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Schedule/2013/Wilder Ranch - BAOC

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The Rolling Coaster

TrailCross Wilder Ranch

Wilder Ranch State Park

Date: (Sun.) Jun. 9, 2013
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Event Director: - 831.439.9822
Course Setter: Greg Favor
Type: C; 5 km, 10 km, and 10-mile trail runs with twists! Find your way with a map.

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

You can register for this event at this website (https://orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/) (see below for more information).

Please volunteer to help—see the openings below.

TrailCross comes to Wilder Ranch!

Wilder Ranch State Park (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=549) in Santa Cruz will be the third stop for BAOC's 2013 TrailCross Series. This new format for trail runs and orienteering has checkpoints along or close to the trails. Your task is to find all the checkpoints, in order, as you wind your way alongside the beautiful coastline and through the gently rolling terrain, meadows, and forest cover. The "Rolling Coaster" label for this event comes from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park. Formerly a public bathhouse in the 1800's, it became a famous seaside park in 1907. And it's still admission-free! So, make a full day, or even night, of your trip to Santa Cruz!

There aren't many BAOC venues more fit for TrailCross format than Wilder Ranch; the level of off-trail technical detail is low, the trail network is extensive and full of singletrack and switchbacks, and the many open fields give ample opportunities to shortcut while keeping the leaders in view. So, why not come and share the venue with newcomers, and see how fast you can go and whether you can outwit the competition?

We have been working hard at promotion, distributing thousands of flyers at major trail runs this Spring. We hope you can make it a fun Sunday!

If you're not a fan of mass starts, don't let that stop you! Individual starts will be offered after the mass start, until 12 noon. (However, keep in mind that all courses close at 2:00 PM.)

Not a fan of TrailCross? Well, just think of it as an easy orienteering event. One that allows you to enjoy the scenery, because you're not having to focus as hard on finding the checkpoints. When I [Sharon] did the recent Spring Lake TrailCross, I realized that, at this O' meet, I actually saw the Lake! So, come and see the ocean in Santa Cruz!

Want to do the 10-mile, but decide during your run that you'd like/need to drop down to the 10 km? Go right ahead! We can accommodate that.

Worried about "beach traffic"? Fear not! If you arrive by the mass-start time, and leave by 3 PM, you will avoid the heavy stuff. Nice alternate routes are Highway 1, and Highway 9. You can take your time, be a Sunday driver, and wind through Bonny Doon, Big Basin, and/or Skyline. Or, hey! Stick around and ride the Double Shot (my favorite) or the famous wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (admission is free; reasonable fee for rides).

About the Courses

There are three course options to tempt you​—​​5 km, 10 km or 10 miles​​—​​all with a mass start at 10:00 AM (you can start later if you miss the mass start; but​—​sorry​—​no early starts can be allowed at this meet). The course distances are approximate, measured along what the course designer thinks is the optimum route, staying entirely on trails. However, the winners may cover shorter distances, taking a few shortcuts. You may cover somewhat less or more, depending on your route choices.

More information about the courses is in the Course Setter's Notes.

Note that these courses are not just for runners. You may jog, walk, or hike as well, just so you are back by 2:00 PM.

You will be given a course map just before the start to find marked checkpoints along the trails. You can follow someone, but beware that they may not be taking the best route, or might be on a different course than you! Reading the map will not be difficult, but it will be important to follow the map carefully to stay on course. While it's unlikely that you will get lost, facing the unexpected is part of the challenge! When in doubt as to where you are, just orient yourself to the ocean. You do not need to be an expert navigator. However, the better you navigate, the faster you finish.

We will have compasses available at registration, but it won’t be necessary to use one if you are not comfortable with them. You can bring your GPS, they are allowed, as are altimeters and any and all additional navigational aids that you desire.

Generally expect to run on trails, with just short excursions off-trail, whether for shortcutting or for getting to some checkpoints that are located off-trail (but nearby).

Going cross country is not permitted in this park​, and take care not to enter one of the areas marked with red hash marks on your map, as these indicate out-of-bounds areas. (Going cross country, or entering the out-of-bounds areas, can jeopardize our use of the park in the future.) In practice, cross-country travel should not be a concern for anyone, since all the courses have been designed to not encourage or offer useful opportunities for such major off-trail travel.

There are some hills to climb on all of the courses (ancient marine terraces). Wilder Ranch State Park is popular on the weekends, so be sure to give right-of-way to bicyclists, horses, families, etc.

At each checkpoint, there will be an orange and white 1-ft tall "control" (aka checkpoint or marker) with a small electronic box to record your visit. Similar to a chip timing system, the runner will carry the "chip" (aka SPORTident e-stick) attached to a finger strap, and will "punch" the electronic box at each checkpoint. This will record (i.e., "prove") your visit to each checkpoint. You must visit the checkpoints in the order indicated on your map to complete the course successfully. All of this will be covered in the pre-race course briefing.

There will be one aid station on each of the 10 km and 10 mi courses, plus the Finish refreshments. These will be stocked with snacks and water. If it is a hot day, some may prefer to also carry a water bottle.

Are you up for the challenge?

Event Schedule

Registration will open at 9:00 AM at the grassy area and picnic tables near the historic building complex and Interpretive Center, about 0.2 miles northeast from the park parking lot (and close to the south end of the Hwy 1 underpass connecting the south and north sides of the park). There will be temporary orange/white signs for you to follow from the parking lot.

After registering, anyone not familiar with our maps should take the free clinic in map reading. A course briefing with more information will be provided at 9:40 AM. A mass start will take place nearby (a 3–4 minute walk) at 10:00 AM.

Registration will stay open until 12:00 noon for those who miss the mass start.

All participants must be back by 2:00 PM.

