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Is there such a thing as bike flu?

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Is there such a thing as bike flu?

Old 07-11-20, 05:27 PM
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ReneeSavage
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Is there such a thing as bike flu?

Happy Saturday, I‘ve been riding fairly regularly for 8-10 yrs, usually a few small rides while also walking and hiking during the week, 10-12 miles, and a 20-25 every other weekend we’re not paddle boarding. I’m moderately active with your extra 20-25 lbs to lose, do yoga twice a week, busy Mom and wife, etc. I did 25 miles 10 days ago. And few smaller ones this past week. Today I did 40 miles, 830am took my water bottle on the bike, and camelback with ice water. Drank it all, got pretty tired the last 5 or so, but finished, It was 75° when I started and 88° when I got done. I got home, drank a huge glass of electrolytes and then got a headache, the chills, hot flashes, fatigue, and a fever of 99.6. You think I got dehydrated? Overexerted myself? Heatstroke? A combination? It’s been 4 hrs and my face is still hot and I feel miserable, I’m downstairs resting watching a movie. Just curious if you’ve experienced this before!? It was a great ride or so I thought, I usually only get 50 miles in once or twice a year, maybe I pushed myself too far today to soon. Thanks for any tips!
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Old 07-11-20, 05:33 PM
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Just sounds like you outrode your current conditioning. Elevated core temperature would seem to indicate you got mild heatstroke/dehydration. Just keep drinking-- lots.

My wife does not manage heat at all-- she basically won't go out if it's going to be above 85º. She's had mild heatstroke before from rides, where she got the rosy red cheeks and her heartrate didn't drop below 100bpm for several hours after the ride was over. Overheated core.
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Old 07-11-20, 05:40 PM
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Put some electrolytes in your water bottle, don't wait until after the ride. Welcome to BF
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Old 07-11-20, 05:42 PM
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take a cool sit bath, or cold shower. When my temps are over the top after a hard long ride that I either didn't plan out enough hydration or get enough food the day before, I will drink ice cold water with ice & fresh lemons in it. I also don't eat anything heavy for the next 24 hours. Once made the mistake of making & having a chicken breast salad that contained fruits, nuts, other vegetables & it was shortly regurgitated. Should have just left out the nuts, & lessened the fruits. I don't use dressings.
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Old 07-11-20, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Just sounds like you outrode your current conditioning. Elevated core temperature would seem to indicate you got mild heatstroke/dehydration. Just keep drinking-- lots.

