ANGELS CROWN MAY 21, 2005
CRITIQUE OF THE COURSE
ITN would like to thank and congratulate member Justin Murphy on his first event as Rallymaster. These are Justin's roads. He drives some of them every day. One of the great things about being a Rallymaster is you to share your favorite roads with a bunch of other road enthusiasts. He certainly got to show us some beautiful stuff on this event.
One of the interesting challenges of this rally was having to use several maps for the same area, and where the maps were nearly the same scale and had similar, but crucially different, information.
Leg 1 was a fairly simple Checkpoint to get you into the rally. Examining Stagecoach Rd. on the map prior to Start showed there were 3 places to access and go south on it: at the far northwest end, via Paradise Rd., and from the west side of CA 154 at 1.4 miles from the south end of the Checkpoint road. Normal Monte Carlo rally logic would lead you to want to use the farthest option and be in a position search the whole road. However, if the Checkpoint had been located on the southernmost of those above 3 options, then you would not have had enough time to start at the top and get all the way down Stagecoach to the Checkpoint.
Experts generally assume they'll be told nothing at Standoff, so they'd still be looking for a way to fix the location of the Checkpoint before Start. What was the key? It was in the Passage Control photos in the Route Instructions. Why was there a second picture? There was a close shot of the sign so you could read it, but there was also a wide shot showing a large arched bridge in the background. If you looked closely at Map 1, you could see Stagecoach passes under CA 154. There was the name "Cold Spring Arch Bridge" on the map also. No other bridges were shown over Stagecoach, so it was reasonable to assume that the bridge in the picture was the same bridge. Since Passage Control sign indicates the end of the leg if the Checkpoint is not manned, then any manned Checkpoint would have to be north of this bridge.
At the Start, which was also Standoff 1, all classes were given the info that Checkpoint 1 was 1.50 miles south of Paradise Rd. Now was that "direct" distance, or "driving" distance? The Generals don't mention how mileages are intended. However, the Route Instructions will often say "due south", or "directly southeast" to distinguish "direct" or "as the crow flies" distance from "driving distance".
The intent was to give you the exact location of the Checkpoint. We wanted to minimize the need for a big stack of creeping cars at the hose, since it was not visible until less than 250 feet away, and to eliminate the need to search Stagecoach north of Paradise. The approach was made more challenging because there was a historical marker sign before the Checkpoint that was slightly different from the one pictured for the Passage Control. Finally, we apologize for not warning you about the uphill creep. We meant to, it just didn't make it into the final routes.
Next came the first of 4 mazes on the event. Leg 2 was straightforward. There was not enough time on the leg for the Checkpoint to anywhere but the closest southbound portion of road you could find west of Standoff. That was Armour Ranch Rd. south of its intersection with Happy Canyon Rd.
However Legs 3 and 4 were much harder to figure at Start, and had to be considered together. Using Map 1B you could find what was Edison and what wasn't. Time on Leg 4 meant that Checkpoint 3 could not be south of the part of Baseline south of 154. Most likely it was north of 154, but the tiny piece of Edison between 154 and Baseline south of 154 was a possibility, and fit the part of the Route Instructions about turning right to reach the timing car. Although it was not likely you could tell if 4 was east or west of CA 154 yet, at least you could rule out Edison south of Baseline west of CA 154.
Now you had to find a way to enter Edison heading south. Since you could have fixed Checkpoint 2 on Armour Ranch near the 154, the time on Leg 3 was enough to take the far east loop (out of 2, right on 154, right on Armour, left at Happy Canyon, left at Baseline, right at Mora which turns left and becomes Roblar) to the top of Edison, but you still needed to know if 4 was east of Edison to determine if it was safe to enter 3 via this loop. If 4 was east of Edison, then you'd have to exit it eastbound via Mora to Baseline to the 154. That would add 5 miles to a very tight Leg 5. Let's see what that could tell you before Start.
