Monday, 30 June 2008

Return to Auburn Part 2

but at least it proved that altitude wasnt an issue. Friday did 25
miles on the bike paths going out to Kings Beach on beautiful lake
Tahoe and later going to the official free WS Frijito dinner
afterwards another late night with the gang in Truckee. Some of the
locals arranged a 23 mile run on the Tahoe Rim Trail to Spooner Lake
so despite not getting to bed till 3 & having no trail shoes i had to
be there. Was too busy chatting with US based Aussie 'Flocky' to pick
up my big clumsy (& hungover!) feet

Sent from Gmail for mobile |

Return to Auburn part 1(phone wont allow longer post!)

As followers of the 2008 Western States Aussie Assault would now
realise the race was called off due to bushfires on Wednesday when i
found out i was an hour from the start at Squaw Valley with 500 miles
of driving behind me. So ultimately the next few days were spent
having a good time with the other Aussies (downtown Truckee had just
the right amount of venues with cheap booze & live music). Despite my
ability to do things to excess still got some good training, Thursdays
Emigrant Gap & back may have been


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Livin' the LA Life

Quick post to say i've made it to LA, even had a sleep on the plane as i had 2 seats.
Easy 10 Miles this morning, only 70 odd degrees is disappointing from a heat perspective, had a chat with a few runners (including one who runs with his LA Marathon medal in his bumbag) overall a friendly bunch although i think they are convinced i'm nuts !!. Playing tourist today and then Squaw Valley.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

King of The Mountain for a day

Early start today with the alarm going off at 3, time for breakfast and then the 2 hour drive to Mount Mee for a 6AM start.
Cold and dark sums the drive up but i did at least make it by 5:30 meaning i was in time to feel just how cold and windy it was (hadn't done this race since 2005 and i'd forgotten the icy breeze). This meant a quick change of clothing as i put my long sleeve polypropylene top on under my race singlet.
Very small field, probably to close the the Gold Coast Marathon to get the guns, so a grand total of five us fronted the start line in the dark.
Third different course for this race that i have done in my three starts here, so was hoping it'd be easy to follow.
First lap was 6.75K's out and back and i had amassed a 500 metre or so lead on the other 4 (running as a group when we passed each other). Back to the start in 1:06 and then the long 26K leg, muddy trail and a creek to cross slowed me down a bit (refused to get the shoes wet as they will be off to LA with me tomorrow) and from then on many steep ups a downs giving glorious views of the Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding areas. My only complaint still damned cold even with the gloves unable to feel my hands.
Passed some 6:30 start walkers early on this lap and eventually caught Glasshouse Race organiser Ian Javes and later Martin & Di Schott (Martin running backwards with me for a while - maybe one day "Backwards Tony" will get a challenger from Downunder !).
One last lap a shortened version of the first out and back and here i made a mistake, i was assuming the witchs hat at the 5K mark was the turnaround but was unsure so went a little up the road to see whether there was an aid station, couldn't see one so headed back, luckily i caught up with 2 10K walkers and mentioned it was strange there was no aid station as there had been none at all on this loop. They said to me i had to go a bit further so i bolted back and just past where i'd turned the first time (hidden around the corner), was the aid station.
One drink and i was fired up with my error, it could have been a fatal mistake in terms of winning this race as i'd covered approximately 2K's extra now, Susannah Harvey-Jamieson was coming towards me just passed where i'd caught the walker so i knew she was second and still a bit behind, but i also knew that running angry sometimes meant i just used all my adrenaline up and i hit the wall, so just focussed on running as hard as possible as long as i could.
Ultimately won in 4:45:08, a bit of a milestone being my 30th ever win, with Susannah second (and first as well as only woman), followed by Alun and then Francis Harvey and Sean crossing the line together, a small field on a course deserving of many more.
Bacon and egg sandwiches hot of the barbie and feeling as good as gold (although still cold !), great way to finish this part of my Aussie race year.
Quite a bit of chatting with people i wouldn't be seeing again till nearer the end of the year and was also lucky enough to pick up a spot prize (including a thick snow headband, reckon that will get some good use though not in Death Valley !!).
Tomorrow is a very long day, landing in LA sometime in the afternoon, so now it's time to pack, think i've sorted out the blog updating by getting a gmail account which should mean i can use the old phone to update, time will tell i guess.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A shorter race, but still a great place for a run

