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Old 1st November 2017, 15:24   #1
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Default Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

A couple of days after my previous ride (Bajaj CT100B: 850 km ride from Trivandrum to Valparai) the familiar feeling of restlessness that creeps in when you do a boring 9 to 6 job had started to come back and halfway through the week I was totally drained when Jayan posted a message in our regional WhatsApp group suggesting a ride to Achankovil and return via Thenmala, and that’s how it all began, that one post.

The last time I’ve been to Achankovil was circa 2012, I had just plonked trail friendly tires on my Karizma R, Michelin Sirac Street (Rear Tire) at front and Dunlop Monster Trail at rear and had a wonderful time avoiding snakes and leaving behind the hopeless souls who made fun of my ZMA for running off of tractor tires.

Flashback from 2012!

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5+ years is a long while plus now I don’t have my trusty ZMA with me, though I have a tour spec P220 it’s just not the same as it was built for something bigger which has been postponed again and again to the extent that I’ve taken off the panniers and top box and kept the same in storage to make garage space for my Bajaj CT100B, which of course was my choice for the ride.

As I was starting from my parents’ home at Kollam and the rest were riding from Trivandrum, the meet-up location was decided to be Kottarakara, as I’d be coming from NH-66 and the rest would be joining from SH-1.

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I was of course the first one to reach which wasn’t a surprise as I stay roughly 30 km’s from the rendezvous, after waiting for some time the remaining lot arrived and there was a new face in the lost, Bittoo a friend of a fellow enthusiast who I would be mentioning below amongst the list of riders are rides.

The riders and their rides:
  • Jayan Morris on a 2010 Kawasaki Ninja 250R

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  • Yours truly on the 2017 Bajaj CT100B

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  • Bittoo(The rider wearing the Tan Jacket) on a 2017 Yamaha FZ16 v2

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  • Sukesh Sudharman on a 2015 KTM Duke 390

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  • Manu Pushpan on a 2015 Honda CBR 250R

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From Kottarakara the chosen route was via Pathanapuram, the CT100B was able to keep pace with the big boys as long as there was plains and twisties in sight, and when you think life is going in your favour out of the blue comes inclines, which I usually enjoy thumping over when I’m alone but it’s a different story with company especially the kind with more displacement and cylinders simply due to contrasting effect it has on riding styles.

When you’ve got enough oomph you have the luxury of moderation such as you can slow down and speed up at will without impacting the pace of the pack but without the latter at your disposal you’d have to plan well in advance be it corner or incline or both or even worse as momentum is all you’ve got and a momentary lapse of judgement is all it takes to disrupt the pace of the entire pack. Which I was well aware of but didn’t employ at the time considering that we did not have much distance to cover. But that soon changed as Bittoo being a cautious rider moderated his entry speed a little too much which he compensated on the straights and plains but I was having a really hard time keeping up in the plains and straights, which was humorously evident when climbing an incline I was bouncing off the limiter in lower gears and the Ninja 250R overtook me at a snail’s pace while Jayan had some fun trolling me by animatedly strolling.

Soon after I’d overtaken the FZ16 all was good and I was able to keep a decent pace by not slowing down and maintaining momentum on the corners and broken stretches. We arrived at a decision point where we could either choose the decent road which even Google Maps recommend or the one that is nowhere on the map, the decision was unanimous off beaten path it was.

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Manu went ahead to the forest guard’s office to confirm the route at which point the guards were dumbfounded to why we would opt for no roads when there was a freshly laid one.

The last time I was here was a really long time back and the roads were pure fun there was only mud, rocks and a lot of snakes in between and we had a lot of fun and scares because of it.

Flashback from 2012!

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Times had done a number on the route and it wasn’t nearly exciting, though there were still no roads attempts to construct the same was evident as a result of which the loose rocks were replaced by neglected patches of Tarmac and there was not a single snake in sight, not that I was missing them considering the measures taken(Parking motorcycle "IN" water) last time to prevent close encounters but it sure did leave a void.

Flashback from 2012!

