Thursday, October 30, 2008

Go Mounty!!!

Despite another touch of the damp, and the efforts and cunning of master course setter Glenn 'Rescue Me' Horrocks, Richard Mountstephens swept the lot last night in exactly 45" - a breathtaking performance. Andrew Hill and Mike Burton also flew the course (560/570) but were shaded on the turn by King Dick. Superb running from all three stars on a grey and drizzly afternoon.

Yes punters, event four has come and gone in a welter of grass clippings clinging to the socks, as the 160 or so rusted on SSS champions took their cure at Macquarie Hospital. Whereas last week was the "Thermal Series', last night might be called 'La Squelch', as the Volleys took on water with several bush tracks pretending to be creeks. Those that ploughed to #16 will know what I mean. At least it wasn't as cold as 'The Bank'.

Glenn's course looked a sweep at first glance with many planning a wide run. The map incorporated newly mapped areas to the west and south that tempted those that like the sniff of new pasture - perhaps to the detriment to their scoring. With the scatter of 30 pointers around the course perimeter, the foot had to be to the floorboards no matter which way was attempted. Many headed north to loop the hospital 120 early, most after a pinch uphill to the cunningly placed #17, and then working via 7,26,18 and 21 before working out where to go next. Going south seemed the least popular with checkpoints 27 and 28 probably off most runners intention sheets and vying for the lonely pot award. Off track running was required to make 29/11 and the 12/13/22 groups work, but plenty did just this apparently. I imagine taking the downhill option from 13 to the waterfall in flood at #22 would have been easier than the other way round.

Good to see 'Left my keys in the' Kar Soon back for his first outing of the series (480 points), and also Malcolm 'The Trouser' Gledhill posting a respectable first up 390 in the Legends. The top blokes tickled the 500 area, with Richard Green and Adrian White posting a paint catalogue showing for 520 each, a short half head behind Garingal star Peter 'The Pumpkin' Annetts with 530. The mares and filies also showed considerable class on the heavy track with several mid four performances. Sue 'T Pudding' Davis was once again on song with 490, well clear of Allison Lilly 'Pond' on 450. Martina 'Turner' Craig gave the kids to Stephen and pulled on a nice 440 to outpoint Allison number two (The Curtin) on 420. Sibylle Boos 'Bus' also chalked 440.

On a somewhat unsettling note, Wendy Stevenson was bailed up and threatened by a couple of angry men in a car early in her run, which she then abandoned. Hopefully her restart resulted in a more peaceful run. It's a puzzle to wonder why anyone would have an issue with such a healthy activity as the Summer Series. I guess though, we need to be wary of any nutters out there - especially if it follows energetic running near traffic.

And finally, I humbly report getting quite lost descending a 'track' to #2, missing it and ending up in a sea of dark green bush, vines and yelping dogs. All this from the man who had just mapped that very area! The 'Porkster' is eating humble pie.

Next week we move further west to a new SSS venue on the Parramatta River. This sounds like enormous fun with a touch of business district and bridge stuff, as we motor the grassy banks and parks near Lennox Bridge, and maybe catch the River Cat between checkpoints. Be there or be square.

Monday, October 27, 2008

More SSS 'stuff' from Pork Pie

As it turns out, the wintry weather last week only seemed to encourage series addicts. With the numbers in, we see a very robust 154 entries, including 25 first time entries! This gives us 578 entries after three, up from 488 last season - pretty good going sports fans. A couple of interesting stats that I missed (after an early retirement to the 'West Ryde' and a couple of friendly James Squires to ward off the chilblaines) are Mounty shading Andrew with 540 points (530) and all three runners in Junior Women (Emily, Michele and Rebecca) getting the same score (290) and 100 points each! Great running.

Huon had another blinder for 420 points in Junior Men, and Bryony and Dale, each with a respectable 330 in SVW, look like keeping the old Toorak money on the edge of their seats in another fascinating summer series contest. Great stuff in what is shaping as a stand out season.

All looking good for this Wednesday. Glenn should give us a bit of fun amongst the bush tracks, gravestones, bus stops and puzzled puppies of Ryde. Can't wait!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome to the Sydney 'Winter' Series...or should that be the Frostbite Series!! Last night's run was a strange reprise of the conditions at this location last year, when the chill had many competitors jogging in wooly shawls and clutching hot water bottles.

