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· Just go ride!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here's a place to pick some nits.

Moving the discussion here from the start of it over at the **CTR Thread**.

Krein said:
My problem with what you seem to be proposing is that roving crews (call them reporters if you want) would be completely legal, and therefore someone who had a car waiting at every road crossing "just in case" would not be cheating at all.
I still don't see how 1 unbiased person with the intent of offering zero support to anyone popping up in 1-2 places on a 500+ mile course unbeknownst to all of the racers remotely qualifies as a "roving crew"!? :confused: I'm just having a hard time understanding how this is any different than the hundreds of other people that are already camped, riding moto's, RVing, hiking, fishing, etc. along the trail already. If you want to be dishonest, every single person on the trail would begin to look like a roving crew!

Yes, we all know that having someone at some road intersection "just in case" is against the rules. To the best of my knowledge, this did not happen anywhere in the '07 CTR.

Krein said:
Once again, I admire the sentiment, but if you really believe this I suggest you take a hard look at the current rules for your race and throw out, well, just about all of them. It's about defining what "Do. It. Yourself" means -- largely because that means different things to different people. It's an attempt to get us all on the same page, and does not imply any distrust of racers whatsoever.
I don't think we are in disagreement that we need to define exactly what "Do. It. Yourself." means. It can only be beneficial to have it spelled out clearly, and I know I have had my fair share of questions on the matter. What we seem to be disagreeing upon is what constitutes a "crew". Is the hundreds of strangers camping along Mt. Elbert trail? The huge family reunion RV BBQ at the Maysville turnoff? The solo backpacker that had a nice fire crackling on Sargents Mesa? The entire town of Lake City? I'm saying this with 90% realism to make the point, and 10% sarcasm to make us take a step back and look at how silly and carried away we are getting with this.

Krein said:
Another reason is the psychological boost (slash added security) that seeing a loved one (in a remote location) can bring. Is this fair to someone who comes to the race from out-of-state, or who has no SO? Are you doing the race "on your own" if your SO is always within 20 miles of the route and frequently popping in?
Once again, we are not in disagreement. Having a friend who is always within 20 miles and is frequently popping in is obviously against the spirit of the race. Of course you wouldn't be doing the race "on your own" if that was the case. However, this was not the case in the CTR, and making some rule about "no roving reporters" only seems to be adding a technicality for the sole purpose of enforcing the spirit of the race. You already know how I feel about that.

Krein said:
Affecting other racers ~solo experience is another reason still. All CTR racers this year may not have minded it, but that proves little -- some people may mind it, and they would have a legitimate claim to complain about it. These races are inherently not spectator events. That's what we're getting way from, right?
I'm still waiting for a complaint from someone that may have minded it, and have received none. And what if 1 person was upset by it, but 9 people thought it was really cool?

Sure, these races are not inherently spectator events, but more and more they are gathing interest and following, especially on MTBR and the blogs. And they will only continue to gather more and more interest. I can't tell you how many positive remarks I've heard about Alison's short videos! She (almost) caught each of us exactly once for < 5 minutes of the race. My family and friends were all greatly appreciative of being able to catch a glimpse of .02% of what I was going through on the trail. Maybe Fred or Mark is feeling left out, and one of them will complain? Ahhh, or what about those racers that don't have any family or friends?! In any case, all of the (minor) spectating can be easily be avoided by a racer (or racers!!) simply starting the CTR as a solo TT anytime you wish. IMO, this is another beautiful part of the no entry-fee, no prizes, no registration part of these races! In fact, didn't John Stamsted start this whole revolution by doing exactly that? So did you with your solo TT of the Arizona Trail, and myself with a (supported) TT of the entire Colorado Trail.

The whole "bailout" issue, regardless if it is from a crew or a stranger, seems to be completely an issue of the integrity of the racer, and I just don't see any way around that.
 

