Thursday, February 28, 2008

Glebe Point went off with a bang last night. A new area, a new map, and for most starters, a beautiful early evening's run. The 6.45p.m. brigade, in contrast, enjoyed a bit of the old Sydney 'showers and possible thunderstorms' entertainment, returning with soggy cards, fogged glasses and glistening thighs (mmm!).

Looks like around 210/220 took the bait and fronted for this different, almost inner city SSS experience. The foreshore route to #22 and #13 yielding great west city and fish market views - and with the Anzac humming in the distance. Because late score calculations were rather overtaken with the 'dampness factor', a list of place-getters has eluded your correspondent. I did hear that Rob Mason managed 590 - an incredible run if correct. My setting estimate was around the 10.25 klm. mark, with slight variations depending how you cut the inner Glebe control visits. So getting this close to 600 with the upsey downsey stuff is a sensational outing. There were plenty of higher than average scores given the 1:7500 scale map and good stuff close in.

Routes taken on departure and finishing were from all points of the compass - a pleasing outcome. Many initially visited #11, although the guns were often seen flying off to #14, and then presumably trying to work the tempting 25,26 pots into an exit north east. More than I imagined visited #20, some finding the distraction cost them when they returned to more sensible matters at #28. Few made it to my 'Andrew Hill' pot (#5) although the 29/18 stretch got a few into the Annandale tango. Many of our newer runners failed to find #1, not realising it was a couple of contours up the hill - an annoying bit of course setting shenanigans by the old Porkie.

Next week we continue with our new map 'package', returning up the north shore to East Killara. This area promises a bit of yummy bush track work with several tempting reserves to get under the Dunlop Volley's. Allan Tilley is at the controls for SSS event #21 and should have us working the legs, and hopefully the grey matter. Fun as always. Let's hope we get a beautiful evening.

Looking forward to April, note that we continue our SSS format into the Autumn with our evening series. Lots of fun running with the headlight on and looking for the reflector tape. The first event at Lavender Bay will actually be still in daylight saving as new legislation has moved the closing date back. We may well start early for this one, effectively adding another SSS event.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Beautiful weather at last! Melvyn Cox's event last night at Killarney Heights saw most running a new area, and even the old hands saw a very different map - Mel adding considerably to the west and north. Around 180 turned up ( a big change on the area's last use in 1992 where on a rainy night, we had just eight runners!!) and enjoyed a challenging course - many underestimating their abilities and coming in early. The hilly stuff should have slowed the old dogs but many good scores were posted despite the climbing.

Once again, Glenn and Andrew got the lot - Andy just shading the 'horror movie' by 10 points after a nine minute late return (510 to 500). Andy said the legs were burning on the home leg uphill from 12 and 5. Rob Mason also ran a blinder for 500. Gil Fowler continued her excellent form with 450, and Wendy Stevenson powered to 430, obviously less bothered by recent injuries. Allison Lilley and Sue Login also made 430.

In the old blokes sections Gordy and 'Was' ran a dead heat for 450, with Legends Tearaway Ted on 390 and Timmy 'grandad' Cox a half head back on 380 - both exceptional runs in the pipe and slippers category.

Most runners chose to ignore the western grouping, with #1, 2 and 3 just not proving tempting enough to draw them through to 21 and 11. Many runners doing the south were tempted down to #13 however, adding to the rewarding sweep of 24, 22 and 23. Lots of good route selection with runners going off in many directions (16 and 14 the main exit points). Another excellent SSS event. Big thanks Melvyn.

As alluded to in the last post, next week's Glebe event is a new inner city area map with lots of very different action to Killarney. Expect puzzling control distributions, confusing street grids and great views. Also consider public transport (tram stop at Jubilee Park and bus to Glebe Point) if possible, as parking is tight (walking from Chapman Road south end across the park is an option - plenty parking there). No matter how you come, you can expect another summer series classic! Be there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Your racing correspondent was missing last week, but I gather a healthy roll up made the Balls Head event one to remember. This has always been a 'goodie', and so close to transport to guarantee a crowd. I understand the weather was ok which would have been a relief for course setter John Anderson and the Garingal crew. I presume there was a goodly spread in the bush with the flog up to the top of the map one of the key directional decisions. The BP site is always fun navigation, and a great piece of Sydney Harbour now back to be enjoyed by the public.

This week the action moves to Killarney Heights, and an area not used for the Summer Series for many years. Course setter Mel Cox will no doubt turn on a ripper in this great area, with it's mix of street, park and bush track running. The views from the tracks above the old historic magazine buildings on Middle Harbour are fantastic if memory seres me right. Many who have run the Great Nosh footrace will also know sections of this map - including the 'delicious' climb up from Flat Rock track. Should be fun, WILL be fun!! See you there.

