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Are Wider Tyres Worth It?  | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

Are Wider Tyres Worth It? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

– On this week’s ask GCN anything, we shall be discussing
leg length discrepancy, ceramic bearings, riding over cattle grids, and a whole lot more. First up though, a question
in on Twitter from Tom Mason, I currently ride 23 millimetre Conti tyres but I’m heading over to
Belgium for a few days. Should I put 25s on for the cobblestones? Yes, most definitely. And in fact if your frame
set will accommodate them, I would suggest going even larger than that to 28 millimetre tyres. Your tyres are, of course,
the first point of contact with the ground, or the only
point of contact in fact, and they do the best job
of anything on your bike at absorbing the shock and
vibration from the road surface. And of course there is a lot of that when you’re riding over cobblestones. The benefit of riding larger volume tyres is that you can run
them at a lower pressure without an increased
risk of pinch punctures. And I can tell you firsthand
that the difference in comfort over the cobblestones
is absolutely massive. In fact, earlier on in 2017
Matt and Si did some tests, three different types of bikes over the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. Admittedly, it’s slightly
over the border in France rather than Belgium, but
the same things do apply. And the results are quite
interesting, take a look at this. – We’re going to put three types of bike through their paces. Here, on arguably one of the
most infamous sectors of pave in the world, the Carrefour
de l’Arbre in France, made famous, of course, in Paris-Roubaix. – Yeah, we are each
gonna ride a road bike, a cyclocross bike, and a
cross-country mountain bike through this tough sector
as fast as we possibly can, to see which one is the quickest. – Don’t forget, if you’d
like to ask us a question you can leave it in the comment
section below this video or indeed on Twitter, using
the hashtag #torqueback, and that is where this
next question came in, again from Michael Samuel, as
an 18 year-old aiming to race, what sort of training should I be doing, and is there any other
advice that you can offer? Well this is a question that
we get asked quite a lot in comments and on Facebook, et cetera. Now, since you haven’t raced before, it can be quite a daunting
prospect, but it needn’t be, because the only person that’s going to have any expectations
on you, is you yourself. So you should go to your first race with the aim of getting some experience, and most of all, having some fun. And in terms of training,
though, you should be specific to the event that you want to enter, to try to analyse the demands
of that particular race. Firstly, how long it’s going to take you, i.e. the duration of the race, secondly, the type of terrain,
is it hilly, is it flat? And thirdly, how many corners are there? Is it on a short circuit,
almost like a criterium, with loads of corners where
you’re going to be doing lots of short, sharp sprints,
or is it a longer road race, maybe from A to B, or a long circuit, where you’re going to be
required to put the power down through the pedals for longer spells. Once you’ve decided what
the specific demands of that race are, you
will have a better idea of what you need to work on. And we’ve got loads of videos here at GCN which should help you to prepare and train for those specific demands. In the meantime, though,
this one is definitely going to be of benefit to you, it is GCN’s How To Prepare
For Your First Race, which was shot in California
a couple of years ago now. – So, how do you go about
training for your very first race? Well, here’s a few tips. The first thing that you
should do in your planning is to break down the demands of the race, if there’ve been previous editions, take a look at how long it’s
roughly going to take you, and also take a look at the
type of course that it is. Is it hilly, is it mountains,
or is it completely flat. – Rapid fire round now,
although knowing me, it will probably just be the fire round. It will be hot, but I won’t be very quick. First up, Peter Cody.
#torqueback #askmattstephens, sorry if you’re disappointed that it’s me, can I use 18 to 23 millimetre tubes with 25 millimetre tyres? Yes, yes you can, you only
need to inflate the tube outside the tyre to realise
that it will go quite big, much bigger than a 25
millimetre tyre so it will fill that volume absolutely fine,
don’t need to worry about that. There might be a very,
very small discrepancy in terms of the thickness
of the inner tube when it’s pumped up inside
a 25 millimetre tyre, and therefore a minute increase
in the risk of puncturing, but it’s so small in this case as to not really be worth worrying about. Kevin Miguel, also on Twitter, asks are ceramic bearings and pulley
wheels worth the upgrade? Do they really make you go faster? Well there’s a whole lot of other things that you need to be concerned with first. First and foremost, the
power that you’re putting through the pedals and your aerodynamics and the weight of you and your bike. If you’ve got all of
these things sorted though and you feel like you
can’t get any further, then things like rolling
resistance and the friction of your bike will make small differences. So the friction in the hub bearings and in the drive train et cetera as well. So if you’ve got everything else done, and you’ve got some
spare cash let’s face it, then they will make a
small difference, yes. Jake asks, this reminds me
of a question I had recently. Why don’t pros ride with 56 by 39? It would make attacking
on downhills a lot easier. Well the pros do like to
tend to stay in the big ring as much as they possibly can. On a rolling terrain with a 56 on, that would be quite difficult. Some pros, especially sprinters,
are known to go with a 54 when the finish is particularly quick, and we did also hear a rumour
that Chris Froome used a 54 at last year’s Tour de France en route to attacking on that descent
and taking a stage victory, although we have no confirmation of that. And of course in time
trials we regularly see 56 or even 58 teeth chain rings. Next up, from Tobias Karow,
what is the best way to account for length difference in legs
regarding shoes and saddle? Not my area of expertise but I’ve been trying to do some research online, it seems that you could
try a thicker inner sole, that’s not ideal though,
’cause it will affect the fit of your shoe, or even
different length cranks on either side, again,
not an ideal solution. I think the best solution to
your problem is probably to try a cleat riser, so a small block
that goes between the cleat and the shoe on your shorter leg. Not that easy to find
online, I have to say, but they are out there somewhere,
so if you do some research you should be able to buy some. It might even be something
