Thursday, February 20, 2014


Probably our first really wet evening, with rain, showers, more rain, more showers, and a damp gloom upon last night's proceedings - leading one to recall Tim Winton's early book 'The Riders' and its enigmatic line "even the damp was damp". Damp it certainly was, but not a deterrent to the over 100 water board employees, swimming instructors, and anorak testing teams - who turned up in showy silks, and in a variety of headware and eyeshades for the uphill swim.

Show a Summer Series pony a paddock with wet grass and stand back. The 'rusted-ons' are on the chew! It was a night for the addicts, and those with an eye on the badge. Six events to go and several contests going down to the last flog, meant rain was of no consequence - as a sense of desperation gripped the field and moisture moistened the map bag.

Arriving at the old western abutment of the original low level Roseville Bridge, one encountered a sign pointing left, but went right instead, down to Mike Burton's encampment at contour level one. Here the Feet were settled and connected, Andy fiddling and Michael dry - and with a hat on. This very spot was the one first encountered by unsuspecting SSS runners seven years ago when Lummo revealed his "Explosives Reserve" landscape painting and course thereupon. Many remembered the original stretch across the 297 dimension, which, despite it's width, still failed to reach any explosives. Some also remembered the severity of work needed to gain altitude. Michael had them in mind again last night.

The Banjo was surrendered in a complex manoeuvre of Si stick inserting and keyboard verification - that eventually produced another landscape rendering and tri-sectored clue sheet entitled "Echo Point". No explosives to be seen. Instead, the control spotted coloured slash from north west to south east across the page resembled a figure in repose - something that misrepresented the intention of a course that was going to ask similar questions to 2007.

Like '07 there was a bag north of Roseville Bridge, and also like '07 there was a claim south east of the country club (albeit not with quite 'The South Island Town of' Lumsden's stretch). The main game was still the middle connective material to either of these two extremities - with only the guns entertaining both ends. Most seemed to like the 120 point northern circle as a beginning, with a middle mix and a downhill run home to the final collect in Echo Point Park. My guess would be two thirds to three quarters of the water rats went this way, and it seemed probably the best of the two exit options (running down the road quicker than running down the bush track steps). This 'Nosh' route began with ten points seemingly in Middle Harbour (not), before working up to the Two Creeks Track and it's cleavages - twenty points in the first below the fall, and nothing in the second. Taking the steps to 21 and on to the knoll at #23 (seemed further round to many) caused students of lung capacity to make furious notes - as heavy breathers had different intentions and runners were reduced to a crawl. 18 contours had been given the boot, with 'only' another 8/9 to go. Water torture!

Crossing the Expressway led to a 'Larry' at 13 (the enigmatic 'lost' control stand), a thirty up the obscure path, and a spread of ten's and twenty's to get you to the shops and schools - and a chance to refill the water bottle. Number 24 was a must have hereabouts, and also #18 - where the decision of returning or burning needed to be made. Running on south east past 18 committed you to a wide flog (20,7,22 - plus 27,19,29) and some significant contour work, before the relief of the 'other magnificent view' (#30) and the downhill screamer bought thoughts of the water bed closer. More would have bailed at the school for a direct route to the bare rock (#25) and an encounter with the high fence protecting #16 before their own descent (#26 calling on a touch of upsey in this mix). The difficult ones in the middle were #5 and #15, although #15 worked for those having done the north, and travelling by water taxi, 13,23 (in-out),4,15,28 and not going to school.

The very eastern end was the least visited, somewhat a pity in a way, with the seat at #29 promising a 'magnificent view'. This tight area of excellent course setting defied easy looping and took real speed to go 'cover girl' there. The long climb back up to the newly mapped #8 (or to #30), past the club members enjoying a dry martini, represented the longest non ping sector last night, and would have been deeply felt - at least by the four 'all stations' stallions who passed this way. Possibly #8 is the lonely pot here, with the extra climb needed for ten bucks not an easy outlay if the lungs are screaming.

