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How To Prevent Punctures | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

How To Prevent Punctures | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

(urban instrumental) – Welcome along to this
week’s Ask GCN Anything. Together, Si and I will be answering a lot of questions you’ve been
sending in over the last week. And don’t forget, if you’ve
got questions yourself that you would like to ask us, leave them in the comments
section below this video or on social media, using
the hashtag #TorqueBack – Yeah, some of the very best questions actually deserve far
longer than we can give it in Ask GCN Anything,
so keep sending them in because actually, they
sometimes give us ideas for future videos. – Yeah, they do. Well, let’s crack on
with the first question. It comes in from Bob Mallet. He says,”Should I proactively
change my inner tubes, “or wait until I have a problem? “They were changed when I
last replaced my tyres.” – Well, to the best of our knowledge, there is no reason why
you would need to change an inner tube before you punctured it, I think. Although the rubber
would eventually perish, actually I don’t think it
would happen that quickly, and from personal experience, I’m actually using a pair of
inner tubes on my town bike, my pub bike that are, I would estimate, 35 years old. – You aren’t even 35 years old. How do you know they’re 35 years old? – The inner tubes older than me. The bike was my granddaddy-in-law’s bike and the inner tubes are the
same ones that he bought in the first place and get this, right. I did get a puncture. And I was so mortified at the idea that I would have to replace
a 35-year old inner tube. I actually fixed it with
a patch and some glue. And it’s still going. – Thirty-five year old inner tubes that are in better condition than you by the sound of it. (chuckles) Well, I think Bob should
count himself lucky that he’s being so lucky really, unlike this next person. – Yeah that’s true. – Morgan O’Kennedy, he wrote in to say #talkback “I’m sick and tired of punctures. ” What is the best gear or tips ” to never, never, ever get
another puncture again?” Well, unfortunately, it’s
very difficult to prevent punctures completely. I think probably the only way to do that is to have some solid tyres. I’ve never ridden some. (cross talk) But from what we’ve heard, they don’t ride particularly
well compared to conventional tyres and inner tubes. I tried a few tricks when
I was riding full time. The first being some tyre liners, little rubber inserts that
go between the inner tube and the tyre. They worked fantastically well. Didn’t get a puncture for
the entire British winter which is quite something. I also tried using tubular ties, quite narrow ones, 21 or 19 millimetres, inside some larger clincher wheels. – Really? – Yeah and that worked
really well as well. Both of those gonna add weight, and rolling weight, as well. – I bet it made your
bike feel like rubbish. – Yeah, so you’re gonna have
more rolling resistance. They are going to be slower, but if you don’t want punctures, that’s not a bad idea. – That is a good chat. We’ve got some more tips actually in this video that is
currently playing behind us. So give that a watch
and, at the end of it, hopefully you will be
as puncture resistant as you possibly can. Although possibly the
best tip is to actually… Pink t-shirt, I know. It was a risky day, that one. But yeah, the best thing to do is to actually be really
good at changing inner tubes because then, if you do get punctures, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t lift your arms up. Don’t lift your arms up. Often, you’ll find sharp edges and they’ll rub up
against where the tube is. So make sure it’s completely
smooth and if in doubt, just get a file and
just take the edges off. Smooth. Okay, next up we’ve got a question from Sam Fuller. He’s asked, how should he train
for his first cycling race of 23 miles on a pancake flat course. – We’ll it does slightly depend on the nature of the course, I guess. If it’s 23 miles but done on a circuit on multiple laps with lots of corners, it’s gonna be more like a criterium and in that instance, you’re going to need to be capable of doing
multiple accelerations per lap. So you need to be good at sprinting. However, if it’s on a fairly
straightforward course, with very few corners
and one 23-mile loop, you’re going to want to be a lot better at just maintaining a very
high speed on flat road. – Yeah, there is nothing
like being specific in your training, is there? So if you want to get
faster riding on flat road, then you really should be riding fast on flat roads, I would’ve thought. – Yeah and most of us have
got flat roads near us, unlike the mountains for example, which a lot of people have
to travel a long way to, or even go overseas. Anyway, a few years ago, we did actually do a
video which gives some training suggestions in
terms of actual sessions, to get better on flat roads and it’s coming up for you right now. – Dan, what does stochastic mean? – Just like up and down variable spiking. – Okay, cheers for that. – Fast, flat group riding is best improved by riding fast on the flat, in a group. Yes, we know our stuff here on GCN. Seriously though, riding
an old-fashioned chain gang or a fast bunch ride,
is one of the best ways to improve your ability
to ride at high speed on flat roads. – It’s time for the rapid fire round now. We’ll kick off with this