Looks like if i want something to happen i shouldn't note it before on my blog (just think of the weather at the Broadbeach Blues Festival after mentioning the acts i wanted to see causing me to miss many of them !!). When i typed up my last entry on Saturday i was off to Brisbane, by Helensvale i was feeling quite unwell (same gut problem i'd ever had since the 100K) and ultimately never made it to Brisbane, eventually heading back home and lying down eventually waking up in time to cook some pasta at 9:30 !!.
Really had no idea where Lake Manchester was so printed out a map from whereis (i knew i could find Ipswich easy enough but this place had me mystified).
Was awoken by my alarm at 4:50 and thankfully felt fine so was off by 5:30 for what seemed like some magical mystery tour (probably not helped by the fact i had one ear glued to the radio listening to the cricket).
By 7 i was there and it looked a lovely part of the world (but a damned cold 4 degrees by my car). Caught up with a few people and got my race number (complete with course on the back - now there's a worrying thought !).
Having seen the fast group of 4 (i think - didn't precisely count them) and the first lady set off at a sizzling pace, i was a little worried that this was one course i could easily make a mess of by getting lost.
Was a little surprised when all the creek crossings were mentioned at the race briefing as i found it hard to imagine anywhere near Ipswich not being dry (spent a fair bit of time around Ipswich when younger and it always struck me for the severity of it's weather, always extra hot in summer and extra cold in winter and never remembered it raining !!). Possibly if i'd heard of those creek crossings (as pictured above) before i'd handed in my car keys i may have changed my footwear as the old Nike Free 4.0's (my favourite trail running shoes but so old now that i have to safety pin one set of velcro fasteners), had the top velcro fastening undoing every time i crossed a creek (and i'm not nimble enough to fiddle around trying to keep the feet dry).
Seemed to run alone for quite a while until i had one runner pass me and i was quite content just to follow him, probably not at full pace as i was still a little unsure that i was on the right track (but hadn't seen any others and had seen course marking fairly regularly but as usual with a totally unknown course a little cautious). Certainly i wasn't really prepared for that first steep hill up to Tamsin's checkpoint as gathered it that it was near half way where the real hills were (Boombana Knob) and was quite content to walk it fast.
Once i saw the track to the right (marked for the 33K runners with a seperate course for the 21K runners), realised this was where i'd want to get moving a little faster, but again was feeling the cold weather (had gloves on the whole way and only started to feel my hands at about 28K mark), the creek crossings seemed to have chilled me to the core and because of this my quads and hamstrings seemed quite tight. Was passed by Adrian Pearce (back running after ankle problems at Glasshouse) and then by another bloke but found that i could keep up with him and actually get away on the downhills which really helped get my momentum going.
Asked Rob Ware at the last aid station how far to go and was glad to hear 7K's to go, looked like good fast running conditions ahead, meaning i could finally pick up some runners ahead (not necessarily in the 33K event but passing is passing !).
One marginal wrong turn, i swear the arrow pointed up the construction site, but thankfully was sent back the right way by the woman at the site office, passed another couple of runners and couldn't resist a flying finish downhill to the finish line.
3:08:04, not too bad but still a long way behind the winner (2:43:58) and only 9th of 27 but i felt in real good shape and all ready for the months ahead.
Great feed of lumberjack cake, anzac biscuits and various other treats after and i was lucky enough to get a spot prize.
Lots of good performances out there, i think only myself and Susannah only backed up after last 100K's but certainly a tough effort (in my case a last minute decision to enter after a long lunch Friday ) as well as great to see Coolrunners "Run67, "MRX" and "Boonarga" back after injuries and also to see Vegie-Girl, Cirque and 99 out there running.
Eventually it was back home via the Stones Movie (still bemused by the tiny crowd - would struggle to have been 20 of us !), now if only i can find an IMAX theatre in the US showing it !!.
Couple of long runs this week, Tuesday did a longer version of the Trees Road course (approx 35K) and felt really strong (even better with a swim in the surf 1/2K from home) but by now i'd finally passed judgement (after approx 200 training K's) on the BAR shoes, somehow just couldn't imagine running 135 miles in shoes of that weight, this was the second time i'd used them on the Trees Rd Circuit and the first time going up the %22 gradient hill just couldn't imagine carrying that extra weight up the sort of hills (and worse) that we'll be doing at Badwater.
Another long 3 Hour run today, though taking the easier beachside route over the border to Bilambil Heights, and one last shot at those shoes reckon they won't be making the trip as an emergency standby measure. Not sure if they feel heavier simply because i'm right at my optimum lightest racing weight now(dead on 65KG by my scales - somewhere between 65 & 67 is pretty much perfect for me, although with my gangling frame there are also issues with being non-aerodynamic at that weight) and probably as fit as i'll ever be (short of no alcohol and frankly at optimum racing weight need a drink or two with a meal just to keep a bit of fat there - i'm sure there are dietitians cringing whilst reading this but by now i know my body !!) so i guess it's one more long training run and then Sunday's Mt Mee 50K and then off to the US and a little acclimatization to both heat and altitude.
Still trying to sort out whether i'll get a different mobile phone as the email access on my present (post Phuket cheap replacement) is virtually useless and really can't see me doing too many blog updates (particularly from France) from it (the running is hard enough without doing dummy spits with the phone !).

