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March 20, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

March 20, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Criteriums – 20 Mar 2016

Graded Scratch Races
Production Drive Circuit, Alfredton

What a difference a week makes.

The sun was out and so were our club members, 26 riders in all.  Some new, some old – some even older – but all with visions of glory.
The racing proved so hotly contested and eventful that a few of them were just seeing visions by the end.

A Grade

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The Man In Strava Orange

There was worry at the start line, for the word had passed around,
That Pepe Griffin was going for four crits straight,
And scared off half the others – he was fastest pound for pound,
So only a handful had gathered to test their fates.
A few tried and noted riders from towns near and far,
Had entered at the table with Old Bill,
For the try hards love fast racing – especially on smooth tar,
And the smart money tumbled in for Club Champ – Farky Phil.

There was Mirabella, whose name is on every cup,
He’ll launch without a second thought or glance,
And few can ride beside him when his blood is fairly up,
Tony attacks whenever he sniffs a winning chance.
And Sheems from Buninyong, also came to try his hand,
No fitter rider holds the bars,
For no challenger can keep the K-O-Ms where Strava segments stand,
He’ll only ride when it’s dry and safe – to dodge cars.

And Dean Wells was there, he lives out east,
He’s something of the librarian type,
With a touch of show pony – out of depth to say the least
He started the race like a rat up a drain pipe.
Wells raced fast and handy – just the sort that won’t give up,
There was courage in his lumbering ride,
But he betrayed his lack of tactics, did the youngest pup,
And he would end up – getting fried.

They went round and round the circuit – each minute felt like ten,
Fast down the back straight and up along the front,
Pepe keeping the pace high and making them bend,
No point in hiding – or you’re out of the hunt.
With Farky marking wheels, and often making fight,
Each lad rode boldly, none fearing the spill,
Yet no one could match Pepe in full flight,
But they could all push harder – without any hills.

More than once Tony rode away from them – racing on a whim,
Out front where the boldest take their place,
And he raced his Cervelo past them, and made the chain sing,
With a high cadence, opening up a space.
The others eased off a moment, while he made another forlorn dash,
Then they chased with renewed vigour – so impressive from so few,
And they rounded up Tony just like a lightning flash,
And some time later they saw the sign that said two.

When they reached the bell lap, Dean continued the grind,
The others all sitting in single file,
The speed never dropping – each straight so well timed,
The slightest touch of wheels would cause them to pile.
But the man from Moonambel was stuck to Pepe’s tail,
Nearing the home turn he up clicked a gear,
And following Pepe to the corner he knew he couldn’t fail,
Then Sheems took his chances, for the bridesmaid hath no fear.

Brendan’s pedals a blur, he opens a gap in a blink,
Leaving Farky stranded on the wrong wheel me reckons,
Behind Pepe who has nothing left for the sprint,
And Tony chases hard – but daylight is second.
Through the lactic threshold – The Man In Strava Orange rode,
Tears of pain, turn to joy as he closed to the flag,
And he never stopped pedalling until he crossed the painted road,
Sheems finally the bride, and it’s his time to brag.

Epilogue…

And down by Lake Learmonth, where the lake bed is dry,
The clubrooms stand on the foreshore east,
Where whispers of riders past, and their ghostly shadows roam,
Both before and after the post-race feast.
The gathered, you often hear them say,
Tales about hard men who rode with pride,
Like The Man In Strava Orange – a household name today,
And the veterans tell the story of his ride.

Results:
1st – Brendan Schiemer
2nd – Tony Mirabella
3rd – Phil Cartledge

B Grade

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Matt Ayres ran down his Bacchus Marsh buddy Greg Ley late on the last lap to claim yet another win in his rookie year at Eureka.
The two of them the pulling off the perfect race plan and a Bacchus Marsh quinella.

