My Grand Plan for Racing this Weekend

08.6.2008 | 12:12 pm

Tomorrow I’m headed to Leadville. It’s a simple sentence, but one that makes me go a little bit light-headed.


Because the Leadville Trail 100 — the race and the days leading up to the race — is my favorite weekend of the year.

Consider how many friends of mine will be there: Kenny, Brad, Bob, Gary, Rick Sunderlage (not his real name), Racer, Bry, Mark, Serena, Lisa, Rich, Jilene, Mike, Dean, Dave, Sam, Nick, and Bill.

And there’s the race directors: Ken and Merilee. After all the help they gave Susan and me last year, they’re friends. The staff of the Delaware Inn are friends of mine. And there are more. Lots more.

Seriously, the Leadville 100 is like a big family reunion for me. Except I know more people at Leadville than I do at family reunions, and I don’t have to try to understand when someone explains that they’re my grandfather’s brother’s half-niece.

At Leadville, on the other hand, the relationships are simple. We’re all friends and riders.

Anyway, every year I like to obsess a little bit about how I’m going to race this high-altitude (12,600 feet at its highest point) 100-mile mountain bike race, and this year is no different.

Well, actually, it’s quite a bit different. For example, I haven’t trained.

But I still like to obsess about it.

So here’s my plan.

What I’m Riding
With my separated shoulder, I have no business trying to — for the first time — ride the Leadville 100 on a single speed.

But I’m going to anyway.

My reasoning is simple: I want to. Also, because I love my WaltWorks bike. It’s a beautiful, lively, simple, and comfortable steel mountain bike.

waltworks 001

Shimano XTR cranks (175mm, cuz my toes keep rubbing the front tire when I use 180mm cranks), Magura Marta brakes, Selle SLR saddle, big fat Geax Saguaro tires set to 20psi, and a pink Chris King headset to remind me of who’s tough.

As a concession to my shoulder, I have replaced the carbon fork with a Rockshox Reba suspension fork, set to 60mm of travel.

And a special mention goes out to the On-One Mary bar, which has been a life-changing component. It is incredible: my hands no longer go to sleep, even on long rides. I’m putting this bar on every mountain bike I ever own, for the rest of my life. Respect to Brant and crew.

Feel free to take a moment to leave a mention in the comment section how sexy my bike is.

My Objectives: Plan A, B, and C
Each year, I bring a time goal for the race — an objective I can achieve, provided I really give it everything I’ve got.

This year, though, my primary objective isn’t to finish fast. My primary objective is to finish at all. My secondary objective is to finish fun. Here are the possible fun finish scenarios:

  • Scenario A: If it looks like I can finish under 11 hours, I will do what I can to do so. Which is to say, I’m prepared to put my head down and suffer if I make it to the turnaround spot in 5:20. Finishing under 11 hours on a single speed would be worth the agony.
  • Scenario B: If it looks like I’ll be finishing in right around 11 hours, I’m going to do everything humanly possible to finish in 11:11.11. I will have a stopwatch with me, so it’s actually possible to do this.
  • Scenario C: If it looks like I can’t finish in 11:11.11, I’m going to make an effort to be the final person to cross the finish line in under 12 hours. 11:59.30 sounds good to me. I’ll leave 30 seconds on the table. You know, as a buffer.

What I Will Eat
On the trail, I will eat Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans, caffeinated watermelon flavor, since the Jelly Belly folks were so kind as to send me a box of them. And because they are super-delicious.

It just occurred to me, by the way, that someone should find a way to add caffeine to real watermelon. I would pay extra for caffeinated watermelon.

I will drink CarboRocket, because it’s the only sports drink in the world that I can consume for 11 hours straight without getting barfy. Brad’s a genius.

And when I finish, I will hustle over to the ice cream store around the corner and buy a big dish of ice cream. Nothing in the world is as delicious, post-race, as ice cream.

After the race, I’m going to go take a shower. And then I think I’ll eat some more ice cream. And then a burrito. And then a cube of cheese. And then a hamburger. And then I shall take a nap. And then I will eat again.

See why I love this race?

PS: Free Shipping on Mary Bars! The On-One folks noticed my love of the Mary bar and are celebrating with worldwide free shipping of this bar for a limited time. Pretty darned cool, if you ask me. More details here.


