding the resorts or anywhere along mid-mountain was like bike commuting in Beijing without all the order and traffic control. The only trails that aren't crazy busy in Park City are the boring sage brush trails at Round Valley and Glenwild.
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    this summer I rode Mid Mountain a lot, and regularly used to go 15+ miles before I saw anyone else. Heading out early is the key. I can't imagine how bad it would be during the day in a weekend, or after work on weekday? OMG

    Most guys have put the bikes away and are waxing skis, trails should be empty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    this summer I rode Mid Mountain a lot, and regularly used to go 15+ miles before I saw anyone else. Heading out early is the key. I can't imagine how bad it would be during the day in a weekend, or after work on weekday? OMG

    Most guys have put the bikes away and are waxing skis, trails should be empty.
    Yup, start early and avoid Mid Mountain between Armstrong and Silver Lake at all costs. Mid Mountain from Armstrong to Canyons is pretty vacant and getting above Mid access several great trails that few people ride compared to the bottom half. Fat Lip and Black Forrest are some tech gems and there is lots of good stuff up around Flagstaff over to TG/TG2.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    After I got up to the end of the road I followed the trail down to a spot with some boulders and a trail sign. I followed what I thought was the route for Shingle Creek, west from the trail sign, for about 30 minutes. During that time I was hiking as much as riding, not as much technical as it was just simply impassable by bike. At that point it was getting later and starting to snow a bit so I turned back as I wasn't certain I was on Shingle Creek.

    Jacobs Ladder isn't a bad trail at all, it's very enjoyable. The deep ruts formed by water running down the mountain drive me crazy though.
    Well, the boulders sounds right but unless the trail has changed a ton this year it sounds like you got on some other trail. The actual trail heads NE out of the gravel lot (after a quick stretch of downhill on the road) Here's a few photos that will hopefully give an idea of the riding. These are from about 5 years ago so the trailhead sign in the first pic where you leave the parking area may not be there or maybe they put one up with new lettering. Trail to the lake is some pretty moderate tech overall, once you drop down Shingle Creek it gets much more rocky.
    New to Utah, looking for some more technical trails-shingle1.jpgNew to Utah, looking for some more technical trails-shingle2.jpgNew to Utah, looking for some more technical trails-shingle3.jpgNew to Utah, looking for some more technical trails-shingle4.jpg
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  18. #18
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    If you are worried about crowds in PC you just aren't trying. There are SO many trails that are NOT midmountain. But everyone parks at PCMR and rides up Armstrong/down Spiro every weekend anyway. With even a tiny bit of adventurousness you can have cool trails all to yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    If you are worried about crowds in PC you just aren't trying. There are SO many trails that are NOT midmountain. But everyone parks at PCMR and rides up Armstrong/down Spiro every weekend anyway. With even a tiny bit of adventurousness you can have cool trails all to yourself.

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  20. #20
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    I am surprised no one has mentioned the trails in Eagle Mountain yet. Right over the hill from the OP in Lehi. The Flintstone trail has plenty of tech and there are quite a few others in the area. They aren't big on distance or net elevation loss but, hey, they are 10 minutes from your house.
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  21. #21
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    Some options:
    Payson Canyon: I have not ridden a ton up there and can only point you to the blackhawk loop and Bennies for the return downhill. (not sure what it's current condition/status is with weather.)

    Trailside Park area north east of Park city: you mentioned wood wall rides and drops, they gots them.... Actually quite a bit of fun stuff up there to play on, just plan on doing laps on what you like.

    Flying Dog/Glenwild/Bob's Basin: while on the subject of laps. Some fun rocky stuff up the back switchback side of flying dog and fun flowy and some rocky spots on the long ride back down. Area is currently good to go, but you will encounter other riders and hikers there. Bob's Basin does have some built in techy stuff on some of the runs and great flow down Dropout. About 350 vertical feet climb per lap and I have a lot of fun there too.

    Mormon Pioneer: From the Jeremy Ranch side.

    Little Cottonwood Canyon: Not too long and you will certainly have more fun taking the alternate routes down to the left of the trail near the top part then crossing to the right of the trail down in the flat riverbed section. Gets a lot of traffic, both foot and XC, so I really don't suggest you use the main trail as your flat out downhill trail though it does have some nice rock gardens and waterbar rollers.
    Coyote Canyon: not much in the way of jumps, features, but some fun rocky up and over sections around the top.

