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Contessa, Sadist & Farty Bum
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RUN 693-Top of the Mountain at Le Broc 18 March 2012

A Tri-Person Run Report! by Sadist & Contessa with hilarious inputs from the 'real' Farty Bum

Sadist gives his view of the runners' trail For St Patrick's Day hash Spare Rib must have thought that the Irish greeting 'Top of the Morning' should mean Top of the Mountain as everything was undoubtedly UP. Although there were road markings of green arrows and lots of hiviz jacketed flag-waving marshals to guide us to Le Broc, there was very little flour on the road. Spare Rib did indeed admit that he and Cumalot and Undergrowth had laid a trail that would be up for everyone, though there would be a choice at the halfway stage of whether to have some more ascent or to come down by the same route.

A very select group of runners was present as Dirty Dingus and Jobsworth were both competing in a Monaco 10k Race. Coco joined the runners with a very credible performance but one regular runner who shall be nameless decided not to exhibit his Welsh athletic prowess and instead would walk and regale a slim, tall, blonde, ex-virgin American/Canadian Jennifer with his stories which the Irish would call blarney and the English would call witterings - maybe the Welsh too have a word for it.

So the runners set off led by Sadist who recognised the first uphill stretch from a hash we had done here some years ago. It was easy to ignore the obvious false trails at the checks on the way up. Though Sadist did try out one track which led up to an enormous pylon carrying the high tension cables for the region, the cross was under the pylon but as no one had followed, it was the opportunity for a relief stop as the Public WC opposite the start had been locked when he wanted to use it. A little nervous in case there was a jump of current from the pylon to the Mannekin Pisse which would have blown the electricity supply for the whole region - what a way to go! - are we insured for this? By that time all the runners were much further up the mountain and were soon running on a much flatter track along a rusty water pipeline. Spare Rib could be seen encouraging them, but by the time Sadist arrived they were all returning from a very long false trail. We retraced our steps to the last check where Cumalot and Undergrowth were sensibly waiting and the walkers were seen still many hundreds of feet below.

The beer stop was at a spot which would have had tremendous views on a fine day towards Corsica, Africa and maybe Australia given the strange refractory effects of light (Hello to our readers in Oz if you are reading this, Maneater, and to Incredible Hulk and the rest of the Riviera diaspora) but all we could see down the misty Var river was the vague shape of the airport. The Le Broc hash organised by Spare Rib is normally at Easter complete with hunting for eggs - instead the Beermaster distributed the last of his stocks of chocolate eggs - better not to ask what the best-by dates must have been.

After the beerstop there was even more UP, the incline moving from about 30 degrees to 45 degrees. As Perpetual Motion had not had his usual exercise by coming on his bike he just ran up the mountain and that was the last we saw of him. Padre went into low gear and set his heart at 114 beats per minute and was puffing and panting all the way to the top. He suspected that the trail would bear left back to the beerstop so he took the first track going in that direction. Wrong. However we had now definitely reached the top where medieval peasants had gathered piles of rocks as a building materials yard but these had been left left unsold. The trail lead down into the valley and Padre could now change gear and run ahead down to the bottom where big arrows in flour pointed to a footpath leading along the valley. Not an easy path to run along as there were lots of rocks to avoid if you didn't want to twist your ankle, and quite a few thorn bushes to scratch you too. Eventually Le Broc could be seen below, and after a false trail laid by Undergrowth one reached houses at the top of the village and the steepest downhill part of the trail was the last few hundred yards back to the start.

As we didn't have anyone with hitech instruments with us all we can do is guess that it was about an 8k run with 500 m Up and ,strange to say, 500m down.

Walker's Report by Contessa 'Hash vs Wild' on the Plateau of Nothingness

Bord de mer, Sunday morning, heading out of Antibes the sun was shining (our first false trail) and it looked like the weather would be fine after all. But once we started climbing out of St Laurent, Coco remarked grey clouds foreboding and Contessa flashed on fluorescent-vested road marshals with flags directing traffic at every intersection; hundreds of high energy cyclists were racing down hair-pin turns, in a semi-pro bike course taking place on the way to the Hash... not that I have anything against cycle racers, but driving carefully to avoid a full carbon crash... well this was another distraction on the way to the Start. Shedding stylish GoreTex cold weather jackets en descente, was a true sign that the weather up in the hills was much colder and damper, then gentile St. Laurent.