And looking forward. Next week we have the new map of Glebe. This small scale map (1:7500) will still give you a workout. Expect to get city views, parks, alleys and lots of confusing small streets. Parking might be tight, so come by tram if you can (or bus - the start is right near the end of the Glebe Point service).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Event 17 began in warm sun, turned to windy and gray and finally ended up raining! Despite the late moisture, most runners managed to get their run in the dry, and enjoyed an area with many spectacular views. Setter Mike Burton deployed his pots in two distinct locations - 300 points to the west, seemingly closely grouped, but involving some fearsome climbing - and 300 points on a long stretch to the east. #21 was the difficult one to loop in to both these directions, but most couldn't resist a thirty and got it - often early.

The start location was the more friendly Holly Street Oval (than last years hill climb rally from the old pool site), and saw runners heading off either via #1 or to #20 on the level! Hill work soon loomed however. The big results were unusually both for a clean sweep of all controls. Andrew Hill back in 53 minutes for 510 and Glenn a minute shy for 500 - both spectacular efforts, with Glenn coming home via 30, 18, 9, and 20 - a real slog that no doubt had the legs burning.

In the Open Womens group Gil Fowler ran an excellent 400, with Joanna Sinclair I think going ten or so better. Amazing running. Warwick Selby took out the old men (again!) with a brilliant 410, just in front of Gordy on 400. Ron J was heard to remark that 'I could have got 410 with more time' - brilliant work Ronnie, I think I see a book coming!

Looking at the course and the results board, any score over 400 was very well earned indeed. It was good to be able to run the southern bush track and enjoy the excellent sandstone features (#24 being a top location). Other great views were along the road from #3 to #13 and at #11. Good stuff, and who knows, we may eventually get to 'Explosives Reserve' next season - seems we are heading in that direction.

The cruel setter control was #22 (you bugger Michael), and the lonely pot award probably to #4. Good to see all pots well placed and clearly described. Thanks Big Foot, much appreciated by a big turn out (seemed like high 160/170's or so).

Next week sees a return to popular Balls Head. This should be a ripper, and with good weather, could see a record roll up. John Anderson has his finger on the button of this enjoyable mix of bush track checkpoints at Balls Head itself, the restored and fascinating old BP site and the narrow streets of Waverton. A great location with many great views and close to transport - the train station is on the map. This one is a must, don't miss it.

And looking forward. After 'The Balls', we have a succession of three new areas, Killarney, Glebe and East Killara. A fantastic mix of urban and bush fun to look forward to. And for the complete addict, note that the Autumn Evening series is finalised and will follow the SSS. Five events kicking off at Lavender Bay on Wednesday 2 April. Yum!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pork Pie is back at the laptop!

After a rather indulgent holiday break, it's back to Summer Series reporting. Since the excellent pre-Christmas run at Balmoral, we have had five events in varying weather conditions - including the threatening stormy stuff at East Lindfield.

The first of the '08 events saw us enjoying the eastern end to the Gladesville Hospital map - made possible because of school holidays helping with the parking. A good turn out and a well set course by Graeme Dawson. Many would have 'enjoyed' the control at the bottom of the steps below the bowling club, and the scramble to controls below the start. The waterline route worked for many here in a good stretch out after the Christmas pud.

Then came Dr Matt with an excellent Tarban Creek run in hot conditions on January 9. The start within the school added excitement, with most seeming to tackle the school checkpoints on the way out rather than the way back. The 'boat' control was a classic. On the 16th, we raced the storm at 'Two Creeks'. Although Wayne didn't in the end put any controls on the track, there was an absolute puzzle of stuff to loop together, including some steep climbing. Most went off north past the scout hall (this time not encountering the land owner with camera!), looping west before the dash home past the shops. There was a lonely control way down on the south side (14?) - probably only visited by Glenn as he toured the lot. Later runners copped the rain, which gave the organisers a bit of curry without much shelter on site. A good run all the same.

The next event was a bottler at Dee Why set by Karin. Those that like their water views (me included) were probably not going to get the gold along the cliff top track but enjoyed it anyway. It is always a lesson in speed when you go 'off road'. There were lots of up and down and route variations elsewhere and the heat was a definite factor. In complete contrast to the week before.

Last week saw a good turn out at Parramatta and the dance of the high fence. This is a map that requires very careful study (would be great at 1:5000 for a sprint O) in navigating the buildings and fence areas, but rewarding orienteering when you pull it off. The open park areas to the south was in contrast, and speedy stuff worked there. Various creek crossings were another feature and an encounter with dark green by yours truly was a disaster. Barry's mapping means what it says!

Tomorrow night we return to the Big Foot map at Castle Cove where Michael Burton and Connie have a bit of fun in store for us - this time starting up higher in Holly Street. Many may remember the uphill slog from the old pool site last year (well, it was fun coming back downhill!!). We may get closer to to 'Explosives Reserve' this time and are certain to get some good views. A good way to experience a rarely seen part of Sydney. Lets hope the wet holds off for this little gem. Be there!

Finally, many might have seen the small piece in the latest issue of The Sydney magazine (on page 21). Good publicity and already generating several enquiries. And still plenty of good events to come, including three new map areas. The Glebe Point map is complete and should be an enjoyable puzzle - wait till you see the street grid! (27/2), as should be the new bushy one at East Killara and the revived Killarney Heights cracker on Feb 20.

More soon.

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