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Crit expectations squarely kicked in the nuts...

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  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    w00dster wrote:
    The obvious advice is to pick the wheels you want to follow early on in a race. I like to stay within the top 10 or 15 as much as possible.

    In your warm up think about the wind direction and start thinking about the best line for the corners, if there are sharp corners you know there is going to be a sprint out of them, plan for it, don't be on the outside into the wind when this is going to happen.

    This is where i don't have any knowledge what so ever due to being a new racer (no team mates) so don't know who to follow, although as it stands any one person would be best rather than trying to jump forward too early trying to get to the top 10-15. I suppose i could start Strava stalking and looking up past results on the BC website.

    I'm already all over this, as (with anyone) the more speed you carry through corners the less work you need to do to get back up to speed.
  • AK_jnrAK_jnr Posts: 717
    w00dster wrote:
    Forgot to say, if you haven't done so already search for the free speed!
    Buy the fastest set of tyre you can and put in some latex tubes, aero for crits whilst not the be all and end all, you at some point are going to be going 25mph and you'll be on the outside wanting every aero benefit you can. Aero helmet, aero clothing, wheels if you haven't done so already.
    I don't care what people say about aero not being important for crits, even if during an hours race it only provides 5 mins "assistance", there is no detriment to having it.

    Sorry but that is complete rubbish. If you get dropped, aero gear is the least of your worries. You will just be laughed at for being a typical newbie rider who has all the gear and no idea.
    I race on censored wheels and tyres and it makes literally no difference to where I finish.
    Well done for highlighting how middle class bike racing has become though.
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    AK_jnr wrote:

    Sorry but that is complete rubbish. If you get dropped, aero gear is the least of your worries. You will just be laughed at for being a typical newbie rider who has all the gear and no idea.
    I race on censored wheels and tyres and it makes literally no difference to where I finish.
    Well done for highlighting how middle class bike racing has become though.

    Mmm, I'm not sure its all bollocks.

    Being aero when I'm lapping on my own definitely makes a difference. :):(
  • stretchystretchy Posts: 149
    Being aero will mean you save watts. Saving watts may make it easier to place higher, but as your placing is a mixture of tactics, power and luck obviously it's not going to be an obvious difference that you can quantify in final positions. So it's ridiculous to say it makes no difference to where you place.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    I would say tactics are the most important factor. I got shelled out the back this weekend, tried to bridge to a 2 man break away, gave it two laps couldn't make it, back to the pack for a rest and then the whistle for the prime went. Sprint on, little me out the back!
    I felt good for the 30 minutes towards the front of the pack hence thinking I might be able to bridge over.
    Tactics and fitness letting me down. 2nd road race of the season so putting the lack of fitness down to that.
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    kingpinsam wrote:

    Lol nobody willing to follow attacks? the problem is, everyone follows every attack! It's the equivalent to kiddies football, everyone chases the ball around the pitch, there's no structure or tactics. You intentionally let a wheel go and the guys behind start panicking. The point is, it's all part of the learning curve.


    That's true, too many to close down attacks, close down rather than try and get across to or initiate an attack.


    Yes, that's another thing - in many of the races I rode, a few people would often just chase down attacks i.e. take turns to steadily drag the whole bunch up to whoever's up the road - as opposed to attempting to jump across to form/join a break.

    Unless you have a sprinter mate in the bunch and you want to help him to win, allowing him to as much energy as possible by sitting in and then wining from a bunch sprint at the end, why waste your energy? Why provide your opponents with an easy ride and increase their chances of winning by dragging them all up to one or more riders up the road, simultaneously destroying your chances of winning by leaving yourself with little energy left to do anything later on in the race?

    I lost count of the number of times someone would ride off up the road, get out of sight for ten minutes or so, maybe one or two other riders joining them if they were lucky, then another five or ten minutes later the whole bunch would catch them. To make matters worse, nobody would counter-attack once this attack was closed down!

