Monday, November 21, 2011


No damp T shirt for The Porkchops this week folks, as the old gent has been suddenly pulled from the Tuza and packed off to a greener paddock on the other side of the 'dutch'. So sadly, a no show, and probably no report from what should be a classic beach side flogeroooney at the devilish hands of 'Jesse James' Jessup. Beep work at the beach while toting a pair of 44's, I'm almost beside myself with event envy.

Given I normally like to look forward, perhaps a little warm up for the following sizzler, this time at a brand new area at Eastwood. Janet 'Movember' Morris is in the barbers chair with the WHO team in bringing us event #9, at Eastwood Park. Cunningly titled 'The Sanctuary', I don't think you can expect any respite here as JM works the split windscreen hard in her pot scatter. Hard to know how to anticipate this one, except to look forward to some nice greeny parks, the smell of the mower and perhaps a touch of contour work - and of course the headwaters of the mighty Terrys Creek, that forms the Lane Cover River, Sydney Harbour, The Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. And all this just from a wee drain in Eastwood. How could you miss such a cracker.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Overcast skies and a dampish drizzle greeted early arrivals at 'The Bodgies' Suspension Bridge thriller last Wednesday. Those that know the area, and the bushy sections, know that this is not a run to leave too late in the day, as negotiating the tracks can be tricky when the light fades. And fade quickly it did, with late starters probably not quite realising what fun was in front of them as they sloshed off into the gathering gloom. Sydney Summer Series....a sport for people that can see in the dark!

Well, it wasn't that bad for the majority, and most enjoyed a classic, if slightly damp, outing in this enjoyable area. A nice mix of bush tracks, parks and streets, with enough on the 'puff-o-meter' to remind you that the lungs are connected to the heart, and something else that makes the legs work - or not! Yes some nice steep material involved, mostly to be enjoyed as the train left the station, although the Tunks Trendoid's who went the western beginning, put off the inevitable for as long as poss as they ran like weird birds, heads craned upwards passing under the Northbridge Land & Tramway Company's bridge in a mixture of awe and nervous anticipation of what lay ahead (or 'above' probably more correctly).

It's been six years or so since the SSS caravan has worked Sydney's collective health from this spot, so it was with much anticipation that the Course Setting Review Committee plonked down the ten coppers and retired to the members bar to study the form. What had The Tedster been up to, what miracle had he wrought? Did it look a 600?, maybe a 500? - or a 'politician' (somewhere in the middle)?

First impressions were good, with a couple of good high up east/west links and some porridge to be stirred in the western section. As I mentioned there was also a gentle low westwards beginning, but those emboldened by a recent pay rise, could get straight into the climbs to the north or south - as most seemed to. The northern escalator found the most favour, with 21,1,11,22 and 12 setting up a nice 110 point opening round and a well warmed up motor. A long flog to #23 then made sense, with a few weaving back to include #7 along the way. The southerly starters had equal steepness, but made faster progress because of the road running rather than the tracks. Doing a 'Larry' to 30 was the right beginning for these ponies, then knocking off 10,18,29 and 17/19 worked as runners headed for the 'fieldwork/cartography' legend - and paid their dues to these worthies whilst pinging a thirty at the table.

Given the map scale was 1:7500, getting over towards the Willoughby Leisure Centre material had to be on the cards, and provided the means of linking the various loops together. A northerly start that then worked through the Willoughby's, and the 90 points in the upper creek and ruin, was money in the bag with a flyer home via 24 and 9 feeling rather like cocktails on the Eurostar. Good points and a great finish.

Many of our fancies did a bit of upstairs downstairs in the upper creek, although I think costume dramas were the last things on their minds as they worked the big rocks to 25 (yes, it was a long way down), dropped to 16, crossed the creek and then climbed to the 15/27/14 offering - or visa versa. Good point work with an 80 metre fee attached.

Looking at the deployment, number 4 seemed well out of loop (and may have been our lonely pot), except to that serial broom and pan man, Glenn 'The Lot With Sauce' Horrocks, who goes for 600 no matter what the challenge. 'The Sunflower's' route is a classic and bears description. Glenn began low and worked west for 9 and 24 before climbing to 4, crossing the bridge in the R1 class car, working the southern sector (17,30,10,18,29,19,8,28,20) before the aforementioned up/down (14,15,27,16,25) and then a swim at the WLC before returning back along the northern roads and the bush track descent to the wharf and home. I presume the man in yellow went 23,2,7,12 and note the contours again involved. Hats off to Glenn in doing all this for ten over - and still making one of only six runners in the fives! Bloomin' heck, this is racing with a capital R.