  1. Comment by Jason | 08.6.2008 | 12:21 pm

    Good luck and have fun! 50% of the reason I race is to eat afterwards. The other 50% is to drink beer.

  2. Comment by Jeff | 08.6.2008 | 12:22 pm

    Fatty, that’s a sweet bike. If I had a bike that sweet, I would probably not suck at mountain biking.

  3. Comment by justrun | 08.6.2008 | 12:24 pm

    Woo hoo! Colorado awaits you!

  4. Comment by Anonymous | 08.6.2008 | 12:24 pm

    did you select your gearing with the fact that standing up and cranking from side to side would hurt in your mind? i hope so. cuz yanking on those mary bars for 11 hours with a bum shoulder would make me cry!

  5. Comment by cheapie | 08.6.2008 | 12:27 pm

    sorry. that was me w/the gearing Q.

  6. Comment by UpNorth | 08.6.2008 | 12:36 pm

    Good luck & have fun. I personally vote for being the last person to cross before the 12 hour cutoff. I also like the 30 second buffer – wouldn’t you feel dumb if your clock didn’t match theirs????

  7. Comment by Mark W | 08.6.2008 | 12:39 pm

    Have fun!
    Do you have a speech written up when LA rolls around?

  8. Comment by El Animal | 08.6.2008 | 12:39 pm

    3 Questions:

    Do you have a 26 inch front wheel or is it a visual effect because of the clean front tire?

    Just for my enlightening, what is different in the On-One Mary bar?

    Where are Dug and Botched? Did they chicken out?

  9. Comment by e mcbee | 08.6.2008 | 12:46 pm

    Good luck. Colorado or bust!

    btw the lawn looks great

  10. Comment by Cory G. | 08.6.2008 | 12:47 pm

    Good luck Fatty! What gearing are you planning to run?

  11. Comment by dug | 08.6.2008 | 12:50 pm

    the die is cast, yada yada yada.

    i’m not chickening out. i’m just no longer his friend.

  12. Comment by nccycling4fun | 08.6.2008 | 12:54 pm

    Dang! you must be one heck of a rider on that thing, with bum shoulder and all, that front wheel and rim look so clean and nice, while the rear wheel looks well ridden. Are you riding a wheelie the whole way?

  13. Comment by Kalidurga | 08.6.2008 | 12:54 pm

    I wanna know how you got such beautiful grass in your yard. Can I send the landscapers that work at my condo out to CO to see your lawn?

    And, yeah, that is a pretty sexy lookin’ bike. Good luck at the race!

  14. Comment by Chole | 08.6.2008 | 12:59 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of post-race food!

    I always have a really really hard time getting (and keeping) food down after races/hard training (I do track). Any advice?

  15. Comment by Little1 | 08.6.2008 | 1:04 pm


    Hey i think nccycling is onto something… objective D – ride the whole thing Wheelie style. no pressure on the shoulder.

  16. Comment by Hamish A | 08.6.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Ok, just a couple of things:

    a) That is a ridiculously clean front wheel. You’ve obviously done this to psych out the competition (read: Lance) “I ride so hard that my front wheel never actually touches the trail” – or… did you just get bored of cleaning the whole bike?

    b) Are you really riding a 96er? Because – wow! There’s another great excuse if your shoulder causes you to hit the ice cream stop early – The crazy geometry!

    Anyhow, when you complete the Leadville in sub 9 hours (I know you can do it!) we’ve got another ride for you in the UK: The current singlespeed record is 23 hours 20 minutes 32 seconds so if you could do it in 22:22:22 that’d be awesome – tidy those messy numbers right up for us! :-D

    oh, and finally – did you have your lawn re-turfed for the bike pic?!

    Have a great weekend and regardless of what happens on the course or your finishing time enjoy yourself!

    WIN Susan!!!

  17. Comment by Swedoz | 08.6.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Where’s the little basket to have on the front?

  18. Comment by Jake | 08.6.2008 | 1:06 pm

    Hey Eldon – I hope you have fun in Leadville with the new bike and all the old friends. Wish I could be there. I’m looking forward to the post-race stories. Oh yeah, please be sure to say hello to Floyd and Lance for me :-) Best of luck!

