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Old 22nd September 2015, 20:29   #1
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Default 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Dude, I have been so stuffed with work for the past few weeks, I badly need a let out! And what better than a ride!

And so, right after bidding goodbye to Ganapati bappa, started our plan to ride to Valparai, the beautiful hill station in TN. Soon two more riders of the group joined and 4 bikes and the riders were all set to roll. In spite of his tight schedule, Adi booked a good hotel in a jiffy.
So Hotel booked, route planned, stuff to carry packed in tail and tank bags, and bikes tanked up.

As usual, I started my pre-ride homework on the route plan, places to visit and the itinerary. Having been to Valparai a year ago, I was fairly familiar with the places to see. However, considering we had to travel close to a 1000 km in two days, I did not want to do it all on the Plain Jane Bangalore-Salem-Pollachi National highway. Instead, I proposed taking the slower but scenic NH209 and the boys were all for it.

Rides & Riders:

n_aditya - Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Chida - Yamaha R15
Maverick46 - KTM Duke 390
Added_Flavor - Honda CBR 250R

Route: Bangalore - Kanakpura - Kollegala - Chamrajnagar - Dimbham - Bannari - Annur - Pollachi - Valparai.

We met up at 6 AM at the Kanakpura - NICE road junction on Friday, the 18th of September, 2015. Just as we started towards Kanakpura, Aditya realized he had forgotten his wallet at home. He might have conspired to dump his expenses on the rest of us, but he forgot his driving license in the wallet too.

Thus we decided to pull over while he went back home to fetch his wallet. So after an unexpected half hour delay, we restarted our journey hoping that the worst was behind us. We stopped for breakfast at Kanakpura and filled ourselves with some sumptuous breakfast.

When we started again, it was already 8.30 AM and we knew we won't reach Valparai before 3 PM. However I was aware of the beautiful roads, ghats and greenery that awaited us and it kept me going. As we crossed BR hills, Kollegala and Chamrajnagar, the Sun started beating us down but the roads remained blissful. We kept stopping every 50 - 75 km for hydration.


1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-break.jpg

1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-shimsha.jpg
The road ahead - Near Shivanasamudram

As we crossed the border to TN, we were stopped by the cops and the bags checked to their hearts' content. We continued on through Satyamangalam and were gliding through the twisties. Soon we hit Dimbham ghats which greeted us to 27 narrow hair pin bends. After navigating safely through all of them, we soon started passing through a lot of small towns in TN. In no time, we crossed Annur and were headed towards Pollachi. On this road between Palladam and Pollachi, we experienced a lot of cross-winds almost throwing us out of our bikes! Just when I was wondering about it, we started noticing a lot of wind mills on both sides of the road. We pulled over near one and were amazed by it's sheer size and the noise coming out of it!

1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-windmill1.jpg

1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-windmill2.jpg

It was around 2.30 PM now, After an unsuccessful attempt to find a restaurant in Pollachi, we decided to have some snacks in a bakery, also because we wanted to reach Valparai soon.

Within no time, with rain in air, we started the ascent to Valparai. 40 hair pin bends were conquered and the landscape was unbelievable. Forget words, I am sure even the pictures can't describe what we experienced. However, I'll let the pictures talk whatever they can!


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While we stopped for pictures in a lot of places, we lost track of the time. Finally, at about 5.30 PM, we reached our hotel. The evening was well spent with some decent food and a bit of chatter!

Having been on the road for almost 12 hours and 430 odd kilometres, riding through innumerable curvy roads, 67 hair pin bends, we were exhausted and crashed for the day.

Last edited by Added_flavor : 23rd September 2015 at 00:14.
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Old 22nd September 2015, 22:04   #2
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Default re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Day 2 greeted us with this view from our room.

1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-morning.jpg

The plan for the day was to ride on the Valparai - Chalakudi road and visit the beautiful Athirapalli and Vazhachal waterfalls. This would ensure we touch the 3rd state of the trip - Kerala. Post this we planned to start back to Bangalore.