My wife does not manage heat at all-- she basically won't go out if it's going to be above 85º. She's had mild heatstroke before from rides, where she got the rosy red cheeks and her heartrate didn't drop below 100bpm for several hours after the ride was over. Overheated core.
omg. Yes! That sounds exactly right. I am a hot box too, I’m the one who is at the party and everyone is cozy and I’m like dude it’s hot in here can we open a window? Or going outside to try and cool down. It drives my husband nuts because he’s got no fat like me, and works in the basement and is always freezing and I telework upstairs and am burning up, I complain a lot during the summer and keep turning the AC down and he turns it back up lol. I think you’re right, it was too hot for the end half of the ride at least, and should have had water and electrolytes both. I was trying to go early enough so I wouldn’t get too hot but it was a little too late when I finished I was only going to do 25 but decided to do 40 to push myself. Mild heatstroke and dehydration. It’s been 5 hrs and my cheeks are still red and yep my BPM were over 100 for several hours too. Thank you for sharing! I will make sure to better my conditioning (My husband says I need to ride a longer ride 20-25 more than just every week or two weeks but twice a week And get my heart rate up instead of just walking like I do mostly but more cardio (my resting bpm is 69 right now, his is 53) if I’m going to do a big ride I need to build up more endurance, and go earlier or late evening or not at all in July when it’s so hot.) I appreciate your response!
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Old 07-11-20, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Put some electrolytes in your water bottle, don't wait until after the ride. Welcome to BF
definitely will do next time! Never again, this is miserable! Haha 😆 Bike Flu is a real thing. Damn I was proud Of myself and then...I’m still down for the count. Lol. At least I have my Alone series to watch!!
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Old 07-11-20, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
take a cool sit bath, or cold shower. When my temps are over the top after a hard long ride that I either didn't plan out enough hydration or get enough food the day before, I will drink ice cold water with ice & fresh lemons in it. I also don't eat anything heavy for the next 24 hours. Once made the mistake of making & having a chicken breast salad that contained fruits, nuts, other vegetables & it was shortly regurgitated. Should have just left out the nuts, & lessened the fruits. I don't use dressings.
thank you for the advice! A nice cool sit bath does wonders. I was shocked, I didn’t think it was THAT bad until it was too late, but figured I’d recover after I got home and got some electrolytes and food. Man, early 40’s are rough!! I can’t bike and recover like I did In my 20’s! Cheers!
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Old 07-11-20, 08:09 PM
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I agree with what your SO is advising. Up the frequency of your rides while also increasing the cadence. You don't absolutely need to increase the miles overall, but it would greatly help if you did ride a few extra miles than the previous ride. Doesn't happen overnight, however, the gains will happen & you'll see your achievements soon enough.
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Old 07-11-20, 10:21 PM
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Also, a wet cloth wrapped around your neck, or even on the back of your neck can work wonders in helping to cool you down. Another thing. When riding longer distances (for you) it's a great thing to take a it a bit easy at first aka warm up, and then also take it a bit easy for a number of kilometres on the way back aka cool down. Then when you stop you won't feel quite so bad. The thing is when you stop suddenly after exertion, your body is still generating heat but you've lost the cooling benefit of the airflow over your body you had whilst in motion.

And drink BEFORE you feel thirsty. Usually by the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated. When feeling really hot, be careful not to chug really cold beverages as that can induce cramping and/or nausea or even vomiting.

Cheers
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Old 07-12-20, 12:08 AM
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Isn’t this the “bonk”? Or in runner’s jargon “hitting the wall”? Sounds like it. You’ve basically overdone it. It’s something you can learn to avoid by drinking and eating during your ride. There’s lots of internet advice available, most important: take care of yourself.
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Old 07-12-20, 06:26 AM
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You might have over hydrated. The effects of hyponatremia are just like dehydration. It can take days to recover from. I have rescued through hikers on the Appalachian trail who over hydrated when attempting to recover from a mild bought of diarrhea. That guy couldn't walk. I've personally known people who have suffered permanent disabilities from low sodium levels.

The advice to "drink before you are thirsty" is now considered bad advice. Unfortunately I'm not making this up. Listen to your body, it will tell you when to drink.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/syc-20373711

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Old 07-12-20, 03:57 PM
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Hyponatremia is exceedingly rare for cyclists. If temperatures are high enough, it is absolutely possible to dehydrate without even feeling thirsty. My ride this morning was short (barely 2 hours) during which I drank about 40oz of water, never felt a drop of sweat, and still lost about a pound. Overhydration requires literally gallons of liquid, drank over the span of just a few hours. No one is going to drink enough water during a 40 mile bike ride in sub-90º temps to blow their electrolyte balance. I've lost as much as 7lbs in water weight over the course of a ride and still felt pretty okay.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Hyponatremia is exceedingly rare for cyclists. If temperatures are high enough, it is absolutely possible to dehydrate without even feeling thirsty. My ride this morning was short (barely 2 hours) during which I drank about 40oz of water, never felt a drop of sweat, and still lost about a pound. Overhydration requires literally gallons of liquid, drank over the span of just a few hours. No one is going to drink enough water during a 40 mile bike ride in sub-90º temps to blow their electrolyte balance. I've lost as much as 7lbs in water weight over the course of a ride and still felt pretty okay.

I've never seen it but I have heard doctors discuss seeing clinically runners who got hyponatremic from overhydration. I suspect there's a lot of variables at play there.
I rode 86 miles in 88 degree heat yesterday, and drank over a gallon of water. I was definitely not overhydrated.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:55 PM
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The OP was a woman, presumably lesser body weight, who rode 40 miles in 80° temperatures and drank a water bottle, a camel back and a "huge glass of electrolytes".