    BST/Red Butte/Dry Creek/Bobsled: Most of BST has been pretty well sanitized, but there are some great sections down the back of Red Butte gardens. I like to start at the Zoo, go across then climb up the water bars along the outside of the south fence of Red Butte. A bit of hike a bike on a couple of sections (for me anyway...) but the downhill on the back side will have you grinning ear to ear. Cross the draw and then drop back down to climb dry creek then across more BST to Bobsled. The name says it all. There are some features along the way there on the way down bobsled if you want to hit them or just enjoy flow. You can lap Bobsled climbing back up to the north west of the trail where there is a double track that takes you back up.

    As mentioned, Moab is 3-3.5 hours drive, so an early drive can get you a full day of riding and the reward of a late ride home to top it off, but doable.
    Last edited by billj121; 11-10-2014 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Edited to mention Moab drive

  22. #22
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    Next time I'm in Orem visiting my daugther and want some tech riding, I'm calling catch22. Sounds like he knows his stuff.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    Well, the boulders sounds right but unless the trail has changed a ton this year it sounds like you got on some other trail. The actual trail heads NE out of the gravel lot (after a quick stretch of downhill on the road) Here's a few photos that will hopefully give an idea of the riding. These are from about 5 years ago so the trailhead sign in the first pic where you leave the parking area may not be there or maybe they put one up with new lettering. Trail to the lake is some pretty moderate tech overall, once you drop down Shingle Creek it gets much more rocky.
    Ok so at those boulders I went straight through towards those brown pine trees, am I understanding you correctly that I followed the wrong route there? Or was I the idiot that gave up right when I got to the right spot? The trail certainly didn't look anything like the first two pics. I walked/rode for a solid 30 mins and didn't see anything that resembled a rideable trail. I want to go back and try Shingle Creek again but I'm going to need to find a shuttle, that climb up Upper Setting was brutal, especially at the top.

    Eagle Mountain sounds like a good option too as its close. I also just watched a video of Bobsled and that seems like a pretty good time. I love step ups. I really appreciate all the suggestions, I wish I had moved sooner so I could try more of these out before the season is done.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    Ok so at those boulders I went straight through towards those brown pine trees, am I understanding you correctly that I followed the wrong route there? Or was I the idiot that gave up right when I got to the right spot? The trail certainly didn't look anything like the first two pics. I walked/rode for a solid 30 mins and didn't see anything that resembled a rideable trail. I want to go back and try Shingle Creek again but I'm going to need to find a shuttle, that climb up Upper Setting was brutal, especially at the top.

    Eagle Mountain sounds like a good option too as its close. I also just watched a video of Bobsled and that seems like a pretty good time. I love step ups. I really appreciate all the suggestions, I wish I had moved sooner so I could try more of these out before the season is done.
    Damn, now I'm wishing I had been up there this summer sometime so my memory was more fresh on exactly how the trail starts up, if there are any spurs to get mixed up on, or if the nature of the trail has significantly changed. From what you're saying it sounds like you started out in the right direction. I thought maybe you continued up the old road cut that continues past the parking lot or on one of the other spur roads up there before the final parking area. The first few times riding this I rode/hiked up from the bottom of Shingle Creek so the route finding on the way in from the road was pretty easy and I didn't really take note of many landmarks. You definitely rally through the rocks and over the pile that falls right at the base of the dead pines in that pic so you're off the the right start. Maybe there were some major erosion/blowdown/horse damage issues this year? I know given the low maintenance done on the trail there were some occasional funky segments to work around but overall it rode pretty well. Definitely makes me want to get up there again but given the weather I don't think that's happening til next year.

    On a sidenote. Given that you mentioned you liked the looks of Bobsled, definitely look up some videos of Arcylon up in the Kimball Junction area. Bobsled goes through so many stages of getting rutted and gravely that I've grown tired of it. Arcylon offers much as a jump trail and has an easy pedal back up for laps.

    Explore Eagle Mountain a bit as well. Been a couple years since I rode down there but the system was developing well and not nearly as sanitized as most SLC stuff.
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  25. #25
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    The blackhawk loop in Payson has some technical sections....been 15 years since I have ridden that though. My perspective on what is technical has changed in the 10 years I have lived on the Front Range of Colorado (trails are harder and more technical here). As others have said the Wasatch really doesn't have much in the way of technical trail riding. Plenty of fun trails just isn't as technical as other places.

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    Just got back from Park City. Pretty much had the place to ourselves. Everyone else is fondling their skis/boards, waiting for snow.

