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Hardrock report--long

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  • Todd Salzer
    Hi all, Still on a high from the Hardrock experience... Having run only a single 100 mile race and 6 other ultras, I was apprehensive in sending in an
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 21, 2001
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      Hi all,
      Still on a high from the Hardrock experience...

      Having run only a single 100 mile race and 6 other ultras, I was
      apprehensive in sending in an application to run the Hardrock 100. My
      upbringing taught me not to back down from a challenge, and HR was the
      biggest challenge I could find, so despite pleas from my wife, last
      November 1 the application was dropped in the mail. The repercussions
      from this decision were not to be felt until Friday the Thirteenth of
      July, 2001.
      My wife Carly and I drove down to Silverton from our home in Golden
      on Monday to check out some of the course and to camp on high. My
      friend Toby had found a nice spot just shy of treeline and so we spent a

      few days acclimating and relaxing, with a little hiking and biking
      thrown in.
      On Thursday we transferred accommodations to Silverton proper (the
      Avon Hotel) and were met by my parents who drove from Sunriver, Oregon
      for the occasion. After the various meetings and preparations, I could
      only rest and have confidence that I was ready to roll. (I ran the two
      hardest 50 milers I could find in preparation for this race, plus
      several weekends spent training in the Colorado mountains.) After a
      night of fitful dreams and little in the way of sleep, I was up and
      ready.
      The congregation of runners and crews in the Silverton High School
      began in earnest at 5:30 or so. I was surprised to see an old friend,
      Jay Pozner (2nd place 1999 LT100), and my aunt and uncle who had driven
      up from Durango. As the starting time neared, the task at hand became
      more ominous. Too late to worry, the countdown has started. I bid
      Carly farewell, she bids me good luck, and makes me promise I won't
      die. I promise. My mom has tears in her eyes. 10, 9, 8....2, 1, and
      we are off.
      The first 2 miles are rolling up and down. Just trying to get
      comfortable, enjoying the scenery and the sights and sounds of the
      runners around me. Not too fast, keep it in control. The day is
      dawning gorgeous. Mostly overcast, comfortable temperature, perfect.
      Cross the highway at ~2 miles, there's the family again. It's great to
      see them out here, cheering me and all the other runners on.
      Immediately make the first stream crossing, Mineral Creek. The water is

      low, only knee deep, but very cold. Then the first climb begins, gently

      at first, steeper as it goes along. I mix running and hiking, keeping
      my breathing and heart rate in check. Spend time talking with Jim
      Butera, Marc Witkes, Lisa Richardson and others whose names fail me but
      whose faces (or legs or shorts or packs) I remember vividly.
      Following too closely, not paying attention, where are the markers?
      Backtrack. Won't make that mistake again! Lesson learned without too
      much lost. Climb up to Putnam Ridge, 12000'+, descend a half mile, then

      another short climb up above 12000' again, Cataract-Porcupine Saddle.
      Incredibly beautiful, I stop to take a picture now and again. I need to
      show my friends and family why I do this and what they are missing.
      Downhill now, take it easy, don't blow your quads. Back into the
      trees, rolling trail mostly downhill, very runnable. Another stream
      crossing, Mineral Creek again. First aid station, Kamm Traverse, mile
      11.5. Take a mental inventory. Eating good, drinking good. staying
      hydrated and good energy levels. Refill and go on my way. Climbing
      again, this time towards Grant-Swamp Pass. Gentle at first, then it
      steepens. This seems to be the rule of thumb in the San Juan
      Mountains. There goes treeline again, then switchbacks, then straight
      up a scree slope. I look down at the aptly named Island Lake. What a
      nice place for a picnic. Not today. Crest the pass, 12920', and here
      is the Joel Zucker Memorial. I toss a unique pink and white rock on the