that you can make yourself if you are far more clever than I. Next up, Iconic Xtreme,
I have recently got back into cycling after a long break from it, one thing I’ve always had an
issue with is cattle grids. After a few scary moments I
now get off and walk over them, but wondered if there’s a technique to ride over them safely. Well this is my area of expertise, because I come from the New Forest, and there are cattle
grids all over the place. And I have to say, I think
I find it more dangerous walking over them than riding over them. So your technique is to
approach them head on, with a decent amount of speed, enough that you don’t
have to pedal over them, and make sure that you’re
not doing any turning or any leaning whilst you’re
going over the cattle grid, particularly when it’s wet
because they can be slippery. And also pay attention to
gaps that you sometimes get down the middle of cattle grids as well, they can be particularly dangerous. But approach it like
that and you should have no problems at all in getting over them. The other thing you can
do is just raise yourself out of the saddle ever so
slightly and absorb those bumps using your arms and your legs. Next up, Lucy Hammonds
writes in, and says, I’m 14, I’ve been cycling
for over a year now, I love it and I’ve just
somehow convinced my parents to get me a Liv Envie Advanced 1. Nice one. I live in a quiet town in
North Wales with lovely roads around but my parents
hate me going riding alone. I’m only allowed on certain roads. Well I think that’s all the question that we need to hear, really. I understand your parents’ concerns. I’ve got a 14 year old lad myself, and it can be particularly
nerve-racking letting him go out on the roads on his own,
despite the fact that he is very responsible, as I’m sure you are. I would suggest firstly
trying to find a nice quiet local circuit, which your parents know, which you can do in either
direction with local terrain, just riding that multiple times. The second thing that you can do is use some kind of app
which shares your location. You can do this now on Google Maps or indeed you can do it
on a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, or other head units as well, that way your parents will
be able to see exactly where you are at all
times, and that should also alleviate some of their concerns. Or, you can find a slightly
older and more experienced riding partner that you both
trust to go out riding with, then you won’t be on your own. Next up, and finally actually
on the rapid-fire round, which has been particularly
slow this week, from James Lewis, I’ve
mixed up my jockey wheels, I wonder if you guys
could help out and confirm which is the new one,
and which is the old one. Tough one there, I think
it’s the one on the, no, not sure, not sure. If you can help James,
please leave your answers in the comment section down below. Our penultimate question
came in from Arne Seys, I’m gonna paraphrase
slightly, but he has gone in the last four months
from being a weekend warrior to also adding in three
commutes each week, 10 kilometres each way to work and back, and he’s starting to feel
that his legs are empty no matter what he has tried
so he’s asking for tips. Or does he keep training and
hope it gets better soon? Well to me, Arne, it sounds
like you need to rest. You have ramped things up
pretty quickly over the last four months and it might just
be that your body hasn’t been able to absorb all that workload,
hence why you’re feeling tired and your legs are feeling empty. You are going to lose
little to no fitness at all over the course of seven easy days, so that would be my first suggestion. It will likely allow your
body to absorb all that work, repair itself, and that is after all something that we all
neglect from time to time. This next video might help
you have that easy week, some research that Si and I did into the best way to do a recovery ride, essentially how to take things easy, which really is my area of expertise. Check it out. – Now before we start to
explain exactly how to do a recovery ride, what actually
is one supposed to do then? Well, it is a way of gently
boosting blood flow around the body through gentle exercise, and then the theory is that it will help deliver nutrients to your damaged muscles, and also start to flush out
some of the waste products from them that will have
accumulated through hard training. – How, then, do you do a recovery ride? Well, they really are quite simple. All you need to do is ride
at a very low intensity for quite a short period of time. So, 60 minutes at a maximum,
at an effort level of between one and two if you’re going on feel. You should basically be able to breathe through your nose throughout. Final question now, I’m afraid,
don’t forget to keep them coming in the comment section down below, comes in from Swanny, again on Twitter, hi GCN, I’m moving to a much
flatter area for university, will I lose hill climbing ability and what should I do to combat that? Well, if you do only flat riding and make no effort to
simulate the types of efforts that you would do on climbs, then yes, there is the chance that your climbing ability will wane ever so slightly. But the good news is
there are loads of things that you can do to simulate the efforts that you would do on longer climbs. The first of those is to
find a nice quiet road with as few junctions as
possible and do some longer, 20 to 30, maybe even 45
minute intervals on those. You can also do some longer
intervals on an indoor trainer, they’re very effective, or,
you can do what we’ve seen a lot of pros doing recently,
which is use an air hub which artificially increases
the resistance of your wheels. The opposite, in fact,
to ceramic bearings, but it gives you almost an extra 200 watts of resistance so it is
hard to push against. The handy thing is, we’ve got
all of our tips for training for climbs when you live in a
flat area in this next video. So make sure you watch this. – One thing I wish I’d done,
though, is better utilise some of the terrain next to my house. Because local to me, there
is an abundance of fire roads and gravel roads like this
one, which all link up. And that’s perfect, because
there’s no junctions, and of course there’s no traffic as well. Plus, you’ve got the
extra resistance off road, which perfectly mimics the kind
of resistance and power that you’re gonna have to put out
when you’re on a longer climb. – Well I’m afraid that’s it for this week’s ask GCN anything. Keep your questions
coming, we’ll do our best to answer them on next week’s show. If you’ve liked this video give
it the thumbs up down below, you can subscribe to the channel now by clicking on the globe, and then we have got
two more videos for you. Up there is my look at the
latest lightweight in aero tech from the recent Eurobike
Show, and down here, we’ve got someone much better
answering your questions. It’s a recent ask GCN
anything with Adam Hansen.

