We all know Square Rooter has two sides – sometimes he sets the most evil runs imaginable scrambling hands and knees up steep muddy banks, and sometimes he sets great runs…. We all know that his unmentionable partner in crime helps him out and has some influence over him… I can remember scouting with them before, and so I suspect it depends largely on whether she walks on his right or left side as to whether he hears her positive inputs! Thankfully today we had “Good” Rooter and a great trail.
Today was the founders run, so Rooter treated us to an undulating set past the canal road football field. We grouped at the shelter just below the concrete water circle and the smile on SR’s face was ominously wide! The hare brief had Chuckie taking a nap in the shelter, and finally we were set off to find trail at the first barbed wire crawl. I squeezed through first, and given how long it took each person to get through, I figured I may as well run a bit and see what happens. A circle and a tempting trail to the right. I went down, all the time thinking it was just a bit too tempting, and thinking about the last time Rooter set here… I wasn’t confident and after 140m or so, I turned back. Sadly I had been in a gully, and couldn’t hear anything from behind me, and it seems the check was long cleared when I got back – and despite SR’s in depth harebrief about how to kick out circles, it wasn’t at all clear where everyone had gone! Luckily I caught them up after another check or so.
We were going backwards on a set SR had done a couple of years back and I passed the point that I lost a lot of time searching for trail. So as CW and I eased our way back towards the front, I suggested it would be right at the next check – CW does listen to me and sure enough we were back in amongst it. Another check by the big gate, and I commented that nobody wanted to check back to the right, and CW and I followed Bendover and Shrek around the estate to the left and we were on. Another check and I was again on form heading up the hill along the edge of the property. With CW wrong at the last check, I was leading Cartoon and Poo behind as we got to a V-check.
This V check had paper all over the barbed wire to the left – that was a lot of effort to do if the trail didn’t go left, but if it did go left, that meant climbing over a hill. I suspected it was left, but to the right is a great trail that runs around the side of the hill. I went right. I went far enough to find the check back (150m), and then went back far enough to make sure everyone knew it was a checkback… and then turned around and enjoyed the great trail running around the hill. I looped around and expected 100% to find a check where several trails come together, but there was nothing. Damnit – I must have gone 500+m off trail and did the hare manage to outwit me? I knew I had to keep going left, and fortunately there is the hidden trail that most wouldn’t spot, so I headed down towards it and within 10m I had found some beautiful Rooter paper, heard hashers coming towards me, and when I turned around found a nice little circle check hidden behind a tree – nice work SR, you nearly outsmarted me! 😛
I checked correctly, but clearly I didn’t quite go far enough, which unfortunately added to some confusion for a while, and it was Turkish who led me along the correct trail. An interested V-check, but Turkish had paused moments before to let me pass, and so I got true trail leaving him exploring amongst the trees. We were descending from the hill again, and I passed the nice trail down looking at some bright pink about 50m ahead. I was so tempted to just turn left, but continued to the circle. As I got to the circle, CW got to the previous junction, so I gifted him the true trail.
From here CW hit some magic and took off. There was check after check after check after check. CW nailed a bunch in a row, and behind we were confused between the calls of checking and ONON. It was hot, and now the pace had picked up I was starting to overheat. CW was way ahead steaming away… I made another tactical decision, and headed back – the hill climb was already tough enough, and if I can take any pride from it, my shortcut was better than Turkish’s short cut as he joined me with the hare just above the cars. Good set Rooter – cheers!