Archive for the ‘HPV’ Category

WHPSC 2017 Poster

The poster for WHPSC 2017 has just been added to the IHPVA site.

BM 2017 rgh 2.cdr

The artwork is by C. Michael Lewis, who donates his handiwork every year.  This year is the second time that he has included elements other than a bike into the poster design. He obviously drew from several different elements to depict the timing table.

The featured bike this year is the PulsaR from Team Policumbent.


He also included details of the banner at the end of the traps, the timing table, and the two wind meters we used this year.


“Battle Mountain” is done in a 7 segment LED style, which reflects the fact that we added a display to the timing table this year.


The background colours might reflect some of the many shots taken at sunset, like this one by Danny Guthrie.


Not sure where the red T shirt came from, but I recognize the hat ;). Looking forward to another fun week this September!

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Every year, one the main projects of the HPVDT is to build a bike for the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The team is hard at work finishing the design for this year’s bike, and fabrication has started.

Here, several team members are working on their designs.


Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, the seismic design team is building a balsa wood tower for a competition in April.


Bill working on a component mold.


Evan poses with the halves of the plug for the body.


Here is the plug glued together. You can get a sense of the shape of the bike.


Alert readers will see the similarity to Vortex, which was the second ASME bike built by the team. It won the overall title at the 2011 ASME HPVC East competition. You can see glimpses of it in its raw carbon state in this ASME video.



Here is Vortex sitting in a back storeroom.


After winning at ASME, Vortex went on to be raced at numerous races in the US Midwest, and was run every year at the WHPSC in Battle Mountain. The number on the side commemorates the fact that last September, Vortex made its 100th run at WHPSC, which was the most of any vehicle at that competition.


After Vortex, the team went on to try a variety of designs for ASME, including a streamliner

bluenose with tufts

a faired trike


a leaning trike


and an unfaired lowracer. (Note that Sherry’s feet are not on the pedals in this pic)


Last year’s design, Cyclone, was based on Vortex, but it was not completed in time to run at the competition.


Tempest is another Vortex based bike, but with a refined shape. We plan to have it ready, running, and tested before ASME East which is at the end of the third week in April.

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Team Japan at the WHPSC Part 2

Part 1 is here

text: America, State of Nevadascreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-36-35-pm

To chase the dream of ultimate speed, people build bikes and gather here from all over the world to try to go faster than 140 kph on A BICYCLE! screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-36-59-pm

Competitors come from all over the world.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-38-01-pm

By coming here, our team is learning a lotscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-38-59-pm

Jan Marcel: We want to show people all over the world what we can accomplish with human power. (text on left says Holland Team)screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-39-16-pm

Into this setting that tests technical skill comes a team from Japan for the first time.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-45-06-pm

Last December, the team was recruited. The motorbike people didn’t know when they were recruited for the project that this was about bicycles.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-46-08-pm

Text: this past March (a brief recap of the race against Team Cygnus)screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-48-41-pm

they won! (speed of 93.69 kph)screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-49-30-pm

After that, they started to design a new bike to go after the world record.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-51-31-pm

They showed up to the WHPSC, but they had some difficulties and were not able to race the first day   [text: accident]screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-52-14-pm

A brief montage of fiddling with the bike, then an image of the rain on Tuesday that cost them another day.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-54-16-pm

Finally they got to run, but their starts were a disaster.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-55-32-pm

Ikegami: at this point we’re not doing very well are we?screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-56-37-pm

Only two days left!!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-57-41-pm

Stay tuned to find out what happens nextscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-58-51-pm

(Introduction of the talent) Hi everyone, we’ve come all the way to America to take in this event.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-59-35-pm

Fifteen teams from 9 different counties.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-01-00-pm

and believe it or not, those things that you see are bicycles.When you first see them you think “What the hell are those!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-01-57-pm

Explaining that speed bikes have a bike inside a cowl (fairing) [flashback to Velox 1]screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-02-16-pm

The fairing reduced drag. The air moves smoothly past the bike, which is what you need if you want to go faster than 100 kph.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-03-10-pm

showing off the new bike.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-05-20-pm

4th day of competitionscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-05-56-pm

Team Japan managed to g0 118.38 kph….but the wind was above the legal limit of 1.67 m/s.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-07-32-pm


  • Canada A
  • France
  • Holland A
  • Italy
  • England
  • Canada B
  • Japan
  • Russia

Brief bio of rider Komori, who after high school started racing professionally, and has raced in France, Italy, and the US.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-08-57-pm

At the 2.5 mile, I was already in the top gear.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-11-45-pm

15T top gear.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-12-19-pm

Why don’t we go for 11T?

