What a muppet stunt to pull!
Wave number 9, navy caps, scheduled to depart the platform at 1130 in tandem with wave 8, sky blue caps – all good, except surfmuppet is too busy yackering away to notice that there is his wave down on the beach…gone.
Too busy chin wagging with his new buddy, also with navy cap, back at the BF tent up on the hill overlooking Shelley. Holding forth with great wisdom on the subject of ocean swimming to the Shropshire Lad who is looking forward to his FIRST ocean race and so is a tad nervous. Thus very receptive to a good long chat from the muppet in his “most senior of the three wise men from the east reincarnation”
In the excitement, Rule # 1 was embarrassingly forgotten. So for those needing reminding, here it is:
Rule # 1 of Ocean Swimming – Make sure to actually get into the ocean, preferably in the wave you’ve been assigned.
Mind you, it’s a grim and foreboding Manly this morning at 9-ish as surfmuppet trundles along the shore front to the registration tent. Dull overcast skies, 15 degrees if it’s that, people lurking about in windcheaters and sweatshirts, ocean looking like it wants a fight but can’t quite get up enough steam to really dish out the good news. And like the Manly LSC Blue Dolphin races back in December the organisers have decided that, in the words of Falstaff, discretion is the better part of valour and so start and finish the races out of Shelley. And cancelled the 9km to boot.
As per the final words of Edward Kelly, such is life.
Been reaping the benefits of “tapering off for the Cole Classic” at training all week – without having actually entered it. Gonna do it later. Then later again. Til on Thursday night discovered that entries had closed. Oh.
But do not despair dear reader, an afterthought of a note on the page declaims that a limited window of a couple of hours will present itself at high noon on the Saturday so the muppet leaps into the fray yesterday and so…trundles along to the rego tent this morning to pick up his tag and the ill-fated navy cap.
Marine Parade, pass a lot of the 1km crowd shivering but proud with Coles Classic medals hanging from necks. Big crowd going to Shelley and coming back. The strand is packed and up on the hill on the grass – Donkey and the BF tent.
Fast forward three hours of intermittent rain, sunshine, howling winds, then rain again – surfmuppet and the Shropshire Lad lurking behind a bush watching the lads from the navy cap wave running across the finishing line pumping the air.
“What are we going to do now”, asks the newbie.
“Does this normally happen.”
“Shut up, I’m thinking!” snaps the muppet, his eyes scanning the scene for any clue as to how to redeem this disaster with a skerrick of honour.
Aha! The muppet spies two boyos stolling down to the beach in yellow caps. Port Macquarie Neil and his buddy Jimbo. In the last wave of the race, the 55-60 plus. “I have a plan, Shropshine Lad! Here’s what we’ll do.”
The call goes out, “Face the water.”
The crack of the starters pistol and the last wave of venerable sea warriors launches itself into the brine. A couple of flashes of navy as two figures leap up from behind a tree and sprint across the sand and dive in behind the old boys.
But wait! There’s more of them. All kinds of caps are joining in as other halfwits who’ve missed their waves seize the last chance to join in the day’s fun.
And they’re off. Surfmuppet has decided that enough excitement has been had for one day so takes a gentlemanly pace. The Shropshire Lad, in a paroxysm of debut excitement, is lashing away like a lunatic and is heading for the first buoy in the form of a human torpedo. The water is warm but a bit cloudy – probably something to do with all the stormwater drains in the northern beaches emptying their loads of rain after the damp and sodden week that was.
And it’s around the first buoy and out to sea.
Surfmuppet, feeling a bit fatherly, checks to see if the Shropshire Lad is ok – he has started to flounder a tad. Ah, beginners enthusiasm turning into horror as the puff runs out and the reality of a long swim ahead sets in. But fair play, he perks up and keeps going – wanders about the place a bit but keeps plugging away. Meanwhile, the wave spreads out across the bay and surfmuppet meanders along, not too fussed about racing now that he’s going to have an official time of about two hours. Keeps an eye on the Lad and just goes into a bit of a reverie about nothing.
All fine until the turning buoy in the middle of the bay when some old boy in a stripey costume flays the side of the muppet’s head – and it’s on! One last check on Shropshire and then it’s a death race after Stripey to show him a thing or two.
Turn again and now it’s the long stretch south back across the bay to Shelley.
Earlier, Spot has briefed his band of monkeys that we should head straight for the last buoy for the left turn into Shelley as the two buoys in the middle are only navigational – and will send those foolish enough to be beguiled by their malevolent misdirection off the path and into the deep, dark forest – where there be wolves!
Plus the swell breaking off the bower point will push them even further towards Manly.
In the meantime, Stripey has been hunted down and passed and Surfmuppet is busy duking it out with a couple of yellow hatters who have gone out to sea and are heading for Shelley by the shortest line. Soon we’re in the whitewater of the bower break where it gets a bit bumpy and then the last buoy and it’s a fast little trot up to the gentle sloping sand of Shelley and over the line. Soon after the Shropshire Lad stumbles up the sand with a wild glint in his eye which denotes addiction and “when’s the next one.”
The sun is out now and all are in a happy mode as the organisers start to disassemble the setup. Some of the BF crew win prizes (Sunshine Sarah and Donkey with his team) and the surfmuppet invests in a watch from the Soleus man who’s selling them in a tent along the way back to the car park.
Useful things watches.
It’s got a stopwatch on it with loads of splits and so surfmuppet stops by a field on the way home and runs around it to commence his training for the BRW Triathlon which is on in a month’s time. Normally leaves the bike and run training to the week before but this year – what, with a new watch and everything – decides to put in a bit more effort and who knows, might actually pass someone in the terrestrial stages.
Next week, return to Bondi.
What can I say? Your performance almost justifies expulsion from BF. However, as a descendant from a irish political prisoner (unjustly called a common thief) transported from County Mayo due to the bad joke referred to an English JUSTICE, I am truly horrified that you were even fraternising with someone from Shropshire?
I admire the Shropshire lad for his patience and forgiving nature.
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