100 comments on “Are Wider Tyres Worth It? | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

  1. #torqueback what happened to the shorter videos? The long videos are nice but they are getting a little long at >15mins

  2. james lewis: I know for a fact that the jockey wheel on the left is the new one the one on the right has a lot more wear

  3. Hi, can I mix shimano shifters with sram calipers? Also rotor front crank set with a shimano rear derailleur and cassette? Thanks #torqueback

  4. Can I have some advice on a prostate friendly saddle. Like a lot of MAMILs I need to look after it as I am not getting younger.

  5. In Belgium, riding on cobblestones with 23 tubulars. Quality of the tubes is more important, as is the fork design (my most modern bike is from early nineties, more than 50 bikes). Another error is to put a wider dimension at the rear : It is the front wheel that is to consider

  6. If i put slick road tires (around 25mm) on my Gravel bike will be able to keep up with my strict roadie friends on a group ride (groupsets and fitness levels being about the same) #torqueback

  7. For Arne Sens, that empty leg feeling is familiar to me! Rest days are crucial but there are two other things you will want to assess. Firstly, figure out how much you need. A lot of the times, I benefit from two full days off the bike when I've been rolling 125+ mi/week. I determined this based on what my legs felt like after one day versus two days and how much I needed to warm up before I could sprint. Two other things. Do not restrict calories. Use a TDEE calculator to make sure you are eating enough food. If you don't feed your muscles, they won't have the energy to perform. Lastly, electrolytes. Are you replenishing your calcium, magnesium and potassium? If you ride that much, it may be necessary for you to supplement. Think about it this way, your nutrition are the bricks and the minerals are the mortar in building your strength. If you're tired, you're not going to be a very good builder.