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Now for a shorter race

Having had a rather hectic week (a few beers at the local surf club on Tuesday arvo - had to use the free lunch voucher ! - being the closest i got to finally celebrating the birthday), have only had one decently long run this week, 3 Hours and unknown distance as pretty much unmappable, various back streets of Currumbin Waters and the stretches of park joining them as well as using the new trail underneath the Tugun Bypass (ultimately leading nowhere legally).
As i'm heading up to Brissie this arvo (may just catch the Stones doco one more time before it closes and heads off to DVD while i'm up there), for some drinks tonight, thought i'd better find myself a race on Sunday. So a 33K trail race caught the eye at Lake Manchester, with a field limit if 30 doubt it will be a really big race but nevertheless something to get the adrenaline pumping and being trail should mean a good quick recovery before my last pre Badwater Aussie race Mt Mee.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Gold Coast 100 & More

Well by 9PM Saturday night i pretty much had a house full of Ultra Runners, with our last two (Horrie & Clarkey) both coming in on delayed flights. Had gnocchi and bolognaise sauce for dinner at the usual pre race time of somewhere between 6 & 7 as many of the later arrivals were either eating beforehand or zapping food in the microwave. After a big feed (the 800 grams of gnocchi not being quite sufficient for the three of us, meaning we put on a smallish pizza as a snack to finish), it was just a case of working out just where everyone wanted to spend the night (heaps of floorspace and numerous camping mattresses meaning people had a choice) and i was off to bed by 10:30 odd with alarms set to wake us at 4.
Strangely for me i didn't have a good sleep (when racing and staying away from my own bed usually wake up every hour and didn't even do that good as i doubt i got to sleep before 2, whereas as home i'm usually out like a light and sleep like a log), very unlike me to be honest.
Waking just before alarm time (that is usual), i ducked downstairs quickly and made my usual breakfast as i knew the kitchen would be abuzz with extra people soon enough. Left the house just after 5 (Richard bringing a hire car was a lifesaver) and was at the start by 5:20, heaps of people milling around and time for bit of a chat.
Quick race instructions from Ian and we were off, the leaders taking off at sub 8 hour pace but from what i could gather the group i was in were on 8 Hour pace (way too fast early on). By Burleigh Heads we had strung along a little but still moving fast (favourite quote from Paul Every at this point "if you pop into the loo you'll have a few follow you", people knew i knew the course backwards and did seem to be following my every little bit of shortest possible distance running, although in hindsight the "popping into loo" was prophetic).
Had my first water at the 7.5K aid station.
Still moving nicely against the freshening wind from the south i knew it would be much harder when doing it the next 3 laps and was glad that the blue arrows i'd seen the previous day were actually part of the course marking.
Had another drink at the turnaround (sports drink seemingly chocolately sludge seemed a bit strange to me) and then finally running back with a tail wind. Had another drink at Tallebudgera Creek aid station and then the stomach appeared to protest, felt very uncomfortable and ultimately went into the toilets at Burleigh Heads with this feeling it could be "one of these days".
Second lap meant i got to see more of the 50K and 25K runners (starting later than us) and hence more familiar faces (including the legendary Gerry Riley, many years ago the first Australian to hit 100 Marathons).
By the time the second lap was over i'd made another 2 toilet stops and knew that finishing and running a non-embarassing time were going to be my main priorities rather than being at the sharp end of the field.
With the wind picking up heading South i was stuck with the worst weather conditions for me, at about 6 foot and 10 and a bit Stone a headwind simply pushes me backwinds and i'm just not aerodynamic (despite my jokes about having to run around in the shower to get wet a decent wind finds me every time).
By the 7.5K Burleigh Heads Aid station (Coolrunners Prewannabee, Tanky and Dolly) i'd got to the point i couldn't resist a quick beer (rather than waiting till the 92.5K Mark !), but was a little taken aback to be passed by the first woman, Kerrie.