Actually, I'm wondering if #2 might have been the LP. 23-12 made sense and witnessed plenty of traffic, but trying to include #2. I don't think so. All else was on the table with few problems in stick insertion and the resulting, and comforting, beep. Runners approaching #14 from above (I wonder who?), wasted time, and there was something wrong with the track beside the golf course above #22. I think this was easier going uphill, with the track entrance and yellow areas inducing temporary drunkeness to those on a frantic descent. Terry 'Bob Brown' Bluett was one who went 'green' hereabouts, and lost time.

So all up a great course, and with our top score a simply superb 560 from Andy 'The Oil Spill' Hill, right on the money with spread and climb taken into account. Thanks Ted and the GO crew, and all those helping move the heavy machinery that seems to be the lot of the SSS these days.

Seeing scores are already up, maybe slip into the commentary booth and a bit of Pork Pie? Ok, OK, out with the 2B stub.

Once again, Junior Matt 'Ed Hair' Hill worked the comb and brylcreme for a great 430 and a win from Houn on 400. Perhaps a more startling score is from 'The Dunkin Doughnut' - carding 390 at only age 11 (I think that's right Duncan). 390! This puts all the Legends to shame, and would have almost podiumed in the Super Vet Men. As the woman said in 'When Harry Met Sally', I'd like to have what he's having! Well, she said 'she', but you get the drift. Great running Dunk, you are on fire!

IN the Open's, Mark Schaefer trousered 500, with Tommy 'The Joss Stick' lighting up twenty more (and coming to the attention the Bali customs service). The 'Hangman' was ten back for another great run - and a 490. Lisa Grant carded 440 to squeek a tenner from Claire 'Booth Luce' Winnick and Gill 'Bannockburn' Fowler, equal seconds on 430. In the Masters, Richard Green wrote 530 to shade Timbo Rogers on 520, both a length clear of Glenn's 500. Kar-Soon and 'The Hairnet' followed with nicely weighted 460's and a spell on fresh bent. MW saw Cath 'Port' Chalmers work the waterfront cranes in unloading a tidy 430, well clear of rival Sue 'The Davis Cup' nursing her Maxply racquet for 380.

Michael Burton popped in for a tidy 480 in VM, and claims from apprentice Mal Bradley (450) with Andy Graham a length back on 410. Some good three's in this field, with Greg 'The Midnight Movies' Barbour only posting 360 - probably as a result of running mostly in the dark! Wendy enjoyed 420 to take the VW's, ahead of Ulla 'Dulla' Molin (340 points and a nice snapper for dinner). Eoin chomped on Wazza again (!) in the SV's, with both runners the only oldies to be over 400. Neil 'The Hawk' played hard for 390, and great to see Nick Dent down from Terrigal and working the panel beating hammer for 370. CJ was well clear in the SVW's, as was Janet 'Cetera' Morris in the LW's. Pieface just managed to hold of the Geringong Gent (370/360) in the Legends, with Jim 'Poppy' Merchant a touch off at 350 - but still well clear of A1 who came home in 'dim' time for 320. Heiko this time was off his oats, and maybe off the map, for only 100 points and an uncharacteristically low score for the Antarctic Kid. Mal was also back, and could only take home 73 for his troubles.

Finally, the walkers, and a real stir with Mel Cox reasserting his leadership after some brilliant and brazen recent walking from Andy Wizniewski. Mel pinned up 300 to be 30 clear. Great walking, but probably also, great planning. Dale Thompson (Walking), and who used to be just 'Dale Thompson', wacked on 220 tidy ones to take the cake in WaW, and the 100 points from KC (and the Sunshine Band). Those Mackies seem to have the Groups by the short and curley's, but I like to record Elva (or Elvis to her friends) Abrahams & Lorraine Cooke being awarded three points for a simply spirited 10 point score. Classic material from that book of life that is the Sydney Summer Series!