  8. #torqueback If a compact chainset is 50/34 and a semi-compact 52/36, then why isn't a standard chainset 53/37 but instead 53/39?

  9. #torgueback I'm thinking of buying a new bike for Racing but I'm not sure what the terms are for disc brakes ? Will they be legal in 2018 for U16 racing or will they be legal in the future ! Thanks

  10. #torqueback I'm a mountain biker who likes to train on the road. Any tips on how to make road training effective for mtb?

  11. I have never seen these "Ask Anything" videos. I usually only check out the tech, unboxing and maintenance video's. But I like it! Keep it up!!

  12. Wider tires are definitely worth it, even on smooth tarmac.

    I live in Los Angeles, California and love running 28mm tires (on HED Belgium +) which actually makes them more like 30mm tires

  13. Hi GCN I have just bought my first direct drive smart trainer. I have bought a new cassette for it but should I get a new cassette and chain for my wheel as well so they all wear evenly?

  14. #torqueback I was hit by car abd have broken collarbone. How should I plan my return in the saddle? When start cycling? What about rehab? How can I speed up recovery?

  15. #Torqueback What is the opinion of the GCN guys on waxing your chain? Would love to see a full examination with a possible proper demo.

  16. #torqueback hi GCN, on a long ride, how to know if my body need sugar or salt? Sometime i feel weak but dont know if its carb,salt or sugar!

  17. If you ride a carbon frame then yes you need big tyres… because carbon bikes are rubbish. If you ride Steel or Titanium you ride 23, or 22 in total confidence and comfort. Why do you think they started pushing big tyres? Wake up people! Also out of the TOP ten fastest tyres in the world only 2 are 25mm the rest are mostly 23mm and one is a 22 and one is 24. Go look it up.

  18. Any suggestions on what to do with a carbon bike in a conventional repair stand? Obviously can't clamp the top tube and all manufacturers explicitly recommend against clamping a carbon seatpost (but you do this regularly in your maintenance videos). Thanks #torqueback

  19. I'm looking at getting some new wheels for my Trek Equinox 9.0 TTX. I'm getting confused by rim thickness vs tire size. I'm interested in running a 25mm tire instead of the stock 23mm tire size it came with. Is there a recommended rim thickness that I should be looking at? As of now I think I'm leaning to 20.5mm or 23mm wide rim. Am I on track or am I way off base?

  20. I saw in one of your previous videos that Adam Hansen uses a different shoe for flat stages of the tour and a different one for mountain stages. particularly, he uses a pair of shoes with the cleats positioned towards the middle of the foot for climbing. Are there any real and significant advantage on this? or is it just a matter of personal prefference? perhaps a GCN does science on this topic? #torqueback

  21. On hard rides, my toes go numb. Happened for both flats and MTB clipless. Any experience or advice with this? #torqueback

  22. What happens to all the bikes used by the pro teams at the end of the season? Don't see a huge surge on the second hand market, but surely they can't destroy them? #torqueback

  23. I think it would be really great to see a race without radios. Let the riders race purely on instinct. Who's with me?? #torqueback

  24. This summer I commuted for 18 km/way between home and work. The morning was my hard ride, while the evening was an easier ride. In the beginning I would recommend to include a day for recovery (maybe Wednesday?), where you don't go full power in the morning and in the evening you go slower than on a regular back home.

  25. Lucy Hammonds, Sounds like the best option is to "convince' your parents to cycle with you. Health, safety ,fitness and family time. That sounds like a Win Win Win Win to me.

  26. Was recently re-watching the city bike video form Berlin.  Do you think that internal transmissions are a logical next step for road bikes?

  27. Was recently re-watching the city bike video form Berlin.  Do you think that internal transmissions are a logical next step for road bikes? #torqueback

  28. The Air Hub. To me, this is a poor solution. Get solid tires. People hate solid tires with a passion because their rolling resistance is so slow, but in this context that is a positive thing. So basically, you get all the pros of solid tires (no worries about flats at all, no need to carry: tube, pump, patch kit, levers, etc.) while the massive downside of terrible rolling resistance becomes one of its best strengths. I ride solid tires all the time and when I switch back to normal tires I fly up the hills.

