Joe Friel - What’s Better for You: High Volume or High Intensity Training?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Joe Friel - What’s Better for You: High Volume or High Intensity Training?

    I find it interesting with the Training Bible thumpers out there, insisting it is "The Way" that Friel himself says in an article dated 12/30/2014 "Determining how to train is often a matter of trial and error".

    And this he derived from a study done in 1999. (The Mountain Biker's Training Bible Publication Date: 2000)

    Joe Friel

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    You looking for an "amen"?

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    ...

    (deleted once I re-read OP's post)
    I just wanna ride...

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I find it interesting with the Training Bible thumpers out there, insisting it is "The Way" that Friel himself says in an article dated 12/30/2014 "Determining how to train is often a matter of trial and error".

    And this he derived from a study done in 1999. (The Mountain Biker's Training Bible Publication Date: 2000)

    Joe Friel
    But, nowhere in MTB Bible does it say "You must do THIS to succeed!!". Instead, he offers a holistic framework in to which you can weave whichever flavour of workouts suits YOU and fits best with your interpretation of modern training research.
    To suggest that Friel would undermine his own publications through a blog is an insult to the man himself.
    I admire your dedication to the cause but really, go back and read MTB bible again- you might be surprised how un-perscriptive it actually is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I find it interesting with the Training Bible thumpers out there, insisting it is "The Way" that Friel himself says in an article dated 12/30/2014 "Determining how to train is often a matter of trial and error".

    And this he derived from a study done in 1999. (The Mountain Biker's Training Bible Publication Date: 2000)

    Joe Friel
    Also- your quote above^ is severely out of context. It reads more than a little differently when read with the subsequent paragraph.
    "Determining how to train is often a matter of trial and error. If you aren’t responding well to your workout program, it may be that you need more total training volume or more high-intensity efforts. Of course, there could be other issues, such as making your easy days too hard, inconsistent training, significant psychological stress in your life, poor nutrition, inadequate recovery, and so on. But if you can eliminate such training detractors as these, then the biggest remaining variable is the periodization of your volume and intensity. The only way to find out for sure is to try something different from what you’ve done in previous years and see what happens."

    Much of this^ would actually be solved by following a Mtb bible based plan

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    Did somebody say something about thumpers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    Did somebody say something about thumpers?
    Your bait looked good so I took a bite

    I promise I'll ignore all of your anti-Bible trolling in future

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosshair View Post
    Your bait looked good so I took a bite

    I promise I'll ignore all of your anti-Bible trolling in future
    Peace.

    As soon as you say Friel/TB 99% of serious cyclist connect that with lots of LSD (Z2) for a base.

    I am not anti-TB, Its just not a fit for me and probably a lot of riders out there who cant or not willing to put in 10-12 hr plus Z2 weeks. If you are in a climate that you can do it in and you are willing more power to you.

    I just found it interesting that he was blogging it. How many people suscribe to his Blog, let alone read the whole article. I was just passing it on for peeps to examine.

    One thing is true "There is more than one way to skin a cat"

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    Hey, it's just a forum right? I'm sure we'd have a great time over a pint in the pub

    I've just reached Base 2 of my Friel plan, so five weeks in. The next three weeks will be the same consisting of:

    Mon Recovery
    Tue Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Wed Tempo (Z3)
    Thu Z2
    Fri Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Sat Tempo (Z3)
    Sun Force Workout 1 (Hilly Endurance)

    So actually, after just 1 month, there's already lots of variety, plenty of intensity and very little z2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosshair View Post
    Hey, it's just a forum right? I'm sure we'd have a great time over a pint in the pub

    I've just reached Base 2 of my Friel plan, so five weeks in. The next three weeks will be the same consisting of:

    Mon Recovery
    Tue Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Wed Tempo (Z3)
    Thu Z2
    Fri Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Sat Tempo (Z3)
    Sun Force Workout 1 (Hilly Endurance)

    So actually, after just 1 month, there's already lots of variety, plenty of intensity and very little z2.
    I see what you are saying. But as a trainer we both now says, "The closer you get to your race, the more your training should have race like intensity"

    This looks great for base, but IMO...maybe IF you were racing every Weekend to get your intensity and your hilly endurance day was your hard/aenorobic endurance day midweek.