Despite these repeat shower squalls, and the invigorating 9 degrees, 150 die hard SSS addicts fronted for last nights excellent stretch out at Meadowbank. Steve Holloway cast a wide spread of controls, giving the 400 plus crew pause for thought. In fact there was lots of pausing and working the string, as competitors tried to get a meaningful loop working. How to take in #15, how to snare #3, and best of all, how to work the dastardly separation of #24 and #25??! Great puzzles in an enthralling course, that was well set with nice clear pot locations in a great runnable area.

As with all good courses, runners left in many directions, with perhaps a slight preference for an initial loop to the east (1,2,12,21,4 etc) before tackling the commuters on the station overbridge and a bit of puff on the western side. The lonely pot award would have to go to #27, although many runners did end up here (including the master of garden bed controls James 'Potting Mix' Lithgow) after being dragged too far west by the cunningly placed 9 and 29 and needing to justify the effort on the results sheet. I suspect this western trio were less popular than their eastern cousins though, and given the neat loop made by linking 30,10,17,19 and 7, can understand why numbers might have been shy out wider. Many would have seen the forlorn string at the #7 site, the control apparently whipped away in a wind gust! Those that know, looked for the yellow tape and plowed on, undeterred by the weather, and WHO's knot tying ability.

The course looked too wide for a 600, and so it proved, with Andrew 'The Day' Hill sprinting home for 530, a short half head from Glenn 'Street Theatre' Horrocks on 520. Not sure if Andy ripped the lot and late back, or if he foreswore the western 70 in a beautifully timed outing in the blue silks (Glenn, as we know, normally likes to visit all sites, so maybe it was all for both). Great running no matter, and well clear of the veteran speedster, and last weeks course king, Michael 'Make mine a Pint' Burton, who ran all but #7 in 52.10.

Other notable outings were from Garingal star Peter 'Paul & Mary' Annetts with 490, and the irrepressable Sue 'The Button On' Davis leading the mares with 440 beautiful sparkly points. Wendy 'Stevo' and Syb Boos 'Bus' held hands for 410, pipped on the line by Ted @420, but clear of the flying beard, Ron 'The Vegie Man' Junghans on 390 in the Legends category. Your correspondent managed a clean run for 430 and might just have placed in the absence of Warwick Selby 'It's use by Date'. A rare no-show from the Striders star.

Always nice to enjoy a bit of the open grassy running at Meadowbank and the unique sniff of mangroves - not to mention the constant action on the standard gauge for the train buffs - we will be back!

Next week we move up the road to Gannan Park at Ryde, where Glenn pulls on the course setters hat. This end of the Field of Mars Cemetery map takes in the open grounds of Macquarie Hospital, the 'Field' bushy bits and some new map additions to the west and south. Glenn is well remembered for a classic SSS puzzle at West Chatswood several years ago, and is certain to get the scoring pencils chewed and the members crowd talking here, as horses tackle race four in this classic series. Things are getting interesting on the leader boards, and numbers are growing, so expect to see some elbow work as the fancied nags attempt to race for clear air (and more dreaded mentions in the Pork Pie Guide!).

And for those that would like to stay on for a post race dinner/drink, and the habitual course review, the nearest looks like 'The Ranch' on Epping Road. A good place to listen up as Larry ruminates on 'what might have been' had he been wearing his orthotics! Join us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"The Rodd Report" - better late than never! Yes cunning runners, Pork Pie is back on the Olivetti to report round two of the mighty 08/09 Summer Series as yet another excellent event.

Steve Flick had the pots and signage out early at Neild Park last Wednesday, and surpassed all records south of the harbour with an amazing roll up of 212 nags on the lolly! Once again we saw the starter dealing with an enthusiastic queue, as runners couldn't wait to test themselves on what seemed at first blush, a 'get-em-all' course. The bunching near the start was classic Flick, and as I predicted - puzzling the 'flow men' in getting plenty of about turn antics happening. Working 25,12,16,2, and 3 whilst wondering about #11 saw lots of missed street turns and lost time. As it turned out, only one runner did the lot in time, the Veteran Mike 'The Blacksmith' Burton managing the clean sweep in 44.18. Plenty of others got close, including our regular course 'sweeper', Glenn 'The Hitman' Horrocks, who on this occasion, made an uncharacteristic boo-boo, visiting #26 three times! They say things change when you enter the senior categories.....