Leg 5 had an inherent contradiction. The (multiple) Standoff was on one of the possible Checkpoint roads, and no u-turns at Standoff were specified in the Route Instructions. Since there must be a way to get from Standoff to Checkpoint, it was a reasonable assumption that Ballard Canyon would be safe from Standoff south to its intersection with Chalk Hill Rd. Along with that, it could also be assumed that Checkpoint 5 had to be south of that intersection on one of the two possible Checkpoint roads. You had to have enough time on Leg 5 to get to that intersection and a little more.
The Route Instructions specified that 5.00 minutes were allowed for the Standoffs on Leg 5, and there was a minute to exit the previous Checkpoint. That left only 19.25 minutes drive time for the leg. Also, the Route Instructions specified that Ballard was timed "between 40 and 20 MPH". The map showed 5.2 miles on Ballard from Standoff to its intersection with Chalk Hill Rd. At 40 mph that would take at 7.8 minutes, and at least some of it was timed slower. It was looking more and more like 4 could not be east of Edison, since that 5 miles to loop out of 4 could be crucial. 4 would probably be west of Edison.
At Standoff 2,3,4 the top 3 classes were told that 3 was north of 154 and 4 was within 0.75 miles of 154. Beginners were also told how to enter 2. That should have put it all together. 2 you know on Armour. Since 4 was close to 154, Roblar east of Edison had to be safe and was the preferred means on reaching Edison south to Checkpoint 3, which was just north of Baseline. The timing car was around the corner to the right on Baseline's dead end portion. Simple enough, but on rally day, there was a wedding at the church across the street. There were some kids directing the wedding guests to park in the church lot, and this proved very confusing to the first few rally cars. Luckily scorekeeper Tim Errington stopped by to pick up the timing log from KayLee and Dave, and was able to help them out directing traffic.
There was enough time allowed on Leg 4 to search both sides of Roblar, first east of 154 to the 0.75 mile point, then a u-turn and back west of 154 where you should have found the Checkpoint. If you went west first, you should have had about 3 extra minutes to creep off on the 7 minute leg.
Exiting 4 would take you west to Grand Ave, which would take you through Los Olivos where you could pick up 154 west to the next Standoff road. Since Experts would receive no further information at Standoff 5,6,7,8, they needed to have it all in place before they got there.
We already discussed how you proved Ballard Canyon Rd was Safe from Standoff south to the intersection with Chalk Hill. But how did you know which way to go at that intersection? It didn't look like you'd have time to search both ways. Everyone else was given more info, but Experts were not. They had to use what was in the Route Instructions.
Looking at time for Leg 6 didn't solve the problem, although it did yield some further deductions. If and only if Checkpoint 5 had been on Ballard Canyon Rd. very near Buellton could 6 be located near Zaca Mesa Winery on Foxen just east of the intersection with Alisos Canyon Rd. If 5 was on Chalk Hill, there was not enough time to get to 6 at that location.
Also, the Passage Control sign for 6 was a milemarker "0.5". Although out of context it would have been impossible to tell whether that sign was at the north end of Foxen up near Santa Maria, or near CA 154 by Standoff 5,6,7,8. There was no county boundry line across Foxen between those 2 points. (Milemarkers usually re-zero at county lines.) So, since you could never reach the north end in the time allowed for 6, the milemarker had to be on the south end of the Foxen, and therefore so did Checkpoint 6.
That would allow enough time going from 5 to 6 for 5 to be on Chalk Hill. The final bit of info that Experts could glean was a note on Leg 6 in the Route Instructions. "Be very careful going through Solvang." Not "if" going through Solvang. The preferred route was most likely through Solvang, but it was still hard to bet the leg on it. Absent any other info, Experts probably felt they had to search. Since they got no info at Standoff, Experts picked up about 4 minutes. There were 5 minutes allowed, and it would take about 1 minute to get their Control Card signed. (Regulars were told Ballard was Safe, and Beginners and Novices were told it was a Passage Control on Chalk Hill.) Ballard south of Standoff was timed slowly (actually behind a lumbering limo), so with a few breaks, Experts could have found enough time so search Ballard first, and still get back to Chalk Hill in time. Limitations of worker movement dictated this leg would be the first Passage Control.