    Like I mentioned on your other post
    Again, I am not disrespecting your choice, but if it was my first race of the season, I would allready have (8 weeks prior to race) 4-5weeks of VO2 max intervals in, than 3 weeks prior of race - race paced mtb rides and/or aenorobic hill repeats-and I made gains going into each season.

    Let alone prior to that, pushing up FTP with L4 intervals

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    Z5 and z2 works to push up FTP just fine. As does z3 and 4 and maybe a bit of 6 and 1. Hmmm that would be...all of them really. In correct doses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    I see what you are saying. But as a trainer we both now says, "The closer you get to your race, the more your training should have race like intensity"

    This looks great for base, but IMO...maybe IF you were racing every Weekend to get your intensity and your hilly endurance day was your hard/aenorobic endurance day midweek.

    Like I mentioned on your other post
    Again, I am not disrespecting your choice, but if it was my first race of the season, I would allready have (8 weeks prior to race) 4-5weeks of VO2 max intervals in, than 3 weeks prior of race - race paced mtb rides and/or aenorobic hill repeats-and I made gains going into each season.

    Let alone prior to that, pushing up FTP with L4 intervals
    As I mentioned originally, the weeks were limited in the build up to my first A race (22nd March) so I figured it would be best to start from the beginning and make a good stab at getting an aerobic base in place.
    The trouble with your tweaking towards higher intensity, is that the training load would become too great. I'm swapping many of my long Sunday z2 weekend rides with an endurance race series. The problem then arises that you suddenly need more recovery/the quality of the following weeks workouts are diminished.
    I think the art to getting Friels bibles to work is allocating (and then sticking to) the correct volume of hours to the weekly workouts and this is where there is huge scope for tailoring his basic format to suit you personally. Of course that's going to require several years of learning.

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    How do u know the training load would be to great?

    The art...hmm

    Several years of learning. Ok.

    I had to look @ the top of this page to see who/what the original post was.

    I wish I knew eveeything....

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    How do u know the training load would be to great?

    The art...
    Well, I don't KNOW for sure- that's where the art comes in. I did however carefully schedule my hours based on a careful review of how many hours I've done in the past when I used to 'just ride' (z3/4 mostly with hindsight), how many I thought my life could allow and also by aligning the 'biggest day' hours allocation with 2x my target race distance.

    I think it's extremely unlikely I, (with your links to assist me) could come up with a better holistic, periodised plan myself by mixing and matching random workouts- than the bible can- that's why I want to at least let the plan run its course up to the 22nd March.

    I don't think you can have your cake and eat it- that's why TCC says that it's high intensity plans should be used sparingly with plenty of rest in between.

    Can you answer one question for me?
    Other than MTB Bible, which single source can provide a simple to follow, holistic, complete plan for an entire years MTB racing that a beginner can follow?

    The only answer I can think of is a coach??? (And I can't afford that )

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    Well, I don't KNOW for sure- that's where the art comes in."
    So by your own admittance, you could be holding back your performance

    "I've done in the past when I used to 'just ride' (z3/4 mostly with hindsight), how many I thought my life could allow and also by aligning the 'biggest day' hours allocation with 2x my target race distance."
    That sounds like it was a pretty good plan to me. Now that you changed it, that explains why in 2013= 80/315 and 2014= 116/330.

    You should go into coaching yourself. You seem to know everything.

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    Lol! You are a funny guy

    The last climb took me 12 minutes in 2013, I did it in 9 this year. I haven't suggested I 'know' anything.

    Can you please answer my question above^ ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosshair View Post
    Lol! You are a funny guy

    The last climb took me 12 minutes in 2013, I did it in 9 this year. I haven't suggested I 'know' anything.

