9th – 20th NOVEMBER 2019
THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE ON EARTH
Yak Attack. The highest mountain bike race on Earth.
Climbing to the dizzying heights of 5416m above sea level, Yak Attack is the highest mountain bike race on Earth. The 2019 edition will include more single track trails than ever before. 280km, 9000m of ascent and 2 very unique loops around Besi Sahar and Kagenbi, will bring 7 days of the most exciting and intense racing on the 2019 race calendar.
Altitude, temperature extremes, harsh living conditions and a very tough terrain make Yak Attack one of the hardest mountain bike races around.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
MOUNTAIN BIKING WORLDWIDE AND OUR PARTNERS
ITINERARY & ENTRY DETAILS
WHAT’S THE PLAN OF ATTACK?
YAK ATTACK 2019 - " The SingleTrack edition"
For 2019 we’re bringing you more single track than ever before. With 7 stages of racing, riders will be taken on trails through the Himalaya rarely ridden by main stream tourism during the 2019 Yak Attack “Single Track”.
DATES: 9th to 20th November 2019
- 9th November – Race registration at International Guesthouse, Thamel
- 10th November – Transfer by coach of riders, luggage and bikes to Besi Sahar (approx 6 hours)
- 11th to 19th November – Yak Attack 2019 – Besi Sahar to Pokhara via Thorong La pass, approx 280km
- 20th November – Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu (optional flight available)
BREAKDOWN OF THE STAGES
7 race days, 1 rest day and a 5416m pass to cross!!.
Stage 1 of the 2019 Yak Attack “SingleTrack” will take you into the rugged foothills surrounding Besi Sahar, through a rural landscape rarely visited by mainstream tourism. In a nutshell, a 15km climb followed by a 15km descent to kick start the 2019 Yak Attack!
- Date: 11th November 2019
- Distance: 33km
- Climbing: 1190m
- Descending: 1190m
- Max Elevation: 1611m
- Temperatures: 25°C to 30°C
For 2019 we’re going back to the super tough Besi Sahar to Chame stage. Starting at 800m and finishing at 2700m above sea level, this stage takes the best of riders between 4 and 5 hours, so be prepared for a long hard day in the saddle.
- Date: 12th November 2019
- Distance: 60km
- Climbing: 2700m
- Temperatures: 25°C to 5°C
We’re at altitude now so any riding is going to be tough on the legs and lungs. We’re not about giving you an easy ride however and are planning a detour off the main track to Ghyaru at a height 3730m before descending back into Manang. ( Full route details will be available once we’ve reccied the best trails).
- Date: 13th November 2019
- Distance: approx 40km
- Climbing: approx 1500m
- Temperature: 10°c to 0°c
Day 4, 14th November 2019, is a rest day in Manang for acclimatisation purposes. There are lots of short hikes in the area to take in the amazing mountain views, and lots of coffee shops and bakeries to refuel for the ensuing pass crossing.
“Into thin air”. The shortest stage, distance wise, at only 16km, but on average it takes the riders longer than the 64km for stage 2!! Altitude is the biggest obstacle today with riders finishing at 4450m above sea level. Snow and severe cold are also distinct possibilities during this stage…
- Date: 15th November 2019
- Distance: 16km
- Climbing: 1264m
- Maximum Elevation: 4450m
- Temperatures: 10°C to 0°C
- Steep short climbs, single track decents and possible snow due to high altitude.
“The Pass”. The stage everybody fears. A 5km hike a bike starting in the dark, through possible snow and freezing temperatures takes the riders to the highest point of the race, Thorong La Pass at 5416m. Now that Yak Attack is in November, the ride down from the pass should be mainly snow free and one of the best 20km descents of your life!!
- Date: 16th November 2019
- Distance: 25km
- Climbing: 1036m
- Max Elevation: 5416m
- Temperatures: -20°C to 10°C
We’re keeping this one under wraps until much later, but rest assured it’s going to be an awesome day of dry and dusty trails, with a whole heap of single track to take you around the outer limits of lower Mustang.
There’s additional bonus that you get to spend 2 nights in the enchanting medieval village of Kagbeni !!
