Montebello, Palo Alto

October 11, 1998

Sept. 23 Update

We're nearing this year's Monte Bello meet and things are shaping up nicely.

Here's the preliminary course statistics:

Course		Distance	Climb	Technical	Physical

White		2.0km		95m	easy		moderate
Yellow		1.7		135	easy		moderate
Orange		2.9		230	intermediate	hard
Brown		3.2		240	advanced	moderate
Green		4.0		305	advanced	hard
Red		5.4		420	advanced	very hard
Blue		7.7		600	advanced	very hard	

Monte Bello is a steep park, thus the climb/distance ratio is high. In addition, off-trail progress is hampered by often thick vegetation in both wooded and open areas. The courses are on the short side to compensate, but this is nevertheless not an area where moving up a course is recommended. (Some of this is compensated for by the stunning scenery)  The winning times should be similar to last year in min/k, but the courses are slightly longer this time around. Check last year's results on the Web if you're interested.

The vegetation includes significant amounts of poison oak and lots of star thistle. The worst areas of these have been avoided, but you may find this hard to believe on the advanced courses. Full body cover and thick pants are strongly recommended.

We are looking for volunteers for all the usual tasks. In addition the park wishes us to provide car park attendants to ensure optimal use of space and that we do not interfere with the access of others. If you can help, please call Mike at the number below.

We especially welcome additional vetters. All the advanced courses are flagged and ready to check, so if you're not going to be able to make the meet please give us a call.

Original Announcement

Monte Bello has a spectacular location straddling the San Andreas fault overlooking Silicon Valley. The geology of the area has created many interesting terrain features, including several unexpected ponds and marshes. The mapped area consists of a network of steep-sided, wooded valleys separated by equally steep-sided grassy ridges. There's quite a bit of thick vegetation in both wooded and open areas. In addition, erosion may be actively observed - many streams have extremely steep banks, often uncrossable in many locations.  I think you get the idea -it's not easy getting around out there.

This is a relatively new area for BAOC, and the park authorities are sensitive to our impact on the park and it's many users. Dogs are not permitted. Be aware of cyclists and horses. Always yield to equestrians on the trails.

Carpooling is strongly encouraged. Please be sure to follow directions (below) to the designated parking area. Our attendance is strictly limited to 200. I would therefore appreciate if you could indicate, by phone or e-mail, if you plan to attend, and the number in your party. We may need to limit the number of large groups.

We plan to offer the full range of courses WYOBGRB. At the time of writing it's not clear if a Start-O will be possible. Check e-mail or the hotline for updates. The white course will have a short cross-country section which will be streamered.

There is quite a bit of poison oak throughout the park. Wear full body cover and take precautions. Open areas have varying amounts of star thistle, sometimes over waist high. Thick pants are strongly recommended.

To get to Monte Bello take the Page Mill Road exit off I-280 near Palo Alto. Head right (south) up the hill, for approx. 10 miles. Do NOT park in the lots labeled "Monte Bello" on Page Mill Road. Instead proceed to the stop sign at Skyline Boulevard. Make a left, and go 0.9 miles to the parking lot for Skyline Preserve. Follow directions to the equestrian lot and park close together. Registration is on the other side of Skyline - route will be flagged. A portable restroom will be provided.

Derek Maclean

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