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The next intention was to ride up to an old creek but we missed the turn and arrived at level ground where we parked our rides and walked down a narrow decline towards a river bank, where we stood pointlessly for a while after deciding to pass Achankovil Temple area at the earliest and reach Thenmala via Puliyarai~Aryankavu road.

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En route there were two water falls Kumbhavarutty and Manalar, Kumbhavarutty was closed due to some renovation work going on so without an option we went for Manalar.

As with all waterfalls the climb before the fall was challenging, I was running out of breath every now and then, though not so frequently the others were also partially worn out except for Manu who without a care in world was jogging up the incline jumping over trenches and hopping over rocks, mental note to self “Must Work Out!”

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The pond beneath the waterfalls was decently shallow and terrifyingly chilly, I being a lazy bum was reluctant to strip and get into to water body though after some serious persuasion I had to give in, but at my terms and that meant going in with my shirt, jeans and shoes on, I’m weird that way.

Knowing well from past experience that no matter how drenched clothing tends to dry after being on the road for a while I was ready soon after getting rid of the sediments that had wound up inside my shoe. The rest took their own sweet time dressing up as a resulting of while I was uncontrollably whining as hunger had got the best of me.

Back on the road everything was decent and we did stop at a usual spot where we snapped a couple of photos after which at Sukesh’s promise that he’d take us to a famous place that served the world’s best Parotta’s we decided to resume from which point the quarter litre siblings were gunning at it to counter wind resistance, while Manu aggressively rev-banged and launched the CBR I did notice considerable smoke coming from the exhaust which we later on inspected and came to the conclusion that it was due to the shim’s going out of clearance, which I still don’t find convincing but had to accept due to the absence of oil residue at the exhaust tip.

Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil-imag0335.jpg

Oh! About the Parotta place, well in the heat to beat the wind the quarter liter twins had gone far ahead and by the time we caught up with them we dropped the plan as we had covered a considerable distance from the place.
From there on we took the MC route with some deviations for the sake of better roads as the skies did not look promising, the irony of riding in the South is that you’re either warm or your wet or both, there’s seldom encouraging climate to much some serious miles.

A couple of minutes into the ride back and Manu was gunning it, the CBR had created a considerable gap as following the CBR was the FZ16 and Bittoo was taking it slow on the corners and making up for it on the straights which again didn’t work well for me due to the lack of oomph! The CT100B offered, so once again breaking formation I decided to tail the CBR.

From here on we had some fun, the front heavy CBR was gliding through corners carrying speed without a care in the world, which is remarkable for a motorcycle that had so many km’s put on it but this is the CBR and as some say in light humour you’re merely done with breaking-in the motor when you swap the clutch for the first time.

As for the CT100B, well as Dilip Bam once said;

“I demand the right to park MY ass wherever I feel like, not where the seat maker dictates me to.”

The seating on the CT100B is as versatile as you can imagine it to be, if you want to relax and cruise then you can sit back and do so at the same time if you come across something challenging then you’d just have to slide forward, position part of your crotch over the tank and settle down with the balls of your feet on the pegs and be it the twisties or the off-beaten paths she never disappoints.

Transferring as much weight to the front as possible I was able to meet pace with the CBR which was only possible due to Manu being gentle on the brakes as to be honest if he had at any point dropped down speed considerably I would’ve had a really hard time as the roads were wet and in spite of rev-matching the rear was all over the place and already putting too much faith on the front Ceat Secura F85 it would be nothing but unholy to expect more.

Our fun came to an end courtesy a bee that stung Manu’s cheek as he was riding with the visor up, I still don’t get how he was able to keep riding and bring the motorcycle to a calm halt as I would’ve lost composure if something of that nature had happened to me while riding on the thresholds.
While we were on the sidewalk the pack had caught up and from then on we decided to ride at a pace that was comfortable for all until Manu and Bittoo left the pack at Kilimanoor and I bid farewell to Jayan and Sukesh at Pothencode, which is where I usually park my motorcycle at the end of the day.

Until next time then!

Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil-imag0341.jpg
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Old 2nd November 2017, 11:35   #2
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

What a fun travelogue! Enjoyed reading it.