    In 3 years - not counting the odd few strong riders going off the front near the end of the race & leaving the bunch behind - I only saw one decent (12 man) break form and stay away in a 3/4 race. (I accidentally ended up in it, out of pure luck).

    It's not because the courses don't suit breakaways - it's because people just don't want to try and make one happen.
    paul2718 wrote:
    buckles wrote:
    No wonder 3rd and 4th cat racing is so negative and boring. Nobody willing to attack, or to follow attacks, in case they get tired and end up being spat out of the back. They'd rather play it safe and have more chance of getting a couple of points by coming 8th in the sprint, than to potentially risk everything for the chance of winning. Makes for absolutely shite racing and makes me wonder what the point of putting all the effort into training, travelling etc. if you're just going to spend your Sunday morning 'playing it safe' and hiding in the wheels instead of doing something exciting. Might as well go and play golf.
    Cat 4 racing isn't for spectators. The point is to do as little of it as possible and move on to more exciting options.

    Paul
    I said 3rd and 4th - as in races in which both 3rd and 4th category racers can ride - and I wasn't saying they're negative and boring to spectate; I meant they can (often, IME) be boring to participate in.

    I rode with a few people who had been 4th category riders for quite a long time (i.e. years), for whatever reason(s). They rode 4th cat only races as often as possible - more than 3/4 and 2/3/4/ races - and weren't expecting to move up to 3rd any time soon. Why would they keep doing 4th cat only races if they weren't exciting? There's no reason that 4th-only races shouldn't be exciting for them or anyone else, and they shouldn't have to escape to a higher category or ride against higher category riders to be able to have an exciting race.

    IMO the point of it is not just to escape 4th category and move up as quickly as possible, but to have as much fun on the bike as possible (as well as gaining experience, trying to get a good result etc). If you move up then it's a bonus, but 4th only races are as valid as any other, not just something to do as little of as possible.

    From my experience of being a 4th category rider it was always much more fun to risk losing in my attempts to win - by making big efforts to initiate or jump across to a breakaway, or to try and ride away solo near the end of the race - than it was to play it safe by sitting in the bunch saving energy & doing nothing for the whole race. I doubt it would have been fun, either, to guarantee losing by pointlessly wasting my energy assisting my opponents to catch the group up the road by steadily dragging them up to it. Why do it if not to try and have a great experience and as much fun as possible?

    Sorry, I am completely off topic here - nothing to do with the OP. Good luck with your next race and I hope the advice people have given you helps. It wasn't until my 3rd race that I was able to finish comfortably in the bunch after getting used to the speed, concentrating on cornering well, holding my position and not letting gaps open up in front of me - you'll be surprised how little work you have to do to stay in the bunch if you do this compared to having to close gaps repeatedly, ride without shelter etc. I was spat out the back on the first corner of my first race and after 5 mins of my second (they were 2/3/4's though!)
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    Some good points.

    But if you are 'rolling the dice' in 4th only races for years then perhaps a different strategy would be advised?

    I did some Cat 4 racing last year, I'm late middle age and not especially dedicated. Strava shows 170 hours for 2016. First objective was to finish in the bunch, to be in the race until the end. Then to score a point. Then once that had happened, was it possible to score 12? Being able to take part in a race and play a part until the end was the achievement, getting the licence upgrade was the prize. I'm quite happy not to be allowed to do a Cat 4 race again, I think 2/3(/4) might be rather more interesting, and as there's no realistic possibility of Cat 2 other ways to personally win open up. Especially if a bit of team work is required, which makes everything more interesting.

    Anyway hopefully the OP will keep trying, get more assertive and find himself in the mix at the end. Then anything can happen.

    Paul
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    Cheers Buckles, a comprehensive post there :D

    Any advise is appreciated, whether i listen to it or not is up to me and i mean that in the sense that you ask enough people and eventually you'll get contradictory helpful info.