      pile and say a few words to myself. I get choked up as I read the
      plaque.
      Where do we go? Down that? OK. I jump off the small ledge and
      combine skiing, sliding and floating as the entire slope seems to come
      down with me. Turn and watch others do the same. What a ball. I sure
      would like to do that again. I think I'll wait till next year rather
      than climbing up there right now. I start a long rocky descent, spend
      some time with Murray from Salt Lake. We roll into the Chapman Gulch AS

      where Carly, my dad and my uncle are waiting. 18 miles done. I eat
      some fig newtons and a turkey sandwich (the first of TEN that I will
      consume during the race) and change into Leona Divides. They'll be the

      shoes of choice the rest of the way. Bug spray, sunscreen, a handful of

      Pringles and I'm on my way.
      I soon discover that I won't be running for a while. 3000' climb in

      2.6 miles. Switchbacks (if you can call them that) carry us straight
      uphill. No relief from the climb, just constantly moving forward,
      onward and upward. The weather is getting worse. Thunder and lightning

      in the distance, I can barely see Grant-Swamp behind. After well over
      an hour of climbing, Oscar's Pass, 13140', has been conquered. I
      thought of stomping on Oscar the Grouch. "You gotta do better than that

      to beat me," I told no one in particular, other than maybe Oscar
      himself. I commence a fairly difficult traverse across snow to the
      Wasatch Saddle, then another beautiful high basin. I need to temper my
      enthusiasm for the camera or I will be out of film by the halfway
      point. In the next six miles we lose over 4000' of elevation, bottoming

      out in Telluride at 8750'. In my opinion, this descent is the most
      scenic part of the course. Waterfalls, cliffs, lakes abound. Fast and
      runnable, it's heaven for a trail runner.
      Finally To-Hell-U-Ride. I feel like I am at a family reunion. My
      cousin (a Telluride resident), parents, aunt and uncle, wife, and a
      couple friends are all there to cater to my needs. Works all right for
      me. Would love to stay and chat, but gotta get back after it. Hit the
      trail again with turkey sandwich in hand. Soon Scott Mason catches up
      to me. We've been playing cat and mouse for over a year, starting with
      2000 Squaw Peak 50, to Zane Grey this year, Squaw Peak again, and every
      5 or so miles so far in HR. Chat away the miles for a while before he
      dusts me on the climb to Mendota Saddle. I start to struggle as the
      weather turns sour. Starts to rain. I put on what I thought was a
      waterproof jacket, but its only water resistant. Soon I am shivering
      and having difficulty breathing. A fog bank roles in. I can't decide
      if it is for better or worse that I can't see the top of the pass. I
      wrote RFM on my left hand prior to the race in black magic marker, a
      saying I learned from Buzz Burrell; Relentless Forward Motion. I looked

      at it a lot on this climb. (I also wrote YTM on my right hand, for You
      The Man, but that didn't get much play on this climb.)
      Finally the top. Smallest aid station I have ever seen. Two
      chairs, a stove, maybe 50 square feet, but a view to die for. (If you
      aren't careful on the way out, the view could hold true.) The crew here

      is hardy. Thank you all for being there. Has to be a tough job, with
      temps in the 30's?? and the wind constantly blowing through the crack.
      No time to linger with such little space and runners coming up behind
      me.
      First pitch down is a bear. No glissade; not enough snow. Instead
      there is a rope laying in the snow to prevent us from going out of
      control. Should've carried gloves, as the rope is freezing. Soon my
      hands are as well. Once through the snow, I stop to empty my shoes but
      can't get them untied as my fingers won't work. I manage to slip them
      off, dump them out and then squeeze them back on. Before too long I am
      at the Governor Basin AS and am able to get warm. More turkey, some
      soup, hot chocolate, and I am off down the road to Ouray. One passing
      car stops to ask me about the race. What they couldn't comprehend I am
      not sure. Was it the fact I was running 100 miles, or was it that it
      may take 48 hours? Maybe both. I am still unsure if they understood
      what I was saying (I may have been speaking gibberish).
      I pass the last few miles into Ouray with Murray. As we are coming
      in, Scott is on his way out. He must've flown down the road. Once
      again my crew takes care of all my needs; they had even gone into town
      and bought me a Chai tea. Ahhh, that was great. My first caffeine in
      almost three weeks. Boy did I miss my java. With 14000+ feet of
      climbing complete, I secretly wish that this race was billed as running
      from sea level to the top of Mt. Rainier and back, rather than the true
      billing of to Mt. Everest and back. The thought passes quickly. I
      re-duct tape my toes. My feet are like prunes. I am changing socks at
      every Aid, but there is so much water on the course that they are soaked

