Thursday, October 29, 2009

Green and Gold at Parra!

A perfect evening and a great course by Lyn and Neville, saw Richard Green 'Top' take the gold with 600 points in a breathtaking 40 minutes. The Dickster led a small and elite bunch who pulled the lot under the allotted 45 minutes, that strangely didn't include early favourite Glenn 'Boss' Horrocks (in the mounting yard after carding 560, and maybe carrying an injury). The other speedsters last night were Rob 'Under Arms' Mason, home in 43.18, and Michael 'Gorbachev' Burton doing it for the oldies in 44.20.

A good crowd seemed to be on hand (maybe around the 180 mark) and lots of fast times were posted. The event had the feeling of a Sprint O, especially given the excellent fun to be had amongst the city buildings. The setting was more complex than the last outing here (a simple out-and-back loop) and the ponies enjoyed the challenge. At first sight, the map suggested 600 would fall to a bigger group - especially given the relatively flat nature of the area (next week will suprise here folks). Apart from fiddling the city pots, it was really a decision to go topside or attack along the south that had the punters on the lick. There were a couple of checkpoints (#9 and #2) that dropped from the song sheet of several speedy loopsters, but lots said, 'bugger it, I'll go go for the lot'.

Many other runners saw danger in the grouping of 22, 6 and 20 drawing them to the eastern bridge and a possible late penalty, and forewent these points in working a safer route on the north side. Over there, it was reasonably straight forward with the Victoria Road outbound flog leading to a nice return via #25, 17 and 27. Another nice line that helped cover the mid map hole, was the 16, 12, 30, 10 return gallop on the south side - decent scoring amongst the commuters, and worth it compared to the riverside run of #24 and #2.

I think all will agree, the Sprint-O like city pots added to the enjoyment last night at Lennox, and will hopefully be a feature of future events here. Great fun, although the SHOO brigade will have to go to 'all corners' to squeeze the flash boys over 45.

Hard to find a lonely pot, number 9 maybe. This was easy to leave out if you were on the Victoria tram, but probably featured in a few routes (the 15, 21, 9, 7, 29 sequence working for a couple of stars that I know of). Speaking of stars, the Pork noted some excellent scores, with high numbers being the order of the day. Michael 'The Frenchman' Free and David 'Derby Day' Bray were on song for 580 (David ditching #9 and 35 seconds over the clock), Anthony 'I Shrunk The Kids' Peterson and Glenn notched 560, along with Super Vets star Warwick 'Ear' Selby (a great run from the singlet). Shane 'The Treasurer' Henry, Andy Simpson and Jim 'Innycricket' McLean posted 550, whilst the mares stood aside for Wendy's stupendous 560, Sue 'Hollow' Login and her sensational 540 - a short half head from Tracy 'Paper' Marsh on 530.

Also great to see new 'Legend' Chippy on the chomp for 440, a shade behind Ian 'Bread and Dripping' Miller's 450, and fellow 'L' Heiko 'The Speeding Bullet' Schaefer's 460. Larry pulled 510, Rosscoe shaded Grandad Steve (500 to 490) and let's not forget web guru Dave Noble definitely not on the hobble with 520 - what a run! In the filly's, Carolyn 'Handbag' Haupt clutched 480, Robin Cameron cornered 460 and Vicki 'The Viking' Stitt put 410 points to the sword. Those indefatigable walkers, Robyn and Viv, posted 230 while Peter Stevens wielded the monogrammed pencil to record a sober 160.

There were many other good 'uns (Judge Murphy with 430 is noted in the court records) on a very enjoyable evening. Thanks SHOO!

Next week, sees Jim 'The Torturer' Merchant at the rack with the second outing on the Frenchs Forest map 'The Pipeline'. Jim and Ron put this one together, and there has been a hint of map extension. Many will remember the fearsome plunge to the southern checkpoints last year, and hope that they can work a score by bus this time. Jimmy always pens a top course and it will be great to fall under his spell once again (it has been several years since we have been seduced by the 'Merchant of Mona Vale'). Sir Ronald has snared a better starting location at Davidson High, hopefully with toilet facilities that are not time locked. Many might remember the battle between electronics and screwdriver last year!

Be great to have another go here. Remember the cemetery? Be great to be running this again. Yes, yes, yes folks - I can't wait!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Terrys Creek bush no burden to Burton

Michael 'Bombs Away' Burton carried all before him last night to post the winning score of 470 points at Terrys Creek, Eastwood. Summer Series event three saw the 'Burt' legs akimbo and at top speed on a loop that included the creek tracks and associated controls, as he sought to reassert control after 'standing still' at the recent World Masters Orienteering races. With Glenn 'The Lot' Horrocks out for over 66 minutes (380 points), MB revved up the shorts and popped this one in the bag.

But, how was it for the rest of us? After a sweltering start, the 5pm southerly change helped the later runners post reasonable scores at Mike 'The Hangman' Halmy's long and tough course - with close to 200 punters on the flog in this underused area. For many, it was their first outing here, and Michael used the best bits, including a strong focus along the creek. This required a bit of road work before the bush tracks yielded their magic, but what magic. Galloping along beside 'Judge Murphy' was a delight indeed - especially when a touch of red and white came into view! The danger, of course, is the very much slower speeds running the bush compared to the roads, and many emerged from the creek-line for the dash home only to be caught short (Wazza being one) - and I don't just mean queuing for the musical toilet!.