As we took our own sweet time to have breakfast ordered in the room and get moving, it was 9 AM. We filled up in the bunk right next to our hotel and started towards the Kerala border. Soon, we were welcomed by glorious, vast tea estates on both sides. Every corner seemed worthy of a stop to take pictures, but we were already on a tight schedule.

Soon, we were at the Kerala check post where the entry formalities were made, bike numbers and names noted down. After a small stretch of bad roads for a couple of kms, the road quality was blissful throughout. However, it was narrow and curvaceous for the next 80 km! These are thick, dense, tropical rain forests and the place is known to be home for elephants and leopards. It was so narrow in some places that we had to come to a halt if we encountered a bigger vehicle from the opposite lane.

All this meant we could not average more than 30 kmph for these 80 kms and we took a good 2.5 hours to reach Athirapalli falls!

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The Niagara of South India - Athirapalli Falls



As we decided to head back from Athirapalli to Valparai, it started pouring down. Due to rains and lack of time, we could not spend much time and take pictures of Vazhachal and Charpa falls. Vowing to get back again with a more leisurely schedule, we started the journey back to Valparai. On the way back, near Sholayar dam, we posed for a few pictures.

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ATGATT Ambassadors


Exactly at 4 PM, we were back to Valparai. Although we did have thoughts of pushing the return to next day, the thoughts of the next day's commitments and the wrath of home ministers sent us scurrying to saddle up and move.

By 5 PM, we were ready to start after refilling ourselves and the bikes. We had already done a 180 Km, 6 hour ride on the day and had a further 480 Km to cover. It was definitely going to be a test for both the rides and the riders.

The plan was to hit the multi-lane National Highway before it gets dark. I was quite confident that life will get easier once we hit the NH from Avinashi. However, we still had to cover about 140 Km on the undivided State highway which also included the 40 hair pin descent from Valparai.

On the way down from Valparai, we couldn't resist taking pictures of the view.

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1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-12039399_1186748471338475_4957219184682579424_n.jpg
View of Aliyar from the 12th Hair Pin!


Sundar and Chida were a little apprehensive about night riding as this would be the first time they would be doing so. It was decided that at any point of time, me and Adi would lead and sweep and the other two would stay between us. By Sun down, we had reached Pollachi. We had another 100 Km to cover to reach Avinashi. As expected, the TN buses showed us absolutely no respect and we did have a couple of close moments. However, we took it slow, responsible and sensible, decided that we'll take as many breaks as we want and have no time target to reach Bangalore.

After a couple of breaks, we were at Avinashi and took the entry to the Coimbatore - Salem NH. After the narrow State highways filled with trucks, private buses with lights of all possible colors, Wild driven State Transport buses and chaotic 2 - wheelers, the NH was a welcome change. With experience on my side, I still insisted a constant speed of 80 - 90 Kmph even though the NH might tempt us to do higher speeds. I had learnt that the top speed does not matter on an endurance ride, but the consistency and fatigue-free method of riding does.

By now it was around 9.30 PM and we stopped for dinner at Saravana Bhavan at Vaikundam, a few km before Salem. From here on, we were in absolute sync with each other. The boys rode like champs. Proper indication of lane changes, perfect overtaking manoeuvres and speeds according to the situation. The important thing was to avoid monotony. So the plan was to keep talking to ourselves or sing songs, read the sign boards and observe traffic behaviour - basically keep yourself alert. Adi had carried packs of electrol and that helped keep us hydrated and active throughout.

1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!-12046791_10153706225599444_8110226829947305239_n.jpg
Break at Dharmapuri Toll booth.


Soon, we took the tricky deviation which is the Salem bypass towards Bangalore and were less than 200 Km away from Bangalore. Here on, we stopped at every toll for breaks. The formation continued. At one point, Chida exclaimed that he never thought night riding would be this awesome! By 2.30 AM, we reached the EC elevated highway where we split to head home.