· Just go ride!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Jilleo said:
Another issue that no one's really brought up yet: What if two SO's are both in a race together? Would they be disallowed from riding together/helping each other on course because of their marital status, or is this disallowed among all racers?
IMO, they can ride together, but they cannot help eachother. Just like all the other racers. I don't see that as being any different than two friends doing the race together. Other opinions?
Jilleo said:
(By the way, I think the clarification of these self-supported race rules is a really good thing. It's one thing to go out on a course and do it yourself, and it's quite another to go out on a course with other riders with the goal of "finishing first" in mind. It's important the everyone is on the same playing field, and that goal requires a list of standards - rules - to be set in place.)
Yep. But I don't think these goals are contradictory. I know I certainly had the goals of doing it myself, and finishing first in mind for the CTR.
 

· Scott in Tucson
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Stefan_G said:
Here's a place to pick some nits.
Deep breaths... deep breaths... things aren't out of proportion yet.

I still don't see how 1 unbiased person with the intent of offering zero support to anyone popping up in 1-2 places on a 500+ course unbeknownst to all of the racers remotely qualifies as a "roving crew"!? :confused: I'm just having a hard time understanding how this is any different than the hundreds of other people that are already camped, riding moto's, RVing, hiking, fishing, etc. along the trail already. If you want to be dishonest, every single person on the trail would begin to look like a roving crew!
Sorry if you understood that I was talking about Alison and her coverage of the race. All of my comments have been about the general case, and nothing to do with the specifics of this year's CTR.

I didn't view the videos, don't know how many times she dropped in on the course, et cetera.

You quoted me as saying I just don't want people to get the wrong idea about a SO following the race, and from my perspective it seems several still think this is OK (not you) despite all the rehashing...

I was re-emphasizing existing rules, and meeting with much resistance, so I carefully explained them, ad nauseam, as you put it.

I apologize for misunderstanding you, as well. I thought you were disagreeing with the rule about roving "just in case" crews or blatant following of the race. Somewhere in the thread I said the case of a truly neutral, roving reporter is different. Not sure that I agree that someone's SO is unbiased, but, nevertheless...

Scott
 

· Just go ride!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Krein said:
Sorry if you understood that I was talking about Alison and her coverage of the race. All of my comments have been about the general case, and nothing to do with the specifics of this year's CTR.
I don't think I am the only one. I can only imagine how Jason and/or Alison are feeling from all of this discussion.

Krein said:
Not sure that I agree that someone's SO is unbiased, but, nevertheless...
OK, so suppose your SO popped up at 1 place along a hypothetical race to catch some pictures and offer encouragement as racers went by. Of course, she'd want you do better than others and perhaps win the race, but does that mean that she would treat other racers differently? I think a racer's integrity has to extend to his/her SO in this case.
 

· Scott in Tucson
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Stefan_G said:
I don't think I am the only one. I can only imagine how Jason and/or Alison are feeling from all of this discussion.
Wow, Stefan, it's just a bike race. Jason had a great race and Alison had some fun riding and following along. Obviously I'm among those that take these things seriously, but I have to take a step back here and wonder what the big deal is?!

OK, so suppose your SO popped up at 1 place along a hypothetical race to catch some pictures and offer encouragement as racers went by. Of course, she'd want you do better than others and perhaps win the race, but does that mean that she would treat other racers differently? I think a racer's integrity has to extend to his/her SO in this case.
My SO has never had a driver's license and does not drive, so it's kind of a moot point for me. :D

I think we largely agree on things, Stefan. There needs to be a little more discussion on SO "reporters", and perhaps a clarification. But at this point I'm more than ready to take it to email between those with actual experience with this kind of thing. This includes you, in case it isn't obvious.

I do think it's an important issue to deal with for the CTR. As someone pointed out, Colorado is a state populated by mountain bikers so this race faces this issue more than any other I'm aware of.

Apologies to anyone's feathers that I ruffled in this discussion. I tried to keep it to the facts and to honest discussion, but apparently I failed. I knew I wasn't going to win any popularity contests bringing this up, but I do care about the direction these races go, and don't want to see it stray from the original intent.
 