  19. Comment by Rachel J | 08.6.2008 | 1:14 pm

    Hey, you forgot to mention that Lance Armstrong is going to be there. Doesn’t he qualify as a friend too?

    WIN Susan!

  20. Comment by peter | 08.6.2008 | 1:18 pm

    Great looking bike. Reminds me a little bit a QBall

  21. Comment by fatty | 08.6.2008 | 1:28 pm

    everyone – the front tire is new. still has the little nubbies and everything. the old one had a gash in the sidewall that the stans goop never satisfactorily sealed. didn’t want that on my mind during this race.

    everyone who asked about my lawn – i cut it tall; it stays green easier that way.

    hamisha – no, it’s a straight-up 29r. the front wheel looks smallish in the pic because it’s slightly turned.

    cory – 32 x 20

    el animal – the mary bar is shaped like the letter “M.” it has an extreme sweep, letting my hands rest in a very natural position.

  22. Comment by jasper9 | 08.6.2008 | 1:32 pm

    I don’t know you Fatty, or anyone else here for that matter, but i’ll be there in Leadville in my brand spankin new pink 08 Fatty Tshirt cheering you all on! The Lance vs Weins throwdown should be sahweeeet.

  23. Comment by chtrich | 08.6.2008 | 1:34 pm

    Eat more! Especially more ice cream!

  24. Comment by Jeff | 08.6.2008 | 1:36 pm

    Just remember to pack your DZNuts!

  25. Comment by Donald | 08.6.2008 | 1:45 pm

    Sweet Bike Fatty. Have a Great Race. I’m rooting for 11:11:11. It’s a little thing that’s special to me and my wife. Here’s to that big bowl of Scream when you finish. Oh, don’t forget the interview with Lance.

  26. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.6.2008 | 1:46 pm

    I hope you have a great time at Leadville!

    “Because I want to” is a valid reason to ride the SS in my book.

    Say “hi” to Lance for me – we go way back (our family trees join back in the middle ages).

  27. Comment by Clint | 08.6.2008 | 1:55 pm

    Holy buckets.

    100 miles on a mountainfixie.

    With a separated shoulder.

    D00d. Seriously.

    YOU ROCK. \m/

  28. Comment by SyracuseStu | 08.6.2008 | 1:57 pm

    What about soaking watermelon bites overnight in flat Mountain Dew? You know…like they do for frat partys but without the vodka. I’d think the citrus-y flavor of the Dew would be pleasant with the watermelon.

  29. Comment by Mike | 08.6.2008 | 2:07 pm

    What a sexy bike.

    By the way, what’s with the 180 mm cranks? I thought you were my height (I ride 172.5s). Is that a singlespeed thing? More leverage?

    Good luck with the shoulder.

  30. Comment by fatty | 08.6.2008 | 2:12 pm

    mike – big cranks help on a single. but 180 was too big; i kept rubbing my toes with my tire on downhill turns. not dangerous, but the noise is really startling. imagine al maviva farting. it’s like that.

  31. Comment by Rick S. | 08.6.2008 | 2:22 pm

    Elden, I predict you will post your fastest time ever. It’s a SS thing. It gives you wings.

  32. Comment by Charlie | 08.6.2008 | 2:24 pm

    Nice to know you “may” (I’ll believe it when I see it) be slumming towards the back of the pack with us slow guys… I’m also A) hoping to break 11 hrs and B) hoping to finish under 12. I may be either sprinting the finish to move up to 490th place or to make it before the shot gun blast.

    See you there!

  33. Comment by regina | 08.6.2008 | 3:13 pm

    yes that is a sexy bike, and my mind is racing on how you can caffienate a watermelon, given that you can intoxicate a watermelon, if you find the right caffeine component I see no reason you can’t I am thinking maybe red bull would do it. I hope you come back with a story of how Lance came up to you and gave you a big hug. Now get out there and crush it! and do not forget your cold chicken soup with stars.(:P).
    WIN SUSAN!!!

  34. Comment by bikesgonewild | 08.6.2008 | 3:23 pm

    …enjoy & finish eldon !!!…

    win susan !!!

  35. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.6.2008 | 3:31 pm

    So, one flavor and type of one JPF for the entire race, huh? I thought you already tried that plan.

