The Rides

by / / 2006 posts

The Ride. It is the cathedral of our sport, where we worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer. It is the end to our means. Indeed, The Bike may be the central tool to our sport, but to turn the pedals is to experience the sensation of freedom, of flight. It is all for The Ride.

The world is overflowing with small, twisty roads that capture our collective imagination as cyclists. We spend our lifetimes searching out the best routes and rides; we pore over maps, we share with our fellow disciples, we talk to non-cycling locals all in pursuit of the Perfect Ride.

The Rides is devoted entirely to the best routes and rides around the world. Some are races or cyclosportives, others feature in the Classics and stages of The Great Races, while others still are little-known gems, discovered through careful meditation on The V. Be warned: these rides are not your average Sunday Afternoon spin; these rides are the best and most difficult rides in the word – they represent the rites of passage into La Vie Velominatus. It is to be taken for granted that these rides require loads of Rule #5, many of them Rule #10, and all of them are best enjoyed in Rule #9 conditions. They have been shared by you, the community. The Rides also features articles devoted to the greatest rides and providess a forum for sharing other rides for discussion.

If you’d like to submit a ride or an article about your own favorite ride, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

Haleakala

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 56km / Location: Paia, Maui, Hawaii, USA

haleakala

Haleakala is simultaneously the longest paved continuous climb in the world as well as the shortest ascent from sea level to 10,000 feet in the world. Though not terribly steep, this is a long, grinding climb that will reduce a strong rider to a whimpering lump.

To put the effort in perspective, this climb is 60km long a an average of 6% with two pitches as steep as 17%. That translates to somewhere between 3 or more hours of nonstop climbing, usually in Maui’s direct heat and often into a whipping headwind that spins around into a headwind no matter which direction the switchbacks take you.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 265 / Location: Liege, Belgium

lbl

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only La Doyenne, the oldest of the Classics, but also represents perhaps the most demanding course in cycling. The 280 km, 3000m vertical route starts with an easy ride out from Liege to Bastogne which lulls riders into a false sense of security; the hills are frequent, but none of them terribly demanding. Into Bastogne, and the story changes on the way back to Liege with 9 categorized climbs in the second half, including the fearsome Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/

Paris-Roubaix

Category: Hardman / Distance: 265 / Location: Compiégne, France

paris-roubaix

L’enfur du Nord. The Hell of The North. The Queen of the Classics. This isn’t a ride over the stones from your local brick-paved roads. You think climbs are what make a ride tough? We’ve got news for you: this is the hardest ride on the planet and it boasts a maximum elevation of 55 meters. These are vicious, brutal stones; the kind that will stretch each kilometer to their full length, the kind of stones that you will feel long after the rattling of the bars has stopped. These stones will change you. Forever.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/

Guide: Pavé Cycling Classics

Mortirolo/Gavia Loop

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 115km / Location: Bormio, Italy / Contributor: Joe

The Mortirolo is perhaps the most feared pass in Western Europe, and the Gavia the most storied. Given their proximity to each other, its a wonder why this isn’t the most talked-about ride in Italy. Maybe it is; its impossible to say without being Italian. The loop nature of this ride makes it feasible as a solo escapade, but any ride with the kind of stats this one bears – 3200 meters ascended in 115 kilometers including the viscously steep Mortirolo – is best enjoyed with a riding partner or support car.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/

200 on 100

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 330km / Location: Vernon, VT / Contributor: cdelinks

“Dumptruck of Awesome” has become the catch-phrase associated with this brutally hard, yet strikingly beautiful 330 kilometer (200 mile) ride down Vermont Route 100.  This ride was made popular during the summer of 2011 when Ted King, Tim Johnson, and a local amateur cyclist, Ryan Kelly, documented this ride on film. The ride starts on the Canadian border and finishes on the Massachusetts border.  With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 kilometer ride, you will need to pack a few lunches to get through this one.  Do this ride in the Fall, and the foliage might be beautiful enough to distract you from the horrible pain you will most certainly suffer.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 76km / Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