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Krein said:
Wow, Stefan, it's just a bike race.
Just a bike race...how those words ring true. I recently bombed out of a 7 day race on day 7 at a rather inopportune time. My teammate had to repeat that mantra to me at least 100 times. It's tough when we are so passionate about these things.

I really wish y'all could let this go for now. A lot has been said, some of it misunderstood, some of it thought provoking...and we'll get it all worked out in time. But right now, Stephan should be enjoying the post race glow that comes with designing, then totally sh!tstomping an instant classic of a route as he waits for the kankles and hands to return to normal.
 

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Telling people how to run their family life in cultural

Telling people how to handle their family in the race is, in my opinion, crossing the bounds. It also a very white, anglo-saxon value. At the Leadville 100 running race a few years ago, there were runners from Mexico racing who lived at very high altitudes participating (and I might add winning). For these people, family was everything, and it corresponded in almost a spiritual way to the race. The family came along, and while they did nothing to "support" the racer in terms of physical boost or food, their presence was essential for these competitors, and added to the color of the race.

It's not surprising that in a country with a plus 50% divorce rate and a work culture that encourages folks to spend more and more time in the office away from family, that this would come up. It's a societal thing in America to strike out on your own and leave your family behind. And I wonder if that's a good thing, and something we should buy into?

In a sense, you are limiting diversity in these events. You are asking for one type of person, who lives with one set of values, to compete. I think this is wrong.
 

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To this I can only add...

Pluto Pilot said:
It's not surprising that in a country with a plus 50% divorce rate and a work culture that encourages folks to spend more and more time in the office away from family, that this would come up. It's a societal thing in America to strike out on your own and leave your family behind. And I wonder if that's a good thing, and something we should buy into?

In a sense, you are limiting diversity in these events. You are asking for one type of person, who lives with one set of values, to compete. I think this is wrong.
Wow.
 

· Scott in Tucson
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hairball_dh said:
Just a bike race...how those words ring true. I recently bombed out of a 7 day race on day 7 at a rather inopportune time. My teammate had to repeat that mantra to me at least 100 times. It's tough when we are so passionate about these things.

I really wish y'all could let this go for now. A lot has been said, some of it misunderstood, some of it thought provoking...and we'll get it all worked out in time. But right now, Stephan should be enjoying the post race glow that comes with designing, then totally sh!tstomping an instant classic of a route as he waits for the kankles and hands to return to normal.
Hear! Hear!

Thanks for being the voice of reason, Dave.
 

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Pluto Pilot said:
Telling people how to handle their family in the race is, in my opinion, crossing the bounds. It also a very white, anglo-saxon value. At the Leadville 100 running race a few years ago, there were runners from Mexico racing who lived at very high altitudes participating (and I might add winning). For these people, family was everything, and it corresponded in almost a spiritual way to the race. The family came along, and while they did nothing to "support" the racer in terms of physical boost or food, their presence was essential for these competitors, and added to the color of the race.

It's not surprising that in a country with a plus 50% divorce rate and a work culture that encourages folks to spend more and more time in the office away from family, that this would come up. It's a societal thing in America to strike out on your own and leave your family behind. And I wonder if that's a good thing, and something we should buy into?

In a sense, you are limiting diversity in these events. You are asking for one type of person, who lives with one set of values, to compete. I think this is wrong.
Now that is interesting.

However, I don't think anyone is saying what you can/can't do with family. You simply can't pre-arrange to have someone waiting for you on course, SO, family member, or otherwise. Having done these lonely ultra events I can say with certainty that if I knew there was going to someone waiting for me at such and such location I would have more confidence in being more agressive up to that point, knowing I had a bailout option. That would give me an unfair advantage.

The type of person these events seek is a self-sufficient, skilled mountain biker. Self sufficiency is how mountain biking began...the rules are set up so that outside support doesn't allow a wealthy or local rider to have an unfair advantage. A level playing field is all that were looking for.