The largest field of the day saw some animated evenly matched racing.  Both Matt and Greg gauged who had the legs with attack and counter-attack, while Danny “Fidel” Whelan was keen to keep everything on tempo for as long as he could to discourage an attack that would put him out the back.
Bob Morley managed to stay upright and despite not finishing in the places actually posted the fastest final sprint of the race – he was just too far back when he launched.
John Creek astride his new stealthy whip (well as stealthy as a farm gate can get I suppose) played a masterful hand, not the strongest in the race, he relied on his noodle to stay competitive, never on the front, but never out the back either and declining several invitations to close down an attack his was a well-crafted race.
Rick “Sudso” Calvert rode strongly and his attack on the last lap from a long way out put him on the podium.  However the day belonged to the two boys from Bacchus, Greg riding very aggressively and Matt with his supreme dominant finishing power.
With only a few laps to go, Greg went on the attack, opening a 20m gap, with the powerhouse Matt not keen to chase down his mate this gap grew to 40m, it was left to the others to try to close down Greg, knowing full well that if and when they did Matt would counter.  With one lap to go Greg was still clear when Rick decided to put it all on the line, and Matt was sitting on him all the way.  Around the last corner Rick hadn’t bridged across and was running out of puff, Matt took his queue and hammered home passing Greg 50m out and sprinting clear.

Results:
1st – Matt Ayres
2nd – Greg Ley
3rd – Rick Calvert

 

C Grade

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Brains over brawn, that wily old stager Terry Collie timed his sprint to perfection to nip Roger McMillan in the final sprint.
Great start to the year for Terry who is showing the benefit of hard race fitness acquired from racing Opens.
Shelled last crit here, this time James Gretton steps onto the podium, an encouraging result from an improving rider.  The pre-race favourite Roger looked the strongest rider of the day in the mounting yard and is looking pretty fit since last outing when he managed a win.  The fourth racer for the day was the Crit Monster himself, Brad Eppingstall, making a late start to the year he’s got a way to go to get back to his monstering best, but he managed to stay handy to the placegetters and was far from disgraced.

Results:

1st – Terry Collie
2nd – Roger McMillan
3rd – James Gretton

February 28 – Ron Rivette Classic – Mt. Misery, 57.2 km

February 28 – Ron Rivette Classic – Mt. Misery, 57.2 km

Hickey Triumphs – 28 Feb 2016

Ron Rivette Classic

proudly presented by
Shane Cook Homes

VVCC Open Handicap – 57.2 km

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Gerard Hickey (Colac Veterans Cycling Club) has taken the win in the 2016 Ron Rivette Classic on a windswept Mt. Misery circuit.
Hickey who finished second in the 2015 open race, was not going to be denied taking the win in 2016.  With fifteen kilometres remaining, Hickey broke away with Chris Shay (Geelong & Surf Coast Cycling Club) and Tamara Riddell (Northern Cycling) from the remnants of their 24 minute bunch and chased down the lone leader.
The chasing bunches could only watch on as the trio maintained their margin at the head of the field.
A strong tail wind in the home straight ensured the trio would not be caught.
Hickey and Shay fought out a sprint finish with Hickey prevailing by two bike lengths.  Riddell was a few seconds behind.

The first Eureka rider across the line was Scott Denno (21 min), leading home a bunch sprint for fourth place, 30 seconds behind the winner.

In the race for fastest time, Darren Roberts (Northern Cycling) proved too strong for the Scratch bunch, winning a very fast sprint finish.

This was the first time that the Eureka club has held their open race in the summer and it attracted a large field with over 120 entrants.  The field was handicapped into 12 groups of riders with a spread of 37 minutes.
Many riders struggled early in the race as the southerly wind and climbing took its toll.?  By mid race the climbing was almost done for the day, however riders were already being dropped from their groups as they battled the head wind.
Turning onto Ercildoune Road with 20 kilometres remaining, Limit riders Paula McGovern (Eastern VCC) and Diane Jane (Central Victorian VCC) still led the way holding a three minute lead over the chasing groups.  At the back of the race the Scratch bunch were making some headway and had started picking their way through the field.