  29. I switched from 23 to 25's a few years ago just to try them.  I never went back.  More comfortable and better handling.   I'd probably switch to 28's if my frame would fit them.

  30. #TORQUEBACK if the UCI doesn't allow disk brakes in grand tours. And we know carbon rim breaks aren't so great in the rain. Why don't the pro use a aluminum brake surface carbon wheel in hairy situations? Thanks!

  31. Like the show. This suggestion might be classed as cycling heresy, but I'd love to see more classifications in the grand tours. Like a quickest time but with the requirement of winning at least one stage. Or a quickest time for each week. It would give some riders more to ride for and also spice things up a bit more. Sorry not really a question is it.

  32. #Torqueback – How many bikes do the GCN presenters own? How many have you got through your hard earnings through your careers and how many are in your possession with sponsors supplying for testing? Thanks

  33. #torqueback How do I get started with power training / ERG mode on my trainer when I've never trained with power and don't know my FTP? (Using the Wahoo kickr)

  34. #torqueback Not wanting to be a killjoy, but why 'o' why do cycling fans insist on taking their nation flag to cycle races. No body cares what country you come from, far less the riders I suppose. If they want to know what a nation flag looks like they are more than capable of using google. They do not add to the atmosphere at a race and are probably dangerous when waved in front of the riders as a few incidents have proven. Rant over, discuss ha ha !

  35. #TorqueBack Regarding the 3km rule, if a rider crashes while crossing the 3km to go marker (or leaves his bike just before 3km, but doesn't hit the ground until just after 3km to go), where is he deemed to have crashed for the purposes of the 3km rule?

  36. #askgcn I sometimes do turbo sessions at my local gym, which has these wattbikes that feel like a track bike, in that you can't suddenly stop pedalling (it keeps rolling on). Do you think this would lessen the training effect somewhat for real road riding?

  37. #torqueback My new rim brake road bike comes with a set of carbon clinchers, are they safe these days or should I get rid of them?

  38. I'm riding about 250 miles a month on Continental Grand Prix 4000S II, after abut 4 months I'm wearing out the rear tire but the front one is fine, do you guys recommend rotating the tires to extend wear. #torqueback

  39. #torqueback
    Hi GCN, had my road bike for just about a year, and still can't get used to the drop bars, particularly for descending and higher speed sections. I just feel like I don't have proper control over the front of the bike. I don't think it is a fit issue, can happily sit on the bike for 4+ hours. Am I going to lose any real world performance by going to a flat bar set up like my commuter or mtb?

  40. #torqueback Cycling fan etiquette question : During one of the final laps of the Grand Prix Cycliste Montreal today, my kids and I got a bit of evil eye from one of the riders. We were standing off the road cheering him on as we did for all the other riders. He was WAY off the back. Do riders at the far back prefer to quietly ride past in shame or is the usual clapping and cheering ok for them too – thought you guys would have some insight ;-). Love the show, thanks.

  41. I use my morning commute as a fasted ride, recently I've read that fasted rides should be super easy but on my commute, I'm trying to get to work as quickly as I can, am I still getting the benefit from the fasted ride or am I just wasting a ride? #torqueback

  42. How do the single chainring 1X bikes handle the rear derailleur range as we've always been told never to cross-chaingring. I have a 10spd shimano rear cassette with a 9spd Deore XT derailleur which should work with a 10spd ultegra road shifters, but I'm slightly concerned about the clatter that may come from cross-chaining. #torqueback

  43. #torqueback   After investing in a power meter I have found that I raised my average watts from about 125 to 160-170.  But my average speed is not faster.  Same terrain.  What is going on?

  44. I never cross a cattle grid with my bum in the seat. That is the best way to get a pinch flat, and the air comes out pretty fast with these. Be especially aware of rail type ones as sometimes the rails tip over and the flange edge is uppermost, giving an almost certain pinch flat, if not a damaged rim as well. The best method is to jump the bike over if you can (i.e. jump up and lift your legs up -assuming cleats on your pedals of course – to reduce the load or completely lift the bike), but only if the terrain allows sufficient speed to achieve this safely.