- Date: 17th November 2019
- Rest of details to follow……
“To the finish line!”. We’re throwing in a whole bunch of singletrack on the last day to spice things up a bit. We’re keeping these trails to ourselves until the last moment but be assured that you’re not going to want this final day to end!!
- Date: 18th November 2019
- Distance: 58km
- Climbing: 1040m
- Max Elevation: 2822m
- Temperatures: 0°C to 15°C
19th November 2019: With the racing done and dusted, the riders can look forward to a relaxing 35km group ride down to the end of the trail, where a coach will be waiting to transfer them to Pokhara for the post-race celebrations and prize giving.
AND WHAT ISN’T
Included in entry fee
- Coach transfer from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar (10th November)
- 10 nights accommodation in hotels / teahouses (10th – 19th November inclusive)
- Breakfast and dinner (11th – 19th November inclusive). Lunch and dinner 10th November, breakfast and lunch 20th November
- All necessary permits
- Yak Attack duffle bag to be used during the race
- Discounts on Torq products for all entrants
- Transfer of luggage between each stage
- Physical and GPS route marking
- Water stations
- Guided short trek in Manang
- Full medical support by qualified doctors
- Bike wash facilities
- Bike mechanic (services to be paid for)
- Massage services (to be paid for)
- Party / post race celebration / prize giving ceremony in Pokhara.
- Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu (20th November) (optional return flights available)
- Overall and stage winners prizes and trophies
- Finishers T-shirts and medals
Not included in entry fee
- International flights
- Nepal entry visa and immigration fees
- Travel & medical insurance
- Private medical services or treatment, emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation fee
- Accommodation on or before the 10th November, or on or after 20th November 2019
- Equipment: including bike, bike spares & mechanical, helmet, clothing etc
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Lunch unless specified in the itinerary
- Optional return flights from Pokhara to Kathmandu
WHAT THE RIDERS THOUGHT
A farmer warned me the “Yak were coming” but I was more concerned about the racers chasing behind me until I came around a blind corner into a huge heard of moving Yak. It was a mini stampede as I road into the ditch, climbing up a steep bank with my bike behind me to avoid either of us getting trampled. From that moment forward I began listening when the locals would warn the “Yak are coming!”.
Cory Wallace – 2014 competitor, 2016, 2017 and 2018 winner
Read the full “Tales from the Worlds highest Mountain bike race”
The Yak Attack – the worlds highest mountain bike race – has something of a fearsome reputation; I’m about to shatter a few myths… well, kind of.
Neil Cottam – 6 times Yak Attack finisher
Read the full Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Yak article
I first came across the Yak Attack in an article online 6 or 7 years ago and it instantly joined my list of must-do adventures. The Yak Attack is billed as the highest and one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. It’s 10 days long, spans 350km, accounts for 15000m of climbing (with a high point of 5416m) and covers 17 mountain passes over 3600m. Even on paper it looks tough!
Julia Hobson – 2016 competitor
The Yak Attack is by far the most scenic race I’ve been to, riding through the heart of the largest mountains on Earth and into the hidden world of an old Buddhist kingdom. A region rarely visited with stunning mountain peaks, true mountain people and a mystical sense of being on a different planet.
Cory Wallace – 2014 competitor, 2016, 2017 and 2018 winner
The Yak Attack. What the hell… 10 days, 350km, 15000m of climbing, a high point of 5416m AND 17 mountain passes over 3600m! It’s by no means the longest of distances, but the altitude and steep terrain is the real challenge. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the race so the organisers created a brand new route up into the Kingdom of Upper Mustang. As soon as I saw this route I was hooked, we only cover four days of the same terrain from last year with six days of new terrain which made it familiar but excitingly unknown.
Matt Rousu – 2015 and 2016 competitor
It took me 8:50 hours to complete and the last hour was freezing. I arrived in Chame cold, hungry and had the most wonderful dal bhat, a traditional meal of steamed rice and cooked lentil soup, in a warm wood-heated cabin.
Loh Ching Soo – 2016 competitor
What an incredible race, an amazing country and a challenge like no other. The 2015 Yak Attack (6-14th November) was an eight stage mountain bike race that took us as high as 5416m (17770ft) above sea level. We climbed over 12000m (40000ft) over 400km of rough terrain ranging from amazing singletrack, pot holed jeep tracks, village walking trails, skinny landslide cliff-sides, snow, ice and alpine goat trails.