Probably spent a little bit too much time at that aid station, about as relaxed as i get during a race), but was hoping that being passed (especially by a runner with a crew - definitely something that always gets me fired up and essentially the running equivalent of "White line fever") would mean i'd finally get some decent running going. Unfortunately again toilet breaks stopped that momentum, but in between i was feeling some of that familiar racing "mongrel", certainly the favourite part being hitting the Gold Coast Highway heading south with the traffic heading towards me (essentially exactly how i train), although at George St, Burleigh Heads, did manage to get a car turning left that refused to give way (not ideal but just enough to add a little fire to my belly).
Relatively quick stop at 7.5K's but again a loo break so it was a case of good running and then losing momentum (exactly why i don't stop for drink breaks when doing 3 hour training runs !!), by which time Kerrie had got out of sight (with my aggressive style of running i do need to see my targets before chasing and running them down !). Caught up with Scott Orchard just after the 75K mark (and repassed him after yet another loo break), and found that he too was having stomach problems (he later pulled out) so just kept on pressing on as hard as i could, knowing i'd have the wind behind the last 12.5K's (and a beer at 92.5). By now it was a lovely sunny day and as far as i concerned perfect temperatures for running (i'd done the first 37.5K's in gloves) and finally i felt i was starting, way too late, to put my race together. Unfortunately still no sign of Kerrie, meaning i was chasing someone i couldn't actually see, and was seeing the gun runners coming towards me early in the lap (Paul Every running up the GCH at Burleigh Heads rather than via the path looked so much in the zone, it was obvious he was running his best race for a couple of years). Once i hit the turnaround (and finally saw for the last time a dead blue tongue lizard - which on Wednesday had looked way less flat and dead) i skolled my bottle of Mizone (had been using Coke and water most of the race after giving up on the chocolately sludge that passed for Endura !) and simply ran with the thought that all that last half would be "splash and dash" drink stops rather than long socialising ones.
Had that beer at 92.5K (knowing that couldn't do me any more harm b.i could drink it as fast as water or coke so i wasn't wasting time would cleanse my palate after all the sweet coke and bananas i'd been consuming) and then took off still with the aim of picking off a runner or two before the end. Results show that didn't occur and i ended up 8th in 9:17:40, very frustrating to me as i had two runners within 6 Minutes of me but with numerous people on the track simply couldn't spot them (it may sound a little strange but knowing myself well i'd be putting money on me chasing down and beating competitors i can see in a race situation however i do have to actually spot them).
So ultimately my Australian 100KM Championships had come closer to being a 100K training run focussed on Gold Coast Public Facilities !!, to be honest i sat down at the end and did the maths and pretty much consoled myself with the fact that without 9 Toilet Breaks i would have gone sub 9 Hours (in my mind a pass mark on this course).
After a while rain had reappeared and i was simply thankful i wasn't still out there, eventually ending up in the car to stay warm as i was looking for a couple of my houseguests to finish before driving home.
Fish & Chips, Beer, Bundy (as well as a bit of Pizza Roll and Boston Bun as appetizer) and things were finally looking up Sunday night, can't say i was totally content but relaxing with a few ultra running mates at home was a good way to end the day.
As i type this (on Wednesday night), i still don't claim to be happy with my result but will also admit i'm more content with it than any races i'd contested in January to March. Still i ask the question, what exactly was wrong with my gut (if i have stomach problems it's usually going in circles on lap races !) and how do i ensure the same doesn't happen in 4 weeks at Badwater, good questions and ones i can't answer !!!
Went for a short run and a swim Monday (and was very thankful that the shocking, wet weather we had was Monday rather than the day before) as well as a slightly longer run (and shorter swim in the surf) with my remaining houseguests on Tuesday. Seemed to prove the body was still in good shape, but to be honest still seem to have some sort of stomach bug.
Anyway now with a house to myself (seems strange had become used to other runners being there - get the feeling i may do similar next Gold Coast Race), now hopefully i'll get the chance to churn out a few more long runs in the 10 days leading up to my LA flight.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