A ride that officially “never happens” each spring, this 76 km route charts a course through Portland’s West Hills, paying homage to the European Spring Classics. Approximately 1,800 meters of paved and unpaved climbs are spread throughout the course, with several sections reaching grades of over 20%. More information can be found at Ronde PDX.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210

Seattle Master Urban Ride

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 130km / Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

seattleronde

This is perhaps the most challenging urban route in Seattle, hitting three of the big hills that define Seattle’s topography. The route starts and ends on Phinney Ridge, but hits the climbs of Interlaken and Alder Street/Lake Dell Drive on its way to Mercer Island, before coming back to hit Queen Anne and Magnolia, weaving its way up each of these hills as many times as possible via the steepest route available before the finale to the north via Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge Drive, and Carkeek Park. Panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, The Olympic Penninsula and Puget Sound makes this a standout Urban ride.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282

  1. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    So it’s effectively the lowest number where the distance ridden is equal to the number of times you’ve done it, more or less?

    I suspect mine is going to be very low as I haven’t actually been riding long enough to amass a large number of rides.

    Well it will be the highest number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it.  In fact it’s probably the number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it as there will only be a single intersection on a graph.  I think.

    Think mine is around 27/28. I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    I knew it wouldn’t be impressive, but I’ve only had a road bike since November.

  2. @RobSandy

    . I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    Smartphone isn’t necessary to use Strava – just a bike computer which produces .fit files to upload. (There may be other compatible formats too, I’m not sure)

    Regardless of one’s views on the use of bike computers during rides, Strava is a handy way to keep track of your miles and routes.

    As for your E number at least you have the prospect of being able to increase it easily.

  3. @ChrisO

    Yeah, I know, but I also have a very basic bike computer (distance/speed…and that’s it) so no, I can’t upload anything.

    At some point I’ll join the modern age and get on Strava so I can compete with my mates and frustrate myself trying to move up the charts on meaningless segments, but for now I’ll stick with my extremely complex excel spreadsheet.

    Just worked out I need 12 more rides of 30 miles or more to get up to 30.

    It’s not really a measure of current activity though, is it? I mean, once I’ve done those 12 rides then I would never go down from 30, only up. Feels like it should be over the last calendar year, or something.

  4. @RobSandy

    It can be whatever you like but when you get to the higher mileages a permanent E factor seems a good idea.  For instance 80 80plus rides in a season or year is pretty dedicated mileage.  OK I guess for the pros and semi pros but for the rest of us would be a tall order.

  5. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    . I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    Smartphone isn’t necessary to use Strava – just a bike computer which produces .fit files to upload. (There may be other compatible formats too, I’m not sure)

    Regardless of one’s views on the use of bike computers during rides, Strava is a handy way to keep track of your miles and routes.

    As for your E number at least you have the prospect of being able to increase it easily.

    Smartphone apps for Sträva are rubbish, their metres gained are so out of whack.

  6. In case you have not seen elsewhere Martyn Ashton back on a bike…………

  7. @Teocalli

    Sheer bliss. The joy on his face was wonderful. Met both the Martins back in the days when I raced cross country mountainbikes. Lovely chaps. Great to see, and thanks for sharing.

  8. Trail riding with Chilli – my two year old Vizsla.  He can fly!

  9. Great ride up the Furka and Grimsel Passes on Saturday..Perfect weather too.

  10. @GalleySlave

    Stunning pic.   Love those spokes with that rig.

  11. @Teocalli

    Thanks…I always wondered if they were a bit much.

    (I bought them for another bike)

  12. That was on the Albula Pass.I reckon that’s the most beautiful climb in the Swiss Alps.

  13. @GalleySlave

    Thanks! Climbs added to my Bucket List!

  14. @sthilzy

    @GalleySlave

    Thanks! Climbs added to my Bucket List!

    I need to get me to the mountains in the summer, to date I have been a winter mountain man.

  15. @GalleySlave

    Lush.

  16. @GalleySlave

    Sweet baby Merckx!