What? are you aiming for over 140 kph? [I love Ikegami’s incredulous reaction]screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-13-38-pm

Ikegami had been conservative with the 15T gear to make sure the rider was going to be alright. He decides that to go to 11T, he needs to convert the middrive cluster from 5 cogs to 7. Can he get this done in three hours?screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-16-45-pm

Ikegami-san how are we doing?

Well we’re pretty keyed up. The wind conditions look good. If we are lucky we should get in a good run.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-19-41-pm

Wait a minute, aren’t you going at it a little to hard for a warm up? screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-20-52-pm

Komori replies that his peak effort is less than 5 minutes, so it is more important to be able to put out peak power, even from the beginning of the run.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-22-19-pm

Explaining about the display board at timing and if he goes below 6 seconds, then the speed is 120 kph.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-23-02-pm

here we go!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-25-15-pm

at the 2.5 miles he is 1 kph faster than yesterdayscreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-26-46-pm

five seconds and change over 200 m!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-28-34-pm

Japan moves into 2nd placescreen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-29-39-pm

I didn’t manage to get into top gear.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-30-29-pm

I finally had the feeling that we got a good run in.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-31-16-pm

Day 6: last day of the competition.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-32-55-pm

Talking things over with cowl designer Mr. Seki.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-33-46-pm

Ryohei gets some advice from world record holder Todd. (go all out for the last 1000 to 1600 m) It takes experience to find out how to apply the power exactly where down the course to get the highest speed.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-35-14-pm

With this advice in mind, they decide that Komori needs to start sprinting about 5 seconds earlier.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-37-22-pm

I need to extend my sprint. I’ll imagine that the finish line is just a little further away.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-38-34-pm

Last change to run, one blown start, and then success. [note that during the first launch, it looks like the guy to the left tripped and pushed the bike over]

Junior Chihara: Is it normal that he is weaving back and forth like that?

Reply: not unusual if he is sprinting. (gear number5) screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-46-03-pm

Felt like a good run if the winds were legal.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-48-50-pm

Even as I thought that I couldn’t hold the effort, I managed to push through. I was able to get into top gear!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-51-06-pm

82.03 mph, legal wind!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-52-59-pm

Even though they didn’t set a new world record they finished 2nd in the world.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-54-37-pm

and a 80 mph hat.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-55-17-pm

Final thoughts with the team:

Well for a ten month project, the idea that you could go faster than 100 kph on a bike seemed a bit crazy, but when we went 90 in March, then I thought, well something in the 130 kph range was within reach.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-56-12-pm

It was really satisfying to build such a pretty bike.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-58-18-pm

Well we put ourselves under pressure because we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves coming out here. We are proud we did well under pressure, and we really enjoyed ourselves.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-59-38-pm

Congratulations on all your effort!screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-5-00-53-pm

Next time on Sugowaza: how to launch a drink all the way down a 15m long bar.screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-5-01-42-pm

It’s doubtful that the team will return to WHPSC, which is a shame. They did phenomenally well, having the most successful debut ever for a new team and a new bike. One can only speculate how much faster they could have gone if they had gotten more than 3 runs down the five mile course.

Video here.



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Team Japan at the WHPSC Part 1

This year, there was a Japanese team at the WHPSC for the first time. They were accompanied by a camera crew as this whole project was sponsored in part to produce a couple of segments for an NHK show called “Sugowaza” which roughly translates to “extreme engineering”.  This past March, the first segment was broadcast, where Team Super Ketta (Ketta is slang for bike in the Nagoya dialect) put together a bike and competed against Team Cygnus. Since the time of that broadcast, the team got busy building a second generation bike, which they brought to Battle Mountain.

The first part of a two segment show was broadcast today.What follows is a series of screen caps from a very poor video stream of the show. [editorial comments in brackets]

Note also that any mis translations are solely my responsibility, due to my Japanese being at about a 3rd grade level.

The lead in starts with a review of the 2015 world record of just under 140 kph.


Text says: World Human Powered Speed Challenge (spelled out phonetically in Japanese)


The two characters on the left say “Human Power”


A brief review of the three principle members of the team: the rider, the team leader (Ikegami, who also designed the internals of the bike) and the fairing designer from Toray.


The length of the entire project was 10 months, starting in December of last year. There objective was to go 140 kph to set a new record.


Some footage of the earlier race in March on a test track in Japan, with the Mark 1 bike vs. Jan Marcel in Cygnus Chronos.


Now the credits to the program.


Text says: Battle Mountain Route 305, America, state of Nevada.


A diagram showing the course, with the timing section at the end.