Hickey, Shay and Riddell chased the leaders down in the final 10 kilometres and drove for home.  Behind them, the 19 and 21 minute groups had combined and had the trio in their sights, however they couldn’t close the gap and a bunch of 20 riders contested a sprint finish for the minor placings.

Spot prizes were awarded to Grant Dawson (Eureka) and Craig Harvey (Northern) for continually driving the pace for their (12 min 30 sec) group throughout the race.

Results:
1st – Gerard Hickey (Colac), 24 min
2nd – Chris Shay (Geelong), 24 min
3rd – Tamara Riddell (Northern), 24 min
4th – Scott Denno (Eureka), 21 min
5th – Daniel Monaghan (Grampians), 19 min
6th – Grant Rogers (Geelong), 21 min
7th – John Parello (Geelong), 21 min
8th – Robert Parker (Eureka), 19 min
9th – Paul Bird (Geelong), 19 min
10th – Noel Said (Northern), 19 min
Winner’s time 1 hr 43 min 04 sec
Fastest Time – Darren Roberts (Northern), Scratch in 1 hr 22 min 27 sec

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Gerard Hickey and Darren Roberts show off their sashes.

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Chris Shay leads Tamara Riddell and Gerard Hickey up a sharp rise.
The trio would ride away from their group and fill the first three placings.

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Hickey winning the sprint finish.

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Darren Roberts winning the sprint for Fastest Time ahead of Gary Wearmouth and Wayne Collins.

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016 teaser poster #2

EVCC open - Ron Rivette 2016 teaser poster #1

February 14, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

February 14, 2016 – Handicap – Mt. Misery, 46 km

Long way to the Top – 14 Feb 2016 

Handicap
Mt. Misery Circuit – 46 km

Age no barrier for Long

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Geelong & Surf Coast CC rider Brian Long made a triumphant return to Learmonth on Sunday 14th February, taking the win in a 46 km handicap around Mt. Misery.  With a palmares as impressive as Brian’s, a lowly handicap win on a windswept course around a faux mountain shouldn’t rate high…but when you’re 83 years old it’s pretty impressive…and popular!

An invitation went out to GSCCC early in the week as they were unable to stage their own race due to bureaucratic red tape (no permits).  In a complete surprise, a handful of riders from a variety of vets clubs showed up for the day, some even bringing their own cheer squad (Carl Judd came along with Brian Long for a day out).
In total we had 30 riders roll up to the start line.

On a sunny yet windswept course, Long was sent out first with Eureka handicapper Bob Morley – who was nursing a broken rib – for company.  Essentially this would prove to be a time trial effort for Long, as Morley was only there to guide him around the course and try and maintain his own fitness in preparation for the upcoming Ron Rivette Classic (28th Feb).

A long 13 minutes later, the next group (at 16:00 min) consisting of Graeme Parker, Brad Eppingstall and Mandy Rudwick set out in pursuit of glory.
Losing Brad on the long climb to the top of Edmonston Rd, Graeme and Mandy then set about maintaining a consistent rhythm as they rode through Addington and into the westerly headwind.

The 9:00 min group looked strong on paper – if everyone was at the top of their game – however still being early in the season meant there were a few under-done riders.
Led by Barry Robinson and Terry Collie, the group was quickly under pressure as Geelong rider John Long (Brian’s son) was soon dropped on the way up to the first turn.  John’s day done, he rode the whole way home alone, not quite being able to latch onto any of the chasing groups.
Alan Barnett (Goulburn) adapted quickly to the relentless speed of a Eureka Vets race and was able to do his fair share. However it was Roger McMillan and Scott Denno whom would prove the powerhouses in the bunch.
Roger would ultimately pay for his youthful enthusiasm (being dropped by the halfway point), but Denno reminded us that there is a big engine hidden inside and kept driving the pace when others missed a turn or faltered.