    Do not take some wild cherry Shot Bloks or some caffenated tangerine gels or something, you know, just in case. Your hypothesis was, IIRC, that it was merely the salt in the mono-food Margerita Shot Bloks.

    This is science, and if you change two things or three things, like salt content, flavor and JPF form, the science is invalid.

    Best of luck, Fatty! WIN! Susan!

  36. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 08.6.2008 | 4:03 pm

    Good luck Fatty, say hello to Lance for us !

  37. Comment by leroy | 08.6.2008 | 4:10 pm

    Have a great ride!

  38. Comment by Lifesgreat | 08.6.2008 | 4:23 pm

    Have tons of fun, Fatty and friends (and Dug too ;) ).

  39. Comment by A in B | 08.6.2008 | 5:45 pm

    OoooOOoo… I used to be so in love with Mary. Now I love my Ergons, but Mary went to a good home. Can’t wait to see your 11:11:11 finish!

  40. Comment by M2 | 08.6.2008 | 7:00 pm

    All the best for a fabulous, fun-filled ride Fatty! Wow… how’s that for alliteration? ;)

  41. Comment by Paul | 08.6.2008 | 7:02 pm

    *fans self* wow that’s a sexy bike!

    And I loved the comment about the pink headset to remind you who’s tough. Rock on Fattie.

  42. Comment by BigMike in Marietta | 08.6.2008 | 7:07 pm

    Good luck on the race. Say hello to Lance.

  43. Comment by KM | 08.6.2008 | 7:13 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful bike, if I had one that nice I’d just toast it with good beer and let it look all pretty…..wait I do that already. Good luck at Leadville, and good luck!

    BTW: I could swear I saw a kickstand in that picture, you’re not fooling anyone with that tree.

  44. Comment by Jaime O. | 08.6.2008 | 7:38 pm

    Dear Fatty: you’re crazy. good luck. and you’re crazy.

    WIN Susan.

  45. Comment by CellPhoneGuy | 08.6.2008 | 7:39 pm

    Nice ride!! Gotta agree on the Mary bars. A friend of mine had them on his bikes, and I pointed and openly laughed at him for having those rediculous looking bars on his bikes. He grew tired of the comments and let me take his bike for a spin, and I was sold on them within the first 20 feet. I now am on the receiving end of people pointing and laughing, but at least I can feel my fingers at the end of a long ride.

    Good luck at Leadville, tell Lance we all liked the well wishes he sent for Susan.

  46. Comment by UltraRob | 08.6.2008 | 8:15 pm

    I’m 35 lbs over my race but I’ve spent the last 6 weeks training for Leadville. Six weeks is plenty, right? You better hope you finish scenario A or B because I have my eyes on scenario C.

  47. Comment by Dobovedo | 08.6.2008 | 8:25 pm

    Oooooh, I’s so hoping for 11:11:11. Last year I finished my total miles at 11111.11. I love symmetry.


  48. Comment by Jacked | 08.6.2008 | 8:35 pm

    Hey Fatty Good luck at Leadville! I wish I was in shape enough to even consider the ride.

    FYI – I have a large ‘08 Mens Fat jersey in a silent auction the weekend at the Tour de Road America. YOu can find out about our LAF fund raiser at I will be taking text bids on Friday and Saturday at 517.202.2257.


  49. Comment by Ritcheyboy | 08.6.2008 | 8:41 pm

    Sweet Ride!!! Good luck on your race. Put the hurt on the other guys and not on yourself. Could not agree with you more about the Sweet steel ride and the Mary Bars. I pitched the carbon bar and bar ends once I put those babies on. I’ve broken my right shoulder twice and the small degree bars were just, well, nonsense. I have two fine steeds with the Marys now. Telepathic is the only word to describe the ride.

    Win Fatty!!! Win Susan!!!!.

  50. Comment by KT | 08.6.2008 | 9:05 pm

    Hmmm… I too was fooled by the apparent different sizes of front and rear wheels. Are you SURE??

    And yeah, your lawn is suspiciously green. I’m thinking food dye. Good job getting it even.

    Good luck having more fun than Lance at Leadville… Try not to hurt your shoulder any more than it already is! I’m rooting for all 1’s. 11:11.11 would be pretty cool.