Wasn't surprised when you guys took the off map road. Men will be men.

You really seem to enjoy the CT100 a lot. The manoeuvrability with the small bikes is something every biker should experience. The part about the various seating positions is quite accurate. Small capacity bikes are surely capable of keeping up with bigger bikes considering the Indian road conditions. Have experienced this twice.

First time when I was on a Splendor and a couple of friends were on a Unicorn and a Stunner. Was easily able to keep up with them all along since there wasn't much of open road. Second time was when I was on my FZ and I had to keep up with a Karizma R. That was tough as both the bikes have good dynamics and it was our version of Moto GP wherein the Yamaha was trying to keep up with the Honda. Twisties, surely I was much at ease than the Karizma, but on highways where I had nothing more in my bike at almost full throttle, the Karizma strolled pass.

One last thing,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
[*]Bittoo(The rider wearing the Tan Jacket) on a 2017 Yamaha FZ16 v2
Is that really the V2.0? from the pictures looks like the older edition.

Until then, keep writing.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 12:38   #3
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

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Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
What a fun travelogue! Enjoyed reading it.

Wasn't surprised when you guys took the off map road. Men will be men.

You really seem to enjoy the CT100 a lot. The manoeuvrability with the small bikes is something every biker should experience. The part about the various seating positions is quite accurate. Small capacity bikes are surely capable of keeping up with bigger bikes considering the Indian road conditions. Have experienced this twice.

First time when I was on a Splendor and a couple of friends were on a Unicorn and a Stunner. Was easily able to keep up with them all along since there wasn't much of open road. Second time was when I was on my FZ and I had to keep up with a Karizma R. That was tough as both the bikes have good dynamics and it was our version of Moto GP wherein the Yamaha was trying to keep up with the Honda. Twisties, surely I was much at ease than the Karizma, but on highways where I had nothing more in my bike at almost full throttle, the Karizma strolled pass.
It's fun isn't it!

There has been an instance when we had to take a Ghat section for roughly 40kms and the CT100B arrived a lot earlier than the Ninja 250R and 200NS in the pack.

Plus it really puts things in black and white when it comes to bike v/s biker capability concerns and I second the fact that this is something everyone should experience cause it not only helps you get places but also helps you grow as a biker and an individual, sharing an extract from an earlier post of mine relating to a life changing experience I had a Bajaj Discover 100 DTSi 4G.

Quote:
Now came along the second ride, the Discover 100 DTSi, man the D100 was something! This was again gifted to me by dad in 2013 as I needed something to ride in Bangalore for my 2 year tenure. Got and registered it from my hometown i.e Kollam. The initial intention was to get the motorcycle to Karnataka and keep it there, but something happened in between and instead of parcelling my ride off to Bangalore I rode it there for the whole 750kms alone, being my first solo out of the state trip I was cautious and careful, maintained a decent 50~60kmph, but after 650kms and somewhere between Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri, I was exhausted and completely out of steam, this was after 15 hours on the saddle, that was my defining moment, at a roadside coffee shop sipping on some coffee and smoking a cigarette almost at the brink of tears, contemplating whether I should leave the motorcycle there and get on a bus and come back for it later or whether I should hire a truck and get it transported to Bangalore, I got into a trance where I was talking to myself;

“Is this all you’ve got? This moment would determine every single decision you take for the rest of your life, are you going to walk the talk or are you going to choose the easy way out, like always?”

And that was it, the decision was made and I reached my hostel at Bangalore in the next 2 hours riding the D100 with the throttle pinned at WOT most of the way.
Quote:
Is that really the V2.0? from the pictures looks like the older edition.

Until then, keep writing.
You're right per website its the "V1.0" but the reason for me mentioning V2 is because its the second variant which came with the dual cable carburetor and updated grab rails.

