Thursday, February 16, 2012


A perfect evening (for a change) saw around 180 dedicated map nags on the chew at Ian Cameron's brand new area at North Wahroonga last night. And what a great new area it proved to be, with over two thirds of the points in the bush, and a very different take on recent SSS proceedings. Many competitors had not seen the likes of it, turning the A4, first one way, then back, as they tried to get a handle on that elemental fact - the top of the map is north. This was almost a map where you could produce the Silva and not be laughed at.

And as every arriving ten bucker soon discovered, this was to be a tango of the black lines. Cliffs, cliffs and more cliffs, with a fire trail network containing them - much as a girdle might contain a large soprano. To render these multiple delights in an intelligible fashion, Ian invoked the eyebrow cliff symbol much loved by O types in the 70/80's to distinguish the vertical stuff from the trails and tracks - an excellent decision that went a long way to aiding a clear read of the terrain. This is apparently an area that emergency services use for cliff rescue training (near #28), so we are dealing with some serious material - but what fantastic material. Old SSS hands were almost weepy as they felt the Volley's wobble on the uneven ground, as they peered over 'the edge', as they held the gum branch as an aid to descent, as the scramble down was soon allied to the struggle up - reminding them of earlier programmes where the bushy stuff was a much bigger Summer Series factor.

Given we have been very urban park and road focussed recently, it is interesting to cogitate on the scoring of some of our flash Harry's with many speedsters losing time in the bush as track A suddenly went in the wrong direction, and track B didn't seem to be on the map. Wazza and Gordy for instance, low fours when their fans might have expected schooners instead of middy's. Eoin only posting 430 after getting 'stuck' at 29 is also a lower tab than normal. Heiko going a six pack over as the paths around #20 had him in a fog of discombobulation - and Larry 'Rain Man' Weiss, coming in 100 over for a very modest 280 after taking the bush option (??!!) from 20 to 25. The plays with the mind.

Most of the evenings scoring was sub five, with only a brace of stallions going over by ten bob - led for most of the print out iterations by veteran Greg Barbour. Greg's 'Instant Coffee' pinged 550 potteroonies at four over the clock, to share the leaders spoils with 'The Ink Bottle' and 'The Quill Pen' (James & Mark for those unfamiliar with Pork Pies nomenclature styling). These two old tech writing types are often nudging the top table and will be happy with the quality feed leaders get on the Tuza ride home. In perhaps unsurprising late mail, 'The Glennster' looks like he has gone ten better in his full sweep, with 600 falling to the blur of yellow in 52.29. A 520 point result, and a sensational run. Glenny is a nav man of course and knows a thing or two about sandstone and gum.

While I'm on results that might be lower than expected, several ponies took to the flog in fine style and carded above their weight. How about Steve 'The Spare Tyre' Dunlop working a brand new set of radials for 400 in SVM! Excellent running from the WHO stalwart. Nick 'Off' Dent went even better in the competitive SV's with a tidy 430 to make the trip down from Terrigal worthwhile. I think Neil 'Dipper' Hawthorne might also have gone 430 in a notable result - the Dipper beating the Doc, maybe for the first time.

OK, let's get back to the event and look inside the mind of course setter and mapper Ian 'The Camshaft' Cameron.

First take on the spread gave a distinct central/western bias with only one thirty pointer ('Roy Orbison' #30) in the east. Good loops looked possible directly north from the start and then by hanging ten as you worked the left hander to proceed much like a Blitz wagon on the fire trails. To 12,1,16,27 and up the paths to 24,20, a bit of urban to 25,7,26,23 all made sense, and then a dip into green to 22, or a reverse tuck in the pike position via the road to 2 and then 21. After all this fun, you could then work home via the handy forty points offered by #11 and 18. Variations on this proved popular, with perhaps the other take being a reverse order beginning - going 18,11,22,21,23 etc. I note here many wounded returnees losing time trying to find the track below #11 - in both ascending and descending modes. Terry Bluett missed the curve on the rise and worked below the cliffs before finding a tricky clamber. Michael Burton was a descender who couldn't find the track through the cliffs either - losing time with only twenty on board. Dan Redfern another. Not good tidings early in the run.