      again within a mile after each change. No difference after Ouray. This

      is also where I pick up my first pacer, a friend from high school, Marc
      Kirsch. He is a novice at ultras, this being the second he has
      witnessed. He has never ran more than 15 miles.
      Off we go, just before sunset. We may have an hour till dark. We
      cross the Uncompahgre River after a mile, both of us thankfully just
      tall enough to avoid getting the cojones wet. We cruise by the cheering

      throngs (a few hardy souls) and proceed uphill again. Many switchbacks
      later, and we are skirting a gorge on a small ledge. At points it is
      several hundred feet down to the creek. Apparently the trail was once a

      mining road, but I am leery of getting anywhere near the edge. In a few

      places the trail narrows and I can't help but think of the promise I
      made to Carly. I watch my footing carefully.
      We wind along, and it is now getting dark. Marc is good company,
      and we pass the time reminiscing and telling stories. As I finally reach

      to get out my flashlight, I hear a ruckus and glance behind me. Marc is

      gone. "Sh*t, he's dead," I think. Wait, there he is. He had slipped
      off the trail at the exact point that the water had leveled with the
      trail, i.e. no more cliffs. He climbs up, out of the water, and is
      soaked. Better than a quarter mile before, where he would've been
      toast. Gotta keep moving now, get to the Engineer Aid Station where we
      can change clothes and get warm. My heart is really beating now, and
      the adrenaline is pumping for both of us (what a scare), so we make it
      there in good time.
      While refueling, we are passed by three runners who stop briefly for

      aid and are then gone. I tend to linger a little bit in the station,
      trying to fuel as much as possible to avoid bonking. The extra time is
      well spent, as we pass all three back within a mile. The last bit up to

      Engineer Pass is a struggle. There is a blinking red light placed at
      the top to guide you in the right direction, but it doesn't seem to be
      getting any closer. RFM, and we top out on a dirt road. We made it.
      Now a long downhill road into Grouse Gulch and almost 60 miles will be
      complete.
      This stretch seems interminable. My ass is starting to chafe. I
      had forgotten underwear in Ouray, so when I changed out of my shorts and

      into tights at Engineer, that was all I had on. The seam has started to

      seriously irritate. I am forced to walk much of this section, when the
      only thing hurting is my butt. What a bummer. None too soon, we arrive

      at GG. It's half past midnight.
      The aid station looks like a MASH unit. Walking wounded
      everywhere. I am getting bad vibes, so tell Marc to find our crew car.
      "Oh sh*t, they're here already," Toby and Carly cry out. They weren't
      expecting us for another hour. I see Scott Mason again. He had picked
      up Stephanie Ehret as a pacer. I figure I won't see him till the finish

      line now. "Where's Paul South (my next pacer)?" I ask Carly. He hasn't

      shown yet. I am prepared to go it alone, no problem, but Marc offers to

      go with me. Man has never gone 15 miles, but wants to go through the
      night, to the top of a fourteener no less, and get some 30 miles. What
      a stud. If you want it, you got it.
      I still have the problem with my rear. I try a Baby Wipe, wow, no
      wonder kids cry a lot. Diaper Rash ointment? I give it a shot, and get

      some relief. Bundle up, get new batteries, some more caffeine, and
      we're off. "Handies Peak, here we come!" I yell as we leave the lights
      and warmth of Grouse Gulch behind and head out into the cold and
      darkness.
      The first part of the climb is not so bad. We pass Scott and Steph
      soon on the side of the trail. Scott is having a bad spell. I insist
      that he can make it. Just get to Sherman and go from there. He doesn't