The le Broc car park was the smallest congregating point I can remember in Hashing history; it held abt 6 vehicles and overlooked the valley down to Carros. Most Hashers bundled up for chilly damp weather, (although Sadist, Cumalot, Sneaky and Padre seem to be impervious to the cold, a few even showing off St Patrick's green). Waiting for late arrivals delayed the start by 10 minutes, understandable as le Broc is much further than anticipated. It was great to see genuine Brocois Spare Rib again, after all this time. Too bad he missed the Nervina 24th Anniversary as he is one of our genuine Founding Members.

Hares used Flour markings to decorate the Parking pavement, elaborated some Hashing rules, and I remember hearing the word 'UP' a few times, then we were Off. Walkers crossed the road and began a gradual hike up a no nonsense fire road, climbing until we reached the Beer Stop where Runners were already enjoying the drinks, dog food-looking loopy snacks, and fossilized Cadbury chocolate eggs (having been stored in Pedo's garage for a YEAR). What discipline it must take not to attack the box of chocolates for a whole year! Bravo to Mud Wrestler ! and oh yes... we were very impressed with outstanding views over the Var Valley, l'Esteron, overlooked by the Chiers mountains.

As the Beerstop came to an end, a very honest Spare Rib announced that Walkers had a choice: we could turn around the way we came up, return back to the miniature car park, OR we could go UP some more! The intelligent Walkers, Toss Pot and Andrea, and maybe someone else, were smart enough not to subject themselves to more climbing and they walked down. The rest of us, keeping within the spirit of "let's go for it" after a few beers and crisps... decided to take the Great Challenge to Nowhere and continue to climb. At this point the fire road segued into a rocky path, and out came Hashers sporting walking sticks. Oddly we noticed some stone walls that had been built a few millenniums ago; Primitive Man had indeed crossed this way before, unless it was Pedo testing his jardin sauvage gardening techniques. But why build low stone walls waaaay up here? Our minds and lungs now oxygen challenged turned to guessing; ruminating on the Existence of Remote Stone Walls was a welcome distraction to keep our weariness at bay.

And UP we climbed, and UP we climbed and UP we climbed until eventually, after starting in le Broc at 460 meters we must have reached close to 1000 meters, arriving on the top - what I call the 'Plateau of Nothingness'! 360 degree views of grey hills/ rolling mts and no signs of life other than some walkers plodding along in the distance. Now and then we had a discrete sign of flour. Walker Chris from Les Adrets was overheard commenting that visitors to the Riviera were often complaining that it was too crowded in the summer. "They should come up here and feel this isolation, only a few kms from the bord de mer!" OK Chris! You can bring them up here!

So on we trudged, two by two, panting for air and grasping for any mundane bits of conversation to keep our brain lucid and stop us from completely losing it.. and at this point I award: The Best Listener Award goes to Virgin Mouth, The Best Questioner Award goes to, of course, Farty Bum, who would be an excellent Detective, The Let's-Get-to-the-Point Award goes to Jennifer who can summarise a life story and conclusion in a few well considered paragraphs. And the Best Chat Up a Lady Award goes to Chris (no Hash name yet) from les Adrets, who can smoothly keep the conversation going for an hour over hill and dale. And one last Award, for the Best of Both Worlds goes to Pedo who left the Beer Stop-mobile, hiked up the hill to the Plateau of Nothingness then bolted down it again, passing panting Walkers on their way up; he was on a fast mission to drive the Beer Car back to the parking to accommodate the Circle and the fleet-footed billy goat runners.