The Porkster also noted great runs in the OM class, with Richard Morris 'Oxford' and Adrian 'The Drain' White dead heating on 580 points. Tim 'Over & Out' Rogers in Masters was another stallion to dead heat (with Glenn), this time on a tantalising 590 points. In the Open Filly's, Sue 'Class Action' Davis pulled clear on the turn for an excellent 520 points, well clear of Tsalina 'Drip' Phang on 490. Wendy 'Why' Stevenson, went with Sue in clocking 520, despite carrying the extra weight of Masters Class. Another excellent run from The Bendy who seems in great form so far this season.

Houn and Michele in the Junior ranks both excelled, as did 'The Tedster' with an equal win (with TKF Cox 'Plate') in the Legends. There were many other fine scores as runners enjoyed the relatively flat course and the chance to stretch out.

Big thanks on the night go to the fisherman at control 23 who obligingly held up the pot to arriving runners so they could get the pencil happening without the need to hit the brakes. Another classic bit of news was another (yes!) open house on the course. How many SSS nags followed last weeks lead and dropped by for a looksee (between controls 8 and 15)??!!

So, after two events we have pencilled in 424 starts, up 19% on last year! An excellent beginning to what will be another classic programme of navigation on the run. This week we move to the ever popular Meadowbank with it's great riverside and open park running. Steve Holloway and the Western & Hills crew know how to entertain, so we can expect a bit of fun on the grass and in the mangroves. Dave Lotty probably won't start running over the railway bridge to Rhodes again, but there will be other puzzles to keep him, and the rest of us, honest at this great SSS location. Oil up the Volleys and drag out the 70's T shirt as we get on the fly at the 'Bank'. As always with the Wednesday arvo fix, it's not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi sports fans!

With the 'Amigo' tour to the Vic 'O' Champs whisking your correspondent away early Thursday, a post race analysis of todays run at Rodd Point will to wait till Monday. So a little pre-race gossip for those 'News' regulars.

With event one under our belts, we can see lots of interest already building and great first up numbers (plus 15% from last season).

Firstly, the changes to age categories. This season has a couple of stand outs that will give last season's podium nags a real run for the badges and cheap plonk. Firstly, we have Glenn 'Hollywood' Horrocks moving up from Open to Masters and running an equal first with Tim 'Roy' Rogers at McMahons (500 points apiece). This hugely competitive class has just now got a whole lot tougher, with the Peter's and Michael Free 'Lunch' now having to look for ways to derail the Horror Movie. Exciting racing coming up! At the other end of the ages, Ron 'The Jugular' Junghans has adopted the walking frame posture in moving from Super Vets to the Legends. Ron's 400 points last week pips Heiko and will also ensure some classic and close racing in between doctors visits. Watch for more sparks when 'Tearaway' Ted Mulherin joins the fray in this battle of the senior card holders.

Other good scores from the recently elevated include Jim 'Iny Cricket' McLean with an excellent 420 in Veteran Men (up from Masters) and a third placing for Alexa 'The Viking' Troedson in Masters Women, up from Open last season.

Other points of interest from last week were the lonely pot award (#13 with just 16 visits) and the most popular pot (#19 with 199 queuing up to wield the pencil on their way up the hill). A couple of nearby pots (#24 and #28) also got lots of graphite attention at 198 visits.

Event two tonight should be a fast paced affair, with the weather fine but cool - just how that champion of the running singlet Warwick 'I Love Leaches' Selby likes it. Hopefully Steve Flick 'And Stick' will have engineered a few dead end street puzzles to dampen the flow men. We'll soon see!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The 08/09 season commenced with a bang last night at McMahons Point as around 250 punters pulled on the shorts and queued (queued!!) for the starter. Fantastic stuff, with heaps of old hands and many new faces - all dying to get the Volley's back into a bit of rhythmic bitumen dancing. Actual entries totaled 214, but this included many groups and twosomes, with the map sales department going into overdrive.

David Dash set a well spread course, renaming Blues Point Road 'Decision Road', as you had to make the big 'D' to head east or west after scooping up the 90 uphill points. Many feared the hills of Waverton and headed east, possibly to pop in to Kevin for a cuppa near #12. Reports of missing pots came in (#3 I think) and tales of woe with #30 - always confusing with the holiday crowd, and for Chippy. Of the eastern loop, #5 and #10 annoyed the flow freaks, as did #4 for the western crowd who, peering down from #21 to it, said 'no thanks' and sped off to the Commodore for a light ale.

