Thursday, March 8, 2012


Course setter Dan Dohle did indeed produced a masterpiece last night - a brilliant display of the course setters art, in a setting where 'art' is the operative word. This is the location where famous 'Heidleberg School' artists, Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton and Freddy McCubbin set up an artists idyll in the late 1800's - painting, sleeping, painting some more, and generally hanging out in this peaceful cove. They produced some of Australia's greatest landscapes hereabouts, and it was on this very 'canvass' that DD set out his paint tin, and produced the "Mona Lisa' of the 2011/2012 Sydney Summer Series.

Perhaps a couple of points of difference though. I don't think Arthur and Co did too much running, and I don't recall any of their works showing off the scenery in the rain - the double whammy that faced summer series addicts desparate to post a toppie no matter what the odds, no matter what the weather. And rain it did - AGAIN!!! As Matt 'The Mattress' Peters mentioned on Monday night, the current series has been bedeviled with so much wet weather, old tarts who had got into the Wednesday habit of slipping on the running singlet and volleys in Sydney's endless warm and dry summers, have stayed away - by the fire with a hot toddy no doubt, and nursing increasingly flabby fetlocks.

Bugger them, says Porkie. This is a time for the true believers, and what rewards we all got last night, with 'The Lions Den' delivering one of the very best.

Early arrivals made it under blue canvass, and early starters enjoyed a dry run. One such was Terry 'Southern Oscillation Index' Bluett, who didn't spend all his working life in the Met Bureau for nothing, slipping back into the car after an early flog with 400 in the bag just as the sprinkle started. Cunning work from TB who obviously knows a thing or two about the heavens.

No such luck for the rest of us, although I'm discounting the large contingent of pansies that took to the dunny at the first soaking. These shirkers managed a dry one before late starters again copped it. And cop it most of us did. Shades of the Pottery Green storm, with roads becoming rivers and gutters pretending they were downstream from Warragamba. Anyone running with glasses would have welcomed back their old friend Professor Fogg. Quite a night.

Anyway, having set the stage with our art lesson and weather report, let's have a look at event 23 in detail.

Our previous outing here was in 2008, where Ken & Carol 'Of Beecroft' deployed a landscape sketch pad. Last night in contrast, Dan 'Matisse' Dohle worked the charcoal into vertical or portrait format, giving access to new bits in the north, and even the location of that never ending piece of hotel renovation, the "Beuna Vista' (well, maybe one day). The map had something of the dangling hand about it, and the odd contour resembling the wrinkles on Uncle Bob's old crusty's.

Nothing down the Zoo end, and nothing in Mosman Bay was the quick read, but seemingly circles everywhere else. The immediate impression was good scoring, probably high scoring, with averages probably well up on recent outings. The big circles and numbers had a seductive effect, as pondering punters sucked on their Hookah and fingered the string. Mmmm, how about up there, or maybe down there? Planning minutes turned into hours as the cunning twists and turns of the deployment were slowly understood.

Points that needed to be factored, but defied the loopsters, included the splendid ring of thirty's near the start/finish (22,24,29), and the 'Chubby Checker' spread in the middle that included #27. Much scratching of heads as planners resorted to an entree of 'in/out', a main of 'contour', and a dessert of 'steps'. Everything was on offer and all skills were needed. Many began to the south, picking up a tidy twenty points at #11 before working 23,3,30,13,25,6 and the middle map before a return. Others were noted chasing back up the road a 24,28 beginning. 11,22,10,24 also had followers, as did the 'belly button' beginning - straight up to a punch at #29. Outliers that were at first discounted (19,20) could have been factored because the linking bridge kept cousin contour somewhat at bay - the 21,20,4,26 link working for instance.

The middle map is where Dan produced his masterpiece. 15,26,14,16,27,17,5 were all must haves, the problem was how to get them into a loop. Leaving #17 after claiming 28,5,16 (way further south than where indicated) and 27 in a torrential downpour, your correspondent thought 18 looked a temptation, and setting down his coffee cup and folding his stool, he set off accordingly. For some reason in/out to #7 didn't appeal, but the link from 18,12,8,21,4 and up to 26 did. This was accomplished in swimming conditions, with the New Balance's singing a sort of sploggy squelching melody, the All Black top thinking it was first half at the House of pain, and the ribbons of steel shimmering in their embarrassing whiteness. Fun huh!

The controls were all well appointed and anchored in position with Durex Tape (we are suddenly in England). I think #4 was meant to be on the stink pipe as shown, but was further down on the corner on a light pole. Apart from that one, and #16, all seemed in splendid order. Hard to find a lonely pot, as I think all would have gone beep in the night to some degree. Maybe #1 gets the nod. It's not on the 26,19,25 circuit, and I'm sure no one would go 26,1,25. Number 2 might be another candidate, as many would have turned east at 17 and the northern claims would probably done a pie face and gone 21,4,26. Perhaps a mark of the setting that nothing was out of earshot! Well done Dan.

Of interest is Connie 'The Queen of Galway Bay' McNamee's route. Connie began with a wee dram at 11, gathered herself at the door of a young gent on the way to 23 (mistaking where the track leaves the driveway), worked upwards with bible in hand to 3, before dropping a few contours and taking a seat at 30, rising on the tide to 13 and then knocking off 25,6,15,26,14,27,16 in quick succession, before home via 29 and the warm embrace of the red finish flag. Three hundred neat as a pin points in 46.06, for a nice 280. That .06 is annoying though, but then, everyone has a 'seconds' story.