    Can you please answer my question above^ ??
    "Lol! You are a funny guy "
    I really think what you were doing last year with your Z3/4 work was better. Fancy periodization does not mean automatically better.
    Train like you race. Push your FTP up. Could you admit you made a mistake with your training this year - which in your words "require several years of learning".
    IMO you are just making this training periodization stuff WAY to complicated

    "The last climb took me 12 minutes in 2013, I did it in 9 this year."
    You are right and I am wrong. The last climb proves it. ALL your competitors evidently stepped up. It has nothing to do with you changing your training.

    "I haven't suggested I 'know' anything."
    Again, I have mispoken. But then again, no one else is right either...
    "I think it's extremely unlikely I, (with your links to assist me) could come up with a better..." Crosshair

    "Can you please answer my question above^ ??"
    Hunter Allens Cutting Edge Cycling for one - Publication Date: March 29, 2012
    But I am sure you will find fault in it

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    Even Hunter Allen recognises the power of the bible


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    Thanks for bringing the HIT in the offseason to our attention. It goes along with OP

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    The question posed is nonsensical. Neither is "better", both correctly used will allow longer term gains.

    Fact of the matter is most of us don't have the hours to play with to truly implement proper periodisation. Most of the time it's a subtle shift of focus. And most of us can't even nail the basics of training to start worrying about structured periodisationz

    Dan John once said: "Have you had breakfast? If not don't bother talking to me about training." If you're not getting 8 hrs of sleep a night, training consistently (13 out of 14 days) and eating properly then trying to structure 12 months of detailed programming is just a joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TapewormWW View Post
    The question posed is nonsensical. Neither is "better", both correctly used will allow longer term gains.

    Fact of the matter is most of us don't have the hours to play with to truly implement proper periodisation. Most of the time it's a subtle shift of focus. And most of us can't even nail the basics of training to start worrying about structured periodisationz

    Dan John once said: "Have you had breakfast? If not don't bother talking to me about training." If you're not getting 8 hrs of sleep a night, training consistently (13 out of 14 days) and eating properly then trying to structure 12 months of detailed programming is just a joke.
    ^This.

    When I was running high schoola and college track, there was a popular book amongst my crowd. Fiction, named, "Once a Runner." Some people won't like it, but I truly believe that you can get to a very high level by doing the following:

    "What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials.”

    If you ride a lot, and some of that riding includes hard efforts, you will get faster. And, the average person has far more free time than they think they do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosshair View Post
    Hey, it's just a forum right? I'm sure we'd have a great time over a pint in the pub

    I've just reached Base 2 of my Friel plan, so five weeks in. The next three weeks will be the same consisting of:

    Mon Recovery
    Tue Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Wed Tempo (Z3)
    Thu Z2
    Fri Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Sat Tempo (Z3)
    Sun Force Workout 1 (Hilly Endurance)

    So actually, after just 1 month, there's already lots of variety, plenty of intensity and very little z2.
    Im also in Base2, just finished week 1. I was curious how many Base Periods you are doing, how many weeks they are each and also how you are adding in Taper Periods.

    Personally I am doing 3 Base periods for a total of 12 weeks, and every 4th week is a taper.

    Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nowlan View Post
    Im also in Base2, just finished week 1. I was curious how many Base Periods you are doing, how many weeks they are each and also how you are adding in Taper Periods.

    Personally I am doing 3 Base periods for a total of 12 weeks, and every 4th week is a taper.

    Chris.
    Hey Chris
    Just trying to stay on OP topic

    Maybe try here http://forums.mtbr.com/xc-racing-tra...on-934860.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosshair View Post
    Hey, it's just a forum right? I'm sure we'd have a great time over a pint in the pub

    I've just reached Base 2 of my Friel plan, so five weeks in. The next three weeks will be the same consisting of:

    Mon Recovery
    Tue Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Wed Tempo (Z3)
    Thu Z2
    Fri Speed drills/pedal drills/bike handling skills
    Sat Tempo (Z3)
    Sun Force Workout 1 (Hilly Endurance)

    So actually, after just 1 month, there's already lots of variety, plenty of intensity and very little z2.
    At this point in your periodization plan, how long are your Z2 sessions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nowlan View Post
    At this point in your periodization plan, how long are your Z2 sessions?
    1.5hrs out of an 11hr week.