Besides, anyone other than a self-sufficient skilled MTBer will get eaten alive in an event like the AZT300, GLR, CTR...

If I've missed a rule you are referring to please list it.
 

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Are we talking in a town or out on the trail? I can see no real purpose in having someone meet you on the trail and can see how that might get abused, but if someone wants to have lunch with their SO in a town along the course, I see no harm in that. You could bail out anyway in that environment, SO or not.

hairball_dh said:
You simply can't pre-arrange to have someone waiting for you on course, SO, family member, or otherwise.
 

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Pluto Pilot said:
Are we talking in a town or out on the trail? I can see no real purpose in having someone meet you on the trail and can see how that might get abused, but if someone wants to have lunch with their SO in a town along the course, I see no harm in that. You could bail out anyway in that environment, SO or not.
Out on the trail it is against the rules, that's clear. In towns is a grey area. If my SO was waiting for me in a town I'd get there sooner :D, that much I know. I don't imagine it's against the rules to meet someone in a town...but honestly I don't know.
 

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Lets split some hairs

Viewpoint from where I stand:

A) If you do a race you have agreed/contracted to follow the particular rules (and intent) of said race

B) If you are the promoter of a race you get to set the rules and intent of said race, as the promoter you ultimately get the final call on the "interpretation" of any rule uncertainty, infraction or gray area

C) If the course is open to the public, as all of these "un-permitted" courses are, then it is OPEN, and nobody, racer, promoter, fan, etc etc etc can completely close it to Anyone, including fans, SO, friends, family member(s) etc etc, silly to even try imo. (not saying there can not be a rule prohibiting pre-arranged meetings, or that it is ok to take material support if you meet someone you know)
I think there will always be a bit of gray area about meeting someone/anyone on the course. Racer INTENT to race self-supported and with no unfair advantage is everything here.

If you truly think some one actually CHEATED, and feel the need to publicly "call down" on someone's specific action(s):
1st, try to get the whole story
2nd, PM others as/if needed
3rd, talk to the race promoter to see if they are aware of and are addressing your concerns
4th, only post your complaint if 1,2 & 3 didn't get it done for you

PS: Glad to see this discussion moved to a separate thread, to see all this "stuff" on the CTR thread sort of ruined it for me , and I am sure for others
 

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hairball_dh said:
I really wish y'all could let this go for now. A lot has been said, some of it misunderstood, some of it thought provoking...and we'll get it all worked out in time. But right now, Stephan should be enjoying the post race glow that comes with designing, then totally sh!tstomping an instant classic of a route as he waits for the kankles and hands to return to normal.
great point dave. i was just reading through all this and kept thinking about what a downer this discussion must be for those who just had such an uplifting ride in the ctr. but then it's hard to fault anyone for this because obviously these issues are not very clear in people's minds... or at least not clear in the same ways in everyone's mind.

The thing i'm curious about though is why does there seem to be this over riding idea that each event has to play by the same rules of "self-supported?" i certainly don't agree with every single rule laid out on the gdr page but i'm more than happy to race the GDR by those rules and follow them religously while out there, but what makes sense for the gdr might not neccasarily make sense for the ctr. that seems like simple logic to me but the tone of this discussion seems to be that we're not just talking about the ctr here, but rather general rules for all "self-supported" races. sure it's easy to put together a race and simply state that the race follows the rules of self-supported mountain bike racing as laid out by mike c., and others on the gdr page, but it's also easy to put together a race and lay out rules for that specific race. i know people are going to respond that opposing rules will get confusing but i kind of feel that different routes require different rules and that having different interpretations of "self-supported" will allow everyone interested in these races to find race(s) that more closely fit their interest and style. just another thought to ponder.

i apologize to all the ctr racers for my hypocrisy with this post after stating my original point about this whole discussion bringing down what you all just accomlished. congrats to all on a great ride.
 