As well as Conny's consummate run, something amazing also happened last night.

This is the extraordinary number of runners who were home before the bell - probably unprecedented in the annals of SSS, and in complete contrast to the great Murphy's Creek flog of several seasons ago, where just about everyone was late. The penalty column was almost entirely blank last night, with many scorers home in 41,42 etc. Possibly the 1:7500 map scale might be a factor. Maybe the collective fitness of the Summer Series flogsters. What a group, what knees, what hammies, what lung capacity, what capacity for Reschs. The SSS competitor - an example to the nation.

Now, what did some of the ponies score I hear you ask.

Correspondent Pie Face is off to Melbourne and is compiling this before seeing the results. A few managed to find their way onto a folded yellow however, so listen up. Patrick Gunnerson put up 570 and was attracting media attention. I note that King Richard had yet to return though and may have run on - as may have Glenny 'Chrome Yellow' Horrocks in his all stations claim. 'The Paint Tube' was on the board with 540, veteran Greg Barbour posted 530, as did MW star Tim 'The Toolman' Petterson. This was a popular score, with Mal 'Content' Bradley tuning the BSA to the same frequency, as did Lisa Grant in OW - this time taking a tenner over Gill as these two filly's stage the race of a lifetime.

Also big news last night was the birthday girl, Sue 'Season Ticket' Thomson jumping rival LW star Bryony 'Stanthorpe Here We Come' Cox with 350 to 300. A fantastic win for Sue. W70? mmmmm, I'll take it! And the birthday cake was a nice touch in celebration (thanks BC).

Other scriblings to note. 'The Joss Stick' with 510, Junior Matty Hill working anti-clockwise for 520 (cripes, still a junior!!), Cath 'Eter' Chalmers inserting the 'doovis' multiple times for 480, and Ian Cameron posting the same in SVM. Mel 'I'll have the family pack' Cox walked to a 470 total, 100 points over Wiz, who's 370 is an unusually shy return. Andy is a fellow 'soakee', so maybe a factor? Good to see Rod 'No Standing' Parkin on the nibble with a tidy 400, and back with us after lots of time working in the US. Rod's score is also found in small type on page two of Mal Gledhill's memoirs. A top run from the TD, or is it the TF?

LM looks like a gathering of the walking frames with John Anderson, Heiko and Rosscoe all pulling 430's. And this time not having to surrender to young Duncan - who's 420 is still a goodie. 'Macbeth' might have been slowed though, as Pork Pie noted the 'Slam Dunk' having to drag dad along - maybe a caution because of the busy streets.

The 2 Rosies posted 190, Georgia 'On My Mind' Jones had 320 on her mind, and John 'The Spray Painter' Brayan worked PMS 460 into the equation. I also note Michael Burton enjoying some of the course but not scoring. Apparently something to do with preparation for taking a train journey up the Six Foot Track this coming weekend. Other SSS regulars are also ticketed here (Gill, James, Wazza etc). We will be at the Pluviometer station to check you coal and water levels. And despite my noting the many, many zero penalties, I offer in complete contrast a runner who, selflessly, stylishly, and probably soggingly, went to all 600 points in seventy minutes! Take a bow Andrew 'The Pope' Goddard for this splendid devotion.

Sorry there are no more scores to ruminate on. But what a night, and what a course. Many said the best yet, and I am inclined to agree. The area has something to do with it of course - the mix of streets and headlands offering unique setting challenges. Still, hats off to Dan for a great course - and all the Garingal helpers on the night. I'm sure we will be back here again.

Next week sees us over to the eastern suburbs where Steve 'The Jaloppy' Dunloppy will work some magic at Macquarie Lighthouse. This sensational venue has views to burn, and a few tidy bits of real estate to eye off as well. Great views, great history. The Gap, Doyles for shark & tatie, mmmmm, sounds like a plan. Stating this time at the top of the hill will get the nags into a false sense of security, as the flog home brings the tick tock into sharp focus. Bring a camera, bring grandma, bring a doctor, come dressed as a QC - as we go all out for the points and placings in the Vaucluse vamp.

Also I'm keen to promote the inaugural Summer Series/Minigaine tie up on Sunday week at Lindfield. You can pre enter or just turn up on the day (with a slight pinging in the wallet for the latter - a fiver I'm told). This should be loads of fun with Metrogaine style setting - you know the one with questions and answers. 'The Teddy Boy' is our setter and he has mysteriously combined the two adjoining orienteering maps to give us an A3 of impressive proportions. Gill Fowler 'Ware' is the organiser and can discuss basin and bath dimensions if you care to ring (0413905551). There will be points of course, but also prizes! And let's not forget the free tummy time food and BBQ. Should be a cracker in a very nice part of Sydney. Join us.


Fly on the Wall said...

Late starters were greeted with cool conditions and hardly rain at all. Nice ! I thought 10-22 was only for suckers or the superfit so left them out. Got 460 in 43 mins neat going 29-16 (once reports filtered in that it was farther south)-9-24(climbing 21 contours by then already!)-28-5-27-17-2-8-21-4-26-14-15-6-25-30-13-3-23-11. That was 6.43km and had to be about 190m of climb. It was a course whereby you finished 3 mins early or 3 mins late, and lost time being extremely careful on the steps / paths etc.

Alonso said...

A very puzzling enjoyable event set by Daniel!
I managed to set out late to avoid the early rain! I went 11, 23, out to the point, 25, 6, 15, 26, 14, 17, 27, 7, 28, 24 and then finishing via 29. A great score for me.
I really loved this course!

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