    With my next race(if a short course), if i do get dropped rather than continue on, on my own for the remainder of the time trying to pick off and attempt to work with the other stragglers (although a lot of them seem to just give up when spat out the back) I might take it easy for a couple of laps till the bunch come back round and then have another go at staying with the bunch. (And leave the personal TT, to an actual TT event)

    Unless somewhere states that you can't do this? Haven't noticed myself.
  • mac9091 wrote:
    Cheers Buckles, a comprehensive post there :D

    Any advise is appreciated, whether i listen to it or not is up to me and i mean that in the sense that you ask enough people and eventually you'll get contradictory helpful info.

    With my next race(if a short course), if i do get dropped rather than continue on, on my own for the remainder of the time trying to pick off and attempt to work with the other stragglers (although a lot of them seem to just give up when spat out the back) I might take it easy for a couple of laps till the bunch come back round and then have another go at staying with the bunch. (And leave the personal TT, to an actual TT event)

    Unless somewhere states that you can't do this? Haven't noticed myself.

    Yes lapped riders are usually allowed back into the bunch, just don't interfere with or influence the race.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    Tosh, utter tosh.

    The point of racing is not to compete, it is to win. There's no point going if you want to compete - go big, smash their doors in, win in utter style or go home.

    It's a state of mind. It seem s that you don't have it.

    Unless you're competing with the very best, "smashing their doors in" and "winning in utter style" just means you're racing against the wrong people. To borrow a phase from somewhere else "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room".

    The only way to get better is to compete against people better than you. A winning mentality is always about wanting to be better tomorrow than you were today.

    I don't bike race (normally) but I see it in plenty of other sports - people winning because they're competing against lesser competitors. These guys are the losers and will never do anything special.

    It's true. After a long break, on returning to racing a couple of years ago I "smashed the back doors in" for a grand total of two races against less experienced (but many stronger) riders, then it's promotion time. Now it's occasional points, no more wins and a good few kickings.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    mac9091 wrote:
    Too much time spent looking at your power meter, using low power as an excuse.

    Some top end intervals and speed work will help you but as I think has been mentioned, you just need to ride more. Not many people will win their first races.

    Crits are simple. They are pretty much flat out from the start. Get used to making those efforts and you'll improve.

    The comment that you are too light for crits is bu11sh1t. You'll be fine once you get used to riding them.

    Cheers.

    Was racing again last night and went a bit better, as in slightly faster average speed despite a stronger wind. When i was lapping on my own i was only doing about 3 mph slower than the bunch so had i stayed in the bunch the speed wouldn't be the issue. Its staying in the bunch that clearly i am having an issue with, using more of my energy closing gaps because i start too far back. I think i lack aggression with regards to holding my posistion, thus letting people in too easily and wasting energy.

    as for working top end i'm looking for 0.4M segments (on strava) and making up a small loop which i can do multiple efforts with the ability to take one 0.4M rest, then go again and keep working like that.
    Imposter wrote:
    Agree with this. My lad rides U14 and looking at the last race he did with chip timing, the U14s were lapping faster than the 4th cat event later in the day. Quite a size range in U14, with some tiny riders, but it doesn't stop them getting on the gas.

    I'd say that either the U14 race stayed as a bigger bunch and worked well together or there was a couple of strong legs on the front and everyone stayed together. With the Cat 4s massive gaps appear between wheels from the start and make it hard work to close them.

    Depending on the circuit, position makes a massive difference. If you're putting yourself at the back, or just finding yourself at the back, it can make it very very hard. My worst races have been like this where I've had to make repeated sprints to keep in contact, and eventually BOOM. Some circuits, you just can't move up unless you're very strong.

    One suggestion is that if you get dropped, don't ride on like it'a a TT, take some time out to recover and re-join the bunch for as long as you can. Put yourself in the first 10 riders and try to hold position with as low energy output as possible.
  • All this talk about FTP and aero is pretty much b0ll0cks being spouted by people who haven't got a clue how to win a crit.