· Really I am that slow
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If yah gotta ask the question?

I donno guys but I think i'm done racingf/touring

this has just gotton to the point of i don't f**** care anymore what y'all think...

I just wanna ride my bicycle long long time

If we are slpiting hairs about family and wtheater or not s/o are on the coruse this is F*********G*******D************ crazy

Why are we chating about this, why aren't we with s/o or riding???

this is petty and you know what this whole chasing records or internet glory is nutz. If people wanna read about what/where i'm ridng i'll post about it....... Let people dream and enjoy the story

At this point i'm thinking an entry fee is a good idea maybe that would help people think about what they are doing!!
 

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SlowerThenSnot said:
I donno guys but I think i'm done racingf/touring

this has just gotton to the point of i don't f**** care anymore what y'all think...

I just wanna ride my bicycle long long time

If we are slpiting hairs about family and wtheater or not s/o are on the coruse this is F*********G*******D************ crazy

Why are we chating about this, why aren't we with s/o or riding???

this is petty and you know what this whole chasing records or internet glory is nutz. If people wanna read about what/where i'm ridng i'll post about it....... Let people dream and enjoy the story

At this point i'm thinking an entry fee is a good idea maybe that would help people think about what they are doing!!
Just to clarify my last short post where I said "Out on the trail it is against the rules, that's clear", it's against the rules to have anyone waiting for you on the trail, pre-arranged. SOs are not singled out.

What you do is of course your choice, but I hope you'll come back to center and realize at the core it's really just about the "do it yourself" principal. Beyond that its just technicalities. And remember, anything worth doing is worth overdoing!

In any case, go enjoy your bike for 4 days! Lucky dog you...my x-rays/cat scans were my own.
 

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Shared Adventure for Family

I understand the reasons for the self supported race and it appeals to me. I also understand what it takes to put a big crew together after attempted the Race Across America solo.

I think family should be allowed on the course but they can provide absolutly no assistance. I have 2 and 4 year old girls. If I manage to do the CTR or GDR, I can't imagine them not at least getting to see me once.

They saw me in RAAM as I passed through Colorado. At the time I didn't really think they cared. I think it was more they were a bit shocked. There was Daddy in a sleep deprived state. I was getting up from a 3 hour sleep break and one person was putting my left sock on, another putting my right sock on, and another putting my jersey on. There were 4 people that they didn't know all over me.

I now know that it meant a lot especially to my 4 year old (She was 3 then). She says she's going to race her bike across america some day. I'm fine with my telling my kids they can come see me but can't give me any treats. But I'm not sure I could live with telling them they can't come see me. If it has to be a town, that's fine but I want my family to get a glimpse of my adventure.
 

· Grizzly
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The rules on this seem to me, to be crystal clear.

Many participants have attempted to circumvent the "on your own" part of this ride by having a sag vehicle waiting for them "just in case" at road crossings. This is NOT permitted.

This event is one of the last true, pure, wilderness, on-your-own events left. It is that way BY DESIGN. It is possible to ride this entire route over 3-4 days and only see a smattering of vehicles, if any at all. Having a crew out there detracts from the wilderness experience for other riders, wastes fuel, creates bad feelings (from your crew, who would much rather be riding their bikes than sitting in a car and waiting for your stinky, whiny self to show up) and is 100% contrary to the spirit of the event.

One final word about crews: accepting anything from (or giving anything to) a crew is grounds for banishment from future events. Yes, we're serious about this. Come to the ride and play by the rules, or wait until you're ready. 'Nuff said.
I guess the question is, what constitutes a "crew".
 

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hairball_dh said:
Besides, anyone other than a self-sufficient skilled MTBer will get eaten alive in an event like the AZT300, GLR, CTR...
Yep. Course if I wanted the playing feel to be truly level I'd want DH to fill his rear tire with cement....

