The Return to Sleepy Hollow Rally, 2005

Rallymaster's Critique of the Course:

This rally was written with the goal of running you over as many of the best driving roads in the Los Angeles area as possible. There were no unusual rules to deviate from standard Monte Carlo practices and we tried some different things that we hoped you liked, and that we hope will be used more often in the future. The course has been varied from the first time it ran in1998, with enough changes to make it more challenging, even if you ran it the first time. The Expert Class competitors were expected to have a difficult time choosing the correct course with many tough decisions to be made en route. Regular Class entrants were given more information, particularly in the mazes, to make the sequence of events easier to determine. Novice Class Navigators were given information along the way (mostly in the form of handouts) so that they had to make no difficult choices, but had to constantly be alert. Beginner Class competitors were given all of the following information at the start to make the rally a straight forward, route following exercise through the best roads in the world!

Leg One, Two and Three:

This rally kicks off in a BIG way with a tricky maze. From start, the intended route was to turn right out of the parking lot and drive up The Old Road and turn right on Rye Canyon Road. In order to stay off the possible inmarker roads, it was necessary to turn left on Avenue Crocker, then, take Avenue Hall to get to Standoff 1, 2, 3, 4 in the proper direction. Sharp-eyed contestants might have noticed the "Contractors Wardrobe" sign on the right just before turning onto Avenue Stanford and the Standoff. This IS the passage control for leg three.

At the Standoff you were shown the Inmarker 1 timing car straight ahead on Avenue Stanford. It was sitting on the left side of the road indicating that it is to be entered from the opposite direction. All classes were given a handout that indicated that Inmarker 3 was west of Rye Canyon. That left the lower section of Avenue Stanford to be searched for Inmarker 2. Novice Class received a handout that placed Inmarker 2 East of Rye Canyon. You were also shown a beautiful 8" by 10" glossy picture for inmarker 4 with the actual compass bearings typed on it. You can take the $329.00 KVH Datascope off your Christmas wish list and leave your Tasco binoculars in the trunk. If this catches on, life will be much better for all of us ralliers. With a $1 protractor and map 10, you can plot the position of checkpoint 4 straight down Livingston

Getting to the Inmarker 1, just a block away, was not so simple. The correct path was to turn right on Technology Drive, left on Avenue hall, right on Rye Canyon, right on the Old Road, left on Henry Mayo, go straight past the freeway on-ramps, right at Highway 126, cross over the 5 Freeway, right at Vanderbilt Way which curves and becomes Avenue Stanford and into Inmarker 1. What a way to start a rally!

Inmarker 2 was somewhat easier to find. Knowing that Inmarker 3 is on the section of Stanford west of Rye Canyon, leaves only the lower portion of Stanford for it to be on. However, a simple search pattern is required because the Inmarker must be entered heading towards Avenue Hopkins. So, from Inmarker 1, the correct path would be to turn left on Technology, left on Hall, right on Crocker, right on Rye Canyon and left on Stanford. When Stanford meets Hopkins you had to make the right turn, then left on Anza, left on Scott, left on Stanford and into the Inmarker heading southwest.

After all this, Inmarker 3 was a piece of cake. Straight up Avenue Stanford across Rye Canyon and into the checkpoint.

Inmarker 4 should be carried out with a search pattern. The compass bearing put the checkpoint somewhere on Livingston. After Inmarker 3, just make a right on Avenue Hall, right on Crocker, right on Rye Canyon, right on The Old Road and left at Henry Mayo. Henry Mayo turns right and comes up to a big intersection with a sign pointing to Commerce Center straight ahead. After crossing Highway 126, you look for the left on Witherspoon and another left on Harrison. Your search should start with the right onto Livingston Avenue up to Avenue Williams. There you see the checkpoint dead ahead and make a right (before it) on Avenue Williams. After a left on Witherspoon, it's up to the last road that's useable, Avenue Penn. This curves around and becomes Livingston and your checkpoint is right there. I hope you didn't let the great view of magic Mountain (and possibly the fireworks) distract you from a great score.

On the way out, you had to remember to run the loop to get to Course Control 1 in the proper direction. So, it was left on Avenue Williams, right on Witherspoon, LEFT on Commerce Center, left on Hasley Canyon Road, left at the fork on Del Valle, right on Hunstock, left on Chiquito Canyon and pick up the letter on the stop ahead sign. Making you drive this loop gave workers a chance to move the checkpoints.

After the intensity of the maze, it was nice to have a gentle cruise out Highway 126 into Fillmore. Did you use the little map 5 to find the left turn on A Street? It's A.K.A. Highway 23 and takes you right down to Guiberson. You get your first glimpse of the "Green Hell" before you make the left on Guiberson. Then, you cruise through the scenic orange groves to find checkpoint 5 near the end.

Most motor sports enthusiasts recognize the "Green Hell" as a reference to the Nurbergring in Germany. The old track is a 14 mile devil of a track that twists through a forest with dips and jumps and two banked "Carousels" that you fall into, spin around and get launched out of. It's famous for being the most difficult racetrack in the world to master and has killed many drivers. Anyone can take their car or motorcycle on a lap around it for about $20. However, it can bite the driver who pushes too hard. One motorcyclist was lost for 3 days before they found his body! But for us SoCal Ralliers, the "Green Hell" is the Bardsdale maze. And it's an equally scary place for Navigators on a Halloween Rally.

