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Advice Needed for Newbie Athena

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Advice Needed for Newbie Athena

Old 01-19-12, 09:33 AM
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Advice Needed for Newbie Athena

A friend dropped by yesterday and proceeded to tell me how awful her butt felt after cycling for 30 minutes (she's just started a indoor cycling class).
After she left I got really worried because tomorrow I'm picking up my new bike and I'm using it for all my travels for the next year. I need to eliminate downtime and try to avoid injury as much as possible so I can keep cycling, but I'm sure it will be tough as I'm quite the couch potato right now and very overweight.

I'm not expecting this to be easy! Has anyone got any advice on what they wish they had known from the get-go? Does an aftermarket saddle make a difference? Is it best to wear cycling shorts? I'm on a budget so any little cost cutting tips would also be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your generous support as always!
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Old 01-19-12, 09:57 AM
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Sore butt is almost universal for beginning riders. You'll probably want to replace the stock seat. My advice is don't waste money on a wider seat. This is a problem that takes time and miles to cure. Unless you got a road bike with drop styled handlebars the original seat will be too wide eventually.

Cycling shorts/bibs are more for another problem which is skin irritation from sweat and rubbing. The padding is more for wicking the sweat away from where your body comes in contact with the seat. https://www.love2pedal.com is a great source for inexpensive cycle wear.


What bike are you getting?
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Old 01-19-12, 10:14 AM
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I always used to find the saddles on indoor bikes were so completely awful I just couldn't cope with them for more than a few minutes. For me the problem was more that - ahem - certain sensitive areas either lost feeling or became so sensitive as to create inappropriate impressions.

When I got my first bike I found I got sore for a time but it really didn't last very long. My wife changed her stock saddle for a much wider padded saddle and only rode her bike very rarely. Eventually I realised the problem was that her saddle was way too wide, swapped it out for a cheap saddle much like the original one and she found it far more comfortable.

Watch where your underwear sits when you are on the saddle. If you have elasticated legs that can rub between your skin and your saddle you can expect seriously sore patches.

In general a lot of soreness is caused by a combination of sweating and rubbing. Put the two together and rub sweaty skin and it's really no fun at all. A gentle smear of vaseline can help overcome the rubbing, simply because it means you skin can slide over whatever it would normally have rubbed on. On a long-distance ride I'll often have a small tub of vaseline in my bag somewhere, even if only as a fallback.
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Old 01-19-12, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jethro56
Sore butt is almost universal for beginning riders. You'll probably want to replace the stock seat. My advice is don't waste money on a wider seat. This is a problem that takes time and miles to cure. Unless you got a road bike with drop styled handlebars the original seat will be too wide eventually.

Cycling shorts/bibs are more for another problem which is skin irritation from sweat and rubbing. The padding is more for wicking the sweat away from where your body comes in contact with the seat. https://www.love2pedal.com is a great source for inexpensive cycle wear.


What bike are you getting?

I'm getting a Yuba Mundo! Really excited. I will have my son with me, whose 20 months old. Thanks for your ideas.
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Old 01-19-12, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by contango
I always used to find the saddles on indoor bikes were so completely awful I just couldn't cope with them for more than a few minutes. For me the problem was more that - ahem - certain sensitive areas either lost feeling or became so sensitive as to create inappropriate impressions.

When I got my first bike I found I got sore for a time but it really didn't last very long. My wife changed her stock saddle for a much wider padded saddle and only rode her bike very rarely. Eventually I realised the problem was that her saddle was way too wide, swapped it out for a cheap saddle much like the original one and she found it far more comfortable.

Watch where your underwear sits when you are on the saddle. If you have elasticated legs that can rub between your skin and your saddle you can expect seriously sore patches.

In general a lot of soreness is caused by a combination of sweating and rubbing. Put the two together and rub sweaty skin and it's really no fun at all. A gentle smear of vaseline can help overcome the rubbing, simply because it means you skin can slide over whatever it would normally have rubbed on. On a long-distance ride I'll often have a small tub of vaseline in my bag somewhere, even if only as a fallback.