I had a long drive yesterday to think about some of this, which plays into feeling somewhat silly for getting all worked up a few days ago only to realize I wasn't quite sure what I thought. With that in mind, here goes:

I think Endurance racing has a very bright future, because it is further removed from "typical" mtb XC racing. Most dedicated Endurance racers were, like myself, not successful or enthusiastic athletes in traditional sports. Therefore, I think the vibe for endurance racing seems to be more independent, and competition to have a rather different meaning than it's traditional one.

I think this goes a way towards explaining why I (and I think quite a few others) don't like "THE RULES" being discussed in an authoritarian way. This attitude taken to the extreme isn't a very useful. I also think that everyone involved (that's you Scott!) has only the best of intentions, and have accomplishments and opinions that should be given the utmost respect.

I think Marshall's point about rules varying from event to event is well taken. This will reflect not only the variability of the people doing the thinking and organizing, but also the setting in question. This is I think how it should be.

In addition, I still believe (and am obviously heartened the Stefan agrees with me) that excessive policing will in the end be self-defeating. To bring Allison back into the fold here, she might have something to say about a past race in which the female winner (to whom I believe she finished second) was widely reputed to have used non-racers to pace her, a clear violation of the requested rules. To my knowledge no one involved has gone after that racer.

Rather, let them stew in their own low existence. If you need _____ to be successful in a given endeavor that's above and beyond the requested standards, and still want the glory of showing up for the group ride, you have more issues than I care to deal with. If I see this happening in something I'm involved in, I may choose to take Marshall's very well elucidated steps to bring about a discussion. Or I may simply shake my head and turn to focus on my own experience and those of the riders whom I respect.

As for these gray areas, Matt's (Saint John) response in the other thread concerning his experience with his wife at the GDR this year is highly illustrative. Provided that such a meeting is reasonable, and I'm prepared for lots of latitude to be given here, it's your own choice. It may psyche you up for some sections, and do the opposite in others. I personally have chosen to pass over on this one, just as I've not taken my IPod along, because it intrudes on the darkness more than I prefer. This is not to say that I may make different choices in the future.

One last point, in general I find the strictest application of the self-support rule to be silly. The reports that have arisen in the last years (Jen and Jesper's flat epic at Dewey in the '06 KTR comes to mind) that seem artificial and disturbing to the extent that they discourage helping others. Heading out on the trail without being 110% confident that you can fix a flat is moronic, and anyone in such a position will get bitten eventually. But being "outlawed" form taking pity on someone who needs ______ (an extra tube, gel, hand, etc) is contrary I think to that great community vibe we get at these events. I realize that the nuance of no pre-planned support may be more amenable here than many give it credit for. However, that interpretation is out there, one of the reasons I altered the guidelines for the KMC.

May we all end up more enlightened. I know I'm having fun. :thumbsup:
 

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The point is, when you bring family into the matter...potentially banning any contact with them...your delving deeply into people's personal belief systems.

Many a great explorer has had a family, and would not consider shunning this part of their life completely for an event. Suppose, for example, there was a highly qualified individual, who was doing this race. They had the resume, they had the necessary common sense, they had the fitness and they had the character. Say the person had done the entire event by the book, fulfilled the self-supported credo, made good decisions to avoid putting themselves and other at risk, and cleary demonstrated the physical prowess to be out there.

Should that rider be disqualified because he/she set up a lunch date with his or her S.O. and kids? What if that competitor has an important family issue to catch up on - a sick kid for example? I think this is overstepping the bounds of race rules.

Just so you know, I'm very supportive of self-sufficiency. I've spent some time in the outdoors, worked for NOLS, and understand the importance of wilderness ethics. What I'm saying is this: ban cell phones, ban help on the trail from anyone, ban staying in hotels, ban iPods and sattelite radio systems...but don't interfere with people's familes and how they choose to relate to them during the event.

jav1231 said:
Okay, I don't know where you're going with that but that certainly crossed a line. I think you're projecting values and intent into the rules or ideas expressed here that are way off the mark.
 
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