Event Facilities, Recommended Gear

Extensive lawn, picnic tables, and porta potties are available. It is recommended that you bring a hat, sunscreen, your own water bottle, comfortable shoes with good traction, and a watch. If you have a compass, bring it, otherwise you can ask to borrow one of ours when you check in at Registration. A whistle is always a good item to carry with you, and we have free small plastic whistles if you need one. You are responsible for your own safety, so bring with you what you think you need (e.g., you can bring a GPS if you desire).

Refreshments and Results

After you complete your course, have some snacks and swap stories from your adventure! We will recognize the top male and female participants for each of the three distances, plus the top Masters (40 years of age and over) and the top Juniors (20 years of age and younger) in each gender.


Secure preregistration is open through Event Register by Orienteering USA (https://orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/). You might need to scroll down the page, and you'll see there is a separate link for each course​​—​​5 km, 10 km, or 10 mile. You may also register at the event, but it's easier overall to do it online, especially if you prefer to pay by credit card (it's also very helpful for the organizers to know how many people to expect).

If you will be participating as a group, please note that each person will need to register and pay separately.

Please note that even if you register ahead of time, you will need to check in at the event, to pick up your SPORTident e-stick (if you don't have your own) or to register your personal e-stick, so we can enter you in our results system.

If you are unable to attend the event, we will transfer your fees to a future TrailCross event. Unfortunately we are unable to give refunds.

Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)


The event fees listed below include use of a SPORTident electronic e-stick to "punch" at each control, the use of a compass (while supplies last), and a small plastic whistle. Please bring your own compass if you have one. Snack foods and water will be provided free of charge at the aid stations and Finish. Also included in the cost is a short clinic on map reading using maps from prior years (you don't get the actual course maps until 10:00 AM).

You may go as a group (or follow someone), but each person will need to register and pay separately.

Technical short-sleeve TrailCross Series T-shirts are $7. They can be obtained only with event registration.

Lastly, please note that there is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle payable at the kiosk. Alternatively, you may park (for free) on Highway 1 just outside the park. If you do that, please consider supporting the park by making a contribution at the Interpretive Center.

Member of BAOC, GCO, or any other Orienteering USA club

                           Regular       Event-Day 
                        (before or on   (on or after
   Course   Category      Fri 5/31)       Sat 6/1)
   10 mi    Adult            $23            $28
            Junior (*)       $8             $8
   10 km    Adult            $18            $23
            Junior (*)       $5             $5
    5 km    Adult            $13            $18
            Junior (*)       $3             $3
   (*) Juniors are age 20 and younger.


                           Regular       Event-Day 
                        (before or on   (on or after
   Course   Category      Fri 5/31)       Sat 6/1)
   10 mi    Adult            $28            $33
            Junior (*)       $8             $8
   10 km    Adult            $23            $28
            Junior (*)       $5             $5
    5 km    Adult            $18            $23
            Junior (*)       $3             $3
   (*) Juniors are age 20 and younger.

BAOC membership will be available at the event, or you can join by submitting the BAOC Membership Application before the event.

More Information

Please be aware that Wilder Ranch State Park does not allow dogs. The park brochure is available here (PDF/950KB) (http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/549/files/WilderRanchWebBrochure2009.pdf).

Wilder Ranch State Park is a historical site, and is a favorite for family outings! Originally inhabited by the Ohlone Indians, the last family to operate it as a dairy farm were the Wilder's. From the late 1800s, over five generations of Wilder's lived and maintained the property, until it was sold in 1969. While you're at the Ranch, visit the Interpretive Center. Take a free guided tour of the Meder House (built in 1859), or the Victorian House (built in 1897). Explore the cow barn, horse barn, equipment shed, blacksmith and machine shop.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about TrailCross, and a list of the remaining four TrailCross events, are available here.

If you're interested in events that are more off-trail, please check the Bay Area Orienteering Club schedule to see upcoming events. Also check out the BAOC Wilderness Scramble Series for events where you pick your own route.


As for all of our events, we need some good folks to step forward to volunteer. We'll need about 20+ volunteers for this event, including registration. As of June 7th, there are still several openings​—​for starts, finishes, greeting, E-punch, beginner clinics, aid station, control pickup, and take-down. Please see the volunteer roster (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Apx0tzV89N7FdG5NeEZMWFAxNHBqYjVJTEVXcmxaeFE&usp=sharing) for the details, and let know what task you'd like to sign up for, and the time slot.

If you've never done a particular task before, have no fear​—​you will be quickly brought up to speed. And, of course, please do a course, too! Volunteering for two hours at a time is ideal, but we will take whatever you can offer, and appreciate you just as much.

Driving Directions

The park is about 4 miles west of Santa Cruz, driving northbound on Highway 1 (Cabrillo Highway). The entrance is about 1.8 miles past (north of) the Western Drive stoplight. There is a sign for the park​—​turn south (toward the ocean) at the sign. The parking lot is immediately south of Highway 1. Please note that there is a day-use fee of $10.00 per vehicle. Parking on Highway 1 is free, but please consider supporting the park by paying the day-use fee and parking in the official lot.

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

Traffic Note: If coming from out of town, please do not let the notion of "beach traffic" deter you. If coming via Highway 17 and you get to the event before the 10 AM mass start, and leave by 3 PM, you will miss the heavy traffic. Also, Highway 1 is a beautiful alternate route choice!

Public Transit

Santa Cruz Metro Bus #20 leaves once an hour from the Santa Cruz Metro station in downtown Santa Cruz. It will get you to the intersection of Natural Bridges Rd. and Mission St. From there, bike or walk 1.5 miles to Wilder Ranch, via Coast Road. Please check the Santa Cruz Metro schedules on their website (http://www.scmtd.com/en/routes/schedules/).