Matt Rousu – 2015 and 2016 competitor
Featured in: 6 Of The Toughest Mountain Bike Endurance Races On The Planet by Nina Zietman
Yak Attack is the highest mountain bike race in the world, covering over 400km and altitudes of 12,000m. If you’re not super fit, don’t even bother considering it.
The weather flips between humid jungle territory at 30°c below dipping well below -15°c as you climb further up the mountain. Along with that you’ll get everything from muddy bogs to wade through, seriously steep singletracks, rickety suspensions bridges and snow!
At 5,416m above sea level, the oxygen levels are 50 per cent less than below, so there’s more to overcome than just treacherous trails.
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN
If you’re ready to enter you can do so here.
If you’ve still got questions – check out our Frequently Asked Question section below.
WHAT THE FAQ?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Am I fit enough to complete Yak Attack?
We get this question the most for all our events and it’s the toughest to answer. Take a look at the stage distances and elevation profiles then try and gauge if you could ride this in less than 10 hours. Then judge whether you can do this for 8 days? Only you can really know if you are up to the task, but if you have any concerns or need advice then we are here to help. Just ask!
We also offer discounted coaching from Torq fitness, which will help you to prepare. For more information click here.
I am fit and up for the challenge but I'm not an experienced racer. Would Yak Attack be suitable for me?
Yak Attack is one of the physically and mentally toughest mountain bike races on the planet. We would not recommend or allow anybody without adequate mtb experience to participate in this race.
Other races in our series are more suitable for the less experienced rider.
All applications are reviewed on their own merit, so if you are unsure as to whether your experience is suitable, submit a form and we’ll give you an honest answer.
I'm fit and I enjoy mountain biking but I'm not confident on extremely technical terrain. Will Yak Attack be suitable for me?
Whilst there isn’t a large percentage of technical riding, there are some extremely rocky and fast sections that could catch a less technically adept rider out.
Descending the steep rocky trails from the top of Thorong La is not the time to find out you are not that confident on a mountain bike!!
Is it possible to take a non-riding companion?
Of course!! We would like nothing more than for you to have your family or friends along to support you.
We provide 4×4 vehicles for companions to travel in whilst accompanying the race. However, vehicles can only travel as far as Manang. From Manang, companions will have to travel on foot for the next 2 stages to Muktinath, including crossing the Thorong La pass, so MUST be physically fit enough to complete this in a reasonable time. In Muktinath, vehicles will be waiting to continue the journey.
Whilst it is not always possible for the vehicles to follow the exact course or keep up with the riders, we endeavour to give companions the best overview of the race as possible.
Companions enjoy the exact same services as included in the racers package, and the cost is the same.
Are there any vaccination requirements for Nepal?
Please check with your local doctor prior to flying to Nepal. The following vaccinations are recommended for people visiting Nepal, but the list is not extensive;
- Hepatitis A
Do I need insurance to enter Yak Attack?
The race is held in a very remote area of Nepal. In the event of an emergency, helicopter evacuation maybe necessary. This is a very expensive procedure so it is essential that all competitors have insurance that will cover this and any medical treatment that may be required.
Proof of insurance (including helicopter evacuation) for both riders and companions is a race requirement, and we will need a copy of your certificate by 1st October 2019. Any riders or companions without adequate insurance will not be allowed to participate.
Can you recommend an insurance company?
I have a dietary requirement. Can you cater for me?
Yes. Most dietary requirements can be catered for. There is a section on the application form to let us know of any specific requirements. Given plenty of notice it is usually possible to fulfill most requests but in the unlikely event it is not possible we will let you know before confirming your place.
What kind of bike is best for Yak Attack?
Your bike must be in good working order and of a suitable quality for coping with a seriously tough off road trail. Most people ride hardtails with front suspension, although full suspension is growing ever more popular and a couple have even done it on singlespeed fully rigid!!! We would recommend fitting new brake pads before starting the race and a new chain if the old one is showing any signs of wear. Once leaving Kathmandu, spares are not readily available so it will be necessary to bring these with you.