A house full of Ultra Runners, now for a good time Sunday

A little bit of training during the week, one long 35K run on Wednesday and then a couple of shorter runs with my first house guest, Lachlan Lewis (CR Doc Lach), giving him an idea of the course. Today the house will be a little like a hotel, with Richard McCormick (CR RMC), and my "twin" (born the same year and day 44 years and 1 day ago) Paul Every, arriving late afternoon and then three others coming in on 8PM flights from Melbourne and Sydney. Very thankful we have one hire car as otherwise i couldn't get everyone to the start in my little Subaru.
After a couple of lovely, clear warm days (lovely swimming weather) the weather had deteriorated with strong winds and some rain forecast, so far only cloudy today and just hope it stays that way.
Feeling very fit and still have a possible PB in sight, but i do question whether this is really the course to do it on, i may know every inch of it but that being the case i also no what will slow me down. Still nothing like an Australian Championship in your own back yard !!!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Music may be good for the soul, but it's hard on the body (Chiropractor time !!)

Nothing much on the running front over the last few days, of course some people may wonder about my race fitness when i mention the last 3 nights have consisted of spending 6 to 7 hours in Pubs and Bars but that's easily explained by this little note from "Blues on Broadbeach":
"The Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival has not been cancelled however the outside component of the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival has been due to extremely dangerous weather conditions. The wind and rain and unpredictable conditions have made the risk to the public too great. We will be moving entertainers into various venues throughout Broadbeach."
Yeah, sure enough all the weather from Thursday continued on and got worse, meaning that there were no longer any outdoor venues (of interest to anyone doing the 100K at Kurrawa next Sunday one of the stages was meant to be at Kurrawa Park - home of the start and finish line - it was definitely a heavy track when i walked through it Saturday night, muddy, slushy and more like cross country !!).
So arriving Friday evening it was a case of finding a bar with a band, looking at the rescheduled program, looks like the place i really wanted to be was Brannigans Tavern (with Kevin Borich and the Bondi Cigars later that night), but looking at the queue, looked like McGintys was the logical option.
Just in time to catch the end of Blind Lemon, giving another rollicking performance, would have love to have seen more, but actually working out what was happening was an exercise in logistics.
Next on was Pugley Buzzard, incredible voice, sounded like he was straight out of the muddy waters of the Missisippi Delta (top picture), only distraction being security finding it hard to come to terms with large crowds and small venue (and some incredibly strange licensing laws which probably make sense at other times), was interesting seeing the guards telling other performers they couldn't get in (they did eventually have it all sorted out by Saturday night), and as for the "magic line" where you could dance with a drink and where you couldn't, well it was a brilliant way to confuse people.
Next was Extended Family, not so bluesish but pretty funky, two female vocalists and a lively presence keeping everyone on their feet (and often getting them moved back by security !!).
Last act for the night was Pete Cornelius and The Devilles, sounding by name to be a more appropriate act for Wintersun (more 50's rock'n'roll), but dominated by a big double bass these blokes really did know their music and by midnight no one wanted them to stop.
Couldn't pick a favourite act, as they were all so unique, no real ovelap in styles just plain great.
At least no chance of injury from doing anything stupid on the dancefloor, sore hands (from clapping), sore hips (about the only part of me that really had room to move) and maybe a little too much head banging, awesome night.
Saturday, did get a 10K run in was thankful that all my bits of soreness weren't affecting me, now if only the damned weather would go away.