The 6:00 min group proved be a mixed bag of talent and fitness.
Led by Steven Kennedy and John Creek, the group also contained Matt Ritchie (entering his second year of  returning to match fitness ) and Rob Parker whose long training miles weren t suited to the speed of a short whirl around Mt. Misery.
Joining the Eureka riders were two unknown quantities – Ian Flannery (Central) and Noel Said (Northern) – both fine tuning their preparations for the Ron Rivette Classic.  Both Ian and Noel had interesting days to say the least…Noel’s chain jumped off in the first few kilometres, leaving him in no man’s land by Addington (and about to hit the head wind alone).  Noel ended up riding the rest of the way home – alone.
Ian lost contact with the group halfway around the course and then got a helping hand from a Eureka rider, back to the club rooms…more on that later…

The 3:00 min group was full of firepower, strength, skill and tenacity…which made Pete Livitsanis wonder what he’d done to the Handicapper to find himself in this bunch.
Fifi is nowhere near the supreme fitness level that he normally has in the early part of the season, his time will come during winter when everyone else is struggling!  As it was, Livitsanis found himself off the back before reaching Addington.
Dan Whelan also found the early pace too tough and he was off the back even earlier than Livitsanis.
Both Whelan and Livitsanis would use their race smarts to latch onto the Scratch bunch and enjoy some assistance around the course.
New rider Peter Canny found himself left with a mate from his cafe bunch (Rick Calvert) and two Bacchus Marsh boys (Richard Taylor and Grant Dawson) who were both very strong.
After the early hiccups, the lads finally found their mojo and worked out that by sharing the workload they could actually go faster.  The only problem was that they started picking up the remnants of other groups.  Would this slow them down?  Could they hold Scratch off?

Scratch consisted of a veritable who’s who of Strava.  From the Pyrenees region came none other than Club Champion, Phil Cartledge; from the Gorge region came that ball of muscle and hair, Matt Bowman; from the quaint village of Buninyong came Mr Orange himself (Strava orange), Brendan Schiemer; then throw in a few local Ballarat hopes such as Lindsay Burgoyne, Dean Griffin and Tony Mirabella…what a line up.
Could anything stand in their way?  Well apparently yes.  As it turns out, in order to win a bike race you need to ride fast…who knew?
The general consensus post race was that Scratch just didn’t ride fast enough into the headwind.
Losing powerhouse Griffin didn’t help their cause.  Dean blew up out on the course – his supremacy on the criterium circuit not yet translating to the road. Yet!  Dean would guide visiting rider Ian Flannery home…the wrong way.  Both riders earning a DNF for their efforts (or was it a DKW, Didn t Know the Way?).

At the head of the race, Long still maintained a five kilometre advantage over his nearest rivals passing the halfway mark.  The following bunches were being torn apart by the wind whilst Long – with the occasional update from spectators – started to believe he could hang on.
Forever chasing, the 3:00 min bunch had dropped most of their passengers as they closed in on Weatherboard.
Calvert sensing victory attacked off the front of the group with 7 kilometres remaining…too bad that he didn’t sense Long and Morley up the road.
Rick’s attack only served to encourage Taylor to launch his own attack up Weatherboard.  Canny followed at a distance whilst Dawson, Calvert and Kennedy scrambled for wheels and tried to bridge the gap.
Taylor was time trialling to the finish with Canny gradually closing the distance.

Up ahead, Long was sailing away to the win, whilst Morley was slowing down due to the effort.  Scratch finally made their way over Weatherboard, dropping Bowman for a short while before he latched onto Mirabella and was brought back.

At the finish, Long won by a big margin over Canny who caught Taylor in the shadows of the big tree.
Calvert just got in over Kennedy, with Morley and Dawson following.
The race for Fastest Time was ignited by Bowman coming out of the dip.  His massive effort being enough to hold the other Scratch men at bay.