one from Hugues Bonin. Which @gcntweet presenter
currently has the best power to weight ratio? Well, it doesn’t get much
more rapid than that, it’s a very easy answer. – Trade secret, mate. We can’t– – It’s Si. He’s still a very fit lad. – I’ve managed to keep my hand in. And I do quite like
smashing it to be fair. Alright, next up, we’ve got this one from Chris Deacon who’s asked, or said rather, “I seem to produce
higher FTP test result on “on my road bike than my TT. “What can I do to rectify this?” Well first of all, I suppose you’ve got to say that actually, most riders will have a lower FTP, functional threshold power, on their TT bikes compared
to their road bikes because the positions are not necessarily the most efficient positions. Certainly, probably spend a lot of time on their time trail bikes
to try and get used to it, but also, I don’t know about you Dan, but I remember a time a few years back, when actually, people started
doing more wind tunnel testing and you saw pro positions
come up a little bit, so they could generate more power and actually trade it off a little bit. So maybe have a rethink
about your position. Can you put your handlebars
a little bit higher and then recruit your
normal riding muscles a little bit more. – Yeah, so I say it’s a
bit of a trade off really. You might find that your power’s low but you’re still going a lot faster due to the position. And as ever, just spend time
training in that position. You should see the
descrepanSi between the two start to come down slowly. BlubbelyGum, what a great name. “Where do you guys fill
up water on a ride? “Cafes, pubs, houses, etc?” – You stop in pubs a lot, don’t you mate? – Yeah, they do some
cracking water selections in pubs, I find. I have once actually
stopped at somebody’s house because I couldn’t find anywhere else. I was that desperate for some water. I said please, can you
just fill my bottle up with some tap water. Another suggestion that
I got many years ago from a pro called Russ Downing when I was in France, was graveyards, because
they’ve got water taps for people to water the flowers. Just make sure it’s drinkable water. – That’s a pro tip and a half, that one. Alright this next one from Al Francis, why do road bike rear wheels have more spokes than the front wheels. Well, the simple answer is they do different jobs. Although, front wheel
just is all about steering and keeping you upright, the back wheel obviously
has to transfer power, and so because of that, therefore it helps to have more spokes so it can handle that kind of torsion coming off the hub and transferring all your power to the tyre ultimately. – Yeah we need a lot of spokes. Because otherwise when Si and I do our sprints, we
just rip the cassette off through the spokes, you know. Twelve hundred watts right there. Andrew Lord, “Why don’t
you wear cycling gloves?” That’s a question we get
asked quite a lot actually. We do wear cycling gloves in the winter, purely to keep our hands warmer. But we do tend to just
ride with bare hands in the summer. I guess it’s a… I think we’ve been
cycling bikes a long time. Our hands are comfortable on the bars and probably a slight overconfidence that we’re not going to come off and take the skin off
the palms of our hands when we’re out training. – Yeah, I always used to race in gloves. Because then, you never quite know whether someone else is gonna
fall off in front of you and I think I’d probably
be inclined to do that on group rides now, if I
wasn’t sure about the standard. But yeah, touch wood and I don’t… I can’t bring myself to say it. – Yeah, if i head out of a ride with Matt, I tend to put mitts on. (chuckles) Next up, Victor Spindel. “Dedicated Sicling winter
boots vs overshoes. “Which is better?” – Well, I’ve never had the luxury of trying dedicated winter boots. – No me neither. I’ve always wanted to try them though. – I’ve heard very, very good things but overshoes are not bad. My only little pro tip here
is try layering your overshoes to have a thin pad and then a thicker pad or a thicker pad and a
thin pad on top of it. They do slightly different
jobs, so maybe one waterproof, one thermal. – I’d definitely like to try it though, because of course, it’s
hard to put massive insulated socks on underneath your shoes if they’re already quite snug. And you can cut the circulation
off to your feet anyway, which makes things even worse. But I would like to try some. – Or ride off road. How often do you trash over shoes when you get them out and biking? Like, within one ride. So yeah, definitely winter boots. – First question was quite rapid. Since then, we’ve been going on a bit. But we’ve come up to the last one now. Danny Nitro. “Having a debate with my cycling friend. Bib shorts under or over the base layer?” This should be quick. – Yeah, bib shorts have to go over the top of your base layer. One hundred percent. No arguments, no questions. That’s a definitive absolute. – I was just going to say over. Okay, next up we have this question in from Charles on Twitter. “Sometimes, it’s hard to fit in a ride due to travel and weather, etc. Can I substitute running for intervals or a zone one/zone two ride? – Well I’m not up on
the science with this, but I would imagine it’s
got to be better doing a run than doing nothing at all. It’s obviously gonna be
using different muscles or at least the same muscles
in a different fashion. But there are different