  17. L’Etape is coming down under, this velominatus is registered.

    http://cyclingtips.com.au/2015/07/letape-comes-to-australia/

  18. Hi guys,

    Is there anyone on this fine forum that resides in/near Hunters Creek in Orlando, Florida?

    I’m visiting my in-laws there in mid to end of September and I’ve been trying to find out if there is a local cycling club or chain gang that I could tag along with….or just individuals would be fine.

    I’d also need to hire a decent road bike – so any advice afforded to this would be most appreciated. Kind regards, Paul

  19. A little competition. These 5 rides rode a 100 km route yesterday in England. Nothing to compare with some of the rides on here, but it was hilly by UK standards (a few 2-3 km ramps up to 20%) with our typical summer weather – wet and windy.

    1. How many Rules can you see broken
    2. Which are the couple
    3. Who got KQ/OM on Strava
    4. Who excels on the track
    5. Who does iron man/women things
    6. Who was fucked at the end, but managed to come in with two others

  20. @markb

    1. I make it about 9 rules broken. It’s not possible to verify quite a few. I refuse to believe there isn’t at lease 1 EPMS lurking back there…

    2. I reckon the couple are the two in the middle.

    3. Assuming you are just asking for the KOM or QOM, not both…I’ll go…Nr 89.

    4. Trackie is Nr 141.

    5. Ironman/woman…could be any. Could be more than 1. Lass in green and/or Nr 244.

    6. 23. Although I have noted that he has a Carter USM cycling jersey (it’s not a Tour KOM replica), which I’m impressed by.

  21. @markb

    Well I was thrown at the start “These 5 riders……..” unless someone has been spiking my Tea in the office today, I seem to see 6.

    On the basis of the first part being a spoof on the counting I also deduct a spoof in the couples question.  89 and 141 could be construed as leaning in towards each other………….

  22. @Teocalli

    On the basis of the first part being a spoof on the counting I also deduct a spoof in the couples question.  89 and 141 could be construed as leaning in towards each other………….

    In that case it’s a proper trick question. If 89 and 141 are together, 88 (having booked her slot at the same time as 89) is either in on the deal or having it away with 89 behind 141’s back.

  23. @chris

    Why let the truth get in the way of a good story – though your interpretation vastly improves on the thread.  That and that they both ride Giant while not in any way being definitive does also lend to some collusion / persuasion in choice.

  24. @RobSandy


    6. 23. Although I have noted that he has a Carter USM cycling jersey (it’s not a Tour KOM replica), which I’m impressed by.

    Right there. Who knew that was A Thing?

  25. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy


    6. 23. Although I have noted that he has a Carter USM cycling jersey (it’s not a Tour KOM replica), which I’m impressed by.

    Right there. Who knew that was A Thing?

    Well I didn’t. Here’s all the info you’d ever need.

    http://road.cc/content/news/137225-carter-unstoppable-sex-machine-release-cycle-jersey-milltag

  26. Oh yeah.

  27. Rode the last 10 mile TT of the series last night, waiting for the official time but I made it about 23:40 (my last 10 miles was in 25:23).

    I’ve had a lot of advice here about position and equipment, so thanks. I think through a bit of trial and error I’ve got my bike set up as well as it can be.

    Felt like I was flying last night, but also that I could have gone faster!

  28. @RobSandy

    That’s a massive improvement. From everything I’ve learnt on the internet (Road Bike Review forums in particular) I’d say that it’s highly suspicious and most likely impossible. Have you been training and preparing with Froome?

    Seriously, strong work. There’s got to be a fitness improvement there as well as getting the bike dialed in?

    I’ve only managed the one TT this year, a short 27, I’ve either been too busy at work or chaperoning my 12 yo round the course. I’d like to think there’s a bit to come off that time if I was doing them more regularly. I’d be less likely to blow it all on the first hill.

  29. @chris

    @RobSandy

    That’s a massive improvement. From everything I’ve learnt on the internet (Road Bike Review forums in particular) I’d say that it’s highly suspicious and most likely impossible. Have you been training and preparing with Froome?

