Indian Valley

Saturday, May 6, 2000

by Harold and Penny DeMoss, 510-658-4327

Our annual Indian Valley meet is on a Saturday this time - and it's National Orienteering Day, so if you've got friends, neighbors, or workmates who've been threatening to have a go at orienteering, this would be a great time for them to discover what we already know: Orienteering is a really cool sport. The weather should be good, the area is beginner-friendly, and parking is free! What more could a newcomer ask for?

As always, we will have beginner's clinics from 9:30 am until there's no more demand. There will be a Start-O, so young children can get an introduction as well. Encourage your friends to come along, they won't be sorry.

The Indian Valley map scale is 1:10000 with 5-meter contours and covers the open space area around the College of Marin Indian Valley campus. The forested ridge and valley terrain is reasonably runnable, although the Orange through Blue courses will go into some rather steep areas.

The Courses

White   2.5k   35m climb  Beginner
Yellow  3.1k   75m climb  Advanced beginner   A bit more of a challenge than the usual Yellow.
Orange  3.9k  195m climb  Intermediate        Short but fun.
Brown   2.6k  215m climb  Advanced            Short but difficult.
Green   4.5k  280m climb  Advanced            A good workout.
Red     5.5k  370m climb  Advanced            This was originally the Green course
                                                until Evan almost croaked vetting it for me.
Blue    6.7k  535m climb  Advanced            Panu vetted a slightly longer version
                                                and really liked it, so it should suit most Blues.
The White, Yellow, and Orange start and finish will be separate from the advanced start and finish. Both starts and finishes will be near registration.

Brown, Green, Red and Blue maps are premarked and in cases.

The E-punching

The advanced courses - Brown, Green, Red, and Blue - will use electronic punching (e-punching). E-punching will not be used for the beginner and intermediate courses - White, Yellow, and Orange - due to the small number of control units that the club has at present.

For those not familiar with this system, each control has a small box mounted on the control stand, with the control and control code. To punch at a control, the runner inserts his e-card (or "finger stick") into the control unit, and the e-card notes the control unit code and the time the runner was there. After completing the course, his e-card is downloaded into a computer and his time recorded. Timing is all automatic, including splits for each The computer also records whether the runner missed any control or whether he punched out of order.

E-cards may be purchased on event day from Scarborough Orienteering for $24, or rented for $2. A purchased card becomes your personal property, and can be used at all future club events, as well as events in the U.S. and overseas that use the Sport-Ident system.

And now, some brief instructions concerning electronic punching. If you've already purchased a finger stick, bring it with you to registration, because you must have your course choice entered into the computer. The finger stick will also be "cleared" at this time. If you don't have a stick, you'll have to either buy or rent one in the registration area and be entered into the computer before heading out to the start. You will also carry the standard paper card to use in the event of the failure of any unit. More on that later.

As you wait for your start, I'll have you insert your stick into a check unit just to be sure it has been cleared. At your assigned time, you will insert your stick into the start unit. Listen for a beep and/or watch for a flashing light before removing it. It takes less than a second.

At each control location, you will see the usual control on a stand. The Epunch unit is mounted above the control near the top of the stake. The code number is on the unit. Insert your finger stick into the unit at each control. If you do not hear a beep or see a flash of light you can insert the stick again without fear of disqualification. If the unit is not functioning use the hand punch, (hanging from the bottom of the bag) punching in the appropriate box on your paper card to prove that you were there. Anyone who does not carry a standard, "old fashioned" punch card in order to punch if necessary and tries to give me their snarky, sweaty, poison oaky map with a punch on the margin will be DQ'd! As always, you must visit the controls in the proper order. If you realize you've Epunched at the wrong control just proceed to the proper one and re-Epunch and carry on.

One important thing to remember is that you have to Epunch at the finish line. I'll have a big sign to remind you. The clock will keep running on you until you do. After you've recovered a bit head back to the registration area and check in at the Epunch desk to upload your run data. This should be done as soon as possible after your run for two reasons: 1) it's the only way for your results to be recorded, and 2) it will confirm that you have returned from the woods. Rented finger sticks will be collected at this time. Cumulative results will be printed out and posted "periodically"'ll have to ask Mark Blair what that means. And of course Mark is planning on giving you your splits as well.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? You'll be amazed how quickly you can breeze through control sites! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail or call and ask. I can't explain how it works (since I don't know), but I do know how to use it....

Oh, by the way, I suggest you don't wear the finger stick on your compass carrying hand, as it can affect the compass needle.

The Directions

From Highway 101 in Marin, take the Ignacio Blvd. exit (about 2 miles south of Novato). Go west on Ignacio until it ends at the campus entrance. Follow the campus road to the end and parking. There will be signs to registration, which will be in the pool area.

See you then, bring a friend and a'll be fun.