Now a discussion of how the new bike is different than the first one. Super Ketta 162; the number means the 2nd bike built in 2016.


The new bike is smaller and the clearances are at a minimum. Toe clearance is 1 mm. .


They are relieved that the toe clearance is OK.


They estimate with the new shape that the aerodynamic drag should be decreased by 30%.


Also a switch from windshield to camera.


Front and rear suspension (the speciality of Ikegami, who works for Yamaha motorcycles).


Now some footage of Monday morning qualifying.72.42 kph = 45 mph is the minimum qualifying speed to run the 5 mile course. Calvin has a cameo.


Team Japan goes 88.25 kph and they are happy.


After qualifying, they rank 7th.


The teams are listed in the following order:

  1. Holland A (Jan Marcel)
  2. Canada A (Todd)
  3. Italy (Andrea)
  4. Holland B (Jan)
  5. Australia (Gareth)
  6. Canada B (Calvin)
  7. Japan (Ryohei)

During the rider debrief, Ryohei talked about noise in the drivetrain. There is a bigger issue. Here, Ikegami is being told that the handling feels very floaty as if the rider can’t feel any solid contact with the ground. He would prefer that the suspension be removed. This is bad news.


Now a long montage of the team frantically working on the bike. At the time of the debrief, there was only four hours before the racers had to go out for the evening session. The drivetrain noise is traced to wheel imbalance, and the fact that the wheel fairings are not stiff enough.


The suspension is more problematic. One issue: the front mount for the drivetrain subframe will not bolt on correctly since the replacement aluminum mount doesn’t have the correct holes.


In the meantime, riders are setting up for Monday evening, and there is no sign of Team Japan. A good number of bikes are going above 120 kph now, and this changes the seeding.

Working late into the night.


All Tuesday runs were cancelled, and it was decided to use the seeding for Tues AM for Wednesday AM. Note that Team Japan is not scheduled to run.

Wednesday midday: at the seeding meeting, Team Japan gets a rude shock. Since they were not able to run on Monday evening, their seeding position has now dropped to 13th, and only 12 bikes can run in the evening. Their only choice is to sign up for Thursday morning.


Ikegami being told they can’t run Wednesday evening. Do not play poker with this man.


That evening, Todd Reichert resets the record to 142.04 mph = 88 mph.

Team Japan is in the stands. Ikegami says that Todd’s run was unbelievable.


The hosts of the show, Junior Chihara and female sidekick, meet up with the team and the new bike. He comments that the new bike is totally different and much smaller than the one they saw in March.


In response to a question, Ryohei says that the bike is ridiculously difficult to ride since there is only 2.5° of steering available in either direction. [at this point, my wife comments that I shouldn’t be allowed to ride any two wheeled streamliners anymore]


Thursday morning: team Japan has four unsuccessful launches and are told that they can’t run. Apparently the removal of the suspension has changed the handling of the bike at low speeds. [There is a two minute launch window for each bike since we try to run four or five bikes down the course during a heat. The faster bikes take about 6 minutes to get down the course, and we are only allowed to close route 305 for twenty minutes at a time]


However, there were some other cancellations, so we squeezed in an extra heat, and this time Super Ketta 162 made it down the course, albeit with some new scratches on the shell.


The team is happy that they went 30 kph faster than qualifying.


However they were a little disappointed to learn that the winds were above the legal limit of 1.67 m/s

Also, Ryohei says he ran out of gears. More mechanical work for the team…Now lots of dramatic music: what is going to happen next?  They have only two more chances to run!


[the NHK people wanted Ryohei to run again in the evening, and ideally both morning and evening for the rest of the week, but he put his foot down and said only once a day. He was now seeded fast enough to run Friday and Saturday evening]

Tune in next week: same Bat time, same Bat channel!

Update: the show is available online here:


(required flash)

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Tarik Saleh Bike Club

Back in 2011, I apparently became the first foreign member of the Tarik Saleh bike club. As it says on the official page, there are only two rules:

1. Ride bikes

2. Try not to be an ass

Very wise words in this season of car vs bikes madness.

The TSBC started with you sent him a couple of bucks and he sent you some pins with a postcard. Now it has gotten all fancy with an official store where you can order stuff. When I saw this, I took the opportunity to get the very last of the canvas saddle covers from Randi Jo Fabrications. It arrived a couple of days ago, along with some patches and pins.


Here’s a close up of the patch.


The reason I wanted the seat cover was that my Brooks model had holes in it after probably a year of light use.


Here’s the new cover, shown from the back so that you can see the holes for saddle bag loops.


The green lap is to protect the underside of the saddle, and there are also snaps on the sides.