    Win, Susan!! Oh yeah, you too, Fatty

  51. Comment by alee | 08.6.2008 | 9:29 pm

    As the person who lost the contest and had to buy you the On-One Mary Bars, I am taking partial credit if you do well. If you don’t, I never even heard of you.
    Good Luck to you, and more importantly, Susan and the rest of your family.

  52. Comment by reggaewomanpp | 08.6.2008 | 9:29 pm

    You will be in good company….Armstrong to race in Leadville 100

  53. Comment by GrizzlyAdam | 08.6.2008 | 9:31 pm

    Best of luck. Have a great time and rock it on the 1×1. 11:11:11 on a 1×1 during your 11th LT100 would be pretty awesome. It is your 11th right?


  54. Comment by Andy | 08.6.2008 | 9:32 pm

    Writing from my Grand Junction hotel room, on my way to Pb’ville; hope to meet you at some point this weekend.
    Single speed bike + Leadville == lots of standing climbing. With that shoulder, finishing the ride will mean that you _rule_ :-)
    60mm seems a strange choice for suspension travel…

    Win Susan, go Elden!

  55. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.6.2008 | 11:36 pm

    That is, in fact, one helluva sexy bike. Combined with a Twin Six jersey, it will leave scorch marks.

    Say “Hi” to Lance, but Do Not Spalm.

  56. Comment by rides2slow | 08.6.2008 | 11:41 pm

    Since I’m a Leadville noobie and since I ended up doing this partly because of you and your core of buddies and since I have no cycling talent..
    can I suck on your wheel like a certain rider did last year if I happen to see you??
    You’ll probably be several miles in front of me but I can dream

  57. Comment by Randy | 08.7.2008 | 12:08 am

    Good luck, Fatty! It’s been a tough year, so have mountains of fun.

    By the way, that’s one double-secret, exceedingly righteous Waltworks you have there. Very nice.

  58. Comment by Nick | 08.7.2008 | 1:06 am

    See you there fatty – bike is in the box, in the car and ready to be flying to denver tomorrow.
    Are we having brats after the race ?

    good luck all


  59. Comment by subsub | 08.7.2008 | 2:03 am

    Good luck on the race!

    Love the Jelly Belly Sport Beans…and how disappointing to discover that the “Mary Bar” was not some sort of treat. I was all set to order. ;)

  60. Comment by Uphill Battle | 08.7.2008 | 6:12 am

    does meeting Lance figure into your grand plan?

  61. Comment by Mike Roadie | 08.7.2008 | 6:20 am

    Sexy????…….Big Sexy!!!!!

    What happened to Cola flavored Power Goo-ies???

    I will just eat the ice cream and wait for your report!

    Good luck!

    WIN Susan

  62. Comment by Susan | 08.7.2008 | 6:36 am

    another suggestion for a fun finish: when you cross the finish line, get off your sexy bike and take your jersey off just like Mia Hamm did after her big win. Be sure you’re wearing your sports bra, though. There may be children watching.

  63. Comment by just me | 08.7.2008 | 6:48 am

    Good luck! I hope you hit 11:11:11!

  64. Comment by Den | 08.7.2008 | 7:13 am


    Enjoy your weekend. I hope you have a blast and everything happens the way you want it to. I have a prediction, but I must keep it to myself for now.

    Silence is golden, right?


  65. Comment by Bjorn 4 Lycra | 08.7.2008 | 7:37 am

    Well I’ve tried to imagine AlMaviva farting but there are so many variations I can’t actually narrow it down. Blimey you go away for a couple of days or so to be ill and comeback to Fatty using Al’s body motions to describe a noise.
    Hey great ramp – good to see that gorgeous smile on Susan’s face. Well done the Inner Circle. Good choice on the gopher as well 4 wheels much more stable.
    Have a great weekend FC – just enjoy the ride.

  66. Comment by Caren | 08.7.2008 | 7:42 am

    WHAT? No Chicken Noodle Soup? I was converted last year when I did my first long mtb ride and converted several others this year! They did initially skoff at me but found it very yummy when they tried it!

    Out end of ride treat was ICE COLD Starbuck’s dark chocolate frappacino’s – pretty darn good and go down faster than ice cream!