benefits to running. I’ve been doing some myself recently. I have found that it has
helped my on-the-bike fitness when I’ve not had time to do much riding. But it also can do things like
increasing your bone density. And actually something
that cyclists do get is a reduced bone density
because there’s no impact of course to cycling. – Yeah, proceed with a
little bit of caution though, when you start running because
if you’re fit on a bike, you’ll probably be far
more capable of running than actually your muscles, so you may find that you
either can’t walk for a week or, in fact, worse than that,
you get a long-term injury. – I’ve had both. – Yeah, build up gradually. One thing, Dan, that I
learned the other day actually was that, not just
running, but also swimming, is potentially really good for cycling and it was a video, that
Matt with Richie Port who lifted the lid on his training secret, which is, as you can see, swimming. Yeah and that is intriguing because of course Rich
is a full-time rider. He still does it. (ambient music) What I’m particularly fascinated, Richie, in relation to exactly
what you do in the pool. Now, I know that you trained
in the pool as well as riding altitude before
last year’s Tour De France. So what sort of sessions were you doing and what time of day were you doing them? How did you weave it in
and around your training? – Yeah, I mean, to be fair, in the season, I use it more as a recovery after an easy ride or whatever. I’ll go to the pool and do a little bit more on the kickboard or something like that. But in the off season, it’s a lot different. I actually go out and do a
good four-kilometer session of swimming. – Next up, we’ve got this question from Pionel Tapinessi who has asked, “Who is GCN can wheelie the longest?” – Well, probably Si, this
should’ve gone in the rapid fire round. Very simple answer. Me. – Yeah, no arguments there. – Now, I’ve put this question in because, although I don’t like to show off, I thought it was a good excuse to show this next video. – It was a good excuse
to show off, you mean. – Yeah it was. I actually taught the Don, Neil Donoghue from GNB, on
how to wheelie a road bike. He picked it up in no time, mainly due to my instructions, I think. That video’s coming up for you right now. Any of you who have watched our sister mountain bike channel GMBN, may have seen the video
where they taught me how to jump, rather
successfully I might add. (uptempo rock music) Well, today the ball is on the other foot. I’m going to attempt
to teach Neil Donoghue, the Don, how to wheelie. That lad doesn’t pay for his tyre. Our final question for this week comes in from Philip Ross. “Do you guys have any tips
on how to pace climbs “that you’ve never ridden before “with a powermeter and without?” – Very good question, there. Well, first of all, the pace you ride at,
depends entirely on the length of the climb. Isn’t it? So paced for a 30-second climb, it’s gonna be very different
to a 30-minute climb. So I guess the first tip
is to do a bit of research and actually look to see what the length and the gradient of the climbs that you might be riding up that day. I’ll say a quick Google
search will tell you or Strava of course. And then from the link and the gradient, you should be able to
get a pretty good idea of how long it’s gonna take you and then if you’ve got a powermeter, if you’ve been running it for some time, you will have a very
good idea about how long you can sustain a certain power for. From that, you get your pace. – On the other hand, if you are doing it on feel, for a 30-second climb like
Si talked about earlier, you can’t pretty much
sprint from the bottom and try to hold on, but once you get over,
around about four minutes, what we always suggest
is that the first 30 to maybe even 50 percent of the climb should feel reasonably comfortable, and that goes up to
one-hour climbs as well. If you’re really struggling in that first quarter of the climb, it’s gonna be a painful, old ride to get to the summit, isn’t it? Once you’ve got past 30,
40, 50 % of the climb, you can have a really
good idea in your head of how much you’ve got left in the tank. And from that point onwards, you can kinda almost feel free to push as hard as you want to the top. – Now, experience of course
does play a factor in this. But as I seemingly proved
in this video behind us, that experience also
doesn’t count for anything if you still ride like an idiot, as I did when we were out in Majorca. So this video actually
shows the difference between pacing and not pacing up a long climb. And yes, it really hurt. (urban instruental) We’re passed halfway onto the steepest bit I’m trying to nudge up the power to about 400. So, it’s gonna start to really hurt. (urban instrumental) – Well that’s it for this
week’s Ask GCN Anything. Make sure you do keep leaving
your questions down below. If you are yet to
subscribe to the channel, you can do so for free
by clicking on the globe and then you can look
at the next two videos. In the bottom left hand
side of your screen, you can see a very skilled cyclist. – Which side’s that mate? – It’s just down over here.
– Oh alright. – Peter Sagan Matt put his skills to the
test a couple of years ago at the Vuelta a España. See how good he really is. – Yeah indeed, or if
you wanna see how to buy a secondhand bike, and make sure you haven’t
got a complete turkey, then click just down there, bottom right.