Next week sees the action move to the coast and the LM Graham Reserve at Manly - and where no doubt, old 'LM' will be there to welcome us. Ian Jessup will be putting aside the hockey stick as he takes and even bigger stick to our hope of more SSS magic. The '7 Up Shop' will no doubt be devising a cunning flogerooney that might just mix sand, sun, parky grass stuff and some great beach side scenery that demands this annual beachside tickle not be missed. Be there to give your aging body a decent work out. And with the words of Jerry Lee Lewis (I like to give the great artist what's comin' to 'em) in your ears, get ready to give Jesse James a very hefty pat on the back as we fly into round 8 at North Steyne. Sounds like a plan.

Also note that this coming Sunday is the Socialgaine in the upper meanders of Middle Harbour, the first Central Coast Summer Series event at Chittaway Bay, and not to forget the Tuesday Southern Series run - this time at Scarborough Park just in behind Sans Souci at Ramsgate. A nice flatty for those that like to keep the foot/leg angle at 90 degrees!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Sydney turned on one of those listless afternoon stinkers yesterday, with the mid thirty degree temperatures just hanging around, and then hanging around some more. A hottie event it was to be and a hilly one too, with the combination keeping the start unit at Summer Series event #6 underwhelmed until quite late in the proceedings - and competitors adjusting their saline drip feeds, and on the chat instead of on the flog. At least the assembly area was a pleasant one with plenty of shelter and tree cover. A delightful spot at which to postpone the pain to come.

And we all knew that this was a different venue to the original Bannockburn Park proposal, but what we didn't know was the course remained as the one set for the Bannockburn start, despite the very different take on things when commencing from Robert Pymble. You can now see the reason for the northerly deployments that had most folding their maps in half and hoping for a two and a half - or a two. Forget about threes and fours, especially given the toasty conditions.

Scanning the A4 revealed a rather awesome scatter across a three kilometer vertical aesthetic. Excellent cartography, although, sadly, no Pymble Golf Course to add meaning to the event title. Hmmmm, this looks a bloomin' tiger thought many, as they neatly folded away the plus fours and ordered orange-aid and terry towling. Runners cowered in their cars, chatted nervously, made numerous dunny visits - all to avoid the pain to come. But, in the end you just had to chuck in your lot with Sydney Water - swig a pint and let battle commence.

As I mentioned, it looked a huge ask to get much further north than Pentecost Avenue (#3), with most of the string twirlers fiddling with the two basic east or west circle options - or the 'up the guts' route via 8 and 29. This latter seems to have been the difference from taking home gold, silver or bronze in many classes, and I think was where the smart money went.

A 250ish circle proposal that many chased went out via 2 (many made use of a non mapped gap between shops exiting this), 30,22,12,23,4,5,28,3 and home via the twenty pointers and either 21 or 29/8. Going east first had the small benefit of being in the shade flogging around the 30-22 loop and up Mona Vale Road, whereas Triangle to #21 (come in Major Tom) meant a very hot beginning up Pymble Hill. At least exhausted starters on this western punisher could take mental (if not physical) comfort from checkpoint #21 being atop a water reservoir!

The middle beginning looks the go in hindsight, with the up, down, up to 8 being followed by a bit of the dreaded 'in-out' to 29, and then a nice run of twenties (14,15,16) before deciding if you needed to return the wrung out body for servicing - or you had a bit more puff in you, like 'The Chip-heater', who popped another pill and added 25,10 and 17 before the twenties and return (Chippy was on an anti clockwise scribble as you might be imagining).

We normally like to identify a lonely pot, but there must have been many checkpoints who only briefly flirted with an electronic tingle last night - such was the stretch in the setting. The 'lonelies' were probably were all in the north, with possibly #26 the outlier. I imagine if you made it to #9 you had to plough on and scoop in 27,20,19 and 18, but 26 might have been just too far off the port beam. Closer in, #13 was out of loop and may have been given a wide berth. Maybe #1, maybe the 7/11 'Fred' couple.

With a winning score of 420 points, this would have to be the lowest scoring SSS event ever held. Only two runners into the fours tells a story, and only 22 more (of the 189 entries) managing to card in the 300's reinforces the stretch between beeps that was 'The Pymble Putter'. A toughie, a hottie, but a great way to loose weight!