Ok, so maybe those wider saddles aren't any good. I used to cycle a lot and always used a stock saddle with no problem, but that was 100 lb ago.
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Old 01-19-12, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Youaintgotjack
I'm getting a Yuba Mundo! Really excited. I will have my son with me, whose 20 months old. Thanks for your ideas.
I'm doing a Xtracycle conversion to my Giant Sedona Mountain Bike so I'll have a long tail cargo bike as well. In fact I just got some parts this morning and may finish the conversion today. Small world.
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Old 01-19-12, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jethro56
I'm doing a Xtracycle conversion to my Giant Sedona Mountain Bike so I'll have a long tail cargo bike as well. In fact I just got some parts this morning and may finish the conversion today. Small world.
thats going to be a great bike! i love the long tails! really excited about it. I cant get the seat for my baby for another month so Im having to use a trailer and have been running into issues with how to attach it, any ideas? I dont have a lot of tools. its been one thing after another- right now i have 1/4 of ice outside on top of snow...due to pick up my bike tomorrow and I really wanted to ride it home but I dont feel like thats a smart idea now
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Old 01-19-12, 12:04 PM
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I've only seen pictures of trailers so I can't help. For that matter my LBS has never seen an xtracycle conversion either.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:27 PM
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Just read your blog.

Have a fun adventurous year.
Not sure if you have read this blog. A lot like you in Wash.
https://carfreedays.com/
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Old 01-19-12, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jethro56
I've only seen pictures of trailers so I can't help. For that matter my LBS has never seen an xtracycle conversion either.

I have a neighbor up my hill that has an extracyle, Ive never spoken to him...I just see him whiz by and I always want to charge after him and ask to ride his bike haha I decided that was probably inappropriate and haven't.
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Old 01-19-12, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by velocycling
Just read your blog.

Have a fun adventurous year.
Not sure if you have read this blog. A lot like you in Wash.
https://carfreedays.com/
Thanks- I hadn't seen that blog, thank you...I love reading other peoples blogs, they are so inspiring and have kept me motivated during this long wait period!
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Old 01-19-12, 01:52 PM
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Just keep in mind that when it comes to butts the only thing more painful than the first ride is the second, and for some unfortunates, the third. After that your soft tissues will toughen up.
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Old 01-19-12, 04:05 PM
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Usually first thing I do on any bike is change out the saddle. Saddles are highly personal... you have to know what works best for you. I know a wide saddle is not good for me but if your bike is upright then it might be better for you than something narrow

Bike shorts I believe are a must - good ones. You don't have to spend a fortune but you might have to invest $100. Check out the t-short offered by Terry. I think its selling for $95.

You have to build up butt calluses. Start out doing short time on the bike and then build up your endurance. Also just know a heavily person will have a harder time... that's alot of weight on the saddle and pushing down on girly parts. When I am lighter I have less issues. Now that I am heavier I am suffering alittle. I know if I lose weight the pain will probably go away.

Just stick with it. Start out slow and short and increase as your legs get stronger and your girl parts get tougher!
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Old 01-19-12, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CraigB
Just keep in mind that when it comes to butts the only thing more painful than the first ride is the second, and for some unfortunates, the third. After that your soft tissues will toughen up.

Thanks, you have made amazing progress!!!!
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Old 01-19-12, 08:35 PM
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I went over to your blog and saw your bike...

Very nice.

I'm not sure how much you plan on working on the bike, but, these two sites have a lot of information on them:

https://www.parktool.com/

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/

I just ride around in regular shorts, but with all the ice and snow you are having, you might want something a bit more substantial.
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Old 01-19-12, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique
Usually first thing I do on any bike is change out the saddle. Saddles are highly personal... you have to know what works best for you. I know a wide saddle is not good for me but if your bike is upright then it might be better for you than something narrow

Bike shorts I believe are a must - good ones. You don't have to spend a fortune but you might have to invest $100. Check out the t-short offered by Terry. I think its selling for $95.