    Explosive speed, positioning and technique will win your crit. If you've never raced, you'll not win your first race, nor will you likely win your second but eventually a combination of experience and top end speed will help you.

    The problem with cycling these days is that there are too many 'experts' that have read a power training book and think they know it all but have never won a race in their lives.

    Granted, power definitely has a place in training, but certainly it isn't essential and it absolutely is not essential for amateur racing at any category.

    Get out there and enjoy it and learn, eventually you'll find the legs and opportunities to get results.
  • sheffsimonsheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    All this talk about FTP and aero is pretty much b0ll0cks being spouted by people who haven't got a clue how to win a crit.

    Explosive speed, positioning and technique will win your crit. If you've never raced, you'll not win your first race, nor will you likely win your second but eventually a combination of experience and top end speed will help you.

    The problem with cycling these days is that there are too many 'experts' that have read a power training book and think they know it all but have never won a race in their lives.

    Granted, power definitely has a place in training, but certainly it isn't essential and it absolutely is not essential for amateur racing at any category.

    Get out there and enjoy it and learn, eventually you'll find the legs and opportunities to get results.

    Hard to disagree with this....if you can stay near the front and put in a fast, well timed sprint then you'll be up there. Done it myself, and I've no idea of my FTP, never used a power meter.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    sheffsimon wrote:
    I've no idea of my FTP, never used a power meter.


    just ... not ... possible ........ before they invented the power meter people just didn't race .. it didn't happen
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Many do say a race is lost even before your start.. happened to me on Sunday... lining up...censored .. realised this was the circuit with a perpetual head left x wind causing echelons for 2 miles on a non closed road ... bllx to that i thought.
    By lap 4 stayed at the back... only to catch someone binning it into a hedge at 30mph .. also binning a Trek Madone... into 4 pieces.
    Nothing to do with crits, but I thought I'd share my head theory with you all.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    fat daddy wrote:
    sheffsimon wrote:
    I've no idea of my FTP, never used a power meter.


    just ... not ... possible ........ before they invented the power meter people just didn't race .. it didn't happen

    Nah, they did race - it's just that before power meters, nobody did any training as it wasn't possible.
  • Unfortunately for me, the type riding I do and training I do would lend itself mostly to crit racing. Even if the thought of hammering around with a bunch of blokes at 30 mph in city streets sounds terrifying. The terrain around my house is lots of tight turns on paved trails with some very short but 30% grades for 1/4 mile. Most all of the "segments" near me are less than 2 miles. My gym intervals are either 1 minute max efforts or 4 minute intervals during my lunch break.

    I have a lot of fun gunning for those nearby segments as you have to put out some solid power for a minute to 5 minutes with some hard braking, tight turns, and hard acceleration. One of those segments you have to put down 25 to 28 mph up 1% in between some tight turns taking you down to only 15 mph with accels back up. The worst, after laying down your 4 minute power, the last 50 yards is up a 20 to 30% pitch that is the dam of the lake.

    I'm 5 seconds off of KOM (of 1200 people), 4:10 vs. 4:05 :(
    More work to do. Not going any faster in the corners, not feeling like wrecking an aero frame for a Strava segment. I need try one day with a little breeze. :)

    What's sad though.......I bet the guy with the KOM is probably just chilling along at what is a "normal" pace. Whereas I'm busting myself to try.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Crit racing is all about positioning and being able to read a race, this comes down to experience which unfortunately has to be gained over time. Unless you are supremely powerful and have an exceptional ability to recover quickly, in your first couple of races you will be lucky to finish in the bunch let alone contest the win. I have managed some decent results on not a lot of training in crits simply by being able to read what’s happening and being able to position myself well in the bunch, I was never usually out of the top 10 places and was happy to defend my position when needed. Ok I wasn’t fit enough to contest the sprint back then but I was in the mix.