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    I'm going to Moab Thursday (11/13/14) morning if anyone wants to come. Coming back on Saturday. Leaving from SLC area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    I'm going to Moab Thursday (11/13/14) morning if anyone wants to come. Coming back on Saturday. Leaving from SLC area.
    Bah, I'll miss you by a week. Weather permitting I think I'm heading down next Thurs-Sunday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    Damn, now I'm wishing I had been up there this summer sometime so my memory was more fresh on exactly how the trail starts up, if there are any spurs to get mixed up on, or if the nature of the trail has significantly changed. From what you're saying it sounds like you started out in the right direction. I thought maybe you continued up the old road cut that continues past the parking lot or on one of the other spur roads up there before the final parking area. The first few times riding this I rode/hiked up from the bottom of Shingle Creek so the route finding on the way in from the road was pretty easy and I didn't really take note of many landmarks. You definitely rally through the rocks and over the pile that falls right at the base of the dead pines in that pic so you're off the the right start. Maybe there were some major erosion/blowdown/horse damage issues this year? I know given the low maintenance done on the trail there were some occasional funky segments to work around but overall it rode pretty well. Definitely makes me want to get up there again but given the weather I don't think that's happening til next year.

    On a sidenote. Given that you mentioned you liked the looks of Bobsled, definitely look up some videos of Arcylon up in the Kimball Junction area. Bobsled goes through so many stages of getting rutted and gravely that I've grown tired of it. Arcylon offers much as a jump trail and has an easy pedal back up for laps.

    Explore Eagle Mountain a bit as well. Been a couple years since I rode down there but the system was developing well and not nearly as sanitized as most SLC stuff.
    Interesting, I should have just kept pushing through. It sounds like I was in the right place. I guess I'll have to wait until Spring to take another stab at it. Arcylon sounds great as well, especially with the easy climb to lap it. Too bad it's all on hold until next year.

    How late in the season can you ride Moab?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SDKmann View Post
    Interesting, I should have just kept pushing through. It sounds like I was in the right place. I guess I'll have to wait until Spring to take another stab at it. Arcylon sounds great as well, especially with the easy climb to lap it. Too bad it's all on hold until next year.

    How late in the season can you ride Moab?
    Moab really varies year to hear, same for Fruita/GJ. Some years you can ride there nearly all winter apart from a few storm weekends. Other years they'll get significant snow and cold enough temps that things stay mostly shut down. St George is a great option and Hurricane as well but most of the Hurricane stuff is weather dependent too.
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  31. #31
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    Hey OP,

    I'm in Lehi as well and would echo what was previously said about the Flintstone trail in Eagle Mountain. I usually only go to this trail in early spring and late fall/early winter because it is lower elevation and free of snow. Go to youtube and you can find some good vids to give you an idea of how technical it gets.

    Hit me up if you ever want to check it out. It's like 15-20 min drive and about a 35-40 minute loop at a steady pace.

    Empire trail in PC is also a good one with some technical sections so I'd recommend that as well.

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    There's are a number of undocumented trails in the Empire area that offer plenty of gnar. Look for "Empire Extreme DH" on the Skidmap to get started, and if you keep your eyes open you'll find some other undocumented trails in that area. There's one off of Jenni's that's super steep and way fun on a 6" bike.

    Otherwise Deer Valley is a lot of fun if you want real techy (and not just machine built jump trails like those at Canyons). "Thieves Forest" and "Fireswamp" are a blast to ride over an over again.

    "Insurgent" at the Canyons is one of my favorite trails and its got some decent gnar.

    In the valley its a bit more slim pickings. "Jacob's Ladder" isn't super techy, but it's one of my favorite trails, and you can also head over and hit "Maple Hollow DH." It's more flow/jump but I'd still consider it techy.

    As all of the above trails are pretty much closed till spring, I'd recommend heading south and hitting "Grafton Mesa." It's another one that's a bit hard to find, particularly the upper sections (which are not to be missed).

    There's even some decent gnar in SLC off of the BST. Again, most of it undocumented, but its there if you're adventurous and willing to do some hike-a-bike to reach the upper ridgelines.

    And of course there's Moab, there's plenty of techy stuff to ride year round there.

  33. #33
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    In Salt Lake area, I think MillD is probably the most Technical you're going to get. If you want techy, Moab is a "quick" 4 hour drive as well as St. George. The Zen trail in St. George and would definitely be classified as Techy in most anyone's definition. There are a ton of tech trails down there.

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