You have to build up butt calluses. Start out doing short time on the bike and then build up your endurance. Also just know a heavily person will have a harder time... that's alot of weight on the saddle and pushing down on girly parts. When I am lighter I have less issues. Now that I am heavier I am suffering alittle. I know if I lose weight the pain will probably go away.

Just stick with it. Start out slow and short and increase as your legs get stronger and your girl parts get tougher!
Thank you for telling me about Terry, I hadn't heard of them but I really like the 3/4 length pants and will try to get some. Seems like if you ride daily you would need two pairs...oh the unexpected expenses lol

My bike does ride pretty upright, nothing like the mountain bike I had years ago.

Butt calluses haha oh its going to be tough year! Thank you!
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Old 01-19-12, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete In Az
I went over to your blog and saw your bike...

Very nice.

I'm not sure how much you plan on working on the bike, but, these two sites have a lot of information on them:

https://www.parktool.com/

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/

I just ride around in regular shorts, but with all the ice and snow you are having, you might want something a bit more substantial.
Thanks for that referral, I would like to do most of my own tune up type stuff, no wheel truing or anything complicated. I used to be able to adjust my own breaks and gears so hoping to get that back.

Thank you for reading my blog!! I've been amazed at the warm welcome the cycling community has given me....and yes no shorts right now, although in the summer it gets in the 100's for really long stretches around here. thank you!!
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Old 01-20-12, 04:13 AM
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Just a note on cycling shorts, it will depend a lot on how comfortable you feel and just how much you weigh. Obviously you don't have to disclose that kind of thing if you'd rather not!

I started cycling at around 280 and didn't spend a lot of money on cycling clothes because I didn't know if I'd stick with it at all. I seriously had visions of selling my bike after six months having barely used it. Then in six months when it was clear how much I loved cycling I didn't want to buy specific clothing because my body shape was changing (specifically my quads were getting bigger and my waist was getting smaller). When I started to enjoy cycling in the winter and wanted to get out and ride even if rain was possible I decided it was time to buy something to keep me dry, so bought a waterproof cycling jacket in a very tasteful shade of fluorescent yellow. I've been cycling nearly three years and still ride in my regular clothes - the only thing I bought specifically for cycling is the jacket.

I've got some underwear I can't wear on the bike for any distance because it starts to rub because it's too tight. Other underwear is a little loose to tends to get sweaty and bunch up, causing some irritation. But I've still got enough that fits tightly enough to not shift around without being so tight it just chafes, so for now I just stick with that.

If your budget is tight I'd seriously try cycling, especially if at first you're just going short distances, in whatever gear you have that you don't mind getting dirty and sweaty, and go from there.
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Old 01-20-12, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Youaintgotjack
Thank you for telling me about Terry, I hadn't heard of them but I really like the 3/4 length pants and will try to get some. Seems like if you ride daily you would need two pairs...oh the unexpected expenses lol

My bike does ride pretty upright, nothing like the mountain bike I had years ago.

Butt calluses haha oh its going to be tough year! Thank you!
If you have not discovered terrybicycle.com I would check it out. They carry (YEAH) Plus size jerseys and shorts. The new catalog just came out (Yeah again).

Shorts: Must always be clean. I ride 2 - 3 times a week in the winter and almost every day in the summer. I have probably 12 pairs, not counting the MTB shorts I have. Buy them as you can afford them (and they are on sale) and then if you treat them right, they will last a long time. OK to wash in a machine but cold water and then VERY IMPORTANT hang dry - no dryer. Same goes for jerseys and gloves.

As to jerseys: Since I really am mountain biking more, I started wearing "fit" tops more - in other wards, not necesary cycling jersey. I buy from cheap places like target, REI and JC Penny has a great line of tops that feel awesome, wick moisture and feel good - I think I paid $15/piece - $12 if you can wear an XXL vs. a 1X. Since I always wear a Camelbak, I don't need the pockets in back.
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Old 01-20-12, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by contango
Just a note on cycling shorts, it will depend a lot on how comfortable you feel and just how much you weigh. Obviously you don't have to disclose that kind of thing if you'd rather not!