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    Ran into this study the other day, in regards to volume intensity ratio:

    Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training

    Executive summary:
    "The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice model for development of endurance performance. "

    So this is what gives best performance for non-time-crunched cyclist. Pretty much a 80/20 split.

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    ^ that's the study I linked in another thread I think.

    The work of Stephen Seiler in this field is very interesting however it does not mean this is the only mode of work distribution that can yield results...but it most definitely should not be ignored either.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing for me is its broad application to pretty much any endurance sport you care to name!

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    I am still not sure how to take the 80/20 rule for a 10h (recreational) program - article attends to it slightly in "Intensity for Recreational Athletes" section, but I am not sure of the "sessions" approach.

    If I am to transpose the 80/20 to a 5 sessions per week frequency, it means one session weekly for intensity.
    If I am to transpose it to time, I can "easily" fit intensity in 2 sessions per week.

    I know this is far from cast in stone, but still, for a 10h week, it is quite a difference.

    In practice - If I look at a week I have a race on Sunday, the 80/20 rule on sessions will take out all intensity during the week. This even might be sane, as it is replacing e.g. my Wednesday intensity ride, but still, it is a shift in the way I perceive training.

  29. #29
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    There are many ways to skin a cat but there probably is a best way to skin a cat.

    Intensity is no substitute for volume. To reach peak performance you have to put in the hours, there is no way around that. You also need to include intensity at some point.

    This year I am in the fortunate position of having unlimited training time and an environment where I can put the hours in. I have already punched out a couple of 20hr weeks. The only intensity I have done is the FTP test I did yesterday, which was a personal best.

    Unfortunately few are in the position that I am in. But it doesn't change the fact that during your base period you should be trying to maximize your hours on the bike or on skis.

    Putting in the hours during the winter is hard. It is much easier to do some sweet spot intervals and call it good. But doing "hard" workouts is what separates people.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Joe Friel - What’s Better for You: High Volume or High Intensity Training?

    Quote Originally Posted by Goran_injo View Post
    I am still not sure how to take the 80/20 rule for a 10h (recreational) program - article attends to it slightly in "Intensity for Recreational Athletes" section, but I am not sure of the "sessions" approach.

    If I am to transpose the 80/20 to a 5 sessions per week frequency, it means one session weekly for intensity.
    If I am to transpose it to time, I can "easily" fit intensity in 2 sessions per week.

    I know this is far from cast in stone, but still, for a 10h week, it is quite a difference.

    In practice - If I look at a week I have a race on Sunday, the 80/20 rule on sessions will take out all intensity during the week. This even might be sane, as it is replacing e.g. my Wednesday intensity ride, but still, it is a shift in the way I perceive training.
    It's total time, not training session.

    Even doing 2 days of 2x20min intervals per week, that's 80min out of 600, if you're riding 10hrs. That's 13%.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    It's total time, not training session.
    I'd like to believe that, but the article states:

    The 80:20 Rule for Intensity
    ... About 80 % of training sessions are performed completely or predominantly at intensities under the first ventilatory turn point, or a blood-lactate concentration £2mM. The remaining ~20 % of sessions are distributed between training at or near the traditional lactate threshold (Zone 2), and training at intensities in the 90-100 %VO2max range, generally as interval training (Zone 3). An elite athlete training 10-12 times per week is therefore likely to dedicate 1-3 sessions weekly to training at intensities at or above the maximum lactate steady state.
    So, it seems at most I have 1/5 at intensity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    There are many ways to skin a cat but there probably is a best way to skin a cat.

    Intensity is no substitute for volume. To reach peak performance you have to put in the hours, there is no way around that. You also need to include intensity at some point.