Bardsdale is not much of a town, just an unusual gridwork of roads. The whole area is really an orange orchard. The unique feature that makes it a favorite of Rallymasters is that the roads are only a mile apart and there's very little traffic. The first trick is getting to the Standoff, from the correct direction, without encountering a checkpoint. The only way to do this safely, from Inmarker 5, is to go west on Telegraph Road (Highway 126) all the way to Santa Paula and take South Mountain back into Bardsdale from the south. The standoff must be entered heading north and you must leave going east. It turns out that we all had to do this three times and if you got it wrong, ONE TIME, you blew all four legs!

At the Standoff 6, 7, 8, 9 you find a neat old church. You climb the steps in front to see the information. You are shown a picture that shows a compass heading of 360 degrees and another that is 350 degrees. You are told that the 350 degree compass bearing lines up with two checkpoints and the 360 heading is for one. From the instructions you know that Inmarkers 7, 8 and 9 are on Riverside, Pasadena and Bardsdale. But, you had to figure out which Inmarker was on which road and you had to enter all of them going west. You also had a couple of clues to figure this out. The instruction for Inmarker 9 says that it is east of inmarker 7. The biggest clues were the passage control signs for the three legs. The sign for checkpoint 8 shows an "END" sign. Checkpoints 7 and 9 show "Santa Paula Street" as a passage control. Since the Standoff is on Bardsdale and Bardsdale is "safe" east of the standoff and you are ONLY allowed to leave the standoff going east, you should have been able to figure out that you cannot get to the section of Bardsdale that would take you to Santa Paula Street while you are west bound. That means that Checkpoint 8 can only be on Bardsdale. You can then deduce that the checkpoint due north is Inmarker 9 and the two at 350 degrees are 6 and 7. Checkpoint 6 is on the north side of Fillmore so that leaves 7 and 9 on Riverside and Pasadena. But which? There was only one way to be sure. You had to go look for it.

At this point, you know that everything east of the church is safe. Leaving the Standoff, going east on Bardsdale, you could turn left on Simi Street and drive up to Pasadena and look west, then continue up and look down Riverside. On Pasadena, you would have seen a timing car. On Riverside, the timing car was too far away to see. That told you that the Pasadena checkpoint is the farthest east and has to be Checkpoint 9. At that point you could go on up Highway 23 to Checkpoint 6. There are a couple of ways to search for checkpoint 6. But, when you search the east end of Sycamore, you find the Passage Control sign. Now, back to the "Green Hell"!

It's easy to get to Checkpoint 7 with all the information that you have. Back down Highway 23 and turn right on Riverside and cruise straight in. Between Checkpoints 7 and 8 you had a little extra time to pick up CC3. But you had to do it carefully! Just make the left on Santa Paula, left on Los Angeles, right at Bardsdale (for the standoff), left on Simi, left on Riverside, left on Ventura and right on Pasadena into the Course Control. After recording the letter on the sign, it's left on Santa Paula, right on Bardsdale and down to Inmarker 8.

Now, to get back to Checkpoint 9, you go left on San Cayetano Street, left on Los Angeles, left on Ventura, right on Bardsdale (I hope you didn't forget to wave to the standoff crew again), left on Simi, left on Pasadena and into Inmarker 9. After a left turn on Sespe Street you escape from the "Green Hell"!

There's only one way to Standoff 10 and 11 and it's up the beautiful and twisting Balcom Canyon Road. Did you catch the turn off onto Old Balcom Road? At standoff, it's another 8 by 10 glossy of Checkpoint 11 right in front of you on Stockton and a compass bearing for 10. The protractor should have put Inmarker 10 on Shekell Road, so you used Positas and East Roads to get around 11 and it's a nice drive up Stockton and Broadway to get to Shekell. After that, you loop around on Highway 23 and back down Broadway and Stockton, catch the loop on East Road, Positas and Balcom Canyon. Then turn east into Checkpoint 11 on Stockton.

The easiest way to get to Standoff 12 and 13 is to make the loop up East Road and Positas again and then turn up Balcom and Bradley around to Berylwood. That will get you to the Standoff in the proper direction. At the Standoff you get a compass heading on a nice picture of 270 degrees (due west).That puts the Inmarker 12 on either section of Center Road and Checkpoint 13 on Price Road. Did you notice that little section of road between La Loma and La Vista? Did you consider that might be Center Road too? Well it is! From Standoff, you must leave going south, so it's down to Los Angeles Avenue and right to Walnut and back up to the eastern section of Center. Now you could run down to the end and make sure there's no checkpoint there. But, did you notice the passage control picture with the line of telephone poles on the left side? As you look down the eastern section of Center, the poles are on the right side. This is a very good clue that the inmarker is elsewhere. The correct location is on the western section and it IS on that little piece that connects La Loma to La Vista. So, hopefully you approached it from the north, otherwise it's a max!