      look good and I don't plan on seeing him again. We keep going up and
      get over the first ridge before descending again. In the distance are
      lights ascending the peak. They look a long ways away. We bottom out
      and then begin the climb proper. Up, up, up we go. No end in sight,
      except that the stars stop somewhere in a shadow. That is where we are
      headed. We can see the lights of the cars on Cinnamon Pass headed
      toward Sherman Aid Station. They also look a great distance away. This

      climb is never going to end.
      At just after 4AM, we crest the final pitch and make the summit. I
      sign the register and we snap a photo. (Not that there is anything to
      see. It's too bad as a friend of mine said the view off Handies is his
      favorite fourteener. I'm not sticking around to find out.) I pull my
      tights down to try to dry my rear. Right behind us are a couple of
      lights making great time, so I yank them up and down we go. I start to
      unravel as soon as the day starts to break. Once I turn off my light, I

      jump over what I swear is a Persian cat lying in the trail. Then I duck

      to avoid red birds flying toward my face. Not too worry, they get
      caught in a giant golden cobweb. Very interesting. Where's the road?
      I know that once we hit that we still have 5 miles to go to the aid
      station. Finally we make it to the road, but I am in no mood to run.
      Right behind us are Stephanie and Scott. Seems they were the ones
      cruising up the peak. He had gotten up off the mat and made it over
      Handies. Marc and I kept moving down the road, waiting for them to pass

      us. I am having trouble walking in a straight line, and with a gorge
      (another one!) to the right of the road, Marc keeps yelling at me to
      stay on the left of the road. I would, but then the dachsund might bite

      me (there is no dachsund) or I will run into the mailbox (no mailboxes
      on this road). Crazy stuff, sleep deprivation.
      As we near Sherman, Stephanie catches us. Scott has had enough and
      given her his wristband. She almost helped him to Sherman. Since I
      don't know where Paul is, and Marc certainly is going no farther, I ask
      if she'd pace me to the finish. Lo and behold, I didn't need her help,
      as Paul had made it to Sherman. Seems there had been a mudslide on I-70

      and his 7 hour drive turned into a 11 hour drive. I am just thankful he

      made it. My crew also agrees to give Stephanie a ride into Silverton,
      so her day is done.
      I eat some food here (it has been ~15 miles and 6 hours since we
      left GG) and sit in the creek for a minute. Refreshing. Then I crawl
      in a sleeping bag and instruct Toby to wake me in 10 minutes. When I
      get up I am a new man. Paul gives me some Neosporin for my butt, which
      is the best remedy yet. After walking the last 20 miles, I am ready to
      run.
      Another climb, but this one is the most gradual that I can
      remember. Paul is a great pacer. We talk about Leadville (my
      prediction: he will win it this year, and set a record in so doing) and

      the time and miles fly by. I feel like I just started the race, not
      that I am at mile 75. It is a great feeling. We pass by a couple
      runners, moving quickly through a series of high altitude meadows. Not
      a ton of wildflowers, but the scenery is spectacular enough to keep the
      mind occupied. We reach Pole Creek aid station and I am ready to get a
      move on.
      Off we go up the next climb, the ninth of eleven. Slow down a bit
      going up, but shortly we crest the hill and descend steeply into Maggie
      Gulch. Surprise. My wife and father had done the 3 mile hike just to
      see us through. Great support. Paul and I refuel and get on after it.
      We can see 2 runners high on the hill ahead of us, and the competitive
      spirit kicks in. This climb is a doozy. There are paths switchbacking
      up the hillside, but the course is marked to go straight up. It must be