Cheers.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 14:22   #4
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

Nice Travelogue adorned with some fine clicks. I took this route (Thiruvananthapuram - Nedumangad- Palode- Thenmala - Shengottai- Thirumalaikovil- Achankovil- Punalur - Thriuvananthapuram) last month with two families ( Total 4 adults and 3 children) in my fiesta. The journey was awesome rather scary since most of the stretch from Thirumalaikovil to Punalur via Achankovil comprised of dense forest with almost no roads. During the journey I was in fear that whether I could complete this stretch because there were only some ancient remains of tarmacs. However my fiesta managed it very well except two or three mild under body thuds. Once again thanks for the posting the nice clicks which I could not make it my journey due to heavy rain showered all the way.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 16:21   #5
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

Its amazing how fuss free your ride was, hard for me to imagine my gang making and implementing a plan so seamlessly

I have owned a ZMA for 5years and man what a bike that was. I am a big fan of the other two bikes here as well ( N250 and the CBR 250). Try recording these terrains using GoPro etc, will be fun to re-visit these memories.
Keep riding
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Old 3rd November 2017, 09:12   #6
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

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Originally Posted by Jeevan Sukumar View Post
Nice Travelogue adorned with some fine clicks. I took this route (Thiruvananthapuram - Nedumangad- Palode- Thenmala - Shengottai- Thirumalaikovil- Achankovil- Punalur - Thriuvananthapuram) last month with two families ( Total 4 adults and 3 children) in my fiesta. The journey was awesome rather scary since most of the stretch from Thirumalaikovil to Punalur via Achankovil comprised of dense forest with almost no roads. During the journey I was in fear that whether I could complete this stretch because there were only some ancient remains of tarmacs. However my fiesta managed it very well except two or three mild under body thuds. Once again thanks for the posting the nice clicks which I could not make it my journey due to heavy rain showered all the way.
Well to be honest, first I'd like to applaud your guts cause honestly "DRIVING" on anything but tarmac gives me the heebeegeebees, adding family and kids to that equation is something unimaginable for me. It would be lovely if you could provide the link for the travelogue as I'd love to take my mom there, in broad daylight of-course.

Cheers

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Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
Its amazing how fuss free your ride was, hard for me to imagine my gang making and implementing a plan so seamlessly
Oh! All credits goes to Jayan Morris of xBhp, on a personal take it is hell for me when I try to initiate a ride, there is this inhibition among motorcyclists(not bikers) about dropping motorcycles and I'd like to appreciate people who participate in spite of owning expensive motorcycles because in the everything we know and love revolves around passion.

Quote:
I have owned a ZMA for 5years and man what a bike that was. I am a big fan of the other two bikes here as well ( N250 and the CBR 250). Try recording these terrains using GoPro etc, will be fun to re-visit these memories.
Keep riding
Big fan myself, though I don't see me owning either a N250R or a CBR250R anytime soon simply due to my reluctance in owning anything liquid cooled not to mention my sort of addiction with the thump! offered by a single cylinder 2v block.

As for the ZMA, MAN! How can a motorcycle be so inspiring! if I'd owned any other motorcycle while I was still a teenager I'd be either dead or bored by now. The motorcycle is really praise worthy and I wonder why Hero souped up something that was already perfect i.e except for the random compression loss that is common with most Honda's designed before millennium.

When it comes to recording anything, well anything other than writing simply does not work for me. Proof of my statement is the SJ4000WiFi which I used to own, I eventually got bored and started using it as a dash-cam until it died, simply because swapping the battery every 100km's in just not my thing, I'm just lazy that way

Cheers
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Old 4th November 2017, 14:02   #7
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

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Originally Posted by Omkar View Post
What a fun travelogue! Enjoyed reading it.

Wasn't surprised when you guys took the off map road. Men will be men.

You really seem to enjoy the CT100 a lot. The manoeuvrability with the small bikes is something every biker should experience. The part about the various seating positions is quite accurate. Small capacity bikes are surely capable of keeping up with bigger bikes considering the Indian road conditions. Have experienced this twice.