Results:
1st – Brian Long (Geelong SCCC)
2nd – Peter Canny
3rd – Richard Taylor
4th – Rick Calvert
5th – Stephen Kennedy
Fastest Time – Matt Bowman,  in 1h 11m 5s

For Long it was a homecoming of sorts.
Born in Ballarat in the 1930’s, Long commenced bicycle racing with the Sebastopol Amateur Cycling Club in 1949.
He has proven to be rather handy at it, winning many track and road events during his 66 years of racing.  Long won the inaugural Victorian Veterans Road Championship race in 1977 on a circuit around Learmonth.

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Brian kitted out in his Sebastopol Amateur Cycling Club jersey, circa 1950.

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Allan Barnett gives Brian Long a hand up.  Ian Nunn is a bit worried it might all go pear shaped, and Scott Denno is simply marvelling at it all.

Photo at top of page – Brian Long leading Bob Morley down Black Bottom Road.

February 7, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

February 7, 2016 – Criteriums – Production Drive, Alfredton

Sunny day criteriums – 7 Feb 2016

Graded Scratch Races
Production Drive Circuit, Alfredton

What a difference a week makes.

The sun was out and so were our club members, 26 riders in all.  Some new, some old – some even older – but all with visions of glory.
The racing proved so hotly contested and eventful that a few of them were just seeing visions by the end.

A Grade

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Dean Griffin reminded everyone why he is a force to be reckoned with at the first criterium for 2016.

From the start it was Dean “Phantom” Wells setting an early yet restrained pace.
Only a few laps in and Brendan “Sheems” Schiemer decided to stretch his legs out.  Fresh off a 130 km ride the day before, Sheems legs were quick to protest.
Lindsay “Hillbilly” Burgoyne, watchful as ever, latched on to this and every surge throughout the race.  Never committing himself, but ensuring that he wasn’t dropped.
Less than ten minutes in and Dean “Pepe” Griffin started putting a few short surges in up the west straight.  Fresh off a placing at the BSCC (B Grade) crit on Wednesday night – which is no easy feat – Dean set about dominating the pack from early in the race.  Not enough to rattle the cages of the real contenders, but certainly enough to start testing Matt “Uluru” Ayres in his first A Grade ride with the club.
Phil “Farky” Cartledge was quick to shut down any surge and then throw his own effort in on the next lap.  Rounding out the group, Tony “Itallian Stallion” Mirabella was also playing the ever watchful game and keeping himself well positioned.

At one point the crit must have resembled a track session.  Dean W on the front, Lindsay second wheel and the others all tucked in.  Eventually Sheems had had enough of the solo time trial effort up front and so he started the surging again.
Keen to join in the funny business, Phil, Dean G and Tony started throwing their weight around as well…all the while, Lindsay staying in touch as only those experienced fellas know how.
Mid race and it was clear that none of the contenders were game enough to try and attack the others, the surging had whittled the field down to five – although Matt and Dean W were always within 100 metres. 

And so it continued, lap after lap, one of the main contenders would throw in a surge down the west straight.  The speed would then back off after passing the start/finish line.  Matt continued to dangle off the back of the bunch and Dean W was like the elastic man, fifty metres off the back, then catching the group (when they slowed) and taking on the lead for a few laps.
Getting close to the end of the race and the pace really started to drop off after the surges, so much so that Dean W was able to get back onto the bunch (Matt having stopped to assist Bob Morley after he kissed the deck) and then perform the lead out duties.

With the pressure off the main contenders as to who would sacrifice their chances, they started jockeying for position and selecting which wheel they wanted.  Dean Griffin’s wheel being the one they all wanted…
Big Deano launched just before the final turn and had the others scrambling.  Lindsay was soon out of contention, Tony didn’t quite have enough fire power, Phil (who had been flat all day) did well to almost challenge and Sheems was able to get close (legs still protesting).
Ultimately it was Deano’s strength and smarts proving too good a combination for the chasers on this day…but will the tides of fortune change next time?

Results:
1st – Dean Griffin
2nd – Brendan Schiemer
3rd – Phil Cartledge

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B Grade

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With last week’s winner promoted to A Grade, it was Rob Phillips who claimed early favouritism, and he didn’t disappoint the punters.  A strong and cagey ride with an aggressive sprint finish saw him take the chocolates from Brett Dedman, yet another Bacchus Marsh new recruit with promise and strong legs.