So, plenty of good running on offer for our first outing at this spectacular and iconic Sydney location - on a beautiful fine but cool afternoon. Apart from the poor parking here, most seemed to be happy to be back in SSS mode once again. There was an infectious and enthusiastic spirit on show, as grinning white legged veterans contrasted with the buffed and grunting boxing class adjacent.

Previous series star, Andrew Hill 'Billy' swept the field (except #1 I think) with a great run for 570 points - just under two minutes late back. Early thoughts that the course was too wide were soon dispelled with Andy's fantastic result. Mike 'Rophone' Burton was not far behind with 550 and in awesome form at this early stage. There were other good 500's, with Dave He' Hegarty pulling out a 540 and Richard Green 'Peas' a cracking 530 in the purple silks. Good to see Jaap Bakker on the fly for 480 and Michael 'The Maserati' ' Free waving the baggy white T shirt on his way to a neat 500.

In the younger classes, great to see a spectacular 370 points from Michele Dawson, and Huon Wilson with an amazing speedy 440. Both are just back from Junior Squad orienteering representation in Queensland and are destined for great things.

Fastest female seemed to be the irrepressible Sue 'Dragon Boat' Davis with a great 440 point run, ahead, and on the rails from, a wide finishing Gil 'Mayor Michael' Fowler on 410. There were lots of other good scoring around the 400 and just under mark, with the east / west course split making it hard to add more than this for most race and millinery enthusiasts.

Before we move on to a preview of next weeks outing, a quick story to amaze and delight. How many runners realised there was an 'open-house' near control 17? Last night one competitor (who will remain nameless, but will soon become a legend), took time out from their 'run' to inspect the two-story house and had a discussion about orienteering with the two real estate agents in attendance! She (ok, it's a 'she'), refused their offer of a calendar though, saying "it would be too hard to run carrying a calendar"!!! Fantastic stuff, and as our SSS publicity words say, 'run Sydney parks, Sydney History, Sydney Harbour and Sydney REAL ESTATE. I think we are on to something here!

And so to next week at the Bay Run at Rodd Point. Course setter Steve Flick loves a gallop, so we can expect a good flog around the streets of Drummoyne/Five Dock and the fantastic, and level, Bay Run (well at least the western half). The street, housing variety and small parks towards the Drummoyne end are fascinating and worth a look, as is a quiet one at Gallaghers Irish on the corner of Lyons Road afterwards. The bigger parks to the south will provide the stretch points and a chance for the horses to sniff the grass and garden beds while looking for a nibble and the key beating Warwick 'The Singlet' Selby. Expect another big roll-up (easier parking) as we get to mingle with the joggers with jewellery on the Bay Run and enjoy event two in Australia's greatest summer running series.

Be there!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One week to go, so time to check up on the shorts and T shirts, and start inventing the 'leaving work early' excuses that see Sydney's workforce looking for the door every Wednesday arvo.

With daylight saving beginning this coming weekend, this will be the first time we are 'aligned' since the Olympic year. Despite this, we still fully expect to see the usual suspects rocking up at 4pm for some prolonged map study therapy (ok Michael, your sprung!). Garingal lead off once again with course setter David Dash 'Board' in the chair at McMahons Point. Always a good way to start, with the city backdrop, the Luna Park boardwalk run and the mad small streets of Waverton to blow away the winter cobwebs. I'm sure DD has a treat in store for us, as has our second event organiser, Steve 'It's a running sport' Flick. He's on the card for another cracker at Rodd Point and the Bay Run (apprentices can claim here).

Webmaster Dave Noble has cleared the results decks for another season of close racing and Dave McKenna will once again be working the results spreadsheet. Throw in Graeme Hill on data checking duties and Rosscoe (alias Pork Pie) dusting off the yellow banner and you can see that the team is back and raring to go!!

Lisa Lampe is having sleepless nights wondering what her first non de plume for the 08/09 season will be, Warwick Selby/Selby can't wait for some easy navigation, Larry is looking for a granite free summer and Andrew 'The Truth' Lumsden is threatening a badge even before the first race! Fun coming up folks, big time.

See you all on the 8th.

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