Just getting up to Telegraph Road in the heat from old Robby Pymble was enough for most, let alone contemplating working the sand wedge in the north. Glenny probably had his longest run in the series so far, needing 69 minutes to clear the bag and suffering a 250 point penalty into the bargain. Still an amazing time. Another runner who likes the kiss of Volley on asphalt, Graeme 'The Spreadsheet' Hill, went north for 430 points in 62+ and must have wondered if he had entered a half marathon by mistake. Gray copped a 180 for his trouble.

So, even though we have low scoring, we still have competitive behavior - and some excellent results. How about a round of applause for Steve 'The Sandal' Ryan putting up the winning score and keeping several aging but nippy beetroots at bay. OM Steve posts 420 to nip a great run from MM King Dick (410 after suffering a minus twenty, ten of which was a three second over - cruel, cruel this Si stuff) and some great work from Veterans Greg 'Bay Rum' Barbour (390), Mal Bradley (380) and Wendy 'Ive' Stevenson - enjoying her greens for 380. Mal actually finished a touch early, not that common an experience last night, with probably over half the field 'enjoying' the minus maths.

Four other classes had winners in the threes, with the most stunning being Matthew 'The Last Supper' Hill chewing an amazing 330 and 90 points clear of the next JM (Dave 'Up The Creek' Bulbrook). 'Sir Edmund' also scaled 330 in the SVM's (shading Eoin by the slimmest of margins, although 'The Copper Miner' was in the dismount yard two minutes early for some reason), Lisa Grant went a tenner better at 340 in Open Women and Mary Fein holding ten over Sue Davis in Masters Women. Excellent scoring from all these fleet foxes - and good listening.

Down a bit, Legend star, Heiko 'The Shaver', reprised last weeks flattie at Concord with another excellent coffee. A brew titled 270, and one not to be sneezed at, given the numbers nipping at the Kincumber Kids heals. Jimmy and Terry worked well for ten back (260's), while Chippy and Pork Pie were well done on 250's. Kenny had the cubicle door open for 240, as did 'The Tedster' - showing a clean shoe to Ronald on 230, and Malcolm, well back last night but sharing a singular 190 with brother Lloyd.

LW star Bryony 'Roy Orbison' Cox, somehow managed to pop the ton pill again despite much pre race protestation and coming home in 35 minutes!!. Bryony's 170 was still well clear of rivals June 'January Jones' Stanley and Janet Morris' 150's and Sue Thomson's 140. The walkers might have been onto something given the heat, with Wiz putting up 200 in the WaM and Alison 'You Are Passing Another Fox' Pearce 150 in the WaW's. The best group looked to be the 'Mack Trucks', with Fergus and Amanda using plenty of diesel for an outstanding 240 points. I also like to check the tail end charlies, and award a million points to Cheryl Bluett - enjoying the steamy heat and the north shore real estate for minus 130. Excellent stuff. There were also several 'miss-punche's but not sure why/how. No Si??

Anyway, despite the heat which usually kills the attendance, we had a whopper at The Putter. When you add the groups and the kids course, we are looking at over 200 on a scorcher. Great work The Feet, and Gill for working us like the Titanic on four boilers. We will not forget you.

And so, we move closer to the city next week for Sydney Summer Series #7 with a reasonably rare visit to Tunks Park and Cammeray/Northbridge. Ted 'Not That One' Woodley has worked up something from nothing at 'The Suspension Bridge', and shouldn't disappoint. For those that will be first time at 'The Tummy Tuck' (I mean Tunks!), you are in for a treat - especially the bits when you run downhill to the finish. The big park and the actual bridge above is kinda a fun place to move one foot in front of the other, so mark the date - and be there! One thing to note is the parking - not a lot in the grounds itself, so be prepared to use the streets close by if things get chokka. There is a touch footy booking adjacent to us, and I suspect a few of them might come by GTHO. Well they used to in my day said Pork Pie!

Before closing, and chasing a nice Shiraz, I should also mention Souther Series #3 next Tuesday at Clovelly (should be a cracker along the coast with all the joggers with jewelry to watch) and mention the twin tempters next Sunday (20/11) - and they are of course, the Socialgaine being set by our very own Wazza and Neil, and the initial Central Coast Series event at Chittaway (now, now James) Bay.