So, after 2 days, 1100 Km of NHs, SHs, forests, curves, Hair Pins, Rain, Sun and Winds, we were back in Bangalore. The intense euphoria and the sense of satisfaction is tough to explain in words. The spirit and coordination the boys showed was commendable and is a fine example of biking brotherhood.

I am sure I have skipped a lot of stuff that my co-riders will pen down over the next few days!

Until the next one, Adios! Ride safe. ATGATT.

Some Statistics and Details:

Route on Day 2: Valparai - Athirapalli - Valparai - Pollachi - Palladam - Avinashi - Salem - Dharmapuri - Krishnagiri - Bangalore. (640 Km)

Complete route: https://goo.gl/maps/79dUAeF5RjP2

Last edited by Added_flavor : 23rd September 2015 at 00:15.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 06:20   #3
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

The place never ceases to amaze me, whether in rains or in winter or any other season.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 08:21   #4
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Talking re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
Dude, I have been so stuffed with work for the past few weeks, I badly need a let out! And what better than a ride!

And so, right after bidding goodbye to Ganapati bappa, started our plan to ride to Valparai, the beautiful hill station in TN. Soon two more riders of the group joined and 4 bikes and the riders were all set to roll. In spite of his tight schedule, Adi booked a good hotel in a jiffy.
So Hotel booked, route planned, stuff to carry packed in tail and tank bags, and bikes tanked up.
Great write-up there Suhas!!!

Not sure if you actually left anything for us to cover here; all my pics are up here already as well. As always the planning was top notch and Thanks to Adi for the hotel booking.

Riding with you guys have always been fun and lot of learning. I am not very technical when it comes bikes & car, but well only thing I know is I love riding!!!

Riding gives me enough energy to get back to office and work like crazy for next 5days; Twisties and greenery was absolutely mesmerizing post Chamrajnagar specifically Dimbham ghat section.

Valparai is definitely the most scenic place I have seen in last few months I been riding, wish we had enough time to capture all that I wanted to in my camera.

Boy Night riding is actually fun esp. in NH, SH is a different story though; thanks for covering us Suhas & Adi!!! You guys always have great tips and suggestions.

We need to plan one more overnighter soon, till then got to be satisfied with breakfast rides!
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Old 23rd September 2015, 10:17   #5
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Default re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Man, what a ride. Another one etched in my memory for life. Thanks to you guys.

Initially I felt this plan would fall through since it was only Suhas and me and I decided to ride to Chikmagalur and back if I was to ride alone. I'm glad this came through and special thanks to Suhas for choosing Valparai as the destination.

I had heard so much about this place for the last few years from all the biker friends but couldn't make it here. The beauty of this place cannot be described and needs at least 3 days worth of stay to cover all the tourist spots around.

The only thing missing on this ride was Sena BT communicators. The intercom chatter keeps one alert and informed about surrounding conditions.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 11:26   #6
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Default re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Amazing ride, awesome pictures and a whole lot of stamina. Only riders who ride in a group know the amount of time that's spent not riding can be quite significant. Taking pictures for example, and what is a great ride without pictures. But hats off to the 4 of you, 1100 kms on two days back to back. Your nether regions would need a lot of rest thereafter.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 16:44   #7
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Hi Guys,

You have had a nice and quick trip to Valparai, the photos are fantabulous. I was in Valparai for a 4 day trip but had return back on 18th itself for some emergency at home.

Veera
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Old 23rd September 2015, 17:21   #8
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Wonderful trip report !!!

It is these rides which get etched in your memory forever. Congrats for the trip and the report. One thing is for sure and that is I will always get disappointed whenever I look at the number "4" in this thread's title
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Old 23rd September 2015, 17:53   #9
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Nice log and good pictures.
Did you spot any wildlife on the Valparai - Athirapalli sector ?
Seems like less crowd (or no crowd) in the Sholayar river.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 17:55   #10
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chida View Post
Great write-up there Suhas!!!

Not sure if you actually left anything for us to cover here; all my pics are up here already as well. As always the planning was top notch and Thanks to Adi for the hotel booking.