Eventually after walking around on this Plateau of Nothingness, we found a way down, mostly over a break neck rocky path, requiring constant attention to where you put your feet, so you couldn't enjoy much of the improving scenery. The course passed through a very curious, other worldly glen of slim, moss covered trees and soft rounded boulders; I am told it is called La Vallee de la Vache Mort. I thought I might see Robin Hood nearby, but Chris corrected me, in that the Oak trees were bigger in Sherwood Forest, so Robin Hood and his Merry Men could hide behind them. You see he can talk about most anything! Including our conversation about Hash Insurance (Chris arguing/ defending the logic in suing the Hash for exposure to a debilitating accident) and eventually the conversation, after having discussed Robin Hood Oak Trees, Hash Insurance Coverage, came round to 'softer' topics (probably inspired by the fuzzy moss) , such as the need or value for one to admit Caring Feelings (to worry about someone/ or be worried about). "What good does it do?" he coldly stated. Contessa, being from the land of Self Help books where we discuss and value our 'feelings' and Dr. Phil TV analysis, can easily understand the attraction in touching on the more sensitive subjects... but Chris... well he could go by the Hash name of 'Cynic', 'Scoffer' or 'Loveless'. But in the end he makes a good conversationalist and polite escort out there in a mossy Sherwood Forest.

And finally, as we were almost finished, after hiking over break-neck rocks up and down paths for 2.5 hrs, then Contessa made an unexpected 'Down Down', slipping on a concrete driveway covered with small stones, only 10 meters from the Parking and hobbled bloody into the Circle with a scratched knee. This led to much attention, Coco assisting with ice from the beer coolers to take down the swelling and Madame Spare Rib rushed home like Nurse Nancy and returned promptly to administer First Aid - stinging antiseptic and a major bandage to cover the wounds. I suggest she comes with her medical kit on all our Walks and Runs as she surely knew what to use and took great care of me at moment's notice.

Farty Bum Interjects these comments: Since it says "with input from FB" at the top, here's my two cents worth. The way up was very steep, up a plain gravelly road; the way down was more interesting as it wound its way through trees and bush, but it was at least two times longer, maybe three, since it wasn't so steep.

Virgin Mouth and Farty Bum each had one of Virgin Mouth's brand new walking sticks, so were able to advance quite quickly, and pulled ahead of Contessa and Chris from les Adrets. But there wasn't a soul in front of us, and after an hour or so, Virgin Mouth began repeating every five minutes or so, "Where are the others? We MUST be going the wrong way." We just couldn't believe that someone with such short legs as Long & Hard, not to mention the others, could get so far ahead of us when we had walking sticks.

Virgin Mouth said, "Maybe we should have gone straight ahead at that puddle", but FB remembered the four large arrows across the meadow at the top of the descent , and suggested that maybe the OTHERS had gone the puddle way. We went down and down and down, first through a kind of fairyland archway of moss-covered trees - every branch, every twig covered with moss; this went on for about half an hour, and then we got into more ordinary bush along the edge of a ravine.

We were certain that we must be well below Le Broc by now, and that the trail would eventually come out at sea level. We had thanked God a million times that Virgin Mouth had bought those walking sticks; we now began to realize that they might be even more useful, as they could be used to hunt game if we ended up spending several days (or weeks) lost in this endless bush. We were sure there would be rabbits, because of the "brier-patch" vegetation, and foxes, because if there are foxes all over the city of London, there would surely be foxes in the bush surrounding Le Broc, and there would be sanglier, of course, and those little deer, chevreuil, because it was at one of Spare Rib's hashes that we had seen the hunters roasting chevreuil behind the church.

We rounded a bend and saw the roof-tops of Le Broc below us in the distance, and shouted the news back to Contessa and Chris, but they were talking so hard they didn't hear. And shortly after, we could see the runners and walkers milling around in the parking lot of Le Broc, which we had THOUGHT was quite high up in the mountains when we arrived at it in the morning!!

The down-downs are fairly dull this week, as they are mostly just rugby groupings, but here they are:
Hares: Spare Rib, Cumalot and Undergrowth
First time runner: Coco
Lost property/mug offences: Sadist for leaving his 100-run mug in Italy, Contessa for being mug-less
Wearing green for St Patrick: Padre, Sadist, Iron Lady, Farty Bum, Perpetch, Cumalot
Welsh dragons (winners); Pedo, Cumalot, Sneaky Bastard
French (losers): Pedo, Tosspot, Mad Max, Long & Hard
Italians: Coco, Iron Lady, Andrea/André , Long & Hard
English: Padre, Sadist, Perpetch, Chris from les Adrets, Jingle Balls, Electric Dick, Spare Rib
Missed Down-Down: Young Ian (age 8) (son of Jennifer) should have got one for wanting to replace Padre and run the circle; he announced loudly several times, "I'll do the next one."
Missed Down-down for excessive politeness: Iron Lady had asked Virgin Mouth to keep her key during the run. Arriving back at the parking lot, Perpetch said to Iron Lady, "We'll have to go to the car now", and Iron Lady answered, "Yes, we'll have to go to the car". VM, who was looking at the books laid out on the wall, and had forgotten she had the key, was surprised when Iron Lady offered to hold a book for her. She went on studying the books, with Iron lady and Perpetch hovering nearby, until Iron Lady finally got up the nerve to ask, "Could I have my key, please?"
Shit of the week nominations: Sneaky Bastard, 'representing the walkers', and Padre, self-nominated because he was "desperate for a beer". Winner was Sneaky Bastard. Grandpapa Sneaky B: 'representing the walkers' and for 'sleeping with a grandmother'.