Despite the bush track speed curve, the higher points came from a westerly route. Many leapt off south via #1 (some out/back #22) to an uphill stretch to #21 and then roared north to loop in 11, 5, 25, 15, 24 and points north. The young guns raced to Epping Road where a return via 19/18 had to be balanced with the 9/28 option. Downhill from 28 to 18 via the creek apparently worked although it looked daunting the other way round. I suspect most ignored the dangerous 10/30 excursion, so we will give this pair the 'lonely pot(s)' award. Even #20 required the nose bag on for those northern 'loopsters'.

On the way home, the line of runners going nose to tail via 26, 16, 3, 2, and 12 had Pork Pie thinking he was at Mascot for the evening peak. This loop also worked in reverse, with the annoying #14 a possible for those that didn't fancy a late push home up the hill to 21. Yet other competitors reported an easterly road run via 1, 22, 13, 23 and then to the creek, although this wouldn't appeal to the O crowd (and Dave 'The Lolly' Lotty) who love the sight of the green. And I don't mean front lawns.

In summary, a toughie, but a goodie. The good points drawing you north, and yet further north, were a cautionary tale and master setting indeed. Big thanks Michael.

The Pie managed to grab a few scores before the call of the Coopers took hold of the car keys, and it looked like Michael (what is it with all these Michaels!) Free carded an excellent 440 to post a win. The Free 'Insert' was chased home by Anthony 'Frank Sinatra' Peterson with 430, Glenn 'The Prospectus' Meyer (420) and Mark Von Huben posting 400. You can see that a score over 400 was dream for most. Sue 'When The Boat Comes In' Login stirred the pot with a fantastic 390, ahead of Lisa 'Civil War' Grant's more modest 350. Wazza's mate Neil 'Handball' Hawthorne was quoted at 380, and Graeme 'The Busdriver' Hill posted 340. Great scoring.

Other points The Porkie noted were the return of Chippy Le Carpentier and Peter 'WOC 85' Stevens. Great to see them both with map in hand (in Peters case, instead of a number 7 iron) and enjoying the great camaraderie of the Summer Series. Chippy clocked a very strong 310 in his first run back for many seasons. The Legends have a new threat looming! Heiko also posted 310, so things are going to get saucy here folks. Many more scores noted, including Mr YHA Julian 'The Blanket' Ledger penciling 250, former O star Ian 'Palm Oil' McKenzie working the joints for 260 and Steve Flick (8 out of 120 in World Masters O, a top result Steve) piloting new grandson Liam around in the running pram for 120. A star is born. And of course, who can forget the outstanding run of Meg 'The Basketweaver' Croft, on the board with 170, but looking to engage the mysterious 'Pork Pie' bonus system that can lift a score by 300 further points!! Go Meg.

Next week sees a return to the City of Parramatta with Neville and Lyn at the helm. This was a hoot last year as the white legs flashed amongst shoppers and commuters chasing the pots along the river and around the city buildings. The nearest we get to a Sprint O event, and this time without the football crowd occupying the car park. Don't miss it, or the apres O dinner at The West Ryde pub. A great dining room out the back for those that like a bit of post race analysis with their pie and mash.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

World Masters Star sets the pace at Kirribilli

In (another!) grey and cool afternoon, M35 WMOC Sprint Gold Medalist Nick Barrabel turned up for an early run and carded an excellent 540 point result. Although a few local speedsters had the pedal down, James Lithgow's tough hillclimb didn't do them any favours in trying to upset our early leader. The 'Pork' didn't record times (being in helping mode), but noted Michael 'Chaiman' Free beat Glenn 'Both Barrels' Horrocks in a great run - but still was denied the 100! A cruel world Michael.

The early start proved it's worth with several WMOC competitors dropping by to sample to outing. Although we were hoping this might have been a 'biggie' as a result, many of our local regulars have obviously been caught up in the Masters organising and are yet to debut for the 09/10 season. I guess things will return to normal next week at Eastwood and then at Parramatta. Despite this, we seemed to run up close to 200 starters, again with several first timers and groups throwing tenners at the till. All good.

So although I don't have specific scores to review, we can have a closer look at James' course. First glimpse suggested 600 looked tough, especially when you throw in the tip of McMahons Point, the northern slog to #27 and #9, and Wendy's garden! Michael gave the point a miss, as did many others, sweeping north from #22, through the suits of North Sydney, and over to the Neutral Bay and Ensemble Theatre precincts. Probably have to give the lonely pot award to #9, although I dropped #14 in running a circle via 19, 25, 15, 21, 17, 23 etc. I suspect many others worked this loop.