Moving on. Looking at the 3 Foxen Canyon legs, the 3 Passage Control signs should have jumped out at you. All were milemarkers, in ascending order. As discussed, Leg 6 had to be close to CA 154, and entered southbound. Map 2 shows 10.3 miles on Foxen from 154 to Alisos Canyon Rd., and the PC sign for 7 was "9.00", so the sign could assumed to be 1.3 miles east of Alisos. The sign for 8 was "10.5", which would be 1.5 miles from "9.00", and therefore 0.2 miles west of Alisos.
Some loops were needed to reach the Checkpoints in order in the right directions. From 5 you made your way into Solvang, then went west on 246 to the 101 in Buellton. North on the 101 to the154 exit so you could zig over to Zaca Sation Rd., up to Foxen and south to Checkpoint 6. Out of 6, right onto 154 and west toward 101 to the turn at Zaca Station. Then, same as 6, back up to Foxen, but this time straight north on Foxen to head "toward Santa Maria" into Checkpoint 7.
After 7 you used Alisos Canyon Rd. to avoid going up Foxen backwards into 8. You took Alisos to 101 North. Then a choice: Cat Canyon or Palmer to reach Foxen. Cat Canyon is a mile further and looks twistier, so Palmer should have been the choice. Where Map 2 shows the Cat Canyon Oil Fields on the top 2.5 miles, it was very slow. In reality, taking Cat Canyon cost at least 3 minutes vs. Palmer. Once you got to Foxen, you just counted down the milemarkers until you reached Checkpoint 8.
After 8 it was back down Alisos Canyon to the 101 and up to Santa Maria and the Restart in Nipomo. ITN member Tim Errington's scoring system had scores to that point posted at Restart. Our hope in doing this is that any discrepancies with what you think your score should be will be brought to our attention right away, so that they might be resolved before Finish.
Restart had you facing the third maze. Checkpoints 9 and 11 on Ormonde Rd.,
entered away from a bisecting intersection at (Old) Oak Park Rd., and Corbett Canyon Rd., entered from the south, for Checkpoint 10.
After much gnashing of teeth, you might have come to the conclusion that, based on the time for Leg 10, 2 things had to be true. One, Checkpoint 10 had to be on the lower part of Corbett, and, two, Checkpoint 9 had to be east of Oak Park Rd. 5.75 driving time on Leg 10 didn't leave enough time for anything else, i.e. 9 west of Oak Park, and 10 anywhere else, period. There was also the Passage Control sign for 11, which showed a "Narrow Subway" sign. Map 3 clearly showed the western section of Ormonde passing under some railroad tracks near Price Canyon Rd.
Restart handout for regular and expert confirmed 10 was within 2 miles of the south end of Corbett Canyon Rd. Novice and Beginner were told that 9 was a Passage Control, and given information to confirm 10 and 11 also.
Leg 12 was a way to lead you to the freeway south of San Luis Obispo, to keep the rally from getting bogged down in city traffic. All classes got the same handout, and we hoped everyone could pull a low score on this leg. Even if you had not noticed that the small parallel road to Higuera north of Granada that had been added to the map by hand, once you got there in person, it was set up so you could see the Checkpoint as you passed by it on the main part of Higuera. There was enough time to do a safe and legal u-turn, go back to Granada and get to the Checkpoint.
Checkpoint.Leg 13 had no Standoff, so time was the key for everyone. Or was it? Clearly, CA 229 north of Creston was out of the question, since it had to be entered heading toward Creston. There was just not enough time no matter which way you went to enter correctly from the north.
So it had to be either CA 229 or O'Donovan Rd., south of Creston and thus entered northbound. A note mentioned that the Checkpoint road was timed at 40 or less into the Checkpoint.