I've read more than one link claiming over hydration is a bigger worry than dehydration, that dehydration is actually pretty rare, and to instead "drink when you are thirsty".

No one considered the alternative...

Hopefully nobody believes me and instead researches the topic to prove me wrong...

2 minute google search

https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-scien...ia-in-athletes

"Excessive drinking is a key risk factor for hyponatremia, but it is possible for hyponatremia to occur—without excessive drinking—in dehydrated athletes during very prolonged exercise as a result of large sodium losses in sweat."

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Old 07-12-20, 05:47 PM
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I can see hyponatremia being a concern if someone is on a strict diet that limits the amount of sodium they consume. Typically a normal person thats not a professional athlete intakes more sodium than the daily recommended diet suggests.

Have a few pickles, cottage cheese, or canned vegetables.
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Old 07-12-20, 05:48 PM
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When I ride on hot days, since I'm not only fat, but fairly tall at almost 6', I find my biggest problem is not dehydration (no dark orange pee), but difficulty dumping core heat. Skinny people have much higher surface to volume ratios, so they can shed heat a lot faster. What I've done if I get back from a ride and still feel hot is to take a shower and turn the cold water up to the point where it's not quite too cold, but is no more than tepid. Then I stand under it running the water on my head and neck primarily. It really helps!

On the road, on hot days I sometimes stick the nozzle of a water bottle - full of water, not sports drink! - in one of the holes in my helmet and squirt. The water doesn't even have to be cool, because it evaporates off. I also dump some on my shoulders and back.
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Old 07-12-20, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
The OP was a woman, presumably lesser body weight, who rode 40 miles in 80° temperatures and drank a water bottle, a camel back and a "huge glass of electrolytes".

I've read more than one link claiming over hydration is a bigger worry than dehydration, that dehydration is actually pretty rare, and to instead "drink when you are thirsty".

No one considered the alternative...

Hopefully nobody believes me and instead researches the topic to prove me wrong...

2 minute google search

https://www.gssiweb.org/sports-scien...ia-in-athletes

"Excessive drinking is a key risk factor for hyponatremia, but it is possible for hyponatremia to occur—without excessive drinking—in dehydrated athletes during very prolonged exercise as a result of large sodium losses in sweat."
While I'm not saying that overhydration is impossible, it was at the very least extremely unlikely in the OP's case. What she described I have seen happen to my wife on more than one occasion-- overheated core. I'm more heat adapted, and have never, EVER, come remotely close to overhydration. I have been dehydrated (both from illness and overdoing it on the bike,) as well as suffered heat stroke, and neither of those would/could/should be considered trips to the fun zone.

Hyponatremia is brought about (as I said before) by drinking copious quantities of fluid-- the subjects viewed in the linked study drank between 2.5 and 4 gallons of water in a matter of a few hours. That study also did not take into account salts lost in sweat, stating "sweat sodium loss—although not measured in this study—likely contributed to the problem." Not replacing electrolytes is far more of a concern during long periods spent in hot weather than overhydration. A person in any activity is in more danger of hyponatremia due to unreplenished salt losses from sweat than they are from drinking too much... simply because an average person simply cannot or will not ingest that much fluid over that short of a time period.

From your very linked study:

National Athletic Training Association (2000): "To ensure proper pre-exercise hydration, the athletes should consume approximately 500 to 600 ml (17 to 20 oz) of water or a sports drink 2 to 3 hours before exercise and 200 to 300 ml (7 to 10 oz) of water or a sports drink 10 to 20 minutes before exercise. Fluid replacement should approximate sweat and urine losses and at least maintain hydration at less than 2% bodyweight reduction. This generally requires 200 to 300 ml (7 to 10 oz) every 10 to 20 minutes."