Overall impression is that looks sturdy, and the workmanship is very good. I’m guessing that it was meant for a B17; the fit is a bit snug on my Selle Anatomica X, but it works.  The only downside that I see is that it is not really a super quick on and off item because of the underflap.I might have been better off getting another Carradice, which was the one that I had before it finally wore out after much use, but I couldn’t find a local source. For the moment, I’m perfectly fine leaving it on the pink saddle for a while.

Update: the Human Powered Race Association is a like minded organization. According to their rules: (scroll down to the bottom)


Hat tip to Garrie for pointing this out.


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BM2016: Danny Guthrie Images

Some images from the laptop of Danny Guthrie this past week. Most of them taken with a Sony Rx100 point and shoot, plus some photoshop artistry.

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BM2016 Awards Banquet and Wrap Up

After a week of racing, we gather for the banquet and awards ceremony. I’m wondering how much food will be left after the Delft/Amsterdam team.


Here are all the hats to be given out tonight.


Here is Team Cygnus (extended edition)


Here are all the riders


and the people taking photos of them.

The three fastest men: Todd, Ryohei and Aurélien.


The three fastest women: Yasmin, Ellen and Sherry.


The three fastest collegiate Teams: IUT Annecy, Policumbent (Torino) and Delft/Amsterdam.


All the winners of the drag races on Friday afternoon. It was noted that the two people who raced on foot were both beaten by a fairly wide margin by Scout, a yellow Lab.


All the new hat winners. Three of them (Evan, Thomas and Rossdan) were from HPVDT.


This event has been growing, especially with the addition of many large university teams (six this year). There is also a growing divide between the well funded teams, and the smaller home builders. Nevertheless, this event continues to attract a wide spectrum of riders, and with the current seeding system and number of heats, everyone gets to run at least once a day.

Now some comments on each team, in the order in which they were introduced at the banquet.

University of Liverpool


This is a well supported team that came last year and did extremely well their first time out with Ken Buckley pushing the British Mens’ record above 75 mph on the last day of racing. This year, they came back with a new bike (Arion2), Ken once again, and a very strong female rider in Yasmin. Ken pushed the British record up to 76.59, but the real eye opener was Yasmin, who as a first time rider is now the 2nd fastest woman in the world at 71.05 mph. They had high hopes of going even faster on Saturday evening, but unfortunately Ken crashed in heat 1, and so Yasmin was not able to ride in heat 3. Hopefully they will be back next year.

Team 60 @ 60


Every time Greg and Peter show up, they do so with a different (and slower?) vehicle. This time, they wanted to see how fast they could push a production velomobile. Both of them easily qualified for the five mile runs, and Greg went on to almost go 60 mph. It was a hoot to see either of them come into catch, honk their horn, and use their turn signals.

Team Dos to the Tres


Adam Ince has been showing up for years as a spectator and photographer. Several years ago he had a two wheeler that he crashed a couple of times. This time, after converting it to a trike, he got down the course with ease, eventually going 44.6 mph, just shy of the qualifying speed for the five mile run.

Team Delft/Amsterdam


Traditionally one of the power house University based teams since they first showed up in 2011. This year, their bike seemed slow once again. Jan Bos said that he was putting out in excess of 700 watts during the sprint and yet he didn’t go quite as fast as he did several years ago in Velox 2. No doubt they will be back next year, but it appears that they are being held back by the fact that they build an entirely new bike every year, rather than perfecting and developing the same bike over several years.

Team Tetiva


The Russians did well, with second time rider Alexei setting a personal best and getting a 65 mph hat. They are still chasing the fast run by original Tetiva rider Sergey.

Team Policumbent


This team did very well last year, and they came back with a slightly evolved version of their bike PulsaR. Andrea set an Italian record of 78.85 mph, which is in the upper range of the 75-80 mph that they were aiming for, so they went home very happy. Now comes the task of fundraising so that they can build a faster bike for Andrea.

Larry Lem


With every built Larry’s bikes look better and better. This year he came with Super 8, a camera bike that was more sophisticated than his previous bikes. He was disappointed that he was only able to go 64.55 mph, which was slower than what he did in Beagle. Word is that he is trying to get his brother Frank to run Beluga next year.

University of Toronto (HPVDT)


Our team came with hopes of Calvin going 80 in Eta Prime, and running Vortex to give the other team members seat time. Evan and Rossdan (missing in the above picture) were able to get their first hats, and Thomas upgraded is hat to 60 mph on the last run of the entire competition. This was also the 100th run for Vortex down 305. I was informed that this is 100 complete runs and doesn’t include DNF’s. Vortex will now be retired from WHPSC, although they will still race it in the HPRA race series. Eta Prime will be back next year, with more refinement, and hopefully with Calvin having had more time to train.