100 comments on “How To Prevent Punctures | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

  1. GCN, I appreciate all the work you do each week producing great information on cycling. My question is everybody goes on about eating the right amount of protein & carbs to promote recovery and maintain a healthy diet. This is good, but as a keen road cyclists, who doesnt want to spend the time weighing the food I am eating, is there a book or article that you recommend outlining a daily/weekly eating schedule (ie: breakfast / Lunch / Dinner or snacks etc.). I know portions would be different for each person due to size/weight/training schedule, but the main problem I have is buying the right foods for each meal. Maybe each presenter on GCN could list what they eat for each meal over a week period. Also if your diet was different when you were a competitive (professional cyclist it would be good to see the difference to what meals you have now. Food for thought.

  2. From Alan in Lincolnshire
    I have type 2 diabetes, (high blood sugar) I’m in my 60’s and I’m not taking
    any medication. What if any energy bars could I be eating or avoiding on my
    rides? Is there anything else I should be considering while riding?

  3. #tourqeback.
    1: Do teams carry round race leader jersey's with them?
    2: Do track sprinters change bikes between rounds?
    3: Is it better for my bike to leave it in a certain gear when I'm not riding it?

  4. #torqueback Hallo thanks for a great show! I dont have powermeters on my bike, but my Tacx I-flow calculate my power when I ride indoors. Is there any diffrent output of power on my trainer or can I measure my development on my trainer. Using the same route to compere the poweroutput?
    Thanks for all inspiration

  5. #torqueback hi gcn, I love riding my local climb (Trough of Bowland). However, I'm really nervous when descending steep hills, and find that I end up slowing down so much that I'm sure I go up the climb quicker than when I descend!Have you got any suggestions as to how I can descend with more confidence and, importantly, a bit more speed?

  6. #torqueback – I find I can produce a lot more watts for a given time on a hill compared to on the flat. Is this normal? Is it possible to have a different FTP for climbing as for flat?

  7. It may be a heavier option, but a set of tubes with removable valve cores and filled with sealant (Stan's NoTubes et al). I had a set on my cross bike and they lasted two seasons!

  8. Ask GCN: I currently use Assos Chamois Crème when wearing cycling bibs. I've read elsewhere that using chamois crème extends the life of shorts. Do you know this to be true and do you chaps use chamois crème? If so, do you apply directly to the gentleman's part's region or to the chamois itself?

  9. Matt, I'm having a issue, you see, I'm being bullied by several of my riding buddies and even non rider friends. I feel violated and I see how you are treated by your fellow riders and even viewers (talking with your hands). Like yourself I'm the older rider,49, and even though I've only been riding for a 1 1/2 yrs. my bullying is cause I'm colored matched with my bike ( Wilier disc) I'm a faster rider then my group who are younger and should be stronger. I even provide bike maintenance (tools, tubes,pump) but still being bullied. Matt is this a fashion faux pas should I continue my fashion statement or become the hodgepodge of cycle wear?