    This year I am in the fortunate position of having unlimited training time and an environment where I can put the hours in. I have already punched out a couple of 20hr weeks. The only intensity I have done is the FTP test I did yesterday, which was a personal best
    I finally figured out what LMN stands for: LuckyMaN!
    Hope you keep us updated on how your "having the time and means to train like a pro" goes.
    Enjoy it!

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    I call Joe "the Waffler" every blog post of his contradicts the last one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goran_injo View Post
    I'd like to believe that, but the article states:


    So, it seems at most I have 1/5 at intensity.


    With all these things you have to read between the lines a bit to make it work for your own particular circumstances. Bear in mind that article isn't just about cycling. In other sports you may do far more training sessions per week (10-12 say) with each one focused on a particular aspect. All the examples listed in that article are based on overall time (look at the one for Spanish cyclists in particular).

    I usually only ride 5 to 7 times per week (usually just one ride per day, very very few double days training). With lower frequency of sessions it makes a lot more sense to look at overall time to get a clearer picture of what you're doing. When I do higher intensity work it tends to be combined into a longer ride so each individual ride (eg: 2 hours endurance pace and then intervals during the third hour) isn't a single type of effort and can't always be pigeon holed into a particular category.

    If you look at last week for example (05 January 2015 to 11 January 2015) sessions would roughly be:

    4 endurance rides (66.67%)
    2 higher intensity rides (33.33%) (1 interval day and one Sunday club ride)
    6 rides in total

    But then if you look at my total hours for last week (05 January 2015 to 11 January 2015), broken down into the same three zones as the article, it gives a clearer picture:

    Zone 1: 11.93 hours (62.62%)
    Zone 2: 4.90 hours (25.73%)
    Zone 3: 2.22 hours (11.65%)
    Total: 19.05 hours

    I actually racked up a bit more Zone 2 than I normally would last week as I did the Sunday club ride which was "spirited".

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    I would say Joe Friel provides a good basis to create your own training plan based on your own objectives and the style of riding. I race enduro and used the base training to get me set before doing more mix and matching of intensive intervals. Based the time off of his suggest levels but tapered a more. I pulled from other racers i know and it worked extremely extremely well, have real result to back it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TapewormWW View Post
    Dan John once said: "Have you had breakfast? If not don't bother talking to me about training." If you're not getting 8 hrs of sleep a night, training consistently (13 out of 14 days) and eating properly then trying to structure 12 months of detailed programming is just a joke.
    I find this a little bit over the top. For most of us "consistency" needs to allow for jobs, getting injured, travel, family and a few other things that life throws at us. My suggestion to those who aspire to racing is to dedicate a season to the two extremes in training: HIT and the 80:20 approach. You will probably find what works better and then adjust that approach to your lifestyle.

    I went through years of HIT with 3-6 hours of training per week. But all of it was into my 40s, so past my prime. As I switched to the 80:20 approach with much longer hours (as much as 14-16 hours through base training) I managed to improve. Small improvements, but relatively decent considering this happened in my 50s. I will be 54 this year and there are no more improvements now. It is all about minimizing loses.

    But if there is anything I learned, is to accept the genetic limitations I inherited. Some are able to improve with little more than just riding a lot. Others need a ton of structure to eek the smallest improvements. I fall into the latter category. It comes as no surprise after experiencing the same limitations in track and field and bodybuilding. It is what it is.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SS
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    ^^^
    +1

  38. #38
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    I'd have to guess that for most normal(ish) folks, training has to be evaluated on a monthly rather than weekly basis. As I look forward to my first year of training in a while where no one will be added to my family, and my wife won't be pregnant, I'm trying to figure out how frequently I'll be able to do a big ride.

    From past experience, I've found that a weekly 4 hour ride isn't really necessary, but one every couple of weeks really stokes the fire, and that intensity can be used as a substitute when the hours aren't available. I personally find intensity easier and more rewarding than volume, but have to do both to do either.

    I don't claim my "program" as a perfect solution, but training is way down on my priority list as a married professional with 3 small children.

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    Last Post: 04-05-2011, 02:23 PM

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