Gareth Hanks


Gareth was back with All Overzealous, and he managed to push the Mens’ multitrack record to 73.95 mph on his last run of the week. His parents were along as his crew, and they looked like they were enjoying themselves. Gareth said that if he comes back, it will be with a two wheeler.

Team Super Ketta


This team is the most successful first time team at the WHPSC, with Ryohei Komori going 82.03 mph on his final run. This betters Sebastiaan’s performance in Velox 1 when he went over 80 his first time out in Battle Mountain. One can only wonder how much faster Mr. Komori could go if he had had a few more runs. They were set back by their decision not to run on the 5 mile on Monday evening, which held them back from running in the evening on Wednesday. They only did three 5 mile runs. One doubts that they will be back as their effort was for a TV show. Here is just a small part of the camera crew following them around all week.


Andrew Sourk


Andrew is a one man show from Michigan, although he had a solid background in HPV racing from his time as part of the MS&T ASME HPVC team. His trike had teething problems, notably because a fabrication error put his front wheel off the centre line. He did manage to get the trike down the road which was a moral victory. Also, the Mexican team learned a lot by serving as his crew.

IUT Annecy


This team builds a bike that doesn’t conform to the cookie cutter type of fast streamliner. Additionally, Aurélien is a very strong rider. He set a new personal best, and went even faster on Saturday night, but his run was not wind legal. He is still chasing that 80 mph hat.



Once again, this team came in and executed a near perfect game plan, with Todd capping off the week with a run just shy of 90 mph.As Gareth put it, the other teams were left completing for the “non-Todd record”. The fact that they didn’t go 90 means that surely they will be back next year. In the meantime, they are aiming for an attempt at the one hour record sometime this fall. #1 issue: keeping Todd from cooking himself for that long duration.

Ellen and Hans


This team came back with Velox XS, and got consistently faster as the week went on, with Ellen going just over 70 mph on her final run, just shy of her personal best set in 2014.

Team Kowalik


After several years of trying, Florian Kowalik finally got the Junior Mens’ record, and proceeded to push it still higher another two times. Perhaps he could have gone even faster on Saturday, but he had a flat tire that ended in an in course catch. No doubt he will be back, but he won’t be a junior anymore.

Team Cygnus


Team Cygnus always brings a lot of spirit to the competition. Jan Marcel is still chasing that elusive 80 mph hat. He did not get very many clean runs this year, ending up with a high speed of 75 mph (not wind legal), well shy of his speed in previous years. Wishing you better luck next year.


Some teams or racers left before the banquet.

Barclay Henry


Good to see Barclay and Beth back at Battle Mountain after an absence of several years. Barclay’s trike had new bodywork, but it didn’t manage to go as fast as it did in its Backslider incarnation. Barclay did finish third in the multitrack class. In addition, their yellow Lab Scout won the footrace division of the Friday afternoon sprints.


Dave Sianez


Dave actually went a bit slower in his new trike, compared to what he did in 2013 with Big Nose Pete. I didn’t get a chance to ask why that was. Perhaps there were some handling problems due to the fact that his new trike was switched from tadpole to delta in the course of this build.

Plymouth University


This team left satisfied that Sarah Piercy reset the womens’ arm powered record. They elected not to run on Saturday as they had a hard deadline to crate and ship the trike back to the UK.

Universidad De La Salle Bajío


This team showed up with plenty of enthusiasm, but unfortunately their trike was not complete. It was a rear steered design.  They hung out the whole week and generally helped out other teams, notably crewing for Andrew Sourke. Their rider got a few laps of the Civic Centre parking lot in Vortex, and rumour has it that they’ll be getting some CAD files from HPVDT as well. They also hosted a memorable party on Thursday night. Hopefully we’ll see them back with a complete bike next time.


Finally as a timer’s perogative, I’d like to thank the people that helped out at timing this year.

Firstly, my buddy Danny Guthrie who has been hanging out for the past several years. We used to be neighbours in Michigan, and this week has become our chance to re connect. I’ll be posting some of his excellent images later this week. (photo D. Guthrie)


Secondly, Arnold and Marieke who were back after an absence of several years. Arnold has said that he will program an Excel spreadsheet to simplify record keeping for next year. (photos D. Guthrie)



Brad, our faithful timer at 200 m.


and new comer Petra Lynn Hofmann, who spent a couple of evenings with us and saw some records set.


Finally, and big thanks to Al and Alice who were our tireless leaders all week.


Signing off after another week of racing at Battle Mountain.  See you next year.









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