  10. Winter boots are warmer than overshoes. (To answer that one)
    Tried lots of different overshoes with my s-works road shoes, but none where as warm as dedicated winter boots.

  11. No need for winter shoes if GCN do not use them. But – merino socks, shoes, over socks and then waterproof overshoes. If still cold (big toe?), add aluminium / thermal inner soles, and cling film. If still cold, time for a turbo session

  12. Probably cursing myself here but I haven't punctured since 1999. Continental grand prix, followed by gatorskin now onto gp4000 ii

  13. #TorqueBack ; I'm looking for a new trainer. I already have the tacx vortex smart. Which one should I buy if I want something bit more accurate, without calibration, and less noisy… Tacx neo, cycle ops, kinetik, wahoo?! Something else?.

  14. I always have problems to put cleats on new mtb shoes which I use in cyclocross races. I have the problem especially when I have new shoes from another company. Do you have any tips for that?

  15. Another option for gloves is wear featherweight full fingers like Fox Airlines (moto) Accents (MTB), POC AVIP or similar. I personally find 1/2 fingers gloves to always slide back and the seams digs into soft tissue between my fingers. I don't even remotely notice the full finger until it's 32C or 90 F outside. Above 37C or 100F (like on a Sacramento summer ride) I go without gloves.

  16. #torqueback I have a national race in 11 days, besides tapering training what are some other things I can do to assure I'm in the best form possible?

  17. I wanted to be like Ed Snowden and reach onto the GCN laptop and pull Si`s hoodie strings straight, I missed most of the answers as I couldn`t concentrate as I was distracted by Si`s dangle

  18. Hey guys! I'm from Canada, but training in Spain right now. It would be awesome if you could follow me on strava- I'm trying to build my following and I'll be using it all season this year and uploading all the time!

  19. #torqueback apart from the chain, which other specific points of the bike should be lubricated, how often and with what type of lubricant?

  20. CONTINENTAL GATORSKINS CLINCHERS, I have been using them for about 5 years and NEVER a flat, I have 23 and they ride very smooth, handle great and wear very well, I haven't carried a tube in about 4 years

  21. Hi GCN last weekend I road in a group up our "favourite" climb to a place called Beechmont (6.5 km 311m climb best time 28min). I was unlucky to have my front derailleur seize on the large chain ring. I manage to negotiate the climb and set 30 new PR's on Strava however when I tried to do the climb again after doing some maintenance I could not sustain the same rate riding alone. My question is should I train to climb in a higher gear? I am not a great climber so any advice would help.

  22. Hello gents, I have a training question. Coming in from Singapore for the Brompton World Champs in July. Serious effort needed to get towards the fron tof the pack, but realise some serious players in the field. 16km distance, what would you suggest in terms of training? Train on the Brompton most of the time, or use Road and MTB as well?

  23. My top tip for punctures, get some training tires. I currently use 28mm Gatorskins (6000kms, 1 puncture), rub your tires after you've smashed through some glass (gloves required) and pick out pieces of glass using a knife (using safety glasses) every week or more. I've just had the 1 puncture in the last 4 months. But ultimately, punctures are random and carry no meaning. There is no need to read anything into them. It's a part of cycling 🙂

  24. you've had a video about swimming, a few videos about cycling and now Dan reveals that he's been running. Which GCN presenter would post the fasted triathlon???

  25. Winter boots or Overshoes? Winter boots everytime. I use Northwave Arctics on daily commute all year. Super warm, super dry, easy on /easy off with their closure mechanism. No more Overshoes for me. Too fiddly to get on and off plus your shoes too.

  26. #torqueback #askgcn are zipp wheels better than enve's? And which aero wheels would you recommend for TT/Tri/ and road racing all in one for £1600-2000 for the wheelset cheers

  27. I found running a great addition to riding, but as I started sprinting more learned that my hip flexors were pretty short and stiff, which in turn left me unable to train at all for weeks. So do run but make sure to warm up and stretch properly!

  28. #torqueback I have an Schwinn aluminium 8 speed with carbon forks. This will be my racing bike for the foreseeable future. Does it make sense upgrading parts (crank, bottle cages, handlebars, seat post, saddle) to carbon in an attempt to make the bike a little lighter since i can find good deals on Ebay and I can buy one piece at a time? Thanks in advance.