    Hah! That made me laugh. As an improvement percentage wise it’s probably enough to get me hauled in front of the UCI.

    I can put it down to:

    1. Hard work. I’ve trained a lot over the past few weeks on top of a good base endurance from the summer’s riding.

    2. Quick tyres (as discussed with Tessar on this site)

    3. Sorting out my saddle height so my knees were no longer a problem (which also improved my overall bike position)

    4. Fast course, no wind.

    5. Rules #5 and #10

    @chris

    I’d be less likely to blow it all on the first hill.

    Hills? I wouldn’t be riding any TT courses that had hills!

  30. @RobSandy

    Hills? I wouldn’t be riding any TT courses that had hills!

    Cripes where are you riding over there then, the Millenium Coast Park or the Cardiff Bay Barrage?

  31. @RobSandy

    @chris

    Hills? I wouldn’t be riding any TT courses that had hills!

    I live in Cambridgeshire, which even the Dutch (apart from @frank) agree is the flattest place on earth. So, naturally, we have a hill on our TT course.

  32. @Teocalli

    @chris

    Oh there are ups and downs, but I wouldn’t class them as ‘hills’. Not enough of a gradient to make you have to slow down significantly.

  33. @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Hills? I wouldn’t be riding any TT courses that had hills!

    I live in Cambridgeshire, which even the Dutch (apart from @frank) agree is the flattest place on earth. So, naturally, we have a hill on our TT course.

    I do remember passing Pidley Mountain Rescue somewhere in Cambridgeshire during my recent Essex to Newcastle Upon Tyne mini tour…

  34. @VeloJello

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Hills? I wouldn’t be riding any TT courses that had hills!

    I live in Cambridgeshire, which even the Dutch (apart from @frank) agree is the flattest place on earth. So, naturally, we have a hill on our TT course.

    I do remember passing Pidley Mountain Rescue somewhere in Cambridgeshire during my recent Essex to Newcastle Upon Tyne mini tour…

    That’s very close to me. I’m not sure how busy they are though.

    Pidley, being in the mountainous part of Cambridgeshire is my favourite spot for hill reps – apart from it not quite being steep enough that it gets used as apart of a circuit ridden at full gas.

  35. This is my Velomini riding singletrack on his balance bike. Check out the t-shirt, too.

  36. @RobSandy

    Cool on both fronts, as it were.

  37. So, I know this is a bit unusual for the Velominati, but would anyone consider Khardung La a classic climb. It’s regarded highly in India. 2000+m of ascent over about 42km, starting at an altitude of about 3500m and topping out at 5800m. More than incline, the altitude is a stone killer.

    Any views? I’d love to know what the Velominati think about it…

  38. @RobSandy

    Rode the last 10 mile TT of the series last night, waiting for the official time but I made it about 23:40 (my last 10 miles was in 25:23).

    I’ve had a lot of advice here about position and equipment, so thanks. I think through a bit of trial and error I’ve got my bike set up as well as it can be.

    Felt like I was flying last night, but also that I could have gone faster!

    Good for you! That’s the beauty and fun of TTs – always something to test yourself against – course, weather, fitness, other riders, personal best. When I lived in Scotland, there was no such thing as a “flat” TT course, they all undulated at the least. And had friggin roundabouts in there too. Then there were the offically designated “hilly TTs”. The Tour of the Shire and the Tour of the Trossachs both had serious climbs in them. Good times indeed . . .

  39. @wiscot

    I can imagine the hilliness! There are a surprising number of flat TT courses down here, up and down the valleys.

    Much as I enjoy climbing I would never be quick enough at it to appreciate a climb on a TT course.

    My official time was 23:43, and I’m as annoyed about those 3 seconds as I am about not getting nearer 23 dead. I have a challenge from a friend to beat 23:06 on that course, which will have to wait for next year now!

  40. @RobSandy

    Nice aero helmet on the velominor too!