      a 50-55 degree slope in spots. I am struggling a bit, but still
      gaining. At the top, another fantastic view. We pass an old mine on
      the way down, and then Charlie Thorn, who is no longer able to run
      downhill, then the other runner. We cruise into Cunningham Aid, even
      running up the last mile of uphill road.
      We stop here only briefly. I am ready to get to the finish, and
      still may have a chance at 36 hours, which was my fantasy goal. This
      climb I had done on Wednesday in 1:40, so I figure it'll take about 2
      hours this time. As we climb up and up, the weather turns sour. First
      a little rain, then a little hail. It looks very menacing up higher.
      Then the lightining starts. There is no place to hide, not that I am
      considering that, I just want to get this over with. I tell Paul to get

      over the top and wait in safety on the other side. I keep my hood on
      and follow from one marker to the next, as I don't want to look up to
      see how close the lightning is. I get a good idea when the flash of
      light is simultaneous with the crash of thunder. In this high cirque,
      the echo is tremendous and continues unabated until the next crash. I
      did not run 96 miles to get struck by lightning and not finish, but then

      again if I get struck and still finish, what a great story...
      After what seems like an eternity of passing mining relics
      (lightning rods), I crest the top of the pass and the sun is shining. I

      look at my watch. 1:27 since we left Cunningham (13 minutes faster than

      training). Wow, the lightining really freaked me into cruising. I meet

      up with Paul and am freezing. That climb took a lot out of me, and now
      am having a tough time moving fast. We begin slowly down the long
      downhill to town, and as I warm we move faster. I was not expecting to
      be able to run after 97 miles, but here I am at what seems like a gallop

      (probably not, but that's what it seems like.) Finally we can see
      town. Should be there any minute, but after 10 minutes it is still the
      same distance away. 10 more, and still no closer. Finally, as I get
      closer to bonking (cruising through the last AS may not have been the
      best idea), we begin the final short descent into Silverton. Only 5
      blocks to the finish. Cruise through town, and when we make the final
      turn and see all my friends and family waiting for me I am close to
      tears. I kick it in the last 100 yards, and kiss that damn rock. I
      made it. RFM paid off. YTM.
      My time was 36 hours, 36 minutes, 33 seconds (shouldn't have kicked
      quite so hard), good enough for 22nd place and a Masters of Mileage
      degree. I also got an award for youngest finisher at age 27. What a
      beautiful race. The scenery is fantastic; all the valleys are unique
      and the vistas are all hardearned rewards.
      Many thanks go out to all the volunteers who donate their time and
      effortto make this run possible. Specific thanks to RD Dale Garland,
      who always seemed to have a smile on his face in spite of what must be a

      stressful 48 hours, Charlie Thorn for doing a fantastic job marking the
      course, John Cappis for designing the course, and to my crew and pacers,

      Carly, Toby, Mom, Dad, Uncle Bob and Aunt Billie, Brody, Marc, Paul,
      Nate and Brandy. Thank you all very much. And congratulations to all
      those who toed the line, finishers or not, thanks for your camaraderie
      and support.

      Todd Salzer

      P.S. I'll be back next year for my Doctorate of Distance.
    • Jim Garcia
      Congrats to all, Haven t seen the SI article yet, but I hear it is well done. I m curious though. How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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        Congrats to all,
        Haven't seen the SI article yet, but I hear it is well done.

        I'm curious though.

        How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on their:
        Race Entry
        Airfare
        Lodging
        Food
        Car rental

        How much vacation time?
        How many days at altitude?



        jim
        garcia@...
      • LaForme
        Uh, oh, Jim, Is it possible that you re starting to nibble at the hook ? Ginny LaForme Espanola,NM rlaforme@la-tierra.com ... From: Jim Garcia
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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          Uh, oh, Jim,

          Is it possible that you're starting to nibble at the hook ?