  29. #torqueback – Advice more than question – other than watch your videos, any tips for someone preparing for their first time in Mallorca and Sa Colobra???

  30. I'm a master's student in Nova Scotia, Canada and I am struggling to find the funds to race this coming season due to an unpaid clinical internship which will last the whole summer and I am in desperate need of a new wheelset. My question is, since nobody seems to be using them, may I have those Reynolds hanging in your set? Keep in mind I already had to sell the wheels in my picture. #Torqueback

  31. #Torqueback I havent Ridden my bike for almost 5 months when i rode my bike for the first time this month i had back pains is it normal?

  32. Hey Guys need a bit off help just got an indoor trainer an TacX Satori Smart it's magnetic. I would like you know what's the correct tension that I should set between the fly wheel and the bike rear wheel as there's no set instruction. Thanks for the help!

  33. Re base layers under bib short. Base layer top: yep; leg and knee warmers: yep; tights: WHOAAAA THERE, I sold my youngest child and the better of my 2 kidneys to afford a pair of Arsos shorts, I want that legendary pink chamois gently carressing my particulars, not the seam of some tights wedging itself into areas that the sun doesn't reach. Madness, bloody madness. Consider yourselves told.

  34. #TorqueBack as Spring is round the corner and it's a good time to get back on the bike and burnt away all the excess calories over the festive period. Is there anything that I should look out in particular for inspecting my bike before I take it out for a ride as it has been parked indoor for couple of months. Cheers guys

  35. QUESTION on Groupsets:
    Why doesn't GCN review SRAM's, Campy's or Shimano's lower level group sets? I would say I see about 75% of other cyclist using Ultegra, 105, Force, Rival, Athena, etc…

  36. Si please square away those hoodie strings. It's upsetting me and many others with your poor string Admin. Kudos on the best power to weight.

  37. My wife has very small hands and she's complaining how hard it is to brake and switch gears on her new Specialized Dolce Compact Road Bike which we just purchased. It's very important I take care of this because it took months to persuade her to try a road bike. She's been riding a mountain bike until now. What can I do to remedy this without spending a lot of money. Help! Keith

  38. #Torqueback I have a slightly bent rim on my road bike that I would like to avoid taking to the shop. The run is bent the slightest bit inwards. What can be some of the affects of a very slightly bent rim?

  39. I have 23mm tires and they are smooth as a babies bottom. (and not even expensive ones) I wasn't prepared with grooved tires for this winter, but took a shot anyway, to my surprise, I was able to ride to work without any problems. Fresh snow is sort of obvious, the wheels just cut trough it, but why am I not slipping on icy roads? Dumb luck? #TORQUBACK

  40. #torqueback I want to travel on my road bike, which happens to have the holes needed to fix the luggage directly on the frame, but I have also found some bike-specific trailers, and I wonder what is the best solution ?

  41. When you are working out your watt/kg do you weigh yourself in your cycling kit with shoes, helmets etc or without? #everylittlehelps

  42. Why do you not champion the use of mirrors on road bikes? In 30+ years of using a mirror on my road bike it has certainly saved my life and injury far more than a helmet. Or is it that they are just not cool enough for your image obsessed show or do you expect other road users to use their mirrors to spot cyclists and not cyclists to spot other road users.

  43. i am going on my first road cycling race (25km in laps whit a lot of corners)what do i need to do for preperations and what do i need to take whit me.

  44. During my daily commute from work I find myself riding in a headwind anywhere from 15 – 35km/h+ for about 1 1/2hrs . I keep an aero position but the gusts still have a huge effect on my momentum. My question is, in strong gusty winds, should I be shifting up and down or pushing through the gust in one gear? At the moment I am constantly shifting up and down every 30 seconds which makes me feel like an amateur and surely cant be good on my bicycle. #torqueback

  45. I have personally found that if you change your outer tyres regularly, I very rarely get a puncture. A decent outer tyre will resist most sharp objects. Continental tyres are particularly good.

  46. How do I get back my confidence in myself and my material after a big crash? I had a rather ugly incident with a car some time ago (was not even my fault) and since then, I see danger around every corner and on every downhill… riding is just not as fun as it used to be 🙁 #torqueback

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