The Luna Boardwalk caught Waz and has been a known trap for the unwary. Both this water level run, and the opening or finishing along to #11 were spectacular indeed. Sydney always looks great from here and I know many of the overseas runners enjoyed this bit (including the tide washing over the rock platform at number 11!!). So, we didn't get a pot on Kevvies front door, but did enjoy immense variety - and a bit of hilly stuff to torture the ribbons of steel. Everyone is hoping that this outing is just the right tonic for massive performances in the bush this week for the WMOC final.

Unusually, we now have a nine day break before Michael Halmy reawakens the Eastwood map for SSS 09/10 event three. Michael has set many great courses for the series over the years (noting particularly his great runs at Pottery Green) and will no doubt have us on the flog chasing the points in this underused area. There are streets of course, but also plenty of parks and who could miss paying homage to 'Judge Murphy' as we chase the pots in Terrys Creek. With the Masters behind us, summer series addicts will be back on the feeding tube at last. Don't miss it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The 09/10 Summer (oops, make that Winter) Series is off and running!

In what can only be described as 'fresh' conditions, Ron Junghans got the 2009/10 series off to a great start at Balls Head last night. After a week away in freezing weather orienteering in Victoria, Ron, Porky and a bevy of Garingal helpers were hoping for a bit of glorious Sydney sun to kick start season number 19. Not quite as planned, but hey, who cares when confronted with a coloured 1:10,00 map, old SSS mates and 600 points. The enthusiasm, despite the weather, was palpable as around 170 series addicts and new converts taped on the pencil and oiled the Nikes. Michael Free in a suit, a bus full of Scandinavian's who stayed in the bus, the spectacular running outfit of the Portugese guy, Sue Thomson in the Penguin book top, Warwick being out of it (but still running 450), Connie hankering for a was all there as we blasted off into SSS heaven.

Everyone knows Ron is into optometry, so would not have been suprised to find our dear old Balls Head recreated at 1:10,000 scale. This great scenic Sydney spot can even suck you in with the old one to five, so young RJ shouldn't have been too upset that many runners had second thoughts at #13 and belted back to the safety of the streets. This was despite Ron's 120 tempters on relatively easy features, and just shows you the ghost of Lieutenant Ball still lurks. The windy conditions also reminded of the classic Dennis Sparling outing here years ago where several trees blew down to impede progress.

This event is the first half of our opening World Masters 'pair', aiming to show off Sydney to our visiting orienteers. So Ronny played his hand with the 'Balls to Bridge' and next Monday James goes for the overlap, from McMahons to Kirribilli. A couple of rippers to get us started, and Ron, great setter that he is, produced a perfect opening event. The deployment of pots looked bunched at first, and gettable for the guns, but the areas variety worked to fox many of us. 24 drew many into a northern loop via 15, 29 (puff, puff) and Wendy Whiteley - with a few loosing time at the 'two dozener' as it had been nicked. Ron's red tape saved my bacon! A dash to McMahons offered 60 for the runners, and #25 delivered a perfect bit of route choice - continue on or back and up the bank. Hard to find a lonely pot, although maybe #5 shivered in the rain, not being on my outward or inward loops. All in all, a cunning and well set course. A great start.

Last night's best score looked to be 570 as the light faded and the rain came down. This was Glenn 'EPERB' Horrocks back in yellow with all pots for a 48 minute outing. There followed plenty of five action and great high 400 scoring. Nick Barrable (M35, out here for the WMOC) ran a dazzling 560 to shade Michael 'Stop' Burton's 550 and Michael 'Fletcher Jones' Free's excellent 530.

Mark Schaefer eased up on the rails for 510, Richard 'The Paint Pot' Green undershot with 490 as did Glenn 'Daddy' Meyer. Great to see Glenn enjoying a summer series run again - one of our early stars. Kar Soon pocketed 470 and Melvyn 'The Bennelong Buick' Cox carded 460 - as did the svelt Lisa 'Government' Grant. Other scores to catch the Porksters eye were, Mal Gledhill on the belt for 360, and ditto for Karin 'Doors' Hefftner. Judge Murphy failed to shake daughter Clare, but gave her 320 days hard labour. Sue Login and Jo Sinclair were both back in action for low 400's, enjoying the chance to stretch out in the pink taffeta. Malcolm and Wendy got the scorers excited with excellent opening accounts, as did SVW star Carol 'Jason Akermanis' Jacobson (a tidy 330 on the slate). There were many other great scores, high and low, but all part of the Summer Series fan club (SVW Rosie Logie with an opening 150 after 'training' on the Greenwich map. Classic!).

There were many new faces last night despite the threatening weather. There were also many expected faces probably put off by the weather. No doubt the Big Foot (and others involved) contingent are flat out with WMOC stuff and should appear, somewhat exhausted, for round three. Of note last night was Dave McKenna's new registration form. This document will be a big help in collating entries and scores, and only needs to be filled in once. Look for them at your first event.

And so to event 2. This opens for business at the early time of 2pm, in the hope of tempting a few traveling orienteers to stop by. Remember it's on Monday not Wednesday, and will be another cracker at this great location. James Lithgow is in charge and has worked a bit of lower north shore magic. Kevin will be home and may bring scones out for a treat to passing 'potsters'. Don't miss this as we get the old white legs on the tremble once again.

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