Like President 'Wobbly Legs' Paul last night, Pie Face has collapsed from post race exhaustion, and has retired for a good lie down.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


The 'Indian Wedding' created a cracker last night at Concord, with well over two hundred nags on the nibble - and five runners carding perfect six hundreds. Scoring in general was higher than recent outings, with the stewards flagging a fast track and the 'Tuza Dwellers' bursting at the seams to put the pedal down. This they did to good effect, with (the absent) Pork Pie noting sensational scores from many classes - including our Juniors, where Rachel 'On Wheels' Noble shaded her dad for 460 and Luke 'Skywalker' Petterson punching the light speed button for 500! Amazing running from these two stars.

I gather the course had a westerly circular offering with 150 points, with the rest of the map (many new bits I'm told) evenly and deceptively weighted. Effort = reward, seemed to be the name of the game - a familiar SSS conundrum. My spy tells me there didn't seem an obvious route with many tempters getting the string brigade tied in knots. Something to be celebrated of course, and at the heart of good SSS course setting. Classy stuff from DM (the non power car) seems to be the word.

Without being there I'm not able to give a descent review, but understand we had clear and easy to find controls - including four 'telegraph poles'. This had me thinking of orienteering in the steam tram era... Well, not really.

With the results already up on the UR site, there is no need to get into a detailed scoring report - other than to mention a couple of category killers that took the old blokes eye. The aforementioned Chinese 'Gang of Five' was made up of three bigs and two smalls (wait up Rosscoe, your not watching 'Letters & Numbers' now!). I mean two Open and three Masters, with Andy Hill taking the onion in a shade under 44. Following line astern, and all taking home 600 Freddo Frogs kindly donated by Uringa were Glenn 'The Fall of the House of Usher' Horrocks, Richard 'The Reverend' Green (in the conservatory with the candlestick), Dave 'Shep' Shepherd and Tim Austin 'Seven'. What a group, what scoring. Flemington in November doesn't get as exciting as watching these dudes skimming the Bent.

Also noted were a couple of 100 point rewards in Open Women and Super Vet Men, with Lisa 'Land' Grant and Eoin 'The Copper Kettle' Rothery piling on 550's to the despair of their nearest and dearest. The Legends also seemed to throw off the deck chair blankets, with LM fancy, Heiko 'Of The Antarctic' Schaefer, skiing home with 460 to keep Jim Merchant 'And Bee' in double figures; and LW star, Bryony 'The Chrysler Building' Cox, finding some Manhattan magic in a pumping 320, to just pip Sue 'Merging Early' Thomson (one out, one back for 310). A great contest from these two Belvoir babes.

There looked like lots of other outstanding runs, and scoring, with Porkface somewhat wistfully 'wishing I had been there'. Hats off to Dave & Jane and all the Uringa helpers for another chapter in the sport of kings. A great event, and a great roll up - maybe a record at this track (212 actual entries, with probably 220/230 ponies in toto).

Turning to next week, we move back up the north shore where Big Foot have mapped Pymble railway station and points (or bushy gardens) north. Note the change of start location to that originally advised - now at Robert Pymble Park close to the station. This brand new area sounds excellent, with some great parks and mansions to run on and gaze upon (in that order). Pork Pie's golf clubs are at the ready, and will be fully deployed next week at 'The Putter'. Don't miss it; and the chance for a nice roast afterwards at the adjacent Pymble Hotel.

Finally, a couple of notes from Mr Guitar Fingers.

I mentioned Mel Cox's excellent 90 continuous SSS events last blog, only to subsequently learn that chief SSS web master, David ' Your Majesty' Noble, has gone one better - and is currently on 91, and rising!! Stupendous devotion David, we all salute you.

I also note that the inaugural Southern Series event on the Canals map ran last Tuesday, attracting a small following of mainly Wednesday devotees. Although a modest start, it is to be remembered that the Wednesday SSS began with less than that number - and look at us now. Event two for those that can't get enough is in totally new territory at Cronulla, and should prove a draw card with experienced setters in Ian & Sue Froude at the helm. A great excuse to visit your Shire friends as we well and truly expand the cunning running fun to southern Sydney.

Cheers from sunny Toowoomba!

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