To get to Inmarker 13 you must first make a u-turn after the checkpoint then turn right on La Vista. If you forgot and went straight over the hose again, that's ANOTHER way to get a max. It's much better to go down La Vista to LA Avenue, left to Walnut again, left up to La Loma, right on Price and into Checkpoint 13.

Time for a dinner break and you had a choice of 11 restaurants and 3 gas stations before heading to the restart. Then, it's on to Standoff 14 and a nice view across the valley at the Santa Monica Mountains which you were about to carve up. You got to drive around Round Mountain on your way up Potrero Road and some great little switchback turns (did you get the rear wheels to slide on the tight reverse camber turns?) Inmarker 14 was a slam dunk and did you catch the little 33 on the passage control sign's fire engine?

I always love making that right turn from Potrero onto Westlake Boulevard. because I know what's coming, Decker Road, the nastiest canyon road of them all. Oh yeah, there's faster ones and longer ones but Decker's got lots of surprises for the unwary, including sudden kinks overlooking long drop offs. Kind of like the Viper at Magic Mountain. At the top, it's a hard left on Mulholland and up to the Standoff for 15, 16 and 17. From the side of the cliff, looking over the valley, you get compass bearings for the three checkpoints. The bearing for 15 puts it on the lower section of Decker Road, 16's on Yerba Buena near the top and 17 has to be on Decker north of Lechusa. So, the plan of attack was to run down Encinal Canyon to Lechusa and make a right and then a quick left on Decker. Then enjoy the roller coaster ride down to the Inmarker 15 near the end. You got a short breather as you cruised up PCH before charging up Yerba Buena (Good Herbs?). I don't know if it's the blind turns or the odd angles of the road surface, but there is something unsettling about Yerba Buena that gets to many passengers and some drivers! Cars with stiff suspensions rule, here. The Checkpoint is near the top. And then it's a right on Mulholland, pick up CC6 and back to PCH, east to Encinal Canyon, north to Decker and north to the Checkpoint 17. If you got through that unscathed, CONGRATULATIONS! You just ran 4 of the best canyon roads in all of California.

To get to Checkpoint 18, you continued up Mulholland and avoided the turn offs on Decker and Encinal until you got to Kanan Dume Road. There, you made the left and enjoyed a leisurely drive to Troutdale Drive. After making the short run down Troutdale and not finding the checkpoint, you should have made two right turns on Mulholland and Sierra Creek Road and there it was.

That was too easy, now we see how alert the Navigators were. Did you find the little piece of Cornell Road on map 11 and run up the freeway feeder road to get there? If not, you may have missed Checkpoint 19 completely and found the passage control sign on the southern part of Cornell. Not so good!

Then, it's right on down Kanan and onto the 101 freeway east for a short blast, up to Lost Hills exit with a right on Las Virgenes Road. You should have made a left up Piuma Road to pick up CC4 and Standoff 20, 21, and 22. Did you notice Saddle Peak Lodge on the left? It has an amazing restaurant that specializes in wild game. The view from the standoff is phenomenal and the pieces fall into place with the information that you got, there. Then, you got to make the fun run down Stunt (reminds me of the Runaway Choo Choo ride at Disneyland) and take Mulholland, westbound. You had to watch carefully for the turn off to Cold Canyon and loop south and north avoid Checkpoints 21 and 20 on your way to pick up CC5. Technically, after picking up CC5, you were supposed to continue west to Las Virgenes and loop around Piuma and Cold Canyon to get to Checkpoint 20. However, if you made a u-turn on Mulholland and came back to Checkpoint 20, no one would be the wiser. But, you had some extra time to kill and didn't get the second look at the Saddlepeak Lodge. So, it's east into 20 and then catch Cold Canyon south to loop around Inmarker 21 and left on Mulholland to get there from the proper direction (westbound).

You got to run the southern section of the Cold Canyon loop a third time to get to Checkpoint 22 on Cold Canyon Dry Creek. Did "from the south" confuse you? At this point, fatigue can set in and simple mistakes happen. Did you notice the other Cold Canyon Dry Creek on map 8? The Rallymaster could have been really mean and put the Checkpoint there. In fact, you do need to use this section to get to Checkpoint 23. Now, you may not have thought of that and buzzed right up Mulholland and onto Old Topanga Canyon Road. But, if you were alert, you should have seen the Checkpoint timing car on your right as you made the curve to the left. Three extra minutes were added to the leg to let you recover from this mistake and get back to the Dry Canyon Cold Creek loop and around to the Checkpoint correctly. If you didn't notice the checkpoint, you probably found the Passage Control on the stop sign further up and continued to the finish blissfully unaware that you had just collected another 500 points.

Many thanks to the workers who made this happen. From ITN Kay Lee Ahnemann, Paul & Lim McGaffey, Karlana Cortright, Sean and Matt Stern, and Tim Errington, plus special guest workers from Santa Monica SCC Joanna Paden, Larry Scholnick, and Doug Liedblad, and from Santa Barbara SCC Keith Horton. We hope you enjoyed this marathon of a rally and its astounding assortment of roads. It was so much fun, we may have to run it again in another eight years!