The biggest B grade criterium field in club history (13) assembled on the line, so many riders in fact that the hard of hearing needed to be up the front to hear Bill’s race brief, and those that chose a soft start at the back were still rounding the first corner when Fifi creaked through the second.
Early bursts of enthusiasm saw Brett, Greg Ley and Danny Whelan all take prominent positions at the pointy end of the race, however with a field this big there was always someone to counter and going off the front early would have been an exercise in futility.
Rick “Suds” Calvert raced keenly, determined to keep things together he countered any attempt to move off the front. But by mid race it was evident there were probably two fields in this one race as Jason Haire, Matt Ritchie, Rob Parker, John Creek successively yo-yo’ed then let go off the back.
Lurking mid-pack, unseen by all, were the mysterious three, Bob Morley, Peter Canny and Steve Kennedy, never sighted on the front, never closing down an attack and all riding well.  Old hands at this racing game they deduced early that this would be a field sprint and they hid away and were waiting, waiting (well actually Steve was just praying, praying to hang on).

The pace of the race stepped up at mid race, Brett, Danny, Greg, and Rob stringing the bunch out on numerous occasions, but it all stayed together.
The final lap saw an inevitable slowing and drawing of breath – who would light the blue touch paper?
Rob and Brett lead it out just before the last corner with Rick and Peter C on their wheel, Bob sitting pretty, ready to pounce from 5th wheel, but OH NO!! calamity…
Muncher Corner claimed another victim – well, actually the same victim!  One would reckon, if one had ridden through a corner 30 times during a race, one would know how to ride through it on the 31st!
Not so our daredevil Bob Spongebob Morley, who sped into the corner at a good clip, found the riders in front had closed out the road, leaving him on the gravel, he hit a pothole, with no time to react he went headfirst over the handlebars into the dirt, his bike spinning in the air behind him.
*He regained consciousness, put his hat back on and, with concussion and a broken rib, got back on his bike and finished the race – we wish the tough old bugger a speedy recovery.

Oblivious to the carnage behind Rob held a huge dominant sprint to the line to claim his first crit victory in living memory, Brett on his shoulder for second in a great first up showing.  Peter Canny showed true grit to get over a dazzling Rick Calvert for third.

Results:
1st – Rob Phillips
2nd – Brett Dedman
3rd – Peter Canny

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C Grade

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A solid and well matched field of 6 starters contested the C grade crit, including new rider Michael Lynch and the return of Madame Sue Parker – legend of the Alps.
Graeme Colonel Parker was so impressed to see Sue on the start line that he decided to race under his wife’s name (well actually we couldn’t find his name tag for the board so we used Elaine’s).

The first few laps were convivial, with laughter and plenty of smiles, but when Stay Away Ray Hodgson and the evergreen Barry Robinson decided to get down to business the tempo went up and Lynchie went out the back.
Roger McMillan, fresh off a strong first up appearance the week before, again demonstrated that it won’t be long before he progresses to higher grades with a dominant performance.
It was the Colonel “Elaine” Parker’s first race of the season and he raced handily, but used the opportunity to blow the cobwebs out and tune up for the bigger races ahead.

As with the other two grades, the evenly matched combatants were cautious about do-or-die attacks, preferring to test each other out but leave a bit in the tank for a counter attack.
So it continued, the stronger sprinters seeing an inevitable sprint finish looming and the lesser sprinters trying to keep the pace up to take something out of the sprinters legs.

Round the home turn and Roger opened up the can of whoop ass, his back wheel squealing with delight as he revved up to full attack speed.  The rest of the field reacted as quickly as they could however the damage was done, the gap was opened and Roger held to the line for his first victory with EVCC.  Barry in pursuit held off a storming Ray for second.

Results:
1st – Roger McMillan
2nd – Barry Robinson
3rd – Ray Hodgson

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