The event is supported by TORQ; what's the deal?
Our nutritional partner, Torqfitness are offering discounts on all products and coaching services purchased through Mountain Biking Worldwide up to and during the race. They are also able to give advice on the best products to suit your needs for training and during the race. Please contact us for more details.
How can I purchase the recommended Torq nutritional package?
TorqFitness have developed a bespoke nutritional package for Yak Attack. Please have a look at this link for further information. You can either add this on as an optional extra when you fill out the application form (to be delivered to your home country or to Nepal), or alternatively contact us to purchase.
Can I purchase an official Yak Attack race top?
If you are entering the race, the official Yak Attack 2018 tops can be purchased via the application form.
Otherwise please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your required size and quantity.
Can I use this event to raise money for charity?
Mountain Biking Worldwide has 3 chosen charities / projects.
NCRR – a Nepal based NGO that rebuilt 7 schools in Nepal after the devastating earthquakes of 2015. Money raised for this charity will go towards the up keep of these schools and towards further school rebuild projects, and greatly assist in the education facilities for many rural children.
Helping Paws Worldwide – whose aim is to raise awareness on animal welfare and compassion through targeted vaccination and neutering camps and educational programs throughout Nepal and Sri Lanka. They also work closely with other in country charities such as Animal SOS Sri Lanka and Sneha Care to instigate neuter and vaccination programs.
The Yak Attack Foundation – money raised for our very own foundation will be used to support the growth of mountain biking in regions that host our races and provide platforms for the development of talented individual riders including the upkeep and development of the Nepal MTB coaching / training centre based in Kathmandu.
Any race participant raising over $300 for any of the above causes will be eligible to a 10% discount off the race entry fee.
If you do wish you support any of the causes close to our hearts then please make your intentions known on the application form and we will send you some flyers to assist with promoting your fund raising.
And of course you are more than welcome to use any of our events to raise funds for any causes close to your heart.
How much luggage can I take with me for the 10 days?
At race registration riders and companions will be given a Yak Attack 80L duffle bag. This will be the only piece of luggage that you will have for the duration of the Yak Attack and can weight no more than 20kg’s (this will be weighed prior to leaving for Besi Sahar and strictly enforced).
Bags must be clearly labelled with the riders / companions name and race number, so that it is easily identifiable to the owner.
How do I get to Nepal?
Tribhuvan airport, Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. There are a number of airlines that fly there which include (but are not limited to): Emirates, Qatar, Jet Airways, India, Turkish Airlines. Most flights either go via the middle east or India.
Do I need a visa for Nepal?
Yes, nearly all nationalities need a visa to visit Nepal. Certain nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at Kathmandu airport, for which you will need 1 passport sized photograph and a pen (on a busy day it can take well over an hour to pass through passport control, especially if you do not have a pen to complete the forms). A 15 day visa is $25 USD, a 30 day visa is $40 USD, or a 90 day visa is $100 USD (this has to be paid for in foreign currency, US$, AUS$, Euro, GBP etc). The necessary documents will be given to you either on your flight or are obtainable in the airport.
For those nationalities that can’t get a visa on arrival, or for the more organised travellers, visas can be arranged in advance at your nearest Nepali embassy. Please check well in advance of your trip with your countries embassy for specific details.
How do I get from the airport to Kathmandu?
Depending on traffic, it is an approximate 30-minute ride into Thamel (Kathmadu’s tourist district). A taxi will cost around $5 USD and can be booked at the taxi counter inside the airport.
If you have a reservation, most hotels in Thamel will collect you from the airport if you ask in advance.
Can you recommend a hotel in Thamel?
The International Guesthouse in Thamel is the official hotel of the 2019 Yak Attack “Single Track”.
Riders and companions booking in advance will receive a 15% discount on the room rates and free airport pickup on arrival (please request at time of booking)
To reserve a room please contact the hotel directly and mention that you will be taking part in Yak Attack.
I will be travelling with my bike in a bag / box. What will happen to that during the race?
It is not possible to take your big bag or box along during the race. Nearly all hotels in Kathmandu have a secure luggage storage facility where you can store your bike bag and any extra luggage not needed during the race.
How do we get to the race start?