  45. Hi GCN, I'm looking at getting into cyclocross this season, but can't afford to purchase a whole new bike. Would a road bike with some cyclocross specific tyres and wheels be suitable ? And will a stiff carbon frame cope ? #torqueback

  46. I've a Trek Domane that has 32mm Bontrager R3 tyres as standard. I've trawled and trawled the interwebz and not come across any 'decent' replacement tyres with lower rolling resistance and other benefits. I don't really want to drop down to 28mm's because I appreciate the extra comfort of 32's but am struggling for options. Surely I can't be the only one looking for good 32mm road bike tyres with the numerous bikes coming out capable of accomodating that width and for road use. In an ideal world I'd also like to go tubeless but I'm sure I'm being really hopeful with that seeing as I can't even find a decent clincher option! Thanks for any help in advance. #torqueback

  47. #torqueback What can I do with old tires & tubes? I'd love to recycle them. But I can't find any information about how to do so. Worse, whenever I talk to someone or google this, there tends to be a smart ass "7 things to do with old tubes" response. I want to recycle something not start an arts & crafts project.

  48. Can I become a Pro Cyclist If i dont even own a bike? If Yes How? Its really my dream, but if it is impossible….. #torqueback

  49. #torqueback Do you or any pro cyclists donate blood? And if so, do they have to declare it to the doping authorities and what effect does it have on performance and the biological passport? PS Putting it back in again is illegal and doesn't count!

  50. #torqueback Global Cycling Network Hello guys need a bit of help and advice about heart rate.

    I know the best way to train is using power but there's a lot you can learn from your heart rate !

    My question is about MAX heart rate ? What can we learn from it ? What reflection to my training does it say?

    My normal MAX heart rate is 192 but recently it went up to 205 BPM at 1st I thought it's my heart rate sensor and after trying out 3 other HR senors I got the same results ? Am healthy as a horse (I like to think) ? Is it a good thing or bad thing that's it's gone up.

    Thank for the help and great show

  51. #torqueback How do you guys feel about involving criterium racing in major races? Do you think it might and/or should even be included on grand tours?

  52. Hi GCN, I will soon be putting my summer bike on the indoor trainer for the winter. Do I still need to lube the chain while it stays indoors? If so, how often #torqueback

  53. #torqueback Assuming a wheel is true when it's out of the factory, so when a wheel out of true, how come we sometimes need to loosen instead of tighten the spokes, isn't normally things come loose after these long rides. or does those spokes work like car wheel nuts that they goes tighter on longer rides because of the circular motion clockwise anticlockwise kind of thing….

  54. #torqueback I'm doing the 100 mile velo in Birmingham next week and think I have under prepared. I've done plenty of running (bit of a dirty word) but only a few 60+ rides. Is there any last minute tips/advice you can give me in the last week that may help the ride become more enjoyable than the slog I think it is going to be. Thanks

  55. #torqueback from what I read bike manufactures can't seem to agree on axle standards for disc brake road bikes, as I want multiple high end wheel sets with the road bike should I wait a few years before buying a road disc brake bike? Thanks, love the show keep it up.

  56. I am pretty consistent year round commuter (around 600-800 miles a month) and it has made me a pretty strong rider all around. I am starting a new job in October and will not be able to bike commute until I scope it out some. How long will my fitness last? Should I do some cross training? What should be my plan of action? #torqueback #askgcn

  57. Just upgraded my drivetrain to Shimano Ultegra 6700 10 speed front and rear mech with a 53/39 on the front and a 11/25 on the rear and 6700 shifters 2×10. Have a issue where the chain is not sitting right on the bottom jockey wheel and feels like its skippng any answers on why this is happening would be very grateful. All running gear is new, cables, mech etc #torqueback.

  58. #torqueback Have you ever looked at or tested the Fat Tires? I'm looking for a better bike when riding on snow covered roads. I'm a big guy, old guy as much as i don't feel it, i'm tempted to get one for my commute and getting around. I'm also considering a 29" bike 2.35" 60mm tires. Fat tires are 26" 4.0"-4.8" 100-120mm. They are comically big, and they don't fit onto bus bike racks. Any advice? I live in the cold snowy part of Canada.

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