I started cycling at around 280 and didn't spend a lot of money on cycling clothes because I didn't know if I'd stick with it at all. I seriously had visions of selling my bike after six months having barely used it. Then in six months when it was clear how much I loved cycling I didn't want to buy specific clothing because my body shape was changing (specifically my quads were getting bigger and my waist was getting smaller). When I started to enjoy cycling in the winter and wanted to get out and ride even if rain was possible I decided it was time to buy something to keep me dry, so bought a waterproof cycling jacket in a very tasteful shade of fluorescent yellow. I've been cycling nearly three years and still ride in my regular clothes - the only thing I bought specifically for cycling is the jacket.

I've got some underwear I can't wear on the bike for any distance because it starts to rub because it's too tight. Other underwear is a little loose to tends to get sweaty and bunch up, causing some irritation. But I've still got enough that fits tightly enough to not shift around without being so tight it just chafes, so for now I just stick with that.

If your budget is tight I'd seriously try cycling, especially if at first you're just going short distances, in whatever gear you have that you don't mind getting dirty and sweaty, and go from there.
When I was about 14 I had a second serious accident on a horse and rather than buy a horse I had my eye on, I bought a mountain bike with my savings- totally despised the fact that I couldn't ride horses anymore and took out that frustration by cycling everyday up this really long hill. I totally fell in love with bikes then, and later I bought a second downhill mountain bike. Rode until I got caught up in jobs and life, now at 34 years old I long to regain that love of bikes and to get myself moving. I do hesitate to spend a ton of money of stuff because hopefully I will be losing weight, but I was thinking I'd try shorts just in case they help keep me riding- still cheaper than a heart attack is what I must remind myself hahaha
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Old 01-20-12, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique
If you have not discovered terrybicycle.com I would check it out. They carry (YEAH) Plus size jerseys and shorts. The new catalog just came out (Yeah again).

Shorts: Must always be clean. I ride 2 - 3 times a week in the winter and almost every day in the summer. I have probably 12 pairs, not counting the MTB shorts I have. Buy them as you can afford them (and they are on sale) and then if you treat them right, they will last a long time. OK to wash in a machine but cold water and then VERY IMPORTANT hang dry - no dryer. Same goes for jerseys and gloves.

As to jerseys: Since I really am mountain biking more, I started wearing "fit" tops more - in other wards, not necesary cycling jersey. I buy from cheap places like target, REI and JC Penny has a great line of tops that feel awesome, wick moisture and feel good - I think I paid $15/piece - $12 if you can wear an XXL vs. a 1X. Since I always wear a Camelbak, I don't need the pockets in back.
I don't think I will but a ton of stuff just for riding but I can see the use of some shorts. I don't think I'd ever buy jerseys- just casual stuff like yourself. Also I have a cargo bike so TONS of room for liquids and snacks for me and the lil tyke.

I read the care info just yesterday on the cycling clothes, glad you mentoined that. Do you find the more expensive ones outlast the cheaper shorts (for about $30 on Amazon)?
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Old 01-20-12, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Youaintgotjack
I read the care info just yesterday on the cycling clothes, glad you mentoined that. Do you find the more expensive ones outlast the cheaper shorts (for about $30 on Amazon)?
I have been cycling seriously since 1982... I've found it is not worth buying cheap shorts for a million reasons. That said I have some I wear for casual or short (less than 10 miles) rides. I used to like these shorts sold through Performance. They wore through (ie someone sees your skin) fairly quickly. Another reason to buy good thicker shorts. But it would be worth hearing what others have to say.