Runners with more petrol belted east along the road via 5 and 10 to pick off 15 and 9 before rising like north shore damp to 18 and home. Thoughts of adding the two twenties hereabouts (13/19) soon faded as you understood the portent of the brown lines. The down to 19 and then up to catch the eastern sunrise via the rather friendly looking 17,8 and 30 must have been something. I'm thinking eighty five meters, and I suspect a very low gear selection.

Some great views along the way last night. The run out via 6 and 28 to 29 was simply sensational, with the sandstone cliff forms and bare rock areas of almost sculptural shaping - and the forest cover very runnable. Also good open stuff around 24. Many reported cross country routes, especially from 23 to 22, although 23 to 21 had fans (walking wiz kid, Andrew Wiz being one collecting spider webs hereabouts). Dan 'Proceed With Caution' Redfern thought he would get in on this cross country stuff with an interesting decision to rise directly from #12 to the road above!! Despite his best efforts, Danny got stuck on a cliff and had to retreat.

Looking at the course, the obvious lonely pot to me is #4 - well out of loop. Obviously Glenn added in the east (as did fellow 600 flogster Lee 'The Moustache' Coady in 69.40), so those potties got some action. Number 14 in the west was also out of loop, but did get the odd visit - Pork Pie being one of these. There were a few sites that caused problems, with some of the tracks in the 24/20 area bringing on a pause, and the pot well clear of the cliff at 26 also seeing the finger scratch the head. Strangely, Mike Burton had trouble at #15 running south and couldn't find it. Gail collected heading north, but maybe there were two junctions? Mostly though, all was in very good order, with pots and units in good reach and clearly marked.

Looking back at a few scores, I note Junior Matty Hill again flying with 490 points. The 'Door Matt' is much emboldened of late and running freely, this time going 60 over from his 550 collect. Tommy Joss also posted 490 with a great run in OM. Steve Ryan's 'Daughter' was before the camera for 480, Anthony 'Pet Sounds' Pettersen had 440 Beach Boys over for lunch and Jeremy Fowler had to make do with 420 new basins. I note Lisa Grant was there but not sure of her score. Chief rival, Gill Fowler whacked 430 and might go gold - again! Joanna Hill looked good in JW with 270, Margaret 'The Last Ball' Waugh might have pinched the LW toppie with 250 - Bryony with fluey cough and Janet Morris out for 62.18 and rather a large penalty to card 140.

Terry Bluett made the ton with 390 in LM, with John 'Angry' Anderson (350), Ronald (360) and Heiko (310) failing to threaten. Nicole & Scarlet had fun with 310, as did Tim Cox with 250. In the 'extraodinary' events department, Jan Seeho worked (the probably non clear and checked) e stick for 350, only to cop a penalty of 8490 points! Her minus 8140 might be a SSS record, and a very worthy one too. Veteran Jeremy Longworth was also a man on a mission, carding 370 but being back 400 over for another minus score. We need more of this 'navigation is fun' stuff!

So, all in all, a great night out at North Wahroonga. Fantastic to get back to some bush running, so thanks Ian and the Garingal crew. I gather there is more map to the east, so more opportunities await. We will be back!

Next week see us up at Tania Park with 'The Putter' in charge. This is another of Sydney's sensational places with great views and an excellent track network. Joel will no doubt send us down to forty baskets, or maybe along for a game of bowls. Whatever, it will be a cracker and not to be missed. Event 21 at Crater Cove. Yes maaam! I should also mention next Monday's sprint at UTS Lindfield, also not to be missed if you like a little dancing in your running.

Finally, I hear that Chris Crane (Western & Hills Orienteers) is unwell and would like to pass on best wishes from all Summer Series fans. Chris has been with us from the start and is a great supporter of the series. We hope to see your cheery face again soon Chris.


Bruce S said...

Lovers Jump a great venue ... I managed to turn a 330 into a 280 by excitedly running past #2 ... downhill is such a pleasure! and failed to find the last bit of the track up to #11. Scaling a 3mtr cliff just adds to the excitment.
Thanks Ross for the newsy and fun read!

Bruce S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the unknown runner said...

Being in the bush was great even though I made a meal of it. Had trouble with the track down from 11but evertthing else was good. I like many was late from not factoring in the hills especially the walk from 29 to 28. Ian set a great course!

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