As I mentioned, most seemed to work an anti-clockwise loop, with the few clockies (inc Pork Pie) almost instantly regretting their plans as the puff uphill to 10,6 and 26 saw lots of low gear work and early thoughts of time penalties. Cheery 'Go Rosscoe' greetings from a speeding downhill water skier (D Lotty esquire) didn't help!

Looking at the scoring reveals the tough ask, but also the magnificent work of water baby Horrocks. Glenn is our weekly bellwether all checkpoints runner, who last night ran the lot in 51" exactly for a very commendable 540pt claim. The first six runners were all over time in fact, with the top four (Glenn plus Andy, Steve and James McQ) our only 500 plus water paint specialists. Our most popular score was a strong 350pt pencil with eight artists in water wings taking home this print out - including the winning VW run from Paula Shingler and an equally good one from Will Neal (who obviously did).

I mentioned four runners going 600, with Glenn and Ian McKenzie (a superb 102.24 minute outing in rain shade and stocking) expected, but note Ross 'Not STB' Morrison and Lee 'The Grassy Knoll' Coady (both MM) also enjoying natures natural bath - Lee enjoying ten minutes more in the tub than Rosscoe, but to his detriment it seems. Well over half the field clocked 300 plus, and nobody ended with a negative - although Rob & Rosie pushed it with a final positive ten after sixty one minutes chewing water cress.

Good results for our winners, with no shows from a few regulars (Gill, Aidan, Duncan, Carol, Ellen) meaning some new class winners last night. Let's here it for a trio of golds in VM (Andy Smith, Pete Annetts and Tim Rogers), a brace in OW (Malin Welen and Claire Winnick), with Alastair George taking the Sub Junior gong (an excellent 400 in 46.59 - almost a 'phew' award), Ruariridh 'Fries' McDonald in JM, and Sue Thomson sharing IW honours with Gwen Sewell. John Anderson runs up another win in LM (Teddy a half head in arrears), as does Heiko, Michele, Karin, Antoniya, Wazza, Rachael and Anthony 'The Knee' (and also 'The Chest'!). The battle in OM doesn't get any easier, with Andrew 'In Crayon' Hill and Steve Ryan both posting 580 point gross totals - but the Western Hills artist sketching things in a bit quicker, 49.48 to Steve's 51.11. This is one of the great contests of the 13/14 series, and will probably not be settled till the Macquarie final.

Although Pistol Pete gets a mention above, his 44.59 run is this weeks class act in the water logged stakes, and bears mention. A couple of other .59's (young King George in 46.59 and VM Andrew McDonald in 41.59) are noted, as is the cruel blow to Andy 'The River' Povah, with 45.01 on the water clock killing his potential tenner over 'The Mug of Skim Cap'.

Only three groups out last night, with 'Three Degrees' noted on Pork Pie's naming 'fame' radar, working a 170 point claim in 45.22, and not appearing to have given in to this 'third degree' treatment by the Feet. Good work 3D's. Lucas Manson Family take the Group prize with ten more than the Degrees.

There are many more good posts last night, among the rusted on and the water biscuit madies. Lotty (230 after going ten minutes over), Eric 'Not Any Longer' Young (MM and out over 51), Paul 'President For Life' Prudhoe (SVM and back early), Michael Free (a great 360 in VM), Garingal's Johnny 'JB" Brayan with 380 in the water closet - and mate Bob 'The Bushranger' Morgan (SVM 300) well accounted for, all come to mind - as Rosscoe (standing at the bar) takes in a little something water soluble.

A shame about the weather last night, but a memorable evening nonetheless. Big thanks to Michael and his fellow Feet for a chance to test the hammy and dampen the trouser. And to the SSS rusted on's who showed up, bless the lot of you! Next week see the only completely new map in this years series, with Dave Lotty and the Uringa crew bringing us the chance to jog with our jewellery on at Double Bay/ Bellevue Hill. The map includes Cooper Park and a priceless chance to check out the small fibro shacks and unkempt gardens of this inner city location. It is always great to go somewhere new, so I'm expecting a huge roll up. And Uncle Dave at the controls? Well, he is Mr Orienteering after all - so expect the best, and join us as the Sydney Summer Series rolls into this great new area. It should be a fantastic evening of cunning running.            


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