  41. @RobSandy

    @wiscot

    I can imagine the hilliness! There are a surprising number of flat TT courses down here, up and down the valleys.

    Much as I enjoy climbing I would never be quick enough at it to appreciate a climb on a TT course.

    My official time was 23:43, and I’m as annoyed about those 3 seconds as I am about not getting nearer 23 dead. I have a challenge from a friend to beat 23:06 on that course, which will have to wait for next year now!

    Tell me about it. My best 50 was 2:00:24. Yup, if I’d gone a half second per mile faster I’d have broken two hours. It was on a flat course up near Stirling but in and out of the wind. I think it was the first 50 I did on my full-on Cougar TT rig. I could barely walk afterwards.

    One night you’ll fly to a sub 23. If I can offer advice (from bitter experience) don’t race too often. I used to do 40-50 TTs a year (open and club events) and definitely got to the point where the legs were ok, but the head was away somewhere. A big part of the TT game is mental.

    BTW. Anyone from Wisconsin doing the Heck of the North this year?

  42. @wiscot

    Not long ago I’d have said there is no way I could sustain 40km/hr plus for 25 minutes, let alone 2 hours. But now I see how it can be done. There’s a good bit of ignoring all the warning signs coming from your body (like pain) to be done, but it’s possible.

    The local TT series is 7 races over the summer, doing most or all of them is my goal for next year. I don’t have the free time to race all the time.

    I rode my first crit last night, however, and I can see myself doing a lot more of them. I placed 5th out of 10, and could have done better had I not gone on  doomed solo attack 6 laps from the end (I was expecting the race to go on longer).

  43. So it was what we Brits might call “a tad damp” at the weekend.  Being that 50% of the monthly average rainfall came down in one day.  So went out with a couple of mates for an 80 Km Charity ride.  Got back home…..

    VMW – <queue sarcasm> So did you enjoy that then?

    Me – Actually we did, it was a really good ride.

    VMW – There’s something wrong with you lot.

  44. @Teocalli

    Nice one! And my wife says similar things to me a lot, although somehow she’s also got the bug and hired a Dolan from the club and is badgering me to take her out for rides. I am undecided how I feel about this, although on balance it must be a good thing.

    Also raced my first crit on Friday night in horrendous weather, with my 3 year old watching avidly and bellowing ‘GO FASTER DADDY!’ every time I came down the home straight.

  45. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    Nice one! And my wife says similar things to me a lot, although somehow she’s also got the bug and hired a Dolan from the club and is badgering me to take her out for rides. I am undecided how I feel about this, although on balance it must be a good thing.

    Also raced my first crit on Friday night in horrendous weather, with my 3 year old watching avidly and bellowing ‘GO FASTER DADDY!’ every time I came down the home straight.

    Nice one!

  46. @Teocalli

    So it was what we Brits might call “a tad damp” at the weekend.  Being that 50% of the monthly average rainfall came down in one day.  So went out with a couple of mates for an 80 Km Charity ride.  Got back home…..

    VMW – <queue sarcasm> So did you enjoy that then?

    Me – Actually we did, it was a really good ride.

    VMW – There’s something wrong with you lot.

    This was yesterday mornings commute… wetter than Neptunes flannel!

    *EDIT – How the hell do I rotate this?!*

  47. @RobSandy

    @wiscot

    Not long ago I’d have said there is no way I could sustain 40km/hr plus for 25 minutes, let alone 2 hours. But now I see how it can be done. There’s a good bit of ignoring all the warning signs coming from your body (like pain) to be done, but it’s possible.

    The local TT series is 7 races over the summer, doing most or all of them is my goal for next year. I don’t have the free time to race all the time.

    I rode my first crit last night, however, and I can see myself doing a lot more of them. I placed 5th out of 10, and could have done better had I not gone on  doomed solo attack 6 laps from the end (I was expecting the race to go on longer).