Now back to Contessa:

The restaurant was a jolly little place. We gathered around several tables and copious dishes kept coming with pasta and meatballs. The Italian speakers have now added a new dimension to our club; RHHH offers a chance for French & Italians to practice their English, and vice versa. At least five were chichi-ing away, including a very opinionated Iron Lady who can hold her own in any tri-lingual argument. And she impressed us with her double-sided, full colour Hash LGH3-CHF3-RH3 cartes des visite (kindly offered by her husband) - one side boasts her RHHH persona and her Swiss Hashing persona in Chancy on the other side. with corresponding photos of her in a Swiss Red Cross (actually white cross on a red background) t-shirt or with the Riviera port behind her. Now that's class!

During lunch, Contessa discussed an idea with Perpetch and Padre that the RHHH consider entering the Antibes Raft Race. To which they answered "there is no time!" With one month before the race, those two would find surely find a good excuse to not try escaping by handmade raft off a desert island! Anyone out there want to/know how to build a raft that floats? I propose RHHH enters the race and that sailors Dark & Moist, Happy Hooker and Sneaky B take charge of building the raft!

Speaking of remote survival techniques, as I have been watching the "Man vs Wild" TV series lately, I can confirm that we all managed to Survive the Plateau of Nothingness as novices, even FB and Virgin Mouth who began hallucinating and talking to a puddle, anticipating getting lost and abandoned and having to survive in the Var Plateau Wilderness! This would surely make a good video to watch those two dressed as Janes of the Jungles, wielding walking sticks as survival weapons and chewing on fresh sanglier meat!

Well in the end, no one dined on live larva or spiders, or needed to catch and drink their own urine, eat wiggling insects and bite the head off a small animal for the sake of protein and a photo op. In the end we are all very spoiled hikers, to be standing around in the local wilderness, drinking cheap beers, eating stale chips and petrified chocolate. My congratulations to those who showed up and hiked the whole thing. And to Spare Rib, Cumalot and Undergrowth for the high altitude challenge, not to be forgotten!

ZH3 Black Magic Weekend - 8th - 10th June 2012
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R*n 693: NEXT HASH 1 -Apr

Brought to you by Long and Hard assisted by Andre Previn. Policed by Padre.

As this is virgin Hare Long and Hard's first contribution to run setting, with co hare Andre Previn, Padre was volunteered to help her out.

Great start as the original car park is closed for repairs and the restaurant is not opening for the season yet.

However, all will be right on the day ! And the scenery is spectacular. Not only that but, whilst wandering around, reconnoitering, we came across a family group of five or six wild boar which seemed quite oblivious to our presence. Can not guarantee they will still be there when we pass on Sunday though.

Meet 1030hrs for 1100hrs start. Please turn up in time to pay your run fees before the run is due to start. The run will start on time, whether you are there or not !

Leave the Peage junction 40, stay in left lane and circle around the Agip petrol station heading West through the village of Mandelieu.
Follow the signs for La Napoule and Theoule sur Mer.

When you arrive at the traffic lights in the centre of Theoule, (sea level ) Marco Polo restaurant and the sea on your left, start counting 4.4 kms. mainly up.

As the road bends, final bend before descending, Hotel Esquillion on your left, at the 4.4km mark turn right, you will be faced with a choice of roads. Take the right fork for 0.6 kms. and park. Farty Bum, if you start going down hill you have gone too far.

Please send me, padre.rh3@gmail.com a mail if you intend to eat as the restaurant needs to have some idea of numbers.

Thank you and