          Ginny LaForme
          Espanola,NM
          rlaforme@...
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Jim Garcia" <garcia@...>
          To: <hr100@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001 10:02 AM
          Subject: RE: [hr100] Hardrock report--long


          > Congrats to all,
          > Haven't seen the SI article yet, but I hear it is well done.
          >
          > I'm curious though.
          >
          > How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on their:
          > Race Entry
          > Airfare
          > Lodging
          > Food
          > Car rental
          >
          > How much vacation time?
          > How many days at altitude?
          >
          >
          >
          > jim
          > garcia@...
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: hr100@...
          >
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: hr100-unsubscribe@...
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
        • Laura Turvey & Todd Burgess
          Jim, You asked: ... No hardrocker is average. We re all above average. Todd
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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            Jim,
            You asked:
            How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on their:
            >Race Entry
            >Airfare
            >Lodging
            >Food
            >Car rental
            >
            >How much vacation time?
            >How many days at altitude?

            No hardrocker is average. We're all above average.
            Todd
          • Steve Pero
            Couldn t tell ya ....don t care because it was all worth it, whatever it was. I ll be spending all of that again next year. Steve Pero ultrastevep@yahoo.com
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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              Couldn't tell ya'....don't care because it was all worth it, whatever
              it was. I'll be spending all of that again next year.

              Steve Pero
              ultrastevep@...

              --- In hr100@y..., "Jim Garcia" <garcia@l...> wrote:
              > Congrats to all,
              > Haven't seen the SI article yet, but I hear it is well done.
              >
              > I'm curious though.
              >
              > How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on their:
              > Race Entry
              > Airfare
              > Lodging
              > Food
              > Car rental
              >
              > How much vacation time?
              > How many days at altitude?
              >
              >
              >
              > jim
              > garcia@l...
            • Charles T. Thorn
              Jim, I conduct a voluntary questionnaire that asks those questions and more every year after Hardrock. The average total cost per participant has been about
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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                Jim,

                I conduct a voluntary questionnaire that asks those questions and more
                every year after Hardrock. The average total cost per participant has been
                about $1500. The questionnaire will go out with the results package and I
                encourage everyone to respond. After the results are in for 2001, I'll
                post them to this list, categorized as you requested.

                Charlie Thorn
                Los Alamos, NM

                >Congrats to all,
                >Haven't seen the SI article yet, but I hear it is well done.
                >
                >I'm curious though.
                >
                >How much time and money did the average hardrocker spend on their:
                >Race Entry
                >Airfare
                >Lodging
                >Food
                >Car rental
                >
                >How much vacation time?
                >How many days at altitude?
                >
                >
                >
                >jim
                >garcia@...
                >
                >To Post a message, send it to: hr100@...
                >
                >To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: hr100-unsubscribe@...
                >
                >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              • Blake P. Wood
                Todd - Nice report! Mind if I put it on the Hardrock web page? - Blake
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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                  Todd - Nice report! Mind if I put it on the Hardrock web page? - Blake
                • Matt Mahoney
                  ... Race entry was $160 (I bet it will go up). Airfare from FL is about $400. Car rental is $150/wk. Food is $5/day for groceries + $10/day for eating out
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 23, 2001
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                    > How much time and money did the average hardrocker
                    > spend on their:

                    Race entry was $160 (I bet it will go up). Airfare
                    from FL is about $400. Car rental is $150/wk. Food
                    is $5/day for groceries + $10/day for eating out when
                    I get tired of sandwiches. Lodging at South Mineral
                    in a tent is free but I did pay $15/night at the
                    Leadville Hostel when I trained there for a while.

                    I teach at a university so I get summers off, and I
                    spent 17 days at altitude before Hardrock. I think 2
                    weeks is the minimum for a good race (i.e. finishing).
                    Some people can get away without acclimating, but
                    most can't. I think 2 weeks sleeping at 10,000 ft.
                    and climbing to 14,000 every day can take at least 6
                    hours off your time, which for a lot of people makes
                    the difference between finishing and not finishing.

                    I also ran the Sawyer Mt. 27 mile trail race in NM on
                    July 1 and the Leadville marathon on July 7. I also
                    climbed 7 14ers. This was a lot of money to spend,
                    but I think it was worth it, not just for Hardrock but
                    for the whole trip. I will be spending about as much
                    again for Nolan's 14 on a trip Aug. 3-20.


                    =====
                    -- Matt Mahoney, matmahoney@...

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