There will be a coach transfer early morning from the International Guest House in Kathmandu for riders, companions, luggage and bikes to the race start location in Besi Sahar on 10th November 2019. The exact times will be given at race registration on the 9th November 2019.
What time does the riding start each day and how long should we expect to be out for?
As the mornings can be quite cold, the race will generally not start until 9 am, unless conditions dictate otherwise. For the day of crossing the pass, we usually aim to start around 7am to ensure we miss any high winds on the top of the pass. On average we expect the faster riders to be riding for around 4 hours per day and the slowest ones to be twice that time, some days will be shorter and 1 or 2 maybe longer!
Will there be race briefings each day and are these mandatory?
Yes, each evening riders will be briefed on the following days stage. It is very important that ALL riders attend this briefing from a safety prospective as important information regarding weather and trail conditions will be discussed, together with details relating to start times, route deviations etc.
Briefings will generally be carried out before dinner at 7pm but timings etc will be displayed on the race notice board in a prominent position in the hotel.
What language will the race briefing be conducted in?
The race briefings will be conducted in English, and it is very important that all riders are able to understand instructions given during the briefing.
What is the accommodation like during the race?
As the race progresses into the mountains, accommodation will be in teahouses. These are typically basic rooms centred around an eating place. The rooms will be basic but clean and comfortable, hot showers might not always be available and western style toilets very scarce.
Whilst we try to keep all riders in one hotel, this sometimes isn’t possible due to the size of the teahouses.
We review accommodation annually and only select the best available for the area we are staying.
Once the race is over, riders will be able to relax in the luxury of a resort style hotel on the lake side in Pokhara for 1 night.
On what basis is the room sharing?
Whilst we use the biggest and best teahouses in the area, accommodation is still very limited and thus so are room combinations. However, we endeavour to accommodate couples in private rooms and keep friends together.
Rooming will be on a twin or triple share occupancy and due to limited facilities, single occupancy is not available.
Occasionally the rooming list may have to change during the race but we try to avoid this where possible.
What will the weather be like?
Yak Attack must have the most varied weather extremes of any race on earth. For the first 3 days, when the trails often drop below 1000m, the day times can be blistering hot, with temperatures up to 35°C.
4 days later, when crossing the Thorong La pass at 5416m, temperatures can be as low as -20°c and deep snow could be encountered, and a day later riders will be back in a sub tropical climate.
What will the food be like?
Set breakfast and evening meals are included in the race entry fee for the duration of the race (as set out in the itinerary). The food is invariably quite basic and includes such things as egg, porridge, bread, soup,Dahl Bhat (boiled rice, spinach and lentil curry), noodles, potatoes, pasta. It is all freshly cooked and typically high carb.
Are soft and alcoholic drinks included in the cost?
No, but these can be purchased separately from local shops, the hotel or teahouse.
Will there be back up and a doctor available?
There will be at least 1 fully qualified doctor and a first aid team. They will be strategically placed on the race course in case there are any injuries during the race. Please complete the medical section on the application form as comprehensively as possible so that our medical team are armed with all the correct information relating to your medical history.
Is there a recommended medical kit list for the event?
Due to remoteness of locations that The Yak Attack travels through, with limited hospitals and health centres it would be worth riders and companions to pack the below for ‘just in case’ moments. It also means that if a lot of people are ill at the same time everybody has a back up plan in case the medical team end up short on supplies.
Plasters (including blister plasters)
Antiseptic spray and/or wash
Hand sanitiser and/or hand wash
Pain killers i.e. paracetamol, ibuprofen etc.
Any prescribed medication (in original containers, clearly labelled: check with your airline whether they should be packed in checked in or hand luggage) – including inhalers / epi-pens
Diarrhoea and vomiting tablets
Water filters and/or purifiers for areas of non adequate drinking water
Strong factor of suncream
High factor lip salve
Cat 4 sunglasses
We would also advise that all riders and companions see their local doctor or travel clinic regarding getting advice and/or medications for the following:
Antibiotics or medications for gastroenteritis
Antibiotics for wound infections (if these differ)
Discussing whether or not they may need altitude sickness tablets (i.e. Diamox)
Any currently prescribed medication that you are taking
For more information on traveling abroad please visit FitforTravel
It looks like the race is going to be hard on the body. Can I get a sports massage during the race?