When figuring time for a potential route, most rallyists go through a process of estimating speeds and distances for each section of road to be travelled, and then putting together a table, called a timing log.
First, a look at the map and a guess at the times and speeds for each section. You know from the Generals that 1.00 minute was allowed to exit Checkpoint 12. About a half mile to the 101 onramp shown on Map 3B at Prado Rd., probably at a modest speed limit like 35. 12 miles up the 101 to the 58, probably at 65. Still reading from Map 3, there was 0.8 miles to Santa Margarita, probably 55, but let's time it at 50. Difficult to determine from the map exactly the mileage through town, but it looked like about 1.2 miles, and going through a small town, speed limit would probably be about 35, or even less. Then something like 4.5 miles up the 58 to the 229. The route to that point would be the same either way, regardless of whether Checkpoint 13 was on 229 or O'Donovan.
Using the timing log method, which multiplies miles times 60/speed to get
minutes necessary to travel each section. It's a common rally technique to reduce 60/speed to a "factor" (minutes per mile) in the timing log, by performing that calculation and entering the result. So, 60/35 becomes 1.71 minutes per mile, 60/65 becomes 0.92 minutes per mile, 60/55 becomes 1.09 minutes per mile, etc.
So, it breaks down like this:
Exit Checkpoint 12 1.00 minute
0.5 miles to 101 x 1.71 (35 mph) 0.86
12 miles to CA 58 x 0.92 (65mph) 11.04
0.8 miles to S.M. x 1.20 (50 mph) 0.96
1.2 miles thru S.M. x 1.71 2.05
4.5 miles to 229 x 1.33 (45 mph) 5.99
That gives a total of :21.90 minutes so far on a 34.35 leg to reach the intersection of CA 58 and CA 229. So, even after all that, it was still too close to call. Based on time, 13 could be on either O'Donovan or CA 229. Instinct might tell you 229 was more likely, but there seemed to be enough time to get to either possibility.
Even though there was no Standoff for 13, at Restart there was a notice that O'Donovan was safe for all legs, ruling it out as a Checkpoint road.
After Leg 13, Course Control 2 served two main purposes. One, a long drive on a deserted, challenging road at sunset, and two, take you on a large loop to create enough time to move the crews from the previous maze to the final maze of the rally, and set up lights in time as well.
Standoff 14 was the only real problem for the rally from an organizational point of view. A property owner tried to shut down the Standoff, which he untruthfully claimed was on a private road. During the confusion, at least 3 Beginners and 1 Regular did not receive their handouts, or did not clearly understand the placement of the lights. Therefore, Leg 14 was excluded from scoring for Beginner, Novice, and Regular, and Leg 15 excluded for Beginner only.
If this problem had not occurred, the intention of the Routes was as follows. You should have seen 2 lights. The one on the right was for both 14 and 15, the one of the left was for 16. Leg 14 had a note that all lights at that Standoff would be within 0.5 mile of their corresponding Checkpoints. Since there was one light for both 14 and 15, it had to be within 0.5 miles of either road, basically centered at their intersection. Imagine a circle 0.5 mile in radius, centered at the light. Both 14 and 15 had to be in that circle. Also, 1 mile was the farthest apart 14 and 15 could be. (The light midway between them, each Checkpoint 0.5 from the light.)
At Start, you might have had a pretty good idea that 14 was north of El Pomar Dr., the road for 15, since if 14 were south, there would be no place to put Checkpoint 15 that would use up the time allocated for Leg 15.
The light for 16 was to the left, and far enough left to determine that 16 (on Almond) had to be east of El Pomar Rd. (the north/south road for 14). Therefore, the portion of Almond connecting El Pomar Rd. to El Pomar Dr. (the east/west road for 15) must be SAFE. (It's west of El Pomar Rd.) You should have used that portion of Almond to reach El Pomar Rd to go north into 14.