I doubt the OP drank that much. Hell, I don't drink that much pre-ride or during most rides, and I can all but guarantee that I'm significantly larger and sweat significantly more than the OP.
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Old 07-12-20, 08:06 PM
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I find it hard to believe that it is possible to consume enough water while riding a bike hard for a few hours and a 90 deg day that one would over-hydrate. Of course there is that one individual in a million that is the exception.

I put off getting an actual real bicycle jersey for years. First time I rode with one I thought what is the big deal? But after a few times I have come to see that they really help keep cool. In particular when riding an indoor fluid trainer even with two fans, riding with a t shirt seems much hotter.
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Old 07-13-20, 04:11 AM
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How big was the camelback? 2L? 3L?

That was a long article, read the whole thing

- excessive drinking alone can result in hyponatremia, as has occurred in people who have ingested large volumes of fluid (e.g., 3 liters—more than 3 quarts—of water in an hour) trying to produce a dilute urine to escape detection of banned drugs during drug tests (Zehlinger et al., 1996; Gardner, 2002b)

- Estimates of the frequency of hyponatremia associated with prolonged exercise (e.g., marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons) span a wide range, in some cases exceeding 30% of the athletes tested (O'Toole et al., 1995).

- Although larger athletes are not immune to hyponatremia, small, slow athletes who sweat a lot, excrete a salty sweat, and are overzealous in their drinking habits are theoretically at greater risk.

- Hyponatremia was three times more common in women than in men

- Slow runners, triathletes, and cyclists have more time and easier opportunities to drink excessively.
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Old 07-13-20, 05:34 AM
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Of all the theories I've read through here, I would roll dice on overheated... Heat stroke, who knows? I used to labor in the roofing industry as a summer job. There were lots of days I would come home from 90+ temps and get a significant case of the chills from returning home to parents nicely air conditioned home. I've never even heard of hyponatremia until this thread, but I've never been an ultra distance athlete. I did grow up in a time when the only thing to do in the summer was play outside, which usually meant playing ball, and drinking out of any garden hose in sight. I played competitive soccer from late youth through college. I've never been able to out drink the capacity of my stomach. Bloating discomfort would set in way before anything more serious. As an adult I don't ride more than 30 miles very often. I can tell you I put out some serious salty sweat. Also in that article for which I've seen the 30% quoted, it seemed as a discrepancy with other tests they further mentioned that it was likely 30% of people that ended up in the medical tent, not of all entrants in total.
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Old 07-13-20, 07:56 AM
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I'm familiar with the feeling - I love your term "bike flu", it's very apropos.

I think Dr. Isotope has the most likely explanation - a combo of things, including going beyond current fitness and perhaps mild heat stroke. Maybe a mild bonk, too, especially if you're restricting calories to lose weight. I've felt un-well after long and/or hot and/or intense effort rides too, but (for me) the feeling generally passes after less than 30-45 min. I usually turn a fan on myself, wipe down with a cold wet towel, drink something, eat something, sit with my legs elevated. When I'm feeling better I do some self massage and light stretching, then a shower to fully cool down. The two most important actions to prevent this "flu", for me, are: a) regulate my effort (don't go too hard early in the ride), and b) eat during the ride. That's just me, because those are the mistakes that I most commonly make - going too hard and not eating on the bike. You might make different mistakes and might have different things you concentrate on to prevent the "flu". Sounds like maybe you ride too far occasionally(?), so maybe take your husband's advice and get a better cycling base? On the other hand, if that cuts into other activities you enjoy (you mentioned hiking and paddle boarding), then maybe that's not something you're willing to do. It may be more important to you to have a variety of activities to keep things interesting.

I don't know about the OP, but my wife doesn't sweat much when we're on our tandem, so she's prone to overheating. I'm dripping 10 min. into a ride (I had to wring out my gloves at the half way point of our 1.5 hr ride yesterday, there was maybe 4 oz of sweat just in my gloves) , but after 1.5 hours my wife has barely cracked a sweat. I think this is partly trainable - as your body gets used to exercising, it adapts more quickly to changes in activity level (in other words, you sweat more, and more quickly). At least, I sweat a lot more quickly and copiously than I did when I first started cycling.