    Here’s to success at having a FUN Leadville 100! Can you have FUN riding 100 miles on a singlespeed with a messed up shoulder? In truth it sounds rather masochistic!


  67. Comment by Yooper | 08.7.2008 | 8:39 am

    I just read that Lance Armstrong will be racing at Leadville.

    From the Associated Press: Lance Armstrong is set to race in the Leadville Trail 100 on Saturday, a grueling 100-mile race in the Rockies of 1,000 mountain bike riders.

    Armstrong’s appearance in the 15th annual Race Across the Sky is the “‘hugest’ thing that’s happened to Leadville since the Fat Cyclist,” proclaimed Ken Chlouber, the race’s co-founder. “The whole town is buzzing and we are way beyond excited.”

    I think this is what Ken Chlouber meant to say.

  68. Comment by Uphill Battle | 08.7.2008 | 9:07 am

    not to nit pic, but Brandi Chastain was infamous for taking off her shirt! She even wrote a book about it!

  69. Comment by regina | 08.7.2008 | 9:14 am

    oh now, I am not sure I can get behind a mia hamm finish to a fat cyclist jersey, sports bra or no. I forgot to tell you, I have mary bars on the pugsley, they are very awesome. just so dang comfy. good luck, 11:11:11 all the way, will there be someone there video taping that final approach on that, that would be great. Maybe Lance would be available for camera duty for that. just sayin.

  70. Comment by The GPC | 08.7.2008 | 9:19 am

    Good luck man! Enjoy and have a dish of ice cream for me. I thought I would also mention that you should get an autograph from Lance, who will also be riding.
    Of the options, I am partial to A.

    Have fun!

  71. Comment by barry1021 | 08.7.2008 | 9:36 am

    Please don’t fall.



  72. Comment by Deanna | 08.7.2008 | 12:21 pm


    That seat looks like it’s going to crucify your bum. I like your style. Seriously, training is over-rated. ROCK ON DUDE!

  73. Comment by cyclingeurope | 08.7.2008 | 12:59 pm

    LA will be jealous…
    - of your bike
    - of your cheering fans
    - of your fame!
    - of your jersey!


  74. Comment by Jay Peitzer | 08.7.2008 | 4:52 pm

    I knew you’d be riding the the single speed with the front suspension. Testosterone poisoning pure and simple. I also know you’ll finish. Don’t make a schmuck out of me….LOL….I can do that all by myself.

    WIN SUSAN!!!!!

  75. Comment by Co | 08.7.2008 | 9:27 pm

    well, so long as you have enough sense not to destroy your shoulder, go for the bike you’ll have the most fun on! And if it (either the bike or your shoulder) fails (because you can’t fail!), then early ice cream is happy too! HAVE FUN!!! WIN FOR SUSAN!!!!

  76. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 08.7.2008 | 9:44 pm

    I’m hoping that you’re taking something more than Watermelon beans and Carborocket with you to eat on the trail….

    I seem to remember you getting sick and bonking after you couldn’t choke down one more margarita flavored shock block… I would hate for you to develop an aversion to your new found treat.

    Good luck this weekend, hope the shoulder behaves! :)

  77. Comment by Dave Spalmer | 08.8.2008 | 1:24 am

    Funny thing about those Mary bars. I did a Grade 3 AC sep last September, and the only bars that feel right these days are the Mary’s. Otherwise I feel like I’ll poke my ear with the loose end of my collarbone. Ew! OK not that bad, but it keeps it from sticking out so much. Good luck, and remember not to spalm even with dznutz!

  78. Pingback by » The Leadville 100 | 08.8.2008 | 9:51 am

    [...] headed to Colorado this weekend to compete. I wish for you oxygen in your lungs. Also good luck to Fatty, who’s riding this year on his WaltWorks [...]

  79. Comment by LowPhat (aka RiderX) | 08.8.2008 | 5:06 pm

    I look forward to the after-ride report where you report on your suffering.

    One of the things that makes your participation in rides *so* entertaining is that while most of us try to make choices that tend to *improve* our chances of finishing, you seem determined to sabotage each ride in new and inventive ways.

    And I can’t believe you’ve never had fruit that had been *enhanced* by injection with various substances (typically alcohol, but caffeine would work as well).


    E. (2008 Ramrod conscientious objector)


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