When you left Standoff, you had to juggle between Map 3, which showed mileages, and Map 4, which showed names on all the smaller roads. From the bottom of Stagecoach you went right (west) on Creston. Then there was a jig onto Neal Spring Rd. and a 2 mile run west to a left on Hollyhock Rd. Then left at the T intersection onto El Pomar Dr., still hot for 15. The right onto Almond was well-signed, and you should have used it to avoid the hot part of El Pomar Dr for Checkpoint 15.
Almond twisted around until you reached El Pomar Rd., one mile south of its intersection with El Pomar Dr. Another left and you started searching for Checkpoint 14 or its Passage Control. At the intersection with El Pomar Dr., good old seat of the pants rally sense would have you looking both ways for Checkpoint 15, maybe even with a flashlight or something. You should have been able to see it on your right, since the Checkpoint box had highly reflective lettering.
Just north of that intersection you should have found the correct Passage Control sign for Leg 14. On the rally checkout, a dress rehearsal of the rally about 2 weeks prior, we missed an identical sign south of Almond on El Pomar Rd. Some entrants took a longer route to reach a lower portion of this road for 14 and found this other sign, which had no letters. While that could be shown, as was done above, that it wasn't necessary to search further south than Almond, and that El Pomar Rd would be safe to travel west of Almond, it was possible to gain enough time on the long run to CC 2 to search this southern portion, perhaps just to be sure. The duplicate sign was the final straw in the decision to throw 14 for Regulars as well as Novice and Beginner.
If you continued out of 14, with the Passage Control on your card (as all 3 Experts did), you had to find your way into Checkpoint 15. It was to be entered heading away from El Pomar Rd, but if you had seen it on your way to 14, you knew it was east of there. From 14, you followed the same loop as you had out of Standoff. West on Creston to Neal Spring to Hollyhock to El Pomar Dr. and east into Checkpoint 15.
If you had not seen Checkpoint 15 while you were on Leg 14, there was enough time allowed on Leg 15 for you to use Almond again, this time to avoid El Pomar Dr. for the 0.8 mile west of El Pomar Rd. If you still didn't see 15 from the intersection, there was even enough time for a quick trip west until you could see the whole 0.8 mile, u-turn, and go back east to where 15 was located.
From 15 you continued east to Cripple Creek, left to Creston. Then you followed the same loop for a third time to reach Almond and El Pomar Rd., but this time you continued straight into 16. We hope you enjoyed the multiple loops, which should have put you in between other rally cars from far ahead or behind you in the running order as you ran different overlapping legs.
After 16, there was only the minimum speed leg before Finish. To have a minimum speed leg, it's important to have a precise reference mileage and an odometer reference check. The odo check was way back on Leg 1, but the computer that measured the rally ran perfectly to the mileages on Map 3 all day, so any interval mileage on that map could have been used to check you odometer. Generally we try to match the map mileages as closely as possible.
The mileage to 17 was referenced in the Route Instructions. A u-turn out of 16 was allowed due to the "leave in any direction" instruction on that leg. A handout or verbal instructions at Checkpoint should have told you where to execute the u-turn safely. You could have followed your old loop backwards, but the route that was timed was back north on El Pomar Rd, through 14 a second time. (This is allowed in the Generals, as long as it's in the correct direction.) Then left on Creston to Neal Spring to River Rd. There you could wait until the right time to head up into 17. 1 mile at 40 mph would take 1.5 minutes.
We certainly hope you enjoyed this rally. It was quite an accomplishment for a first-time rallymaster. Thanks to all those who worked the event. Tim Errington for scoring. Nathan Harris, Keith Horton, John and Jack Searight, Joe and Ethan Akerman, Dave Boytis and KayLee Ahnemann, and the rallymaster for the Checkpoint crews, plus Chris Searight and Donna Singmaster, as well as Tim, Nathan, Joe and Ethan, and Dave and KayLee on Checkout. And many thanks to new dad, Marvin Castillo, our own Rapid-Roo, and wife Carol on their new team member, Paolo Sebastien Castillo.