First stop was the merchandise counter to pick up the latest revised schedule, looked as though McGintys (with a stage that could be seen from outside - as opposed to Brannigans with two stages upstairs and a massive line), and the Broadbeach Tavern were going to be my residence that night. Looked like they had sorted the security issues this time and now what was previously another entrance was now officially a walkway (so no dancing) and with a fence and a headcount virtually based on number of diners, so i was just hoping the weather stayed dry (it was just incredibly gusty hopefully too windy to rain).
Caught the end of Mama's House of Blooz, and really loved the music i did hear, between that music and this weather i was thinking New Orleans at Cyclone time !!!.
Next on was Sure Shot Hunters, very versatile band, great guitar work, bit of blues bit of rock and basically a bit of everything !!!. During their mid set break, weather deteriorated so headed off to the warmth (and indoors) of the Broadbeach Tavern.
I'd seen the James Southwell Band Station Wagon the night before (unloading at Brannigans), but hadn't managed to see them perform, so was interested to see whether this fellow was the guitar player he was meant to be, simple answer is yes !!. This was a bloke looking barely old enough to be in a pub (maybe the mid waist length hair and eye piercings might have got him in !!), but he was absolutely playing up a storm with this axe. Best summed up with his final performance as he climbed the speaker stack and then played it over the back of his head Hendrix Style and then with his mouth, really was something to watch (yep maybe i became an Ultra Marathon runner when i realised early on i had no musical talent - believe me i'd have loved to be doing what he was).
With the weather calmed a little (and still not a hope of getting in either McGintys or Brannigans), headed back to McGintys where i (and a few hundred others) could still stand at the plastic awning and be just as close to the stage as people indoors.
Collard Greens and Gravy, strange name, great band would sum it up, real country blues and the sort of music that just made the hips shake and the feet move even in confined spaces, great harmonica work too.
By the end of their act i was actually beginning to feel my back (somehow i think 4 hours of hip shaking is similar to a 6 hour lap race to my hips and with no changing direction to help them !!), and was thinking fondly of home. However i knew next on was Mason Rack and his band (virtually my local Palm Beach Band), always entertaining and a helluva showman. As usual he played sitting down and had three different guitars to choose from, i'm not quite sure what his music is classed as (supposed alternative blues and roots), but simply there was something for everyone and her is incredibly versatile i guess the highlight to me was when took over the drums and played everything, drums, chairs and the waist high fence in front of me, these guys were having a ball and so was the audience.
By the nights end no one really wanted to leave, but finally we all did i think my body was quite thankful !!!.
Sunday was the official opening of the Tugun Bypass, so that had been going to be my little run for the day but with a sore back decided a walk would probably be a better option. Bit of everything weatherwise and i do wonder just how many accidents the new view of the Airport will cause, but it was good to be able to legally walk on the road and through the tunnel (second top picture, the tunnel, third top, the model of the tunnel, second bottom, the new border marker), even bumped into another 100K Entrant. Couple of downpours soaked me as i walked the 2.2K's each way but still not something you do every day (as for the certificate for having done the walk don't think that will quite make the race scrapbook !!!).
Home via the World Environment Day Festival (a little more music funny enough, a sister duo "Ladybird" singing environmental folk songs, good melodies and good mix of voices but couldn't stand there the whole time with more black clouds on there way and a Richmond Match on the TV (by the time i got home Richmond was 12 Goals behind !!!).