And btw I have an entire closet of very expensive cycling jerseys. I wear those road riding and I wear the others mountain biking. I tend to be more "poser" on my road bike....
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Old 01-20-12, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Youaintgotjack
When I was about 14 I had a second serious accident on a horse and rather than buy a horse I had my eye on, I bought a mountain bike with my savings- totally despised the fact that I couldn't ride horses anymore and took out that frustration by cycling everyday up this really long hill. I totally fell in love with bikes then, and later I bought a second downhill mountain bike. Rode until I got caught up in jobs and life, now at 34 years old I long to regain that love of bikes and to get myself moving. I do hesitate to spend a ton of money of stuff because hopefully I will be losing weight, but I was thinking I'd try shorts just in case they help keep me riding- still cheaper than a heart attack is what I must remind myself hahaha
Shorts are cheaper than a heart attack, that's for sure!

I'd just be inclined to start gently, buy stuff as you realise you need it rather than buying a load of stuff now on the basis you might need it. When I think back to the days I first had my bike I was slowly increasing my distances and it was months before I had any tools at all. It was only after I realised one of my rides had me about 15 miles from home with no pump, no spare tube, no tools at all, that I got to thinking I should probably at least explore ways of being more prepared. For a while longer I just stuck some basic stuff in a backpack and put up with a sweaty back, and then as it became clear cycling had become a passion rather than simply the latest fad I started to buy more stuff for the bike.

Even so the "stuff" in this case means things like a rack, panniers, tools etc. The only cycling-specific clothing I have is a helmet and waterproof jacket. I line the helmet with a folded handkerchief (which soaks up sweat, protects my bald head from the sun in the summer, and provides a degree of wind protection in the winter). I really need to look at getting some more customised layered clothing because this time of year I end up having to choose between being too hot, too cold or too wet.
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Old 01-20-12, 06:11 PM
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Several essentials to cool or warm cycling... wicking fabric tops and shorts. Places like Target and REI sell cheap tops that serve this purpose. Buy long and short sleeve and layer. A light weight vest is also a good investment and if you don't already have them, get some arm warmers. Best thing you will ever buy! It will help you regulate being hot or cold.

I think with experience and lots of cycling I have learned to lighten my load. I carry a Camelbak (different sizes for road and MTB) and in it I carry a universal tool, first aid, nutrition, pump (Topeak Morph best out there). It's not a great big lot of stuff. Tubes are on the bike in a seat bag. I take them out of the box and put them in a baggy with some talcum powder.

If you live in cold climates, then you need to get a light weight jacket. It doesn't have to be bike specific, but it should "breath" otherwise its miserable to wear. Also a pair of wool socks. You and your feet will thank me later. and if you wear cycling shoes (a whole other investment issues) toe covers. If the weather gets down below 45, I will wear them.

Again you buy things as you can and when they go on sale. If you take care of it, it should last a long time. I have shorts 6 -8 years old that are fine. gloves 10 years old and I can't tell you when I bought the shoe covers. Oh yeah, a good thermal pair of gloves. I have one pair. Had them 15 years. Don't wear them often but am glad I have them.
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Old 01-20-12, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by contango
Shorts are cheaper than a heart attack, that's for sure!

I'd just be inclined to start gently, buy stuff as you realise you need it rather than buying a load of stuff now on the basis you might need it. When I think back to the days I first had my bike I was slowly increasing my distances and it was months before I had any tools at all. It was only after I realised one of my rides had me about 15 miles from home with no pump, no spare tube, no tools at all, that I got to thinking I should probably at least explore ways of being more prepared. For a while longer I just stuck some basic stuff in a backpack and put up with a sweaty back, and then as it became clear cycling had become a passion rather than simply the latest fad I started to buy more stuff for the bike.

Even so the "stuff" in this case means things like a rack, panniers, tools etc. The only cycling-specific clothing I have is a helmet and waterproof jacket. I line the helmet with a folded handkerchief (which soaks up sweat, protects my bald head from the sun in the summer, and provides a degree of wind protection in the winter). I really need to look at getting some more customised layered clothing because this time of year I end up having to choose between being too hot, too cold or too wet.
I already have my pannier bags (gotta carry lots of stuff with a toddler) but I need to get a tool set, puncture repair kit and a pump. I have a cargo bike so plenty of storage space and areas to carry stuff. I have a rain poncho but I do need a helmet too.
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