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Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

Date: (Sun.) May. 16, 2010
Location: Novato, CA
Event Director: - 415.895.6039
Course Setter: Heidi Whalen
Type: C; White, Yellow, Orange, and Brown courses

Please note that fees and time limits apply, unless otherwise mentioned below. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.


The San Francisco Bay to Breakers race will take place Sunday morning, May 16, starting at 8:00. Travel across San Francisco could be affected all day.
Rex Winterbottom will be leading a free intermediate and advanced clinic at 10:00 near Registration. Hopefully (hint, hint), some more of the experienced folks from the club will show up to help. Rex says, "With the non-overlapping courses, we can do some fun stuff."

Once again we return to the Indian Valley college campus and surrounding meadows and hills. In this BAOC tradition, we enjoy the spring wildflowers, and try to figure out what interesting wrinkles the college will throw our way. Two years ago a motorcycle training course was set up next to the first White control. Last year, one third of the campus was closed one week prior to the event. What will happen this year? Come and find out!

The campus has a network of trails, oak forested hillsides and meadows, and even some interesting gullies, in addition to the campus core of buildings. The hills are typical of Northern California terrain, so Orange and Brown courses are guaranteed to have some steep patches. And there is a very nice large sunny lawn next to Registration/Finish where you can share a picnic lunch afterward with friends.

White (beginner), Yellow (advanced beginner), Orange (intermediate), and Brown (advanced) courses will be offered (see below), ably set by Heidi Whalen who also set the courses last year. For this event, the Brown course will meet Brown physical standards. It will be physically shorter and less difficult than Orange, although it will be technically advanced. Course statistics will be included here about a week before the event.

Registration opens at 9:00 and closes at 12:00. Short, repeating beginners clinics will be available from approximately 9:30 through 11:30, depending on demand. All courses close at 2:00 PM and controls will be picked up at that time. Please honor the course closure time, come to the Finish and download your epunch stick, even if you have not completed your course by 2:00 PM.

Indian Valley, being in Novato in the North Bay, is a long drive for some BAOCers. And due to the size of the area we are allowed to orienteer in, only four courses will be offered: White, Yellow, Orange, and Brown. But I want to assure everyone that there is no overlap between courses, except for the final control and Finish chute. You are welcome and encouraged to do multiple courses. Just be sure that you start your final course by 12:30, when we will be closing down the Start area.

There is a need for volunteers. Specifically, I am looking for friendly orienteers who can serve as greeters at/near the Finish line for beginners as they complete their White or Yellow course. We will have food, as well. If you would be willing to take a shift as a newcomers outreach greeter (I just made up that term!), please let know. Also, I am looking for volunteers to help with control pickup. This is one of the easier control-pickup events, as there are fewer controls (only four courses). Thanks much, everyone.

Course Information

I was out vetting the Indian Valley courses yesterday, and I was amazed at the number and variety of wildflowers. Just absolutely amazed. I saw more lupine than I have seen anywhere else this spring, and dozens of other wildflower varieties. There are advantages to having a wet spring.

All of the water features have water, and there are a few patches of muddy ground still. And the mosquitos are voracious. I would definitely recommend bug repellent before starting a course, unless you are a very fast runner and can outrun the mosquitos.

Poison oak unfortunately is abundant also. White and Yellow course participants will see poison oak, but it is easily avoidable. Orange and Brown participants will find the leaves-of-three harder to avoid. But almost all of the poison oak is low ground level, and should be an issue only for your shoes and socks and ankles.

Also be careful of ticks. I did not see any, but I'm sure a bumper crop of ticks is out there.

Now for the course statistics:

   Course    Length    Climb    Difficulty
   White     1.8 km     45 m    Beginner - on trail
   Yellow    3.0 km    125 m    Advanced beginner - some
                                easy off-trail
   Orange    4.4 km    220 m    Intermediate - considerable
                                off-trail and physical
   Brown     3.4 km    205 m    Advanced - less physical
                                than Orange, but advanced
                                technical difficulty

Enjoy! Indian Valley truly is beautiful this time of year. And the campus lawns are a great location for a picnic lunch afterward.

Gary Kraght

Driving Directions

To get to the Indian Valley campus, take Highway 101 through Marin County to southern Novato, and exit at Ignacio Blvd. Go west on Ignacio Blvd as far as you can go, where it terminates at the College of Marin Indian Valley campus entrance. Follow the campus road to its end, and park in the huge parking lot.

Registration will be next to the swimming pool — the same spot we have used in past years.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event.

Public Transit

There is no public transit to Indian Valley College on weekends. The closest option is the Ignacio bus pad on Highway 101, which is a couple of miles away from the campus entrance.