    I think I rode one, maybe two crits in my time. Too crazy for me and I didn’t relish getting taken out by some young kamikaze. Much preferred the solitary suffering of a good TT. Seven isn’t a lot even if you did them all. It takes practice to learn how to focus and how to judge your effort to perfection so that there’s nothing left at the end.

    Are they all on the same course? That’s important as repeated rides will let you learn gearing and cadence.How big is the field? Never underestimate the value of having someone to chase. Try a few open events too.

    My old club (Johnstone Wheelers) had lots of club TTs and at the end of the season had awards for their 10 and 25 mile championships (basically the fastest time in a club-only event over those distances), plus a short (10 and 25) mile championship and a middle distance championship (25 and 50) miles. I think there was a long distance one for 50, 100 and 12 hour races but I was never crazy enough to TT a century let alone a 12 hour.

  48. @VeloJello

    @Teocalli

    So it was what we Brits might call “a tad damp” at the weekend.  Being that 50% of the monthly average rainfall came down in one day.  So went out with a couple of mates for an 80 Km Charity ride.  Got back home…..

    VMW – <queue sarcasm> So did you enjoy that then?

    Me – Actually we did, it was a really good ride.

    VMW – There’s something wrong with you lot.

    This was yesterday mornings commute… wetter than Neptunes flannel!

    *EDIT – How the hell do I rotate this?!*

    That would be @The Engine’s weather.  Horizontal.

  49. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @wiscot

    Not long ago I’d have said there is no way I could sustain 40km/hr plus for 25 minutes, let alone 2 hours. But now I see how it can be done. There’s a good bit of ignoring all the warning signs coming from your body (like pain) to be done, but it’s possible.

    The local TT series is 7 races over the summer, doing most or all of them is my goal for next year. I don’t have the free time to race all the time.

    I rode my first crit last night, however, and I can see myself doing a lot more of them. I placed 5th out of 10, and could have done better had I not gone on  doomed solo attack 6 laps from the end (I was expecting the race to go on longer).

    I think I rode one, maybe two crits in my time. Too crazy for me and I didn’t relish getting taken out by some young kamikaze. Much preferred the solitary suffering of a good TT. Seven isn’t a lot even if you did them all. It takes practice to learn how to focus and how to judge your effort to perfection so that there’s nothing left at the end.

    Are they all on the same course? That’s important as repeated rides will let you learn gearing and cadence.How big is the field? Never underestimate the value of having someone to chase. Try a few open events too.

    My old club (Johnstone Wheelers) had lots of club TTs and at the end of the season had awards for their 10 and 25 mile championships (basically the fastest time in a club-only event over those distances), plus a short (10 and 25) mile championship and a middle distance championship (25 and 50) miles. I think there was a long distance one for 50, 100 and 12 hour races but I was never crazy enough to TT a century let alone a 12 hour.

    I like both, I think. I do like the solitary suffering, pacing and sensation of speed of a TT, but I do enjoy the shoulder-to-shoulder competition of a proper race. The two main locations for crits round her are the outdoor velodrome and a car racetrack, so they are quite wide and open and the bends aren’t too technical. My experience last night suggests that while my ability to maintain a consistent level of effort is not bad for a relative newby, I need to work on being able to accelerate aggressively out of corners to stay with the pack. I was shocked by some of the accelerations made by the group – got dropped on one of the corners on the 2nd lap and then spent most of the race riding on my own. Until I got lapped.

    The TT series is probably on 4 or 5 courses. So there will be ample opportunity to learn the courses. I actually found Google street view a lot of use pre-race to check out the junctions, hills, bends etc. I think the field is typically about 40, mixture of men/women, vets/seniors/juniors. It’s the vets who are the fastest!

    I feel like I’ve heard of Johnstone Wheelers…do they have any famous alumni? Apart from wiscot of the Velominati, of course.

  50. So the 100 mile Competition Record was smashed to pieces this weekend: Over 30mph for 100 miles – insane. Impeccable execution and steady power the whole way.

    @RobSandy this might interest you. A writeup by the rider here. Looks like a chainring is no longer worthy of being called a “big ring” if it’s less than 65t!

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