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!

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