    When racing don’t bother with power/HR etc, for a crit simply have the ride time on the Garmin and that's it, when I am racing I don’t want to know how deep into the red I am going or how fast or how much power I am generating, I simply want to know how long I have left (if it’s an XX mins + 2 laps kind of race), anything else is just too distracting.

    OP – do you ride with a club? If not then join one that races, pick the brains of the more experienced riders as to what you should be doing in training, how to race, what tactics to use etc, plus riding the group rides such as the club runs and chain-gangs will get you faster and fitter much quicker than riding on your own, plus they will teach you how to ride in a group and how to hold a wheel comfortably, you will be able to place yourself better in a race and not expend so much energy simply staying in the bunch.

    If you are really serious about improving and don’t want to join a club then employ a coach who will be able to write you a training plan specifically for the goals you want to achieve, trust me it works, or do both and have the best of both worlds.

    Finally I do agree with MF that we ultimately all race to win, but that is a long process and you cannot expect to win in your first race with no experience of what you are doing, keep plugging away, set yourself small goals that are achievable (such as positioning in the bunch or not getting dropped until lap X) then build up from there! It takes time and to be honest the journey to get there should be enjoyable as if it’s not then at our level what’s the point, none of us are pros!

    But serious – join a club, you get so much from it!
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    Cheers Jesse.

    Not part of a "more serious" club due to my job but through work there are a few riders who regularly go out on Tues, Weds and Thursdays and then on the weekend. Not all together all the time due to work commitments and the ability levels vary largely. So its not the best (consistent) training other than getting the miles in, as one day you might be doing an average of 15mph and others up to 20, just depends who's there.

    I have considered a coach but again due to work and not being able to commit to a training plan for more than a month (max) have not seriously considered it. I have had a look at the BC website for Trg plans and having coached/ instructed Rock Climbing and Kayaking, I know where and how to pick myself up, just need to learn the cycling points to coach myself, initially and then when I hit a wall. Look to an experienced coach.

    For now I'll continue to enter the odd crit and TTs for experience and socialising. Tailor my individual training to intervals of 1min efforts repeated. Then maybe do a Watt bike test every month to check progress.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    A decent coach will tailor your plan to your free time, mine does so on a monthly basis and it is subject to change at short notice as work or personal commitments dictate, I do move sessions around when needed or miss sessions if I have to. But having a coach has given me better results from less time on the bike, last season I was riding 200 miles a week or more on average and was strong, but riding 5-6 days a week was knackering me out as I wasn’t resting enough, plus it was causing some issues at home as it takes over, using a coach I now ride 4 times a week and probably do no more than 150 miles a week most weeks, but all of my sessions have a purpose so I get more out of them, I’m happy as my results are better and my wife is happy as I am not cycling as much (although I am still obsessed and talk about it loads much to her dislike).

    If a coach or a club definitely isn’t for you then try searching for interval sessions, something that will build your speed and give you minimal rest, something that will mimic the flow of a crit! The quicker you can respond to the surges of pace the easier you will find it, there are plenty of very knowledgeable guys on here who can offer up sessions which won’t take up much time to do, but will help you react better in a race.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    When I started racing crits two years ago I had no idea about things like FTP (although I did use a HR strap), my bike wasn't particularly aero and I raced on an old set of Fulcrum 5s. But I still did OK against guys on bikes worth 5 times what mine was. Read my blog posts if you're super bored here:
    https://cyclejames.wordpress.com/race-reports/

    I don't get much time to train either. I have to make use of my commutes. I have 3 types of commute, Strava KOM chasing (intervals), running late (tempo) and taking it easy (recovery). The past two seasons I've not had much time for longer rides or proper training, so I have had to make do with the odd 60-90 minute smash up, i.e. once or twice a week. In an ideal week I'd get 6 - 10 hours in, but if you only manage say 4 then make them count!