Riding with you guys have always been fun and lot of learning. I am not very technical when it comes bikes & car, but well only thing I know is I love riding!!!

Riding gives me enough energy to get back to office and work like crazy for next 5days; Twisties and greenery was absolutely mesmerizing post Chamrajnagar specifically Dimbham ghat section.
Sorry I flicked all pictures from your FB page Chida and forgot to give you the credits! Absolutely fantastic pictures as always!

The place and landscape are so good that even our phones have captured some amazing pictures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by n_aditya View Post

The only thing missing on this ride was Sena BT communicators. The intercom chatter keeps one alert and informed about surrounding conditions.
True Adi! The Senas are coming and we'll be on 'Live' bakar from the next ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by goandude View Post
Amazing ride, awesome pictures and a whole lot of stamina. Only riders who ride in a group know the amount of time that's spent not riding can be quite significant. Taking pictures for example, and what is a great ride without pictures. But hats off to the 4 of you, 1100 kms on two days back to back. Your nether regions would need a lot of rest thereafter.
Thanks Leslie! A good night's sleep and we were back to normal. All the hydration and stretching during breaks helped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by veerameti View Post
Hi Guys,

You have had a nice and quick trip to Valparai, the photos are fantabulous. I was in Valparai for a 4 day trip but had return back on 18th itself for some emergency at home.

Veera
Veera Sir, good to hear from you! Hope the Tiger is doing good!

Hope things are fine. I'm sure you can plan a leisurely trip to Valparai again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shan_ned View Post
One thing is for sure and that is I will always get disappointed whenever I look at the number "4" in this thread's title
Hey Ned! Just pure bad luck that you fell ill. I hope you are fine now. We'll make it even better next time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrive View Post
Nice log and good pictures.
Did you spot any wildlife on the Valparai - Athirapalli sector ?
Seems like less crowd (or no crowd) in the Sholayar river.
Unfortunately we didn't! We only got to see loads of elephant waste, suggesting they were wandering on the roads at night when traffic isn't allowed.

Sholayar gate was closed and people were just clicking pictures in the entrance. In general, it wasn't very crowded.

Last edited by Added_flavor : 23rd September 2015 at 18:01.
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Old 23rd September 2015, 19:21   #11
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Suhas.. Here's me Adding flavor to the writeup !

To start things off.. Hats off to Suhas and Adi for putting together one helluva ride. And Chida for making it a foursome

My last ride was to Yercaud with the entire Bangalore Team-BHP gang. And post that ride (which was awesome too), I got caught up with work and hadn't given The Duchess any time. So when I got wind of a ride to Valparai, I decided to 'Eff-It-Lets-Ride'.

I'd heard about Valparai several times from friends who'd rode there and had come back with nothing but superlative praise...

Once the decision had been made, it was a fairly straightforward prep-process to get The Duchess ready for the ride.
1. Visual check for fallen bolts (Duke's tend to mark their territory by sometimes dropping bolts)
2. Check fluid levels

The only difference with this ride was that I'd switched to taking the cab to work and hence hadn't taken the Duchess out for a while. This was duly corrected the day prior to the ride after which I cleaned and lubed the chain.

Now for the flavor:

1. All jokes aside.. The Duke's 11L fuel tank doesn't deserve to be called a tank. Hence, I'd resorted to calling it a fuel thimble (a Top Gear reference).
This thimble coupled with the super erratic fuel gauge and DTE indicator do cause some grief when you're on rides with other motorcycles.
This fact reared its ugly head once we neared Satyamangalam. The fuel gauge and the DTE indicator showed that I'd comfortably make it past Satyamangalam and since I'd forgotten to engage the trip meter, I ended up trusting them.