We deal with overheating in the traditional ways: keep head covered, wear light colored clothing that wicks sweat, take breaks to cool down, ride early in the am where possible, drink lots of fluids, replace electrolytes (food and/or drink).
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Old 07-15-20, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by ReneeSavage View Post
Happy Saturday, I‘ve been riding fairly regularly for 8-10 yrs, usually a few small rides while also walking and hiking during the week, 10-12 miles, and a 20-25 every other weekend we’re not paddle boarding. I’m moderately active with your extra 20-25 lbs to lose, do yoga twice a week, busy Mom and wife, etc. I did 25 miles 10 days ago. And few smaller ones this past week. Today I did 40 miles, 830am took my water bottle on the bike, and camelback with ice water. Drank it all, got pretty tired the last 5 or so, but finished, It was 75° when I started and 88° when I got done. I got home, drank a huge glass of electrolytes and then got a headache, the chills, hot flashes, fatigue, and a fever of 99.6. You think I got dehydrated? Overexerted myself? Heatstroke? A combination? It’s been 4 hrs and my face is still hot and I feel miserable, I’m downstairs resting watching a movie. Just curious if you’ve experienced this before!? It was a great ride or so I thought, I usually only get 50 miles in once or twice a year, maybe I pushed myself too far today to soon. Thanks for any tips!
if 40 or 50 miles is a big ride , and is challenging for you , then yes you are not in any condition to be riding like that , it might sound mean but cycling might not be the best activity for you in your condition !
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Old 07-15-20, 04:09 AM
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You probably got a bit dehydrated. 88F is fairly warm. If you ran out of water before the end of the ride you definitely got dehydrated. A tell tale sign is that you stop sweating. Always worth getting more water than toughing it out, but one of the symptoms of heat exhaustion is mental confusion, which can lead to bad decisions. Some of those electrolyte tablets might help, if you can increase your water carrying capacity or source more water during the ride. Not so much for the salts, but drinking a lot of water gets a bit much sometimes and some flavour helps. Sometimes I'll get an electrolyte drink and dilute it 1:1 or !:2.
You would have had heat exhaustion just bordering on heat stroke. When you dumped the extra water and electrolytes in when you got home it screwed with an already messed up system. Better to take it in smaller amounts over 15 minutes or so, then keep sipping small amounts constantly until your urine output returns to normal. I once had to deal with a guy who was dehydrated to the point of heat stroke. He was, we thought fairly OK, but just needed some liquid, so we got him to drink a quart or so of electrolyte/ water mix in one go. next minute he was unconscious and fitting. Though 99.6F is not a fever the chills and headache etc is definitely a sign you weren't in a good way, you got away with it this time.
In Greece last year, the heat coming off the road was so brutal we were struggling to drink water fast enough to make up for sweat going out, it got to the silly stage where we were almost drinking constantly, so we flew to Helsinki!
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Old 07-16-20, 11:50 AM
  #24  
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Sounds to me like a touch of the ol' heat exhaustion.

Given the OP's stated level of training, I'm guessing that a 40 mile ride would be somewhere around 2.5 - 3 hours. Assuming a 2L Camelbak and a bottle of water, the amount of fluid is probably about right (though electrolytes can help). If the ride took much longer...that's a different story.

IME, a heart rate monitor can do wonders for riding in conditions that I'm not used to, especially when heat stroke is a possibility. I learned pretty quickly what my heart rate tends to be for a good workout, pushing it a bit, and what I call 'barf level.' A few spikes into barf level is part of a good workout for me - but if my heart rate stays spiked, it's time to either ease way up, take a break, or call the ride.

Also, folks with the XX chromosome whom have reached a certain age sometimes just have hot days. Keeping a record of when they occur can be helpful for planning when to do longer excursions in the heat.
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Old 07-16-20, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Sounds to me like a touch of the ol' heat exhaustion.
I agree. Here's a handy guide to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and how to tell the difference.
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