    I say to friends, that if you can manage a solo ride of 60-90 minutes at over 20mph, with an average gradient of about 1% then you're probably strong enough to race crits.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    Hi Daddyo,
    Just out of curiosity how do you work out the average gradient of a ride? For example a 30 mile ride with 1800 foot of climbing. How would you work that out as an average?
    I do race crits, sometimes I do ok other times I get spanked. I also ride solo for longish rides anywhere between 18 and 22mph (weather and route dependent) but i'd have no idea how to work out an average gradient. (The 30 mile ride i mention is my lunch time blast when working from home)
    I find the solo rides at a decent pace far easier than crits, but then my tactics are absolutely rubbish and I have no sprint! 1 hour 15 with constant accelerations and decellerations is a lot harder for me than just riding solo.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    If you adhere to rule 24 it makes working out your average gradient much more simple:

    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/#24

    So for every km you need to climb 10m or more. This method helps me pace a TT effort too. In Kent there is a lot of rolling terrain, and if I'm training then I try to sprint up every little hill, recover a bit on the descent, then sprint up the next one even if I'm still in the red - helps simulate crit efforts.
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Good thread. Just getting into crits myself. I am one of the fastest in club rides with guys who've been racing for years but in the crits themselves it''s a different kettle of fish.

    I looked at my power numbers compared to people who did better and I was way, way higher. I get to the front easy then suddenly find myself too far back only to then chase back on doing loads of 500w efforts that catch up to me.

    Lots to learn but that's the point of it for me. I'm there to enjoy it,do it for the experience and test myself. I 'should' be winning based on my power numers but instead I feel like a noob who's got loads to learn which I like because I'm sort of putting the pieces together to do well in time.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    First time done a short circuit this season.... 1 hour plus 5 and they always hurt.
    Basically at the ragged edge for the entire race... but I credit meself with creating the 4 man break after 20 minutes of solid pinging and trying to pop people off. I was getting worried but a simple manoeuvre of riding away and getting joined by good workers did for the day.
    My personal routine in the season is to work on 1/2/3 minute intervals.

    No one wins just because of 'power numbers' just sack that thought right off.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Op dont worry. It took me three years to finally be good enough to gets points in a crit race. Last year was the first year i could hold my own and finish in the points sometimes. Every race including road races where i drop off i do the laps and leave thinking next time. I never feel deflated riding my bike, i love riding

    The odd thing is my ftp has not improved much but what has is my recovery between efforts. If your getting dropped i races simulate a crit in your training, do intervals, like 5 sec sprint 25 sec off and repeat alot. 30 secs on 30 seconds off repeat. 1 minute on one minute off, 2 minutes on 2 mins of e.t.c. hill reps are usefull. Having a high ftp does not indicate likehood of sucess being able to short efforts and recover quickly and do another is key.

    I race because i enjoy it. I want to do well in every race but i dont enter to win, i enter because i love it and i will do my very best each time. Lotus on tuesday, really looking forward to this.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    daddy0 wrote:
    When I started racing crits two years ago I had no idea about things like FTP (although I did use a HR strap), my bike wasn't particularly aero and I raced on an old set of Fulcrum 5s. But I still did OK against guys on bikes worth 5 times what mine was. Read my blog posts if you're super bored here:
    https://cyclejames.wordpress.com/race-reports/

    Cheers, will give them a read when on the toilet :lol:

    Might even see you at a race (although wouldn't know it) as i've just moved over to Maidstone
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    mac9091 wrote:
    Cheers, will give them a read when on the toilet :lol:

    Might even see you at a race (although wouldn't know it) as i've just moved over to Maidstone

    Toilet, just before bed to put you to sleep - they are perfect for such things :-D

    I'll be the Bigfoot rider on the black Felt with red and white bits. Always up for a chat :-)
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    You could always talk to this guy and see if he could help you.

    viewtopic.php?f=40041&p=20130887#p20130887
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    You may want. To speak to this dude to help you as well.

    viewtopic.php?f=40041&p=20133611#p20133611
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
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