Yes we have CJ Physiotherapy working alongside us again for a 3rd year. You can prebook a 5 x 30 minute session package for $200 via the application form.
It may be possible to book a massage on the day at a cost of $50 per 30 minutes but this will be subject to availability after all pre-booked sessions have been completed.
Will there be bike washing facilities each day?
In most of the locations we visit, fresh water is both sparse and precious, so we ask riders to keep bike washing to a minimum.
Streams and rivers are also sources of drinking / cooking / washing water for many locals so we ask riders abstain from using these for cleaning bikes.
The easiest way would be to enlist the (paid) services of the race mechanic, but if you prefer to clean your own bike then you must also bring your own cleaning equipment.
Will there be a bike mechanic?
Yes, there will be a bike mechanic based at the hotels.
A bike clean and lubricate can be booked in advance at a cost of $210 for 6 services via the application form. This will also entitle the rider to a reduced fee of $20 USD per hour for additional repairs that may need to be carried out.
A bike clean and lubricate can be booked on the day at a cost of $40 USD, with additional repairs at $30 per hour, but priority will be given to pre-booked clients.
Will the mechanic have a range of spare parts?
Yes, the race mechanic will have a range of spare parts for sale at local prices (which due to import costs are higher than UK, European and USA prices). However, it is advisable to bring any specialist spares and at least 1 spare tyre with you.
How is the race route marked?
Each rider will be sent .gpx files to the exact course at least one week before the race commences. All riders are expected to upload these to their GPS device and use this information to navigate the course. Please ensure this is done prior to leaving your home country, as we may be unable to complete this once in Nepal.
In addition to this, the route will be physically marked with prominent markings at regular intervals and any ambiguous junctions etc.
Do the race hotels have WIFI?
Wifi is not readily available at many of the places we stay and when it can be found, it can be infuriatingly unreliable and slow.
As a general rule do not expect much internet access between Kathmandu and Pokhara!!
What happens to my bike when the race is finished?
The bikes will be transported back to Kathmandu via a jeep/coach from the race finish venue in Pokhara at the same time the riders get their coach transfer back.
Where does the race finish?
The race finishes in Pokhara on the 19th of November.
The following day (20th) all riders and bikes will be transferred back to Kathmandu via coach (unless the extra optional flight has been chosen), arriving mid to late afternoon.
How do the riders return from Pokhara to Kathmandu?
A private coach will transport riders back to Kathmandu. The journey is 200km and will take approximately 8 hours. There will be a lunch stop which is not included in the entry fee.
All riders, bikes and luggage will be dropped off at the International Guesthouse in Thamel.
Can I fly back from Pokhara?
Yes!! On the application form there is an option to book a flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu. The flight takes around 1 hour to reach Kathmandu, instead of the approximate 8 hour coach journey.
We will arrange your transfer to and from the domestic airports and transfer your bike to Kathmandu via road for you to collect the evening of the 20th.
How do I apply to enter the race?
All potential riders need to complete to application form which is available from the homepage, dropdown menu or here – Application Form.
Once we have received your completed application we will contact you with details on procedures of how to secure your place in the race. Please fill in details on the application form as thoroughly as possible as this will help us to make a speedy decision on your application.
How do I secure my place in the race?
Once we have received your application and it has been accepted then a deposit of $500 will ensure your place in the 2018 race is secure (full details will be emailed at the time of acceptance). Please note, this is a NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE deposit and is a statement of intent that you are definitely wish to take part in the race. We will make preliminary bookings based on this, which will incur costs. The deposit CANNOT be refunded at a later date if you change your mind!
What payment methods do you accept for the deposit or balance in full?
At the moment, we can accept bank transfer in either GBP (based on the days exchange rate) or USD & Paypal payments made in GBP with an additional 5% charge to cover fees. All transfer fees must be covered by the paying customer. Full details will be included in the application acceptance letter.
Can I download the race rules and regulations?
Yes, you can find them here – Yak Attack race rules
Can I download more information about Yak Attack and Nepal in general?
Yes, you can download our Yak Attack information pack in a PDF version here. Please note. our 2019 version will be available soon!
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