First time when I was on a Splendor and a couple of friends were on a Unicorn and a Stunner. Was easily able to keep up with them all along since there wasn't much of open road. Second time was when I was on my FZ and I had to keep up with a Karizma R. That was tough as both the bikes have good dynamics and it was our version of Moto GP wherein the Yamaha was trying to keep up with the Honda. Twisties, surely I was much at ease than the Karizma, but on highways where I had nothing more in my bike at almost full throttle, the Karizma strolled pass.
Hi Omkar,

You are right that most of the times smaller bikes can keep up with larger capacity bikes in Indian road conditions. But then the problem is when it comes to decelerating. Larger bikes have better brakes as compared to smaller bikes and stop much quicker without drama. Also not to mention that larger bikes with more power are engineered to do higher speeds, whereas commuter bikes are not.

Best if you have a smaller bike is to not try and catch up with a larger bike. That's my humble opinion. I have first hand experience of it, hence I thought I should just mention it here.

Cheers!
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Old 5th November 2017, 14:43   #8
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

Awesome read on a sunday afternoon. Thanks for sharing.
KD
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Old 6th November 2017, 09:52   #9
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

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Hi Omkar,

You are right that most of the times smaller bikes can keep up with larger capacity bikes in Indian road conditions. But then the problem is when it comes to decelerating. Larger bikes have better brakes as compared to smaller bikes and stop much quicker without drama. Also not to mention that larger bikes with more power are engineered to do higher speeds, whereas commuter bikes are not.

Best if you have a smaller bike is to not try and catch up with a larger bike. That's my humble opinion. I have first hand experience of it, hence I thought I should just mention it here.

Cheers!
I completely agree with what you have said, especially the last part. The only reason why I keep riding the CT100B is because it inspires more confidence in me, as my preference for speed has shifted and now I'm more into maintaining average speed rather than top speed. In that sense I see the CT100B as a more reliable and cheaper Royal Enfield for the matured rider.

As for keeping up with bigger/faster motorcycles there is nothing as dangerous simply due to the innumerable variables present when on public roads.

An experience I'd like to share is from when I had attended the xBhp ISG2G 2016 at Ooty on my TVS Wego(SCOOTY TO OOTY A.K.A XBHP ISG2G ’16), on day 2 I was trying to keep up pace with a fellow biker(he's not part of this ride) on a CBR 250R and was mostly successful considering that this particular section had short straights when we were about to enter a downhill corner a state transport bus which was coming the opposite direction braked mid corner resulting in a Maruti 800 which was ahead of the CBR250R to brake hard and come to a screeching halt as a result of which the CBR250R braked hard which obviously resulted in me having to brake, but guess what both my tires locked and if it were not for the CBR250R riders quick reflexes to change direction or rather flip the bike then and there and continue into the corner the scene would've been gruesome at the least.

To be frank it takes a lot of effort to convince your group mates who would insist on riding along with the pack, but for ours and everyone else's safety I would always recommend riding in sets so that everyone is in their respective comfort zones.

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Awesome read on a sunday afternoon. Thanks for sharing.
KD
Thank you for reading.
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Old 7th November 2017, 16:39   #10
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

Nice write up and pictures! Quite and adventure.

Please share the exact route you took to and fro. I assume you entered the forest road via Piravanthur, right?

You mentioned a freshly laid road, which one is that?
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Old 21st November 2017, 09:10   #11
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

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Nice write up and pictures! Quite and adventure.

Please share the exact route you took to and fro. I assume you entered the forest road via Piravanthur, right?

You mentioned a freshly laid road, which one is that?
I'm not very good with remembering names of places, hence I believe my location timeline would be of better help.

Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil-capture.png

As for names, even zooming into the route doesn't reveal any markers. The freshly laid route is on the left from the forest guard's office.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 09:56   #12
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Default Re: Bajaj CT100B: Trail Riding in Achankovil

Dear Ashwin, One doubt. From Achankoil to Puliyarai you must have come through a forest route right. Do you require permission to travel that route
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Old 22nd November 2017, 11:12   #13
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Dear Ashwin, One doubt. From Achankoil to Puliyarai you must have come through a forest route right. Do you require permission to travel that route
No permission required as it is commonly used route, or at least we felt so as there were a lot of cars and tourists around.
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