However, the moment we stopped for a break, the gauge and the DTE showed that I would be in trouble. What followed was about 50 kilometres of excruciatingly tense hyper-miling. All through the Satyamangalam forest section, instead of enjoying the twisties, I had to keep an eye on the fuel gauge while sticking to the 5th and 6th gears. During a stop just after the forest section, we asked some people about the distance to the next fuel stop. On hearing that the next pump was about 30kms away in the next town, followed another tense 30kms of hyper-miling. T-Mod Aditya reassured me that the Ninja has enough fuel to ride to the fuel pump to bring back some; encouraging talk right?
All said and done though.. We made it to the pump with some fuel to spare while the DTE and the gauge were reading nought

2. Having spent a fair amount of time driving at night, I was a bit apprehensive about riding a motorcycle on the NH leg of our ride back to Bangalore. Also, having heard countless rants about how inadequate the stock headlamps on most bikes are, I had very little faith in the 390’s lamps. But the moment the sun went down, boy was I in for a pleasant surprise.
With the stock 55/60 bulb swapped out for a Nightbreaker that Mr Added_Flavor had given me a couple of years ago, The Duchess lit up the State highways admirably well. We swapped places in our ride formation a few times and not once did the headlamps lead to me getting caught out by a curve etc

The garnish for this superb ride were the vistas that we witnessed at several places, Adi’s windmill curiosities (What happens near Pollachi.. Stays near Pollachi. That is all I can say..) and the sheer joy of riding with even a subset of the bunch of riders that are now fondly labeled as TBBB.

Here’s to many many more epic rides gents… We always do ride hard, but safe as well.

Cheers !

Sundar

Last edited by MavericK46 : 23rd September 2015 at 19:30. Reason: Typograficak errours...
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Old 24th September 2015, 10:55   #12
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Added_flavor :
Really happy to see you guys going for such a challenging ride.
On a side note, we met on the roads on the same day.
six of us were on a bike trip from Kochi to Valparai on the same day. (19th sep)
Saw you going down to valaparai when we had stopped near the Penstock pipes and were taking pictures. Really sad that could not meet in person. Remember a Go pro in one of the helmets. Also, you guys passed sometime back in the late afternoon when we were nearing Valapari. We were taking our own sweet time as the days ride was planned only till Valparai. Came back to Kochi the next day via pollachi.
Next time...
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Old 24th September 2015, 11:34   #13
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Fantastic write up and some really great images. You guys must have made for a very colourful parade on the road for passersby! A lot of rookie riders can take a look at this post and gets some handy tips on long distance riding in India. Glad you guys took your time with night time riding.

Quote:
With experience on my side, I still insisted a constant speed of 80 - 90 Kmph even though the NH might tempt us to do higher speeds. I had learnt that the top speed does not matter on an endurance ride, but the consistency and fatigue-free method of riding does.
Spot on. It's like my mechanic once told me - Aap jitna bhi tez chala lo, humare rasto pe ek ghante me 50- 60 km se jyaada nahi chala paoge (Translated: Ride as fast as you want, you can't cover more than 50 - 60 kms in an hour on our roads). I've found this to be true in most cases. Even if you can go faster, you never know what might put your life at risk on our highways.
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Old 24th September 2015, 14:06   #14
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Superb write up and excellent pics. Kudos for the night ride - that is an experience in itself and hats off to the sane speed limits on highways.

2 days after your trip, there was news in local paper that a leopard was spotted in the valparai - athirapalli route.

--Anoop
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Old 24th September 2015, 15:04   #15
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Default Re: 1100 km, 2 days, 4 men: An Endurance Ride to the Mesmerising Valparai!

Good one guys. Been planning to go to Valparai since ages. Hope to join you guys next time round. Any heating issues encountered ?


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Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Spot on. It's like my mechanic once told me - Aap jitna bhi tez chala lo, humare rasto pe ek ghante me 50- 60 km se jyaada nahi chala paoge (Translated: Ride as fast as you want, you can't cover more than 50 - 60 kms in an hour on our roads). I've found this to be true in most cases. Even if you can go faster, you never know what might put your life at risk on our highways.
This is so very true! I always calculate travel hrs by using 50 kmph. BF, water or photo stops reduce it to this even if one were to do three digit speeds consistently.
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