One last night of music and then i could get my mind back into running (the question is am i now sick of the sight of Kurrawa Park ????).
Beach Hotel, got me the last half of the Mason Rack Gig, Mason looking way more rock'n'roll with jeans and singlet (after the suit and tie of previous performances). Great voice and a real presence on stage and still with limited room, people dancing as much as possible, great way to start the night.
Looks like McGintys was the go again, although at this point it was outside again, caught the last half of Men In Blues, which contrary to their name had a woman up front singing at various points as well as a number of guest guitarists. Only 7:00 and already the joint was jumping, highlight was two men playing one guitar, James Southwell got onto stage and joined in, really needed to be seen to be appreciated.
With weather closing in again, the obvious move was to the Broadbeach Tavern, it looked as though Jimi Hocking and Heather Stewart were between sets, giving me a chance to see the end of the Freo V Port Adelaide match on Austar. Not sure exactly what the story was (something regarding their rider - ie free drinks for the band) as i was standing next to Heather and guitar/harmonica player Dan at the bar trying to sort things before their gig recommenced.
I must admit that when i think blues and rock i don't immediately think violin and mandolin but you put Jimi and Heather together and not only does it work it just goes off !!!. At times i wasn't sure whether Jimi was just an incredible mandolin player (and guitarist) or a stand up comedian, he certainly knew how to keep the audience entertained with his deadpan humour, Heather didn't speak as much (couldn't get a word in) but a similar sense of humour shone through when she did. Two encores (and an incredibly different version of the Stones "It's All over Now"), and probably my favourite performance so far (so many different musical styles so many great sounds i refuse to make a definitive call on that !!!), have to admit i've seen guitars played over back of head Hendrix style before but never before a mandolin !!!.
With rain gone for the moment it was back to McGintys for guitar maestro Phil Emmanuel and Mick Buckley and still lucky enough to get near enough to the open awning (bottom picture taken from there, lady in pink is "Little Pattie" with Phil). Guest vocalists kept on popping up throughout, first 60's star Little Pattie, then another lady (no idea of name) and then a fellow who i'd say was normally an Elvis impersonator, they were rolling through classics like you wouldn't believe, from Johnny be Good to Blue Suede Shoes to Proud Mary and so much in between. Unfortunately the rain looked like ruining the party for us people outside (still at least 100) as torrential rain meant our awning had to be shut. Thankfully people were beginning to leave from inside and i managed to get in. Too many highlights, James Southwell kept on popping up everywhere, he couldn't stay away from the guitar and was again doing his "double act" as well as solo. Even the security guard took the mike and sang along with Kenny Rogers "The Gambler".
By 10:30 some electrical problem meant our gig looked like having an abrupt end, Phil certainly looking frazzled at his did stuff with cables and connectors, still 15 minutes later (with Mick Buckley keeping us entertained with a drum beat) we had a bit of showtime left, ultimately running out of time we ended up with us audience and Phil doing the chorus of AC/DC's "Shook me all night long" as the 11PM finish was enforced. What a way to finish, was certainly on a high as i drove home through torrential rain.
Now i can put away the Bandanna and get the headband out and think about running and racing, that's if the rain ever stops !!!!, although a chiropractor visit will definitely take place before next Sundays race just too much headbanging and too much "doing that hip shake thing" for yours truly. Maybe i'm getting old ???, i should hope that birthday later this week doesn't stop me being me, certainly the back last night made me want to swear off gigs and dancefloors but that's just not me.
Interesting footnote, the Tugun Bypass was meant to open to traffic today, however